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Venus books spot in Stanford final with Riske win

Sun, 07/24/2016 - 1:07am
Venus books spot in Stanford final with Riske win

Ivo Serves Past Stevie; Monfils Dismisses Zverev

Sun, 07/24/2016 - 12:53am

Ivo Karlovic remained perfect on his serve in Washington and will play for his first ATP World Tour 500 title on Sunday. The 37 year old blasted 14 more aces and erased all five break points to beat American Steve Johnson 6-4, 6-4 at the Rock Creek Park Tennis Center.

Karlovic now leads the tournament with 80 aces and has held all 43 service games. The 6'11” Croatian will face Frenchman Gael Monfils, who dismissed NextGen star Alexander Zverev 6-4, 6-0 in one hour. Monfils controlled the match from the start, breaking the 19 year old to open the semi-final contest, the first of four service breaks the second seed would secure.

Monfils also landed nearly 70 per cent of his first serves, compared to 44 per cent for Zverev, who is the youngest player in the Top 50 of the Emirates ATP Rankings. In the second set, Monfils dropped only three points (12/15) on his serve.

“He’s probably the quickest player on [the ATP World Tour],” Zverev said.

The 29-year-old will go for his first Citi Open title and his first ATP World Tour title since Montpellier in 2014. He also played for the Washington title in 2011 (l. to Stepanek). Monfils is 5-19 lifetime in ATP World Tour finals. Sunday's match-up will mark his third final of the season (Rotterdam, Monte-Carlo). Monfils said he's matured in recent years, which has helped his tennis.

“Definitely, the aging helped me a little bit,” he said. “I’m still the young guy that plays Pokémon but I think I still grew up.”

He is 2-2 against Karlovic in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series. “I cannot let [him] dictate my game,” Karlovic said. “I’m going to continue doing what I did in this match, try and get as close to the net as I can, as quick as I can.”

It will be Karlovic's first final at the Citi Open. He reached the semi-finals in 2007 but lost to Andy Roddick. Clutch serving and opportunistic returning ensured that Karlovic wouldn't fall to another American on Saturday.

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At 1-all, he saw a break point and converted. It was the only chance to break he'd have all set long as Johnson otherwise kept up his consistent serving. Up to that game, the 26-year-old American was 33/33 on his serve.

“I just tried to be as aggressive as I could,” Karlovic said of his return games.

The second set mirrored the first when, at 1-all, Karlovic sliced a backhand service return past a charging Johnson to earn another break. He'd serve out the set with his 14th ace.

“It’s definitely frustrating when you have chances and you don’t take them,” Johnson said. “You lose your focus for a second and you lose serve and that’s the margin when you play against a guy like Ivo.”

Karlovic will try to win his eighth ATP World Tour title on Sunday. He's played in 15 finals, including the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships final in Newport on 17 July (d. Muller).

On Friday, Karlovic said that winning an ATP World Tour 500 event was one of his goals for the next few years. He'll have a chance to cross it off his list on Sunday in Washington.

“In my old age it is good when you can reach your goals still,” he said. “That would be unbelievable if I am able to do it tomorrow.”

Doubles

Lukasz Kubot of Poland and Alexander Peya of Austria moved into the final with a 4-6, 7-6(4), 10-3 win against Henri Kontinen of Finland and Aussie John Peers. Kubot/Peya will face Canadian Daniel Nestor and Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin, who beat Romanians Florin Mergea and Horia Tecau 6-3, 6-4.

Vote For The Rogers Cup Golden Moment

Sun, 07/24/2016 - 12:04am

From Andre Agassi’s triumph in 1992 to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s magical run in 2014, we’ve selected eight Classic Moments from the Rogers Cup. Now, we need your help to crown the Golden Moment from this ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament.

Watch & Vote

Watch the clips and vote for your favourite of each match-up. Round 1, which runs from now until 8pm ET Wednesday, July 27, features four head-to-head battles:

Agassi Stops Lendl (1992) vs Federer Outduels Berdych (2010)
Rafter Dominates The Field (1998) vs Murray Punishes Nadal (2010)
Safin’s First Masters Title (2000) vs Djokovic Edges Monfils (2014)
Canas Survives Brutal Draw (2002) vs Tsonga’s Magical Week (2014)

Ensure your favourites advance to the semi-finals. Watch & Vote Now!

Djokovic Looks To Bounce Back As Top Seed In Toronto

Sat, 07/23/2016 - 11:06pm

Most eyes will again be on Novak Djokovic this week when the Rogers Cup, the season's sixth ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament, starts on Monday in Toronto.

The attention on Djokovic has become customary this season. The Serbian has won three of the five Masters 1000 tournaments and suffered only three losses in seven months. But his appearance in Toronto will bring some new intrigue: Namely, how will Djokovic respond to his third-round loss at Wimbledon, his first setback at a Grand Slam championship since the 2015 Roland Garros?

The top seed's journey to a fourth Rogers Cup title starts with a bye and a second-round match-up with either Russian veteran Dmitry Tursunov or Luxembourg's Gilles Muller, who reached two grass-court finals earlier this season ('s-Hertogenbosch, Newport). Djokovic is 2-0 in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series against Muller, with both wins coming last season (Australian Open, Roland Garros).

