Mondays with Bob Greene
Pablo Cuevas beat Tommy Robredo 6-3 6-4 to win the Vegeta Croatia Open in Umag, Croatia
John Isner beat Dudi Sela 6-3 6-4 to win the BB&T Atlanta Open in Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Elina Svitolina beat Bojana Jovanovski 6-1 7-6 (2) to win the Baku Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan
Pablo Andujar beat Juan Monaco 6-3 7-5 to win the Crédit Agricole Suisse Open in Gstaad, Switzerland
Peng Shuai beat Liu Fangzhou 6-2 3-6 6-3 to win the Zhonghong Jiangxi International Women’s Open in Nanchang, China
Ricardas Berankis beat Marsel Ilhan 7-5 5-7 6-3 to win the President’s Cup in Astana, Kazakhstan
Vitalia Diatchenko beat Cagla Buyukakcay 6-4 3-6 6-2 to win the President’s Cup women’s singles at Astana, Kazakhstan
“Tennis taught me to be a warrior and to fight until the last point, and that is how I’m battling daily.” – Catalina Castano of Colombia, revealing she has breast cancer.
“This is my favorite time of year.” – John Isner, after winning his second straight BB&T Atlanta Open.
“I finished with an ace, the only ace I hit the whole match.” – Pablo Andujar, after besting Juan Monaco to win in Gstaad, Switzerland.
“You deserve to win this trophy in this nice city. This is the most beautiful place to play tennis.” – Juan Monaco.
“Had a great day today. Good practice this morning and then I went to Prague to meet the Czech president ” – Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, in a blog.
“I hope I will have more weeks like this. I had a great week here. It was my first time in Umag and hopefully not the last one.” – Lukas Rosol, who teamed with Frantisek Cermak to win the Vegeta Croatia Open doubles.
“It’s always important to get along on and off the court and I think we have a great mix there. With my aggressive serve-and-volley style and his baseline style, it matches up well. We played well at the French Open already and I was hoping to get a title with him.” – Andre Begemann, who with Robin Haase captured the doubles title in Gstaad, Switzerland.
“It’s our third tournament together, we played well and hopefully we can get another one next week.” – Robin Haase.
“The mental aspect of tennis is a huge part of the game. When you win so many matches it builds confidence. I never believed I was going to lose.” – Jared Donaldson, a 17-year-old American after posting a 15-0 record in June and winning three consecutive Futures tournaments.
“I love clay. I could, like, roll in the clay.” – Katerina Stewart, after winning the USTA Girls 18s Clay Court Championships.
“Everyone thinks my brother’s a fool – he’s actually a good guy. It really frustrates me a lot.” – Sara Tomic, sister of Australian pro Bernard Tomic.
It’s been more than two years since Pablo Andujar has wound up with the biggest trophy at a tournament. He did just that at the Crédit Agricole Suisse Open, capturing the crown by defeating Juan Monaco in the title match. By doing so, Andujar became the 13th Spaniard since 1990 to win the Gstaad, Switzerland, tournament. “It was a very tough match. I knew it was going to be a fight. I played aggressively in the important and final points,” said Andujar, the final point coming on his only ace of the day. It was the first tournament title for the 28-year-old since he captured the Grand Prix Hassan II in April 2012. “I have worked a lot and it is amazing to win a trophy,” he said. Monaco was attempting to become the fifth Argentine to capture the Suisse Open, following in the footsteps of Guillermo Vilas, Jose-Luis Clerc, Martin Jaite and Gaston Gaudio.
The 6-foot-10 (2.08m) John Isner turns into a giant on the tennis courts in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Playing in his fourth Atlanta final in five years, Isner won the BB&T Atlanta Open for the second straight year by stopping Israel’s Dudi Sela in the title match. Ranked 12th in the world, Isner blasted 15 aces to end the run of his 5-foot-9 (1.75m) opponent, who was playing in his first ATP World Tour final in six years. “Right from the very beginning I felt great,” the victorious American said. “These (hot) conditions favor me quite a bit. I couldn’t ask for better conditions.” Isner was runner-up in Atlanta to Mardy Fish in both 2010 and 2011, then beat South African Kevin Anderson in the final a year ago. He is now 16-3 in his career at the Atlanta Open. Sela said he was playing for more than just himself. “I wanted the win today for my people in Israel,” he said. “It’s not easy the situation over there and hopefully it will be better. I tried to play for (that) theme, but John was too tough for me today.” The Atlanta tournament is the first in the US Open Series which offers a USD $1 million bonus for the player who wins both the series and the US Open. Isner took a big step in that direction. “I’m off to a very good start again,” he said. “I look forward to playing Washington DC again (this week). I’ve played well there my whole career.”
Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas may have had to qualify to get into the main draw of the Croatia Open, but he was the one who put on a masterful tennis show on the tournament’s final day. Forced by rain to play two matches on the last Sunday, Cuevas first eliminated top-seeded Fabio Fognini in a semifinal, then clobbered defending champion and second seed Tommy Robredo to capture the title. It was Cuevas’ second ATP World Tour title – both coming this month. He captured the Swedish Open two weeks ago. Cuevas also became the second qualifier to win an ATP World Tour tournament this year. Slovakia’s Martin Klizan won as a qualifier at Munich, Germany, in May. “I was happy to win the first title, now two in a row make me even happier,” Cuevas said. “And this one was tougher to win, because I had to play in qualifying as well. I was very focused during the week, now I am really tired.” This was Cuevas’ third time playing Umag. In his first two trips to the Croatian city he failed to get past the second round. This time it was different. “Pablo played a great match, he made no mistake,” Robredo said. “There were some balls that might have changed the match, but it did not go my way.”
No wonder Elina Svitolina loves the hard courts in Baku, Azerbaijan. For the second straight year the Ukrainian teenager has captured the Baku Cup, this time stopping Bojana Jovanovski in the final. Not only was it Svitolina’s second Baku championship, it was her second WTA title. It took only 22 minutes for the 19-year-old to clinch the opening set. The second was much tougher as neither player dropped serve. But Svitolina won the first four points of the tiebreak and never was in trouble after that. Svitolina lost serve only once all week, in her semifinal win over 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone. Jovanovski, on the other hand, went three sets in three of her four matches en route to the final, including rallying from 6-4 4-2 down in her quarterfinal match and from 4-1 down in the final set of her semifinal. Svitolina is the first teenager to win multiple WTA titles since Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova won her second in 2010 and her third in 2011.
SHUAI TOPS YOUNGSTER
Liu Fangzhou may be the future of Chinese tennis, but she had to bow to her elder at the inaugural Zhonghong Jiangxi International Women’s Open. Top-seeded Peng Shuai needed all three sets before prevailing over her 18-year-old opponent. Ranked 422nd in the world, Liu was the final player to gain direct entry into the new WTA 125K Series event. And she knocked off a string of higher-ranked opponents to reach the final, dropping just one set along the way. Then, after winning the second set to draw even with Peng, Liu pulled off a brilliant down-the-line backhand to take a 15-40 lead in the opening game of the final set. Peng, however, slammed two consecutive aces to pull to deuce, then survived a third break point before finally holding serve. The eventual champion won the last three games of the match to complete the victory.
With two Grand Slam tournament titles in her trophy case, Li Na has received an even bigger honor. She now has a building in Shanghai named after her. Nike unveiled its new China headquarters by continuing its tradition of naming its buildings after some of the best athletes in history. Buildings on the campus of Nike’s global headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, USA, are named for Michael Jordan, John McEnroe and Pete Sampras. The new Nike Greater China campus, located in Yangpu District in Shanghai, includes the nine-story office building bearing Li’s name, a full-size soccer field and an indoor basketball court. “Nike has been with me through all of my tennis career and seeing my name on the building is one of the biggest honors I’ve received in my life,” Li said. “Nike has always respected and honored its athletes, so it’s not just my name that’s up there on the building, it stands for all outstanding Chinese athletes that Nike represents.”
STILL THE CHAMPION
With Martina Hingis leading the way, the Washington Kastles won their four straight World TeamTennis title and fifth in six years, tying the record for consecutive titles set by Sacramento in 2000. The 33-year-old Hingis won three events, including beating Olga Govortsova 5-2 in women’s singles, and was selected the most valuable player of the finals, which were held in Springfield, Missouri, USA. “’It was a great day here in Springfield for me, obviously with getting the finals MVP,”’ Hingis said. ‘”I don’t know if I have been as nervous before in my career with playing in the finals for my team, because you have no time to miss anything. Everything is quick. You have to keep it sweet.” Hingis also teamed with Anastasia Rodionova to beat Govortsova and Liga Dekmeijere-Thomas 5-1 in women’s doubles and with Leander Paes to win the mixed doubles 5-4 over Govortsova and Ross Hutchins. Bobby Reynolds beat Michael Russell 5-4 in men’s singles, then teamed with Paes to beat Russell and Hutchins 5-2 in men’s doubles.
Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova has a big ally on her side. Having won her second Wimbledon singles title earlier this month, Kvitova planned to keep a low profile on returning to the Czech Republic. That’s because some in her country, including Social Democrat (CSSD) deputy Stanislav Huml, have recently proposed that Kvitova should lose her Czech citizenship because she has moved to Monaco because of lower taxes. But she received a telephone call she couldn’t refuse. So Kvitova met with Czech President Milos Zeman at Prague Castle. “I know that as one of the successful people you are envied,” Zeman said. “One of the reasons for our meeting is that I would like to voice my support for you against the envious people. I beg you to ignore them because they cannot do anything but envy.” Zeman also received Czech tennis players Barbora Zahlavova Strycova and Klara Koukalova. He told Kvitova that he would welcome her both after victories and defeats. “I do not wish them to you, but defeats are also a part of life,” the president said. “That is why I have invited all the Olympic participants irrespective of whether they won or lost.” During their meeting, Kvitova presented Zeman with an honorary ticket for the Fed Cup final which will be held in Prague in November.
Taylor Townsend had to feel out-numbered during her World TeamTennis doubles match. Actually, she was. The young American was forced to play a doubles match all alone when her partner, Liezel Huber, went out with an injury. The unusual match – one against two – occurred at a World TeamTennis event where every point counts. The scoring is cumulative of the five sets played, so Townsend had to try to win a few points or even a set. She actually did win a few points, playing alone against Martina Hingis and Anastasia Rodionova, but her effort was also hampered by the rules. She was not allowed to return a serve on her partner’s side of the court. Huber was injured when she was hit in the back of the head by a Townsend forehand.
A nagging right knee injury will keep Gael Monfils from playing in the Citi Open in Washington, DC, USA. The Frenchman had abruptly pulled out of the ATP World Tour event in Atlanta, where he was the number three seed. Monfils hasn’t played since losing a five-set, second-round match at Wimbledon to Jiri Vesely.
Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard, who reached the final at Wimbledon, has withdrawn from the women’s portion of the Citi Open. Bouchard hasn’t played since losing the Wimbledon title match to Petra Kvitova, but officials didn’t provide a reason for her decision to withdraw from the Washington, DC, tournament. Ranked seventh in the world, Bouchard had been scheduled to be the tournament’s top seed, a spot now taken by Wimbledon semifinalist Lucie Safarova.
Wimbledon semifinalist Grigor Dimitrov also has pulled out of the Citi Open after doctors diagnosed him with the flu and a sinus infection. Dimitrov had been seeded third in the tournament behind Tomas Berdych and Milos Raonic. “We will miss having Grigor as a part of this year’s tournament, but his health is priority number one,” tournament director Jeff Newman said. “We hope he gets better quickly and wish him great success for the rest of the year.” Dimitrov has won three of his four career ATP World Tour titles this year and is currently ranked ninth in the world.
STOPPED BY CANCER
Catalina Castano’s latest battle is not on a tennis court. The 35-year-old Colombian is battling breast cancer. “It was really hard to hear the news. I didn’t know what to do or where to go. I cried for several days, hiding from my parents and sisters,” Castano said. “I decided to do what the doctors recommended, which was chemotherapy as quickly as possible.” Castano is the most decorated player in Colombia’s Fed Cup history, holding the record for most ties played, years played and match wins. She helped Colombia to third place in the Americas Group I in February, but has since been undergoing chemotherapy in what she describes as “the toughest match” of her life. Castano reached a career-high ranking of 35th in the world in 2006 and has played in 50 ties since making her Fed Cup debut at the age of 16. She said she has been overwhelmed by the support she has received since making public her latest battle. “It has been impressive,” she said, “I’ve received many kind and sweet messages and it makes me very happy to see people who I shared many moments with caring about me. I live day by day because with cancer you never know when everything suddenly ends.”
Nicole Gibbs will be playing in her third consecutive US Open this year. The first two times was because of her results as a college player. This time she earned a wild card berth with her results on the USTA Pro Circuit. Gibbs clinched the wild card when Madison Brengle defeated Melanie Oudin in the semifinals of the USTA Pro Circuit event in Lexington, Kentucky, USA. Oudin was the only player who could have caught Gibbs in the US Open Wild Card Challenge race. A 21-year-old native of Santa Monica, California, USA, Gibbs competed in the US Open main draw as a wild card in 2012 and 2013 as the NCAA champion.
SINGLES FOR TWO
Tommy Paul of Coconut Creek, Florida, and Katerina Stewart of Miami, Florida, each won USTA 18s National Clay Courts singles titles to earn wild card entries into this year’s US Open Junior Championships. Paul, last year’s USTA Boys’ 16s Clay Court and Hard Court winner, beat Reilly Opelka of Palm Coast, Florida, in this year’s Boys 18s final in Delray Beach, Florida. Stewart, who won last year’s Girls’ 16s hard court title, captured the Girls’ 18s by beating Kennedy Shaffer of Rossford, Ohio. Steward has won her last 34 matches, including singles titles at three USTA Pro Circuit USD $10,000 clay-court events. Besides the US Open junior wild card entries, Paul and Steward each receive a wild card into a future USTA Pro Circuit event.
Andy Murray apparently is happy with Amelie Mauresmo as his coach. Consequently an announcement that the two will continue working together is expected soon. Murray has made it clear he would like to continue working with the former women’s world number one player who won Wimbledon and the Australian Open during her playing career. The two began working together earlier this summer, but since then he failed to defend titles at both Queen’s Club and Wimbledon and has fallen to 10th in the world rankings. Working with his previous coach, Ivan Lendl, Murray won the gold medal at the London Olympics, the 2012 US Open and last year’s Wimbledon.
Neil Harman has been suspended as chief tennis correspondent of The Times of London after he confessed to plagiarizing copy written by others when compiling his Wimbledon yearbooks. There is no suggestion that Harman has been guilty of plagiarism in his articles for The Times. The chief tennis correspondent at The Times since 2002, Harman earlier resigned from the International Tennis Writers’ Association and was fired by Wimbledon authorities after they were informed about plagiarism in three annuals written under Harman’s name.
The Chia Co, identified as world innovators in health foods, has signed a three-year agreement to be an official sponsor of the US Open. The Chia Co will offer Chia Pods, a ready-to-eat product with chia seeds, coconut milk and fruit, from a branded promotional space at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, site of the years’ fourth Grand Slam tournament. The sponsorship marks The Chia Co’s first entry into tennis and expands its existing sports sponsorships. To supports its involvement with the tournament, The Chia Co will run a promotion in which one lucky winner will receive a trip for two to New York and courtside seats to the 2014 US Open men’s semifinals.
Atlanta: Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock beat Steve Johnson and Sam Querrey 6-3 5-7 10-5 (match tiebreak)
Astana (men): Sergei Bubka and Marco Chiudinelli beat Chen Ti and Huang Liang-Chi 6-3 6-4
Astana (women): Vitalia Diatchenko and Margarita Gasparyan beat Michaela Boev and Anna-Lena Friedsam 6-4 6-1
Baku: Alexandra Panova and Heather Watson beat Raluca Olaru and Shahar Peer 6-2 7-6 (3)
Gstaad: Andre Begemann and Robin Haase beat Rameez Junaid and Michal Mertinak 6-3 6-4
Nanchang: Chuang Chia-Jung and Junri Namigata beat Chan Chine-Wei and Xu Yi-Fan 7-6 (4) 6-3
Umag: Frantisek Cermak and Lukas Rosol beat Dusan Lajovic and Franko Skugor 6-4 7-6 (5)
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
(All money in USD)
$1,654,295 Citi Open, Washington, DC, USA, hard
$685,893 bet-at-home Cup, Kitzbühel, Austria, clay
$100,000 Odlum Brown Vancouver Open, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, hard
$710,000 Bank of the West Classic, Stanford, California, USA, hard
$250,000 Citi Open, Washington, DC, USA, hard
$100,000 Odlum Brown Vancouver Open, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, hard
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
$3,146,920 Rogers Cup, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, hard
$100,000 Comerica Bank Challenger, Aptos, California, USA, hard
$2,139,320 Coupe Rogers présentée par Banque Nationale, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, hard