Top Seeds Move On At Claremont USTA Pro Circuit Futures Event

CLAREMONT, Calif., (Sept. 14, 2012) – A five-week layoff because of an ailing back didn’t seem to bother top-seeded Alex Bogdanovic of Great Britain, who beat a determined Mark Verryth of Australia in a tough three-set match on Thursday to advance to the quarterfinals at the 17th annual Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center Pro Classic, a $10,000 USTA Pro Circuit men’s event being played this week at the Claremont Club.

 

Bogdanovic downed Verryth, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-3, in the second round of play, and the current world No. 311-ranked player said afterward that he’s set to play the three SoCal Futures events in Claremont, Costa Mesa and Irvine before playing USTA Pro Circuit events in Sacramento and Tiburon.

 

“We’ll see how the body reacts,” Bogdanovic said.

 

Bogdanovic will play qualifier and former UCLA standout Haythem Abid of Tunisia in the quarterfinals on Friday. Abid, now 27 and recovering from wrist surgery on his left hand, beat fellow American and No. 7-seeded Reid Carleton, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

 

Abid, who played Davis Cup matches for Tunisia this year, is driving 45 miles back and forth each day from his home in West Los Angeles. He is currently training at the Weil Tennis Academy and hoping for a full 2013 tour campaign.

 

A fellow Bruin alum, No. 2-seeded Daniel Kosakowski, also won his match on Thursday and will next face fellow Southern Californian Jason Jung, who beat wild card – and yet another Bruin – Dennis Novikov in straight sets on Thursday.

 

“I’ve never face Jason but he’s playing well,” said Kosakowski, who beat American Ryan Rowe, 6-4, 7-6 (4). Kosakowski said he’s been working out with Taylor Dent and some others in Orange County recently.

 

In the doubles final on Friday scheduled for 4 p.m., Devin Britton and Reid Carleton of the United States will face fellow former collegiate standouts Jeff Dadamo and Kyle McMorrow.

 

For more information, check on the web at:www.procircuit.usta.com, www.claremontclub.com; Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/The-Claremont-Club/236147226396

 

Thursday’s Second-Round Singles Results

WC: Wild card; Q: Qualifier

Dennis Lajola, U.S. (4), def. Boris Bakalov, Bulgaria, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4

Daniel Nguyen, U.S. (q), def. Chris Wettengel, U.S., 6-2, 6-3

Haythem Abid, Tunisia (q), def. Reid Carleton, U.S. (7), 6-4, 3-6, 6-3

Prakash Amritraj, India, def. Devin Britton, U.S. (3), 6-4, 7-6 (4)

Jason Jung, U.S. (6), def. Dennis Novikov, U.S. (wc), 6-0, 7-6 (3)

Daniel Kosakowski, U.S. (2), def. Ryan Rowe, U.S., 6-4, 7-6 (4)

Jeff Dadamo, U.S. (5), def. Finn Tearney, New Zealand (wc), 6-2, 6-0

Alex Bogdanovic, Great Britain (1), def. Mark Verryth, Australia, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-3

 

Thursday’s Semifinal Doubles Results

Devin Britton, U.S.-Reid Carleton, U.S. (1), def. Daniel Nguyen, U.S.-Ryan Rowe, U.S. (3), 7-5, 4-6, 10-6

Jeff Dadamo, U.S.-Kyle McMorrow, U.S. (2), def. Nicholas John Andrews, U.S.-Dennis Nevolo, U.S., 6-4, 5-7, 10-7

Note: Doubles final will take place on Friday at 4 p.m.

 

 

Recent Claremont Champions

Year   Singles Winner              Singles Runner-up            Doubles Champions

2011   Steve Johnson               Darian King                        Alexandre Lacroix-Sanam Singh

2010   Gary Sacks                    Devin Britton                      Taylor Fogleman-Chris Kearney

2009   Matej Bocko                   Bradley Klahn                    Brett Joelson-Ashwin Kumar

2008   Tigran Martirosyan          Adriano Biasello                 Marcus Fugate-Nima Roshan

2007   Carsten Ball                    Robert Yim                        Nikita Kryvonos-Michael McClune

2006   Dudi Sela                       Sascha Kloer                     Ryler DeHeart-Dennis Zivkovic

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

2004   Bobby Reynolds            Huntley Montgomery          Nick Rainey-Brian Wilson

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

2002   Dmitry Tursunov             Raven Klaasen                   Chris Magyary-Mirko Pehar

 

 

 

Points, Prize Money for $10,000 Futures Tournaments

Singles                         Doubles

Points               Prize $              Points               Prize $

Winner                                   17                     $1,300              17                     $630

Finalist                                   9                         $900                9                    $330

Semifinalist                5                         $480                5                    $260

Quarterfinalist             2                         $290                2                    $180

Round of 16               1                         $200                1                    ——

Round of 32               0                         $117.50            –                     ——

 

USTA Pro Circuit

With approximately 90 tournaments hosted annually throughout the country and prize money ranging from $10,000 to $100,000, the USTA Pro Circuit is the pathway to the US Open and tour-level competition for aspiring tennis players and a frequent battleground for established professionals. The USTA launched its Pro Circuit 33 years ago to provide players with the opportunity to gain professional ranking points, and it has since grown to become the largest developmental tennis circuit in the world, offering nearly $3 million in prize money. Last year, more than 1,000 men and women from more than 70 countries competed in cities nationwide. Mardy Fish, Maria Sharapova, Andy Roddick, Caroline Wozniacki, John Isner, Victoria Azarenka and Andy Murray are among today’s top stars who began their careers on the USTA Pro Circuit.

Serena Williams Steamrolls the Competition

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Serena Williams has been playing some of the best tennis of her career over the last three months. Williams won Wimbledon in July and a few weeks later won the gold medal in Women’s Singles at the 2012 London Olympics. She also added Women’s Double’s gold with her older sister Venus. Next up for Serena was the US Open.

Through the first four rounds of the 2012 US Open, Williams has defeated Coco Vandeweghe, 6-1, 6-1, Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, 6-2, 6-4, Ekaterina Makarova, 6-4, 6-0, and Andrea Hlavackova, 6-0, 6-0. Serena has won an incredible 20 straight games, and is the favorite going into the round of eight.

When asked what her play through the first four rounds means, Serena responded “it says I’m focused.” Serena, always critical of her game, said “I feel like today I am getting more comfortable with the court and comfortable with the conditions…I like to play better during the second week.” Fitting, because the best players are the only ones playing in the second week and Serena is not only one of the best of this era, but of all time.

Not everything has gone perfect for Serena, as she and older sister Venus were defeated Monday night in Doubles by Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova in straight sets, 6-1, 6-4. Venus also lost in the second round to Angelique Kerber in front of a boisterous crowd that included actress Vivica Fox. With the singles and doubles losses, Venus Williams is now done for the 2012 US Open, but don’t be surprised if she hangs around to see her younger sister play.

Serena, who is 30-years old, and Sloane Stephens, 19, who has been compared to Serena on the court, have forged a friendship recently that is somewhat of a mentor/mentee relationship. But you would be surprised at who plays what role. “I think she’s more my mentor than anything,” Williams said in an interview after her win over Vandeweghe in the first round. Serena had some more compliments of Stephens on and off the court. “I think she’s an amazing player. She’s playing so smooth. She looks like she gives no effort when she plays.”

Serena continued to talk about Sloane’s on-court performance, adding “I hope I can teach her some things, and hopefully she’s able to do it. I think that we can kind of feed off each other. She can teach me some things, maybe how to be calm on the court.”

Off the court, Serena had even more praise. “I think she’s a great person. She’s always encouraging me not to be single,” Serena said with a smile. Williams was later asked if she thinks Sloane has the potential to be the next superstar on and off the tennis court. “I think she has a great smile, a beautiful face. I think she has such a wonderful personality and attitude. So yeah, I think it’s totally possible.”

