Mondays with Bob Greene
Roger Federer beat David Ferrer 6-3 1-6 6-2 to win the men’s singles at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Serena Williams beat Ana Ivanovic 6-4 6-1 to win the women’s singles at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Lara Arruabarrena beat Johanna Larsson 6-1 6-3 to win the Seguros Boliva Open in Bogotá, Colombia
“I’m really pleased with the week. Overall, it went from good to great. My game’s exactly where I want it to be.” – Roger Federer, following his victory over David Ferrer.
“I made the final. But I can never beat Roger, he’s too much for me. I’m still lucky to be playing with the best in the world. Roger deserved to win the title.” – David Ferrer.
“This is definitely a level that can take me to the (US Open) title. I still have a lot of work to do. It’s definitely a better level than I’ve played all year, to be honest.” – Serena Williams, after beating Ana Ivanovic to win the Western & Southern women’s singles title.
“I really felt she was really solid today. Not only on her serve, but on the groundstrokes I felt like she was dominating. I did have chances, especially when we started the rallies, but I just couldn’t get the serve back.” – Ana Ivanovic.
“When I finish my career and when I will be sitting at home and talking with friends, I will remember days like this.” – Tommy Robredo, after upsetting top-ranked Novak Djokovic at the Western & Southern.
“I didn’t play well in Toronto, didn’t play well here. Hopefully, it’s going to be different in New York (at the US Open).” – Novak Djokovic, after losing in Cincinnati.
“I had lost a few close matches – matches like that – over the last few months, so it was important for me to come through. You know, it was completely packed crowd from the first point right until the end, as well. So it was a really good atmosphere to get ready for the rest of the tournament, but also the US Open as well. It was very good.” – Andy Murray, after beating John Isner 3-6 (3) 6-4 7-6 (2).
“I knew it was going to be a good match. I mean, I didn’t imagine myself blowing him off the court, and vice versa, I didn’t imagine him blowing me off the court.” – John Isner, after losing to Andy Murray,
“I just kind of close my eyes and serve. When you think about it too much you get kind of crazy.” – Serena Williams, after slamming 12 aces in her victory over Ana Ivanovic.
“I think I got a lesson on how to serve today. Maybe after you retire you can give me some tips.” – Ana Ivanovic, at the post-match awards ceremony.
There’s a love affair going on between Roger Federer and the Western & Southern Open. “I don’t know, I just really enjoy myself here,” Federer said after winning the Masters 1000 title for the sixth time. This time the Swiss star beat David Ferrer in a match that wasn’t as close as the score indicates. Federer improved his career record to 16-0 against his Spanish opponent, who took advantage of Federer’s lull in the second set. “The third set, he served unbelievable,” Ferrer said. “He played really good and I was a little bit tired. But anyway, with Roger it’s difficult, no?” It’s difficult yes, especially on the hard courts at Mason, Ohio, USA, a Cincinnati suburb. Every time Federer reaches the Western & Southern Open title match, he wins. It was his 22nd ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown as he became just the third player in the Open Era to win 80 titles. Federer trails only Jimmy Connors, who finished his career with 109 titles, and Ivan Lendl, who had 94. He also increased his match-win lead this season on the ATP World Tour to 49 victories, five more than Rafael Nadal. It was Federer’s biggest title since he won Cincinnati in 2012, the same year he also won Wimbledon. “I finally got a big trophy for the kids,” said the father of two sets of twins. “I’ve been bringing home some smaller ones. I keep telling them they are still trophies, but this one should satisfy them.”
Where Roger Federer has made Cincinnati his personal stomping ground, Serena Williams has had problems at the Ohio stop on the WTA tour. No more. The world’s top-ranked woman won her first Western & Southern Open on his sixth try, needing only 62 minutes to subdue Ana Ivanovic. “I love this moment,” she said. “I love holding up the trophy.” Williams played the best match of her summer in besting the much-improved Ivanovic. It didn’t show at the start as Ivanovic broke Serena’s serve to begin the match, then held to go up 2-0. The Serbian right-hander won just three more games as Williams started moving better and dominated with her serve, hitting 12 aces. “It felt like way more,” Ivanovic said. It was the fifth title of the year for the 32-year-old American, who also won in Stanford, Rome, Miami and Brisbane. But she has had problems at the Grand Slam tournaments this year, and Cincinnati is her final tune-up before the year’s final major, the US Open, which begins later this month. “Definitely my best performance of the summer,” Williams said. “Hopefully not the last.” Even with the loss, Ivanovic moved back into the top 10 in the WTA rankings for the first time in five years. “It’s been a great week for me in Cincinnati,” she said. “It’s the biggest final I’ve been in in a while. It feels good to be part of it. There are still a few points in my game that I feel I need to work on for the US Open and also for the end of season. Definitely exciting times.”
SIBLINGS STOP STREAK
After starting their partnership in record-breaking style, Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock finally lost. In a highly-anticipated men’s doubles match, brothers Bob and Mike Bryan defeated Pospisil and Sock 6-3 6-2 to successfully defend their Western & Southern Open crown, their 99th team title in their 150th final. Pospisil and Sock had won their first 14 matches as a team, including beating the Bryan brothers in the Wimbledon final. That topped the 12-0 start by Christo van Rensburg and Paul Annacone in 1984-85. This time, the American twins dominated Pospisil and Sock in just 53 minutes. “It was amazing to walk out to a packed house today,” Bob Bryan said. “It was an incredible atmosphere and once again the Cincy crowds have brought out the best in us. Mike and I were really sharp right from the first ball and are extremely excited about this victory.” The win gave the Bryan brothers a record 30 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 victories, including five at the Western & Southern Open. “Hats off to Jack and Vasek on their impressive run this summer,” Mike Bryan said. “It’s great for doubles to have another marketable team competing for the biggest titles and we look forward to having more competitive battles against them in the future.”
It wasn’t the first time Tommy Robredo has knocked off the world’s number-one player. But it had been a while since it happened the first time. The Spaniard upset Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic 7-6 (6) 7-5 in the round of 16 at the Western & Southern Open, ending Djokovic’s bid to win the Cincinnati event for the first time and become the first player to win all nine ATP World Tour Masters events during his career. “It’s disappointing that I’m finishing Cincinnati again with a tough loss, but it’s the sport,” Djokovic said. The last time Robredo knocked off the world’s top-ranked player was in 2003, when he beat Lleyton Hewitt at the French Open. This time, the Spaniard snapped a six-match losing streak against her Serbian opponent. “I knew that if I wanted to win I had to go for it and try to hope that he will not play his best match,” Robredo said. “Both things happen and then I could win.” Both things happened.
Former champion Juan Martin del Potro won’t be at this year’s US Open. The Argentine is still recovering from surgery on his left wrist, which he underwent in late March. He also underwent an operation on his right wrist after winning the US Open in 2009 and missed much of the next season.
SEES BONUS AHEAD
For the third time in four years, Serena Williams has clinched the Emirates Airline US Open Series women’s title. That means that if she win the US Open singles title, she would get a USD $1 million bonus. That, of course, would be in addition to the USD $3 million purse that goes to the US Open champion. The world’s top-ranked woman won both the Emirates Airline US Open Series title and the US Open last year, taking home a record USD $3.6 million, including the USD $1 million bonus. Williams is the only woman to win the Emirates Airline US Open Series Bonus Challenge three times. No other woman has won it more than once.
When Elle Quebec ran a very flattering story on Eugenie Bouchard, they made a serious mistake. Accompanying the article on Canada’s newest tennis star were photos of Maria Sharapova. It was Genie Bouchard’s picture on the cover of the 25-year-old Canadian fashion magazine, fortunately, but not on the inside. In its September issue, the magazine admitted, “An error occurred in the publication of the photos accompanying the article about prodigious tennis player Eugenie Bouchard in our August issue. Here are the photos of the athlete that should have appeared in our pages. Our sincerest apologies.”
The record book is being revised seemingly every time Roger Federer steps onto the court. When Federer won his opening match at the Western & Southern Open, defeating Vasek Pospisil, he added another record to his long list of accomplishments. It was Federer’s 300th career victory in a Masters tournament, the first to do so. Rafael Nadal is second with 281 such wins. “It’s a nice, round number,” Federer said. “I’ve had some more important ones over the one today. Nevertheless, it’s nice to reach such milestones.”
Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears captured the women’s doubles title at the Western & Southern Open when their opponents had to retire because of a spine injury suffered by Kristina Mladenovic. The winners were leading 6-1 2-0 when Mladenovic and her partner, Timea Babos, stopped the match. “The few games that we played, we played well,” Kops-Jones said. “Unfortunately, one of our opponents was injured. It’s not fun to win that way, but we’ll take it.” Babos and Mladenovic were seeded sixth in the hard-court tournament, while the winning team had been seeded seventh. None of the top four seeded teams made it to the semifinals. “We had a few tough matches this week, even the ones where the scores didn’t appear close,” Kops-Jones said. “We learned a lot just playing a lot of matches. We love playing here. It’s really well-run and is one of the best facilities that we play at.” The winners now have 10 WTA titles as a team. Kops-Jones has won 12 WTA doubles titles and Spears has 14, including winning at Cincinnati in 2005 with Laura Granville.
The Davis Cup playoff tie between Israel and Argentina will be played in Sunrise, Florida, USA, in September. Because of security concerns linked to the conflict in Gaza, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) banned Israel from hosting the three-day completion on home soil. The neutral venue in Florida was proposed by the Israel Tennis Association (ITA) and will be played on an outdoor hard court. A total of eight World Group playoff ties will be held September 12-14, alongside the two World Group semifinals between France and Czech Republic in Paris, France, and Switzerland and Italy in Geneva, Switzerland.
Another World Group playoff – this one between Ukraine and Belgium – will also be moved to a neutral site because of security concerns. It was scheduled to have been held in Kiev, Ukraine.
Australia’s Bernard Tomic, Frenchman Michael Llodra and six Americans have been awarded wild card entries into the men’s singles main draw at this year’s US Open. Joining Tomic and Llodra with wild cards in the 128-player field will be Ryan Harrison, Tim Smyczek, 17-year-old Jared Donaldson, 2014 NCAA singles champion Marcos Giron, 2014 USTA Boys’ 18s national champion Noah Rubin and veteran Wayne Odesnik.
Eight others were given wild cards entries into the men’s singles qualifying tournament, which is being held this week at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. They are Americans Collin Altamirano, Ernesto Escobedo, Mitchell Frank, Taylor Fritz, Stefan Kozlov, Mackenzie McDonald and Francis Tiafoe along with Frenchman Mathias Bourgue.
Former world number one junior Taylor Townsend and 2011 US Open junior champion Grace Min head the eight wild card entries into the women’s singles main draw. Other Americans are Nicole Gibbs, Danielle Collins, Madison Brengle and CiCi Bellis. They will be joined by Australia’s Jarmila Gajdosova and France’s Amandine Hesse.
Entering the women’s singles qualifying tournament on wild cards are Americans Tornado Alicia Black, Jennifer Brady, Samantha Crawford, Asia Muhammad, Bernarda Pera, Maria Sanchez and Katerina Stewart, as well as France’s Fiona Ferro, who earned her qualifying spot through a reciprocal agreement with the French Tennis Federation.
Tony Trabert, a two-time singles winner of the US National Championships – now the US Open – and a long-time voice of the year’s final Grand Slam tournament is the 2014 inductee into the US Open Court of Champions. Trabert will be inducted during an on-court ceremony in Arthur Ashe Stadium prior to the men’s singles final on Monday, September 8. A panel of international print and broadcast journalists selected Trabert from the roster of US champions based on their performances at the tournament and their impact on the game of tennis. He won five Grand Slam tournament singles titles, including the US National Championships in 1953 and 1955, and was ranked number one in the world. He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1970.
Fittingly, Xavier Malisse of Belgium won his first ATP Champions Tour title at the Optima Open in Knokke-Heist on Belgium’s North Sea coast. Malisse defeated Fabrice Santoro 6-2 6-3 in the final. “This feels great actually,” Malisse said. “I’m very happy to win, and just to play Fabrice because he is a fun guy to play. It’s very different to being on the ATP Tour but I have really enjoyed my time here this week and seeing all the guys again. I am so grateful to the crowd who stayed to watch us and cheer for us today because it’s not the nicest weather to sit and watch tennis.” The Champions Tour, featuring John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl, Michal Chang and Goran Ivanisevic, will stage its next event in Italy in October.
Eighteen-year-old Victoria Duval won’t be competing at the US Open later this month. But she is on target to return to training sometime in September. Duval has been undergoing chemotherapy treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma and is scheduled for two more treatments over the next four weeks. The young American was diagnosed earlier this summer by London doctors through biopsies with the form of cancer in its earliest, most curable stages. The finding was confirmed after her first-round qualifying match in Wimbledon, but Duval decided to continue to play, winning two more qualifiers and her first-round match in the main draw over seeded player Sorana Cîrstea. Currently ranked 88th in the world, Duval said in a statement: “I intend to put up my best fight and have a full recovery. I picture myself healthy, stronger and competing again soon with even more appreciation for the game I so love.” Her business representative, Ben Crandall, an IMG executive, said Duval’s timetable for her to return to competitive tennis will be decided after the chemo treatments are complete.
Bogotá: Lara Arruabarrena and Florencia Molinero beat Melanie Klaffner and Patricia Mayr-Achleitner 6-2 6-0
Cincinnati (men): Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan beat Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock 6-3 6-2
Cincinnati (women): Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears beat Timea Babos an d Kristina Mladenovic 6-1 2-0 retired
New Haven: www.ctopen.org/
New York: www.usopen.org/
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
(All money in USD)
$598,260 Winston-Salem Open, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA, hard
$644,900 Connecticut Open presented by United Technologies, New Haven, Connecticut, USA, hard
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
MEN and WOMEN
US Open, New York, New York, USA, hard (first week)