In the third round, Djokovic could face 14th seed Benoit Paire for the second time. Djokovic beat Paire last season in Cincinnati. Ninth seed John Isner or fifth seed Tomas Berdych could await the Serbian in the quarter-finals. Neither player has beaten Djokovic in the past three seasons.

Fourth seed Milos Raonic, fresh off his first Grand Slam championship final at Wimbledon, could face Djokovic in the semi-finals. The home favourite Canadian might have to face #NextGen star Alexander Zverev in the second round, though. The 19-year-old Zverev, the youngest player in the Top 50 of the Emirates ATP Rankings, reached his fifth semi-final of the season in Washington and will be making his Rogers Cup main draw debut when he plays Yen-Hsun Lu of Chinese Taipei in the first round.

If the seeds play out, 15th seed Steve Johnson, who reached the semi-finals in Washington, would meet Raonic in the third round, and 10th seed Gael Monfils or seventh seed David Goffin would face the big-serving right-hander in the last eight. Monfils' best Rogers Cup showing was a quarter-final run in 2011 (l. to Djokovic). Goffin, playing at the Rogers Cup for only the third time, reached the third round last season (l. to Nishikori).

At the bottom half of the draw, Stan Wawrinka will look to win his second Masters 1000 tournament (Monte-Carlo, 2014) and surpass his previous best showing at the Canadian Masters 1000 event (QF, 2011). The earliest Wawrinka could face a seeded player is the third round when 16th seed Jack Sock could await. From there, the Swiss could play sixth seed Dominic Thiem or 12th seed Bernard Tomic. The 31-year-old right-hander could meet third seed Kei Nishikori or eighth seed Marin Cilic in the semi-finals.

Klizan/Marrero Win Second Umag Title

Sat, 07/23/2016 - 9:10pm

Martin Klizan and David Marrero won their second Konzum Croatia Open Umag title on Saturday, needing only 59 minutes to defeat Croatians Nikola Mektic and Antonio Sancic 6-4, 6-2. The Slovakian/Spaniard duo erased two break points and pounced on the Croatians' second serves, winning 16/21 help them earn three breaks.

“We would like to thank everybody, it’s been a great week. It’s one of the best tournaments in the world,” Marrero said. “Congratulations to Mektic and Sancic, who also had a great week. We’re really happy with the way we played.”

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Klizan and Marrero won their second ATP World Tour title as a team (Umag 2013). Klizan also remained perfect in ATP World Tour finals: 4-0 in doubles finals and 5-0 in singles. Marrero improved to 13-14 in finals and won a title for the second consecutive week. He and countryman Marcel Granollers won the Bastad doubles title on 17 July. Klizan/Marrero will receive 250 Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings points and split €25,070.

Mektic/Sancic were making their ATP World Tour doubles final debut. They had been 1-5 in ATP Challenger Tour finals. They'll receive 150 Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings points and split €13,170.

“It's a very bitter taste to lose a final but it's a great feeling. It was a great feeling to play the tournament, to the make the final in the tournament, to feel such a big support from the crowd. It was amazing,” Mektic said.

Konta Conquers Venus For First Title Williams v Konta Highlight: WTA Stanford Final

Sat, 07/23/2016 - 7:15pm
Johanna Konta's career year continued in Stanford, where the British No.1 captured her maiden WTA title with a three-set win over Venus Williams at the Bank of the West Classic.

Wickmayer Wins DC Double

Sat, 07/23/2016 - 7:14pm
Yanina Wickmayer pulls off titles in both singles and doubles at the Citi Open, dispatching American Lauren Davis to win her first title since September.

Bouchard Confirms Olympic Participation

Sat, 07/23/2016 - 7:14pm
WTA Insider Courtney Nguyen | Former World No.5 Eugenie Bouchard will make her Olympic debut in Rio, the Canadian confirmed ahead of the Rogers Cup in Montréal.

Siegemund Triumphs In Bastad Bastad Final

Sat, 07/23/2016 - 7:14pm
Laura Siegemund completed her career renaissance with a first WTA title at the Ericsson Open and a straight set win over finals debuntante Katerina Siniakova.

Insider Draw Analysis: Montréal

Sat, 07/23/2016 - 7:14pm
WTA Insider Courtney Nguyen | With the last tournament before the Summer Olympic Games in Rio, what are the storylines shaping up at the upcoming Rogers Cup?

Serena Out Of Montréal

Sat, 07/23/2016 - 7:13pm
World No.1 Serena Williams announced that she will be withdrawing from the upcoming Rogers Cup due to shoulder inflammation.

10 Things To Know: Montréal Montreal preview

Sat, 07/23/2016 - 7:13pm
The draw for the Rogers Cup is out - and it's a cracker. How good is Serena Williams in Montréal? Gear up for one of the biggest events of the summer here!

WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai: 100 Days Out zhuhai100

Sat, 07/23/2016 - 7:13pm
Twelve of the best players in the world, $2.21 million in prize money, and now just 100 days out - the excitement is building for the second edition of the WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai...

Fond Memories From Zhuhai 2015

Sat, 07/23/2016 - 7:12pm
With 100 days until the return of the WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai, China Daily's Sun Xiaochen recalls his fond memories of the inaugural tournament.

Where To Watch: Montréal

Sat, 07/23/2016 - 7:11pm
Next week, the world's best players head to Canada for the first P. Learn how you can follow all the action right here on wtatennis.com.

Lopez Returns To Gstaad Final

Sat, 07/23/2016 - 6:59pm

Top seed Feliciano Lopez returned to the final of the J. Safra Sarasin Swiss Open for the first time in 10 years with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory over Dustin Brown on Saturday.

"It’s a long time since my last final here," said Lopez. "I have great memories and it’s definitely a great feeling to be in the final here because it means I can still be competitive after 10 years." 

Lopez plays Robin Haase for the championship at this ATP World Tour 250 tournament. The Dutch player defeated 2007 champion and eighth seed Paul-Henri Mathieu in the second semi-final, 7-6(4), 7-6(2). He's into his first ATP World Tour final since Vienna in October 2013 and now seeks his first ATP World Tour title since winning back-to-back tournaments in Kitzbuhel in 2011 and 2012.

Haase leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 3-1, including a 2013 semi-final win in Gstaad. “I'm very happy,” he said. “My goal is to win [tomorrow]. I've played him here before, I won and I hope I can take that as an advantage into tomorrow.”

The 34-year-old Spaniard needed one hour and 30 minutes to defeat Brown in their first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting. Brown, 31, was playing in his second ATP World Tour semi-final (Montpellier 2016, l. to Gasquet), and had beaten two former Swiss Open champions in his last two matches: two-time titlist Thomaz Bellucci (second round) and 2013 champ Mikhail Youzhny (quarter-finals).

“Dustin is a difficult player to play. He plays tricky shots, serves very good and has very good hands when he comes to the net. It was a tough match for me to play, but I think overall I had a great performance,” said Lopez. “I’ve played against [Robin] many times, so it’s going to be very tough.”

Haase saved four break points in his opening service game, but he and Mathieu traded routine service holds throughout the rest of the opening set to force a tie-break. The tie-break was even at 3/3 when a rain delay forced both players off the court. When they returned, Haase raced to a 6/3 lead and converted on his third set point.

The Dutchman earned the first break of the match by breaking Mathieu to love and grabbing a 2-0 lead, but the Frenchman fought back by breaking his opponent in the next game. They each held serve all the way to the tie-break, where Haase went on a four-point run to take a 5/2 lead and closed out the semi-final on his second match point.

Fourth Seeds Book Final Berth

Julio Peralta and Horacio Zeballos, fourth seeds in Gstaad, edged the unseeded Dutch-Austrian pairing of Sander Arends and Tristan-Samuel Weissborn 6-1, 3-6, 11-9 in the semi-finals. The Chilean-Argentine duo will face top seeds Mate Pavic of Croatia and Michael Venus of New Zealand in Sunday's final.

Lopez Happy To Reach Final Gstaad 2016

Sat, 07/23/2016 - 6:41pm
Feliciano Lopez hopes to be another Spanish player to hoist the trophy in Gstaad. Video courtesy of J. Safra Sarasin Swiss Open Gstaad

Konta Ends Cibulkova's Stanford Honeymoon

Sat, 07/23/2016 - 6:27pm
Johanna Konta produced an classy display at the Bank of the West Classic to defeat Dominika Cibulkova and advance to the first final of her career.

Martin Reaches First Final In Umag, To Face Fognini

Sat, 07/23/2016 - 5:56pm

Andrej Martin advanced to his first ATP World Tour final on Saturday at the Konzum Croatia Open Umag, continuing to show off his fighting spirit by defeating Carlos Berlocq, 7-6(4), 6-4.

Both players struggled on serve in the early stages of the opening set, with Martin and Berlocq recording six breaks in the first eight games. The pair traded service holds from 4-4 on to force a tie-break, where the Slovakian raced to a 4/0 lead. Martin then closed out the set on serve with his second set point.

The second set started with three straight service breaks as Berlocq used the early advantage to build a 4-2 lead. But just when it appeared the match would head to a third set, Martin reeled off four consecutive games to move into the final.

Martin, currently ranked No. 124 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, saved five match points on Thursday in his second-round win over seventh seed Martin Klizan. He will play fourth seed Fabio Fognini, who prevailed against Portugal's Gastao Elias 6-3, 6-3 in an hour and five minutes. Fognini was nearly perfect with his serve, never facing a break point and winning nearly 90 per cent of the time he landed his first serve (23/26).

The 29-year-old Italian will play in his second Umag final (l. to Robredo) and his 11th career ATP World Tour final (3-7). He last took home a title in February 2014 (Vina del Mar, d. L. Mayer).

Karlovic beats Johnson, into Citi Open final

Sat, 07/23/2016 - 5:55pm
Karlovic beats Johnson, into Citi Open final