Earlier in the day, after her first-round, upset win over Francesca Schiavone, Stephens was asked some questions about Serena as well. “We’re really good friends. We just have a really good relationship. I felt like I knew her in a past life or something, I don’t know. It’s so strange” Sloane said.

One thing that makes Serena Williams so great is her confidence. When asked if she believes in her heart if she is the best player in the game, she responded “Of course I believe that. I think there are a number of players on this tour, a few players who believe that. I don’t think we would be playing if we didn’t believe that.”

Perhaps some of Serena’s confidence has rubbed off on Sloane. When asked if Sloane Stephens will be to be the next superstar in tennis, she simply, and confidently, replied “She is.” With a winning smile, a great personality and confidence to match, many are hoping that Sloane Stephens is the next superstar in the tennis world, and with a mentor like Serena Williams, she is well on her way.

Serena Williams will face Ana Ivanovic Wednesday (rain permitting) for a chance to go to the semifinals of the US Open Wednesday. Ivanovic defeated Stephens in the third round for the second year in a row, 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-2, and Stephens will definitely be cheering her mentor on.

Sportsbeat – 9/3/12

No matter who wins the 2012 US Open on the men’s and women’s side, the biggest story of the tournament was Andy Roddick’s surprise announcement that he would be calling it a career at a hastily called press conference at Arthur Ashe Stadium last Thursday.

Roddick kept his composure as he explained that he no longer felt that he had the energy and desire to compete on the pro tour any longer. He will now use the time to concentrate running his foundation and youth tennis center in Austin, Texas where he now makes his home.

When asked what he will miss the most about competing, Andy quickly replied, “All of you!” The media quickly laughed at the joke because it’s no secret that he has never been fond of the fourth estate. More often than not, he has acted peevish when asked legitimate questions that he would have preferred not been raised.

I remember asking him after he won his first round match in 2008 if he felt any regrets about taking part in American Express’s bizarre “Who stole Andy’s mojo?”ad campaign three years earlier. In 2005 Roddick lost his first match at the Open to the little-known Gilles Muller of Luxembourg in straight sets creating instant embarrassment for both himself and AmEx. “I never think about that!” snapped Roddick. I doubted the veracity of that statement then and my opinion hasn’t changed now.

It was hard not feel a bit sorry for France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who got bounced after losing his second round match despite being seeded fifth on the men’s side. I asked him if there is a big talent gap between the top four male players (Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray) and himself. “I would have to be say that there is,” Tsonga candidly replied. He then gave a variation on the late Rodney Dangerfield’s “I get no respect” line by saying that no matter how hard he works on the court, “he never gets rewarded” at the Grand Slam tournaments.

I asked James Blake, who made it to the third round at this year’s Open before being eliminated, if it was good for his sport that one per cent of the male tennis players win 99% of the big tournaments. “Actually, it is. When I first became a professional, the prize and endorsement money for golf and tennis was pretty much the same. Then Tiger came along and the interest in golf skyrocketed at our expense. “Novak, Roger, and Rafa do a great job of marketing our sport to everyone,” he said.

Starwood Hotels, whose lodging portfolio includes Sheraton, Westin, Le Meridien Four Points and W Hotels, made fans at the Open by offering complimentary pedicab rides along the boardwalk between the Willets Point #7 train stop and the Billie Jean King Tennis Center.

Bravo to the Queens Economic Development Corporation for having a kiosk at the Open promoting all that our borough has to offer.

Tennis players are always aware of their corporate benefactors and they love it when the press queries them about their endorsement deals. Up and coming American tennis star Sloane Stephens was gushing over the fact that her likeness was plastered all over the boardwalk linking the #7 train and Flushing Meadows Park. James Blake, who normally, wears a Mets cap to his press conferences, sported instead a short and hat that read “Travis Mathew.” Blake informed us that Travis Mathew is an L.A.-based sportswear company that has signed him and golfer Bubba Watson to be their spokesmen.

Roger Federer has long been one of the more accessible superstars. When I passed him in the back hallways of Arthur Ashe Stadium last week I told him that I enjoyed his television commercial for Mercedes-Benz. The money shot has one of his young twin daughters throwing a stuffed toy at him right after he fastens his seat belt in the ad. Of course not a hair ever gets out of place and the smile is perfect since this is, after all,  suave and debonair Roger. He beamed and thanked me for saying that I thought that it was worthy of Clio consideration. (The Clios are advertising’s answer to the Oscars.)

Every year American Express hires MSG sports anchor Al Trautwig to interview current and former players at the Open. The nice part is that patrons get a chance to ask questions. Last Friday Al was talking with the recently retired Taylor Dent. The handsome and articulate Dent has always looked as if he came from Hollywood central casting. It’s a shame that he, like his good friend Robby Ginepri who is still playing, could always be counted on to lose at Flushing Meadows by  the fourth day of the Open. Of course back then nobody around here cared if Dent was eliminated early since we could always depend on either Andre Agassi or Pete Sampras, both Americans of course, to win the big trophy.

I asked Dent whether tennis will be in trouble if an American doesn’t start winning a US Open sometime soon. “That’s a good question. My feeling is that it’s not as crucial as it might have been a few years ago,” he stated.

The Tennis Channel, which is available on Time Warner Cable only as part of an extra-costing sports tier package, once again missed a golden opportunity at the US Open. As per their nickel-and-dime tradition, they neither took out a kiosk to promote their outlet to the general public, nor did they have a press event to let media get to know either their executives or broadcasters such as witty former player Justin Gimelstob.

The Golf Channel, which has obviously a similar niche appeal as the Tennis Channel, is available as part of basic packages on most cable and satellite providers. What separates the two is that the Golf Channel is owned by Philadelphia-based media behemoth, Comcast. The Tennis Channel is independently owned and thus lacks muscle with television operators which is why they should promote themselves where they can such as at American tennis’s marquee event.

The United States Tennis Association held a kick-off event for National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month this past Saturday. Fighting childhood obesity has been a pet project of First Lady Michelle Obama. Coming out to the Billie Jean King Tennis Center to lend their support were gold medal-winning Olympic swimmers Dara Torres and Cullen Bryant, personal trainer and consultant to NBC’s popular reality series, “The Biggest Loser,” Bob Harper, and actress Christine Taylor (who is perhaps better known for being married to Ben Stiller.)

It’s hard to believe that the Baltimore Orioles have emerged to be the Yankees’ biggest threat in the American League. I had to check the box score in the papers to make sure that Cal Ripken and Eddie Murray weren’t still playing for them. OK, call me Rip Van Winkle.

After watching the Mets win five out of six against the Phillies and the Marlins on the road last week, it’s clear that our Flushing heroes are, to use a favorite term from team owner Fred Wilpon, playing meaning September games. Our guys are going all out to finish in third place in the National League East.

I was saddened to learn of the passing of veteran character actor and Forest Hills High School alumnus Stephen Franken. He was best known for succeeding Warren Beatty in the role of the foppish and wealthy high school rival of Dwayne Hickman’s Dobie Gillis on television’s “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis” in the early 1960s.

 

This May Be Serena’s Tournament To Lose

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Here’s an interesting news and note you don’t find out every day.

If you tell a secret to Serena, she will keep it.

That’s what Andy Roddick did and no one knew about the retirement heard around Flushing until A-Rod divulged the news himself.

“I’m good at keeping secrets, so if you tell me something, I never open my mouth to anybody,” she said.  “You know, not even to my friends. I was hoping he’d change his mind.  I love that guy.  I love Andy.  He’s just a great person.”

So yeah, they are good friends and we are sure if Serena gave Roddick a secret, he will keep it.

But the younger Williams sister is like an open book these days and frankly, it’s no secret that she is dominating this tournament.

And today she dispatched Ekaterina Makrova in straight sets, 6-4 6-0 to advance to the fourth round.

“Definitely was motivated,” she said.  “Knowing that I lost, could definitely happen again.  Did not want that to happen.

