Mondays with Bob Greene
Andy Murray beat Fernando Verdasco 6-3 6-2 to win the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Sam Querrey beat Rafael Nadal 6-3 7-6 (3) to win the men’s singles at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco, Mexico
Lesia Tsurenko beat Kristina Mladenovic 6-1 7-5 to win the women’s singles at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco, Mexico
Ashleigh Barty beