Mondays with Bob Greene
Petra Kvitova beat Magdalena Rybarikova 6-4 6-2 to win the Connecticut Open in New Haven, Connecticut, USA
Lukas Rosol beat Jerzy Janowicz 3-6 7-6 (3) 7-5 to win the Winston-Salem Open in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA
“I’ll enjoy this title today, but from tomorrow I have to think about the US Open.” – Petra Kvitova, after winning the Connecticut Open.
“Losses happen. This is not my first final – and hopefully will not be my last. I’m looking forward to the next tournament. I am playing well. I had a great week here in Winston-Salem.” – Jerzy Janowicz, after losing the Winston-Salem Open final.
“I think it’s a very nice thing to play in front of thousands of people. For me it doesn’t matter if they are loud up there, because when I’m on court I’m very focused, so I don’t care about that they are screaming sometimes or during the points. It’s normal. Everyone can do what they want. But sometimes as a player, you need some quiet during the points. But, you know, every player it’s different, so for me that doesn’t matter.” – Simona Halep, on the notoriously noisy New York crowd.
“This year I played a lot of good matches. Not just Toronto and Cincinnati, but really from the first week on I have always played really nice tennis. Then you come into this US Open just knowing – well, you remember how it feels to win tournaments. You remember and you get used to that. You almost forget how to lose to a point and confidence rises. You’re back to winning ways again and everything seems so simple, you know. It’s nice feeling that way.” – Roger Federer.
“New York has its own character. You know, I love the fans here. They are very honest and I love that. You know, they like you. They love you. They’ll cheer. If they don’t like something, they’ll boo. That’s what makes it very passionate and exciting. Plus, I have been dreaming to play here even as a kid to be on the big stages. Every time I come here it feels special.” – Victoria Azarenka, on playing at the US Open.
“Brad realizes that it was a stupid and dangerous decision. We’re somewhat relieved because two years would have been devastating. But we still feel the penalty is severe.” – Craig Mousley, father and coach of Brad Mousley, an Australian junior player who was given a one-year suspension for taking the party drug ecstasy.
“He made everybody feel special. He brought the best out of everyone. He was probably the most impactful man in the history of college tennis as a coach. It’s a sad day for all of us lettermen.” – Manuel Diaz, University of Georgia tennis coach, speaking about his predecessor, the late Dan Magill.
“Coach Dan Magill, it was an honor to have known you and learned from you. Undoubtedly the Greatest Bulldog Of All Time.” – John Isner, tweeting after the death of his college coach, Dan Magill.
Lukas Rosol staved off two match points before capturing the Winston-Salem Open, his second career ATP World Tour title, stopping Poland’s Jerzy Janowicz. “I just focused on my games, especially while I was serving,” the 29-year-old Rosol said. “I waited patiently to see if he would give me a chance on his serve, and he did.” Janowicz reached match points twice while Rosol was serving in the 10th game of the final set. But Rosol held, then broke his opponent as he won the final three games of the match. “I didn’t start out well, but I finished strong,” the winner said. He ended the triumph with his 13th ace of the match. “(Players) can make a comeback, whatever the score,” Janowicz said. “(Rosol) served well.” Rosol has reached the quarterfinals or better in his last five tournaments. He won his first title last year in Bucharest, Romania. Janowicz was seeking to become the first player from Poland to win an ATP World Tour title since Wojtek Fibak captured the Chicago trophy in 1982.
Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova didn’t drop a set during the week as she won her second WTA title of the year, besting Magdalena Rybarikova. The Connecticut Open crown was the 13th of the left-hander’s career. Kvitova blasted 31 winners in the final, including a huge cross-court backhand return winner on match point, the same shot she pulled off at match point at Wimbledon when Eugenie Bouchard was on the other side of the net. “From the first match I played here, I played really solid,” Kvitova said. “That’s important for me going into the US Open.” The Czech jumped out to a 5-2 lead to begin the match, and then saw Rybarikova take the next two games. “Serving at 5-3 I knew I was serving for the set, so it’s always a little bit difficult,” Kvitova said. “I was a little bit hectic. It was quite new balls as well. There were a few times where I was pushing her, but then I would miss the last shot. I think I just lost my concentration a little bit at times in the first set. But the most important thing was I broke her for the set, and then kept my concentration.” While Kvitova came away with the big trophy and biggest paycheck, Rybarikova had plenty to smile about too. She had the best win of her career in the New Haven tournament when she knocked off second-ranked Simona Halep on her way to her first Premier final.
STOP AT THE TOP
Three different women have a shot at being number one in the world when the US Open completes its two-week run at New York’s Flushing Meadow. Currently, the top ranking is held by Serena Williams. But, others who could wind up with the top spot include second-ranked Simona Halep and fourth-ranked Petra Kvitova, depending on how the draw unfolds.
Rafael Nadal will not be defending his US Open crown this year. The Spaniard withdrew from the year’s final Grand Slam tournament because of an injury to his right wrist. “I am very sorry to announce I won’t be able to play at this year’s US Open,” Nadal said in a statement. “I am sure you understand that it is a very tough moment for me since it is a tournament I love and where I have great memories from fans, the night matches, so many things… (There is) not much more I can do right now, other than accept the situation and, as always in my case, work hard in order to be able to compete at the highest level once I am back.” The 28-year-old Spaniard has not played since losing to Nick Kyrgios in the fourth round at Wimbledon in July. It is the second time in three years that Nadal has missed the US Open because of injuries. In 2012 he was out with a knee injury. That means he has been in the final of America’s premier tennis tournament in the last three times he has played the event. Nadal won the US Open in 2010, lost in 2011 and won again last year. Each time, he faced Novak Djokovic with the title hanging in the balance.
Seeking his third title at the event, John Isner withdrew from the tournament just before his quarterfinal match at the Winston-Salem Open. The American was due to play Lukas Rosol, who went on to win the US Open tune-up event. “I am extremely disappointed to have to withdraw from the Winston-Salem Open, one of my favorite stops of the year,” said the 29-year-old Isner, a native of North Carolina and the local favorite.
Four former champions are in the men’s singles draw at the US Open this year, even with the withdrawal of last year’s winner, Rafael Nadal. Andy Murray won the year’s final Grand Slam tournament in 2012, Novak Djokovic in 2011, Lleyton Hewitt in 2001 and Roger Federer from 2004 through 2008. They also are the only four men playing this year who have been in a US Open final. Besides Nadal, who won in 2010 and 2013, also missing this year’s competition because of an injury is the 2009 champion, Juan Martin del Potro.
There are 19 active players who have reached a Grand Slam tournament women’s singles final, including Serena Williams, who has won the most titles – 17 – and appeared in the most finals, 21. Of the 19, only Vera Zvonareva is not playing this year’s US Open. Zvonareva was runner-up at both Wimbledon and the US Open in 2010. Besides Serena Williams, other Grand Slam tournament winners in the field include Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Victoria Azarenka, Li Na, Ana Ivanovic, Petra Kvitova, Francesca Schiavone and Samantha Stosur. Others who have reached the final at majors include Eugenie Bouchard, Dominika Cibulkova, Sara Errani, Simona Halep, Jelena Jankovic, Sabine Lisicki, Agnieszka Radwanska and Caroline Wozniacki.
The Davis Cup World Group playoff between Ukraine and Belgium will be played in Tallinn, Estonia, next month. The event had been scheduled to be held in Ukraine, but the International Tennis Federation (ITF) said the fighting going on in the country meant the Davis Cup tie had to be played at a neutral site. Tallinn, Estonia, was proposed by the Ukrainian Tennis Federation, who retained choice of ground. The tie will be played on an indoor hard court. Another World Group playoff, between Israel and Argentina was moved to Florida because of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Eight World Group playoff ties will be held September 12-14 along with two World Group semifinals, pitting France and the Czech Republic in Paris, and Switzerland and Italy in Geneva. Davis Cup by BNP Paribas is the largest annual international team competition in sport, with 122 nations participating this year. The competition is 114 years old.
Colombians Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah weren’t even seeded when the Winston-Salem Open draw was completed. Then they played the matches. Cabal and Farah ended up toppling the third-seeded due of Jamie Murray and John Peers to wind up with the winner’s trophy. “It was a great tournament for us. We played very well from the start,” Farah said right after the match was over. “Today was a great match. We served very well, returned well. Sebas returned very well, and that’s why we came away with the big trophy.” The Colombians broke their British-Australian opponents four times during the 64-minute match as they remain undefeated against Murray and Peers. They also won their previous encounter in the second round at Roland Garros in 2013.
Brad Mousley will have a year to think about his experimenting with the drug ecstasy. The 18-year-old Australian was suspended for 12 months after he tested positive for the drug in March. Australia’s top-ranked junior player admitted taking the drug at a party in March. He tested positive two days later following a qualifying match for a Futures tour event in Melbourne, Australia. He faced a two-year suspension but told the independent Tennis Australia tribunal that he had not taken the drug to enhance his performance. The beginning of the suspension was backdated to May 30, 2014.
Dan Magill, who as coach led the University of Georgia’s men’s tennis team to two NCAA championships, has died at the age of 93. Manuel Diaz, who played for Magill and succeeded him as coach of the Bulldogs, said Magill passed away after declining health in recent years. He was living in an assisted living facility in Athens, Georgia, USA, home of the university. Magill became Georgia’s men’s tennis coach in 1955 and remained in that job until after the 1988 season. His teams compiled a 706-183 record with 13 Southeastern Conference outdoor titles and eight indoor titles, along with NCAA national championships in 1985 and 1987. Even after retirement, he was active. He ran the Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame situated next to the Dan Magill Tennis Complex at the university. He still played doubles tennis until 2012 when his health finally slowed him down. Among the many who played for Magill at the University of Georgia were Sweden’s Mikael Pernfors, who was NCAA singles champion in 1984 and 1985; Mathias Boeker, NCAA singles champion in 2001 and 20002, and John Isner, who currently is ranked 15th in the world. Survivors include his wife, Rosemarie, and three children: Hamilton III and daughters Shannon and Mollie.
New Haven: Andreja Klepac and Sílvia Soler-Espinosa beat Marina Erakovic and Arantxa Parra Santonja 7-5 4-6 10-7 (match tiebreak)
Winston-Salem: Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah beat Jamie Murray and John Peers 6-3 6-4
New Haven: www.ctopen.org/
New York: www.usopen.org/
International Tennis Federation: www.itftennis.com/home.aspx
ATP World Tour: www.atpworldtour.com/
United States Tennis Association: www.usta.com/
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
(All money in USD)
MEN and WOMEN
US Open, New York, New York, USA, hard (first week)
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
US Open, New York, New York, USA, hard (second week)
$112,537 AON Open Challenger Genova, Genova, Italy, clay
US Open, New York, New York, USA, hard (second week)