“So whether I learned something, I don’t know.  I really hate watching matches that I lose unless I’m punishing myself.  I didn’t punish myself.”

And here’s a secret, Serena learns from her mistakes. Makarova beat Serena in the fourth round of the Australian Open back in January, so there was some vengeance here.

But Serena didn’t watch any tape or anything like that when preparing for the rematch.

“Definitely was motivated,” she said.  “Knowing that I lost, could definitely happen again.  Did not want that to happen. So whether I learned something, I don’t know.  I really hate watching matches that I lose unless I’m punishing myself.  I didn’t punish myself.”

She said watching her losing matches was like “stabbing herself” so she relied upon others to do that. In this case her father gave her some advice.

“I talked to my dad, who always gives me the right advice and tells me what to do, but not too much outside of that,” she said. “I really focus on what I need to do in my game.  You know, what happened in Australia was that and that was then; really try to focus on the now.”

And now, Serena is advancing. She is becoming the star attraction again in Flushing Meadows after missing the tournament two years ago. She made the finals last year but was still coming back from her pulmonary embolism.

Now though she is fully healthy and looking tremendously strong.

“It’s been extremely fun,” she said.  “I’ve really appreciated the past few months.

“Really the past year has been really amazing.  Coming back playing ‑‑ starting at Wimbledon, even though I think I lost in the fourth round, but pretty much did really well since then, really consistent, and came from, you know, 170‑something to back being, you know, top 5 and obviously trying to move ahead with that.

“So it’s been really a great, fabulous time for me.”

If she is keeps rolling next week will even be more fun.

And that’s no secret.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laura Robson, the Surprise of the Open

FLUSHING, NY – Move over Andy Murray, there’s a new Brit in town.

Laura Robson has become the feel good story at this Open, after she won her third round against Na Li, 6-4 6-7 6-2 to advance to the fourth round.

And this comes after she sent Kim Clijsters into retirement.

Call her the Giant killer.

“When the draw first came out I wasn’t really looking past the first round,” the 18 year-old said. “ And then, you know, when I heard that I was playing Li Na after I played Kim, I didn’t really think anything.  I just knew that it was going to be an extremely tough match, which it was, and that she’s a great player.

“So I knew I had to play well; that’s what I did.”

So far in 2012, Robson seemed to take a step back. After making the second round last year at Wimbledon and the Open, she was one and done at the other majors this year.

But that isn’t stopping her here.

She fought Clijsters in straight sets, 7-6(4) 7-6(5), in the second round, sending the three time US Open champion into full time motherhood.

And now she took down Li, who was seeded ninth at the Open and many expected to make the second week.

“I have had a fairly tough draw, haven’t I?” she asked with a smile. “Well, you know, you have to beat who is in front of you.  That’s what I managed to do so far.  I think I play [Sam] Stosur now, who is defending champ.  That’s going to be really tough.  I’ve never played her before, so, you know, I’m going to just work hard tomorrow and recover as best as I can for the next one.”

Ah yes, the defending champ. That would be a tough matchup, but they said that about Clijsters and Li. In today’s match, Robson easily took the first set and then lost a tie break in the second to give Li life, even though she was up 3-1 at one point in the breaker.

Then in the third, she took control with a 6-2 cruising, putting her on the map. The funny thing she never gets down on herself, which many 18 year-olds do.

“I’m only 18, so if I was that negative, you know, last year or a year ago, then who knows what I’m going to be like in a few years,” Robson said. “But, no, I have always thought that I can play with the top girls.  Whenever I’ve practiced with, you know, Caroline or Maria, I’ve always felt that the level was there.

“It was just taking that onto the match court and keeping the level up for the whole match.  That’s what I have worked on.  Yeah, that’s been the biggest difference.”

Well maybe Murray can give her pointers now on handling on the British press. Well on second thought, the way she took care of them today, she will do just fine.

Inside The US Open Coming Out Later This Year

“After the epic Wimbledon match, Nadal hugged his parents,shook the hand of Federer’s father in the players’ box and shook the hands of the Spanish Crown Prince Felipe in the royal box.After beating Federer in straight sets in the final at Roland Garros in June, Nadal said he limited his celebration out of respect for his opponent.” p. 36.

That quote from Inside The US Open will be replicated with much more as one of our writers, Richard Kent will be updating his well received book on the ins and outs of the Open after this year’s event.

Kent will again focus on ballboys, referees, juniors, senior players, broadcasters,etc. in providing the reader with a true inside look at the greatest sporting event in the world.

The update is due out in December, 2011.

Fish Learns On The Job

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Abe Vigoda’s character Sargent Phil Fish from Barney Miller is getting more respect than Mardy Fish these days.

As the top ranked American you would figure he should get a chance to be on Arthur Ashe Stadium one of these days, but alas the No. 8 seed still is getting showcased on the old center court Luis Armstrong stadium.

The Californian, though, doesn’t seem to mind.

“It’s definitely been like that in the past,” he said. “You know, there’s an American playing, put him on Grandstand or Louis court, and hopefully he’ll win.

“I hope it’s the beginning of that. That’s what you work towards, to have people come and appreciate what you do. You know, maybe I get the feeling, at least in the beginning of that match, that there were quite a few people there that maybe wouldn’t have been there in years past.”

Fish won his match today against South African Kevin Anderson with a straight sets victory, 6-4 7-6 7-6 to advance to the fourth round.

And if he wants to continue on his trek to greatness, he knows he need to continue disposing of opponents like the 12th Precinct captures bad guys. Straight set matches are key for the 39 year-old if he move deep into this tournament and beat one of the Big Four.

“It’s huge,” Fish said. “Mentally, physically, everything. Obviously it’s what we train for. I’ll be physically fine in two days. But, you know, I’m 29. I don’t wake up in the morning feeling like I’m 20. I don’t feel like Donald felt this morning. I’m sure he felt fine, you know. I won’t feel like that tomorrow morning.

“But we’ll do a lot of work on my body tonight, tomorrow. It’s big, you know, to get off. Last year was a prime example. I mean, I played two fivesetters in the first three rounds. I was just mentally and physically kind of drained to play someone like Novak in that next match.

“Maybe I could have come up against him, gamewise, a lot better than the score was. But I was so tired I wasn’t ready for it.”

It has been widely reported Fish has made the remarkable transformation from journeyman to star in a matter of a few years and maybe the reason he’s not getting the respect he deserves is that no one believes he could become a top player at this advanced age.

Yet, here’s Fish and like Phil Fish he is the grizzled veteran who is best at his job.

So what changed?

“Probably a lot,” Fish said. “I mean, probably first and foremost the mental side of it. You know, he seemed pretty jacked up yesterday. Obviously, you feed off the crowd. You’re not going to go away with a crowd like that, that’s for sure.

“But, you know, he lost serve at 54 and came right back, was able to hold to go to a breaker. And I think he said it after his match, that that’s probably a match he would have lost a year ago.

“Mentally he probably would have just been upset and said he had some chances and that’s it. You know, so that’s a huge part of it, as well. Maturing, growing, growing into your game, what makes you feel comfortable out on the court. There are demons out there, for sure. It’s not easy. It’s not going to be a piece of cake three out of five sets, that’s for sure.”

Fish is set to take on the winner of Jo-Wilfred Tsonga and Fernando Verdasco in the fourth round and much like the crew of Precinct 12, he will be ready for the job.

Sunshine Packs A Punch

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Tennis is not the only sport Caroline Wozniacki excels at. The No. 1 seed also plays other games to keep fit.

One is in the squared circle, where she does a boxing workout, something she started a while back.

“Well, boxing is great,” she said after beating American Vania King in straight sets, 6-2 6-4 to get to the fourth round. “I get my aggressions out. It was fun, but it was hard, as well. You get to work your core, your arms, your shoulders. It was a lot of cardio, as well. You learn how to distribute your power as well, because the first time I actually went in the ring and tried just for fun to fight with someone. I just went all in in the beginning, and after two rounds you’re dead.

