Mondays with Bob Greene
10 February 2014
Gael Monfils beat Richard Gasquet 6-4 6-4 to win the Open Sud de France in Montpellier, France
Marin Cilic beat Tommy Haas 6-3 6-4 to win the PBZ Zagreb Indoors in Zagreb, Croatia
Fabio Fognini beat Leonardo Mayer 6-2 6-4 to win the Royal Guard Open Chile in Viña del Mar, Chile
Steve Johnson beat Malek Jaziri 6-4 6-4 to win the Challenger of Dallas in Dallas, Texas, USA
Italy beat United States 3-1 at Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Spain vs. Czech Republic at Seville, Spain, clay, delayed by rain
Germany beat Slovak Republic 3-1 at Bratislava, Slovak Republic
Australia beat Russia 4-0 at Hobart, Australia
World Group II
Canada beat Serbia 3-1 at Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Poland beat Sweden 3-2 at Boras, Sweden; France beat Switzerland 3-2 at Paris, France; Argentina beat Japan 3-1 at Buenos Aires, Argentina
Europe/Africa Zone Group I at Budapest, Hungary: Netherlands and Romania advance to World Group II playoffs in April
Americas Zone Group I at Lambare, Paraguay: Brazil advances to World Group II playoffs in April
Asia/Oceania Zone Group I at Astana, Kazakhstan: Thailand advances to World Group II playoffs in April
Asia/Oceania Zone Group II at Astana, Kazakhstan: Hong Kong China promoted to Asia/Oceania Zone Group I in 2014
Europe/Africa Zone Group III at Tallin, Estonia, hard: Estonia and Ireland promoted to Europe/Africa Zone Group II for 2014
“I had some back problems at the beginning of the week and I didn’t know if I was going to be able to play, so to now be with the trophy is pretty crazy. I have been elevating my game match after match and I am extremely proud in the way I played today.” – Gael Monfils, after winning his fifth career title.
“I need to congratulate Gael because he’s played unbelievable all week. I wasn’t able to read his serve, he was serving bullets all match. My only way out was to try to push him to a tiebreak and wait for him to start making mistakes. But it didn’t happen.” – Richard Gasquet, after losing to Gael Monfils in the final of the Open Sud de France.
“I’m going to stay with the positives. This was another important week for me. I was coming from reaching the fourth round at the Australian Open after overcoming an injury I had earlier in the year. I couldn’t ask for a better start of the season.” – Fabio Fognini, after winning the Royal Guard Open Chile.
“It feels great again to win here at home. The week was really good. It’s going to help my confidence and my game, especially in the indoor season.” – Marin Cilic, who won in Zagreb, Croatia.
“I know it’s not singles, but it is still a good result and a good week.” – Nikolay Davydenko, who teamed with Denis Istomin to win the Open Sud de France doubles crown.
“It is very nice. We had hoped for this when we decided to start playing together.” – Jean-Julien Rojer, after he and Horia Tecau won their first doubles title as a team, capturing the PBZ Zagreb Indoors.
“I got a little bit nervous, I got a little bit of emotion. But I tried to continue my game, to hit the ball hard, to command the game.” – Karin Knapp, after beating Alison Riske to clinch Italy’s Fed Cup victory over the United States.
Taking another giant step toward returning to the Top 10, Gael Monfils overpowered fellow Frenchman Richard Gasquet to capture the Open Sud de France in Montpellier, France, for his fifth career title. Monfils hit 34 winners to just 17 for the top-seeded Gasquet. The winner also slammed nine aces in the match. It was the second time that Monfils has won in Montpellier, France, the first time in 2010. Monfils was once ranked in the Top 10 before a right knee injury sidelined him in 2012 and he fell last year to 119th in the rankings. But he has shown flashes of brilliance this year, finishing runner-up to top-ranked Rafael Nadal at the Qatar Open last month. “This is unbelievable for me,” Monfils said of his victory.