“I realized you have to wait for your chances. I need to wait for the right moment. The same in tennis. You can’t just go all in all the time. You need to play the ball and then wait for a right chance to go in and then attack.”

Of course, don’t expect her to knock out Manny Pacquiao anytime soon.

“I prefer not to knock out anyone,” Woznacki added. “I’m a nice girl, so… Or I like to think so.”

And then there’s soccer, a game she played as a youth,

“Keep my feet up,” she injected when asked. “No, but I don’t know, I just think tennis is a great sport. It’s fantastic. I’ve had so many good experiences. But, yeah, to have my kids playing, I would just put them and give them to a coach or someone, yeah, who could teach them, because I have spent enough hours on court, I think.”

And then there’s golf. A sport Rafael Nadal plays to teach himself concentration and enjoys in his spare time. If Wozniacki picks it up, she would have a great teacher in her boyfriend Rory McIlvoy.

“Well, even though golf and tennis have some similarities, it’s also much different,” she said, “Golf is such a mental game. You’re playing against the course. You’re playing with yourself and trying to do a good score.

“You know, sometimes we can get into that spiral where you just think, Okay, I just can’t hit it right, you know, or I just need to put it in the hole but it just keeps missing. It’s so mental. If you stay positive and believe in yourself, it makes the game so much easier.

“So, you know, it’s the same, similar in tennis, but you have an opponent, as well.”

And that opponent will be the winner of the match between 15th seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova and Akgul Amanmuradova.

Australian Open Men’s Finals Presentation

Below is the finals presentation for Novak Djokovic after he beat Andy Murray in the 2011 Australian Open Finals, 6-4 6-3 6-3 to win his second Grand Slam title.

Djokovic won the crown after being both Roger Federer and Andy Murray in straight sets.

Marino Crowned Champion At Saguenay National Bank Challenger

Saguenay, QC – Sunday September 26, 2010 – Rebecca Marino (Vancouver, BC) won the biggest title of her blossoming career on Sunday at the $50,000 Saguenay National Bank Challenger.

The top-seeded Canadian put forth an impressive performance against second-seeded American Alison Riske, ranked no. 157 in the world, in a hotly disputed and highly entertaining singles final between the tournament’s top two seeds at the Saguenay Indoor Tennis Club, coming away with a 6-4, 6-7(4), 7-6(5) victory to capture her first title of the season and second of her career.

Marino, who was playing in her second final of 2010, was almost invincible on serve in the opening set and made the most of a break in the tenth game to take the early lead. The 19-year-old seemed well on her way to a straight sets win in the second set as she held three match points on Riske’s serve at 15-40, but just as the American had done all week, she played her best in the big moments and hit three winners with her back against the wall to ultimately comeback to win the tiebreak.

Riske started the final set just as she had finished the second and secured herself a 3-1 advantage with a break. This time it was Marino’s turn to turn the tables as she quickly broke back and much to the delight of the partisan crowd, the home favourite sent the match into a decisive third set tiebreak. The two players went back and forth in the tiebreak until Marino delivered the final blow and converted on her first match point at 6-5 with Riske serving.

“I’m so happy to have come out the winner today because the match definitely could have gone either way,” Marino said. “We both brought our best game to the court today and I’m glad we were able to give the fans a good show. I love coming here (to Saguenay) it is a great tournament
and I am honoured to be the event’s champion.”

Riske, 20, announced her arrival on the professional tennis scene earlier this year when she reached the semifinals as a qualifier at the WTA Tour grass court Wimbledon tune up event in Birmingham. Sunday’s triumph was Marino’s third over her opponent in as many tries. She is the first Canadian to capture the Saguenay crown in the event’s five year history.

It was also announced during the trophy presentation that the Saguenay National Bank Challenger will be back for a sixth edition in 2011. For all of the latest news and results from the National Bank Circuit, please visit www.circuitbanquenationale.com.