SKIPPING INDIAN WELLS
The boycott of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, California, USA, continues. Serena Williams had been listed among the entries for this year’s event, but pulled out. “After careful consideration, I will not return to the Indian Wells BNP Paribas Open this year,” the world’s top-ranked women’s player said. “I send my best wishes to everyone involved with the tournament.” In 2001, Venus Williams said she was injured when she pulled out of her semifinal against younger sister Serena. In the final, both Williams sisters were jeered by the crowd. With their father, Richard, claiming there were racial taunts from the crowd, neither Serena nor Venus have played the Indian Wells tournament since. During the Australian Open last month, Serena had suggested she might play Indian Wells this year. Steve Simon, the tournament director, said: “We wish her the very best of luck in the year ahead and hope that she will decide to play here next year.”
SUCCESS ON CLAY
Italy’s Fabio Fognini continues to show his winning clay-court game as he won the Royal Guard Open in Viña del Mar, Chile, besting Leonardo Mayer in the title match. It was Fognini’s third ATP World Tour title in his last four tournaments played on clay. While he finally closed out the win on his fifth match point, Fognini was never really threatened by Mayer, who was playing in his first final on the ATP World Tour. The Italian was denied on his first four match points, including two on Mayer’s serve at 5-3. The match was one hour, 23 minutes long when Fognini closed out the victory. Fognini had a much harder battle in the semifinals when he bested Nicolas Almagro of Spain in three tough sets.
Angelique Kerber won the first reverse singles match to clinch Germany’s Fed Cup victory over Slovakia. It puts Germany in the Fed Cup semifinals for the first time since 1995. Kerber beat Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova 6-3 7-6 (5) on the indoor hard court at Bratislava, Slovakia, giving Germany its first Fed Cup World Group win since 2002. Germany had taken a commanding 2-0 lead in the opening day when Kerber stopped Daniela Hantuchova 7-6 (9) 6-1 and Andrea Petkovic upset Cibulkova 2-6 7-6 (7) 6-2.
It rained on the plain in Spain for a second straight day, further delaying the Fed Cup first-cup tie between Spain and the Czech Republic. After rain washed out play on Saturday, Carla Suarez beat Barbora Zahlavova 6-1 6-4 to give Spain a 1-0 lead. Czech Klara Zakopalova led the second singles match against Maria Torro-Flor 6-3 2-0 when rain halted play again. Weather permitting, the teams hope to complete play on Monday.
SET FOR ROTTERDAM
Andy Murray has entered this week’s ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam, Netherlands, where he is seeded second behind defending champion Juan Martin del Potro. Del Potro was also in the final in 2013, where he lost to Roger Federer. The Argentine was given a medical OK to play after having his wrist checked by doctors. Ranked fourth in the world, del Potro has been bothered over the years by problems in both of his wrists. He underwent surgery on his right wrist four years ago. Murray gained entrance to the tournament with a wild card. His presence helps the tournament which saw Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland and 11th-ranked Milos Raonic of Canada both withdraw with injuries. “Unfortunately I’m not in the form to compete in Rotterdam,” Wawrinka said. “I hope to be back on court very quickly.”
Murray won the hard-court event in 2009, beating Rafael Nadal in the final.
You can’t blame Daniel Brands if he feels a little shell-shocked. The German was on the losing end of a 44-ace barrage unleashed by Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic in the opening round of the Zagreb Indoors tournament. The towering Karlovic matched the record of Mark Philippoussis in the number of aces in a best-of-three match as he beat Brands 6-7 (4) 7-5 7-6 (3). Philippoussis blasted his 44 aces in Kuala Lumpur in a 1995 match against Byron Black of Zimbabwe. Karlovic’s big night marked the fourth time since 1991 that a player has hit at least 40 aces in a best-of-three sets match, all coming indoors, and the second time in Zagreb. In 2007 in Lyon, France, Mardy Fish hit 43 aces yet still lost to Olivier Rochus. When Goran Ivanisevic hit 40 aces in 1997 in Zagreb, he beat Magnus Norman. Karlovic surpassed his personal-best 38 aces in a three-set match, which he did against Tomas Berdych in 2007 at Basel, Switzerland. In five-set matches, Karlovic hit 55 aces against Lleyton Hewitt in 2009 at Roland Garros and 78 against Radek Stepanek the same year in a Davis Cup semifinal that was decided in a 16-14 fifth set. The 6-foot-11 (2.11m) Croat leads the ATP World Tour with eight career matches of 40 or more aces, not including Davis Cup.
Tennis star Rafael Nadal was the recipient of the 2013 sporting excellence award given out at the 66th Mundo Deportivo Gala in Barcelona, Spain. The left-handed Spaniard was honored for his remarkable comeback from an injury in 2013 that saw him win two Grand Slam tournament titles and retake the top spot in the Emirates ATP World Tour rankings. The newspaper awards were voted by a panel of judges presided over by the Spanish Secretary of State for Sport, Miguel Cardenal. It is the third time Nadal has received the award. He is the fifth person to receive the award three times, joining tennis star Manuel Santana, golfer Seve Ballesteros, athlete Jose Luis Gonzalez and cyclist Miguel Indurain.
STICKING WITH DAVIS CUP
Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka will lead Switzerland in the Davis Cup quarterfinal round. Federer announced he has committed to playing against Kazakhstan in April. Federer and Wawrinka gave Switzerland an unbeatable 3-0 lead over Serbia, who was playing without its top players, in the opening round. The put Switzerland into the Davis Cup quarterfinals for the first time since 2004. Switzerland has never won the Davis Cup, reaching the final just once, in 1992, when it lost to the United States.
The University of the Pacific will build a state-of-the-art tennis complex, thanks to a former professional player. The Eve Zimmerman Tennis Complex will include 12 courts, a two-story, 4,000-square foot clubhouse, covered player benches and an electronic scoreboard. Now retired from tennis and living in London with her husband and son, Zimmerman donated USD $1.5 million to the Stockton, California, USA, school. The project is expected to cost USD $3 million. Zimmerman starred in tennis for Pacific from 1980 to 1984 while earning her Bachelor of Science degree in geology before turning pro.
Tennis Hall of Famer Louise Brough Clapp has died at the age of 90. At one time ranked number one in the world, Brough Clapp dominated women’s tennis in the 1940s and 50s. She won a total of 35 Grand Slam tournament titles – six in singles, 21 in doubles and eight in mixed doubles. She appeared in 21 of the 30 finals contested at Wimbledon from 1946 through 1955 in singles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles, winning 13 titles. In 1950, she won all three titles. She was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame at Newport, Rhode Island, in 1967. In all, Brough Clapp won 13 titles at Wimbledon, 17 at the US Championships, three at the French Championships and two titles at the Australian Championships.
Dallas: Samuel Groth and Chris Guccione beat Ryan Harrison and Mark Knowles 6-4 6-2
Montpellier: Nikolay Davydenko and Denis Istomin beat Marc Gicquel and Nicolas Mahut 6-4 1-6 10-7 (match tiebreak)
Viña del Mar: Oliver Marach and Florin Mergea beat Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah 6-3 6-4
Zagreb: Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau beat Philipp Marx and Michal Mertinak 3-6 6-4 10-2 (match tiebreak)
Davis Cup: www.daviscup.com
Buenos Aires: http://copaclaro.com
Rio de Janeiro: www.rioopen.com
Delray Beach: www.yellowtennisball.com
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
(All money in USD)
$1,846,010 ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, Rotterdam, Netherlands, hard
$568,805 U.S. National Indoor Tennis Championships, Memphis, Tennessee, USA, hard
$488,890 Copa Claro, Buenos Aires, Argentina, clay
$2,440,070 Qatar Total Open 2014, Doha, Qatar, hard
Asia/Oceania Group II: Thailand vs. Hong Kong China at Nonthaburi, Thailand, hard; Vietnam vs. Pakistan at Da Lat City, Vietnam, hard
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
$1,309,770 Rio Open presented by Claro hdtv, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, clay
$748,828 Open 13, Marseille, France, hard
$474,005 Delray Beach Open by The Venetian® Las Vegas, Delray Beach, Florida, USA, hard
$100,000 New Delhi, India, hard
$2,000,000 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, hard
$250,000 Rio Open presented by Claro hdtv, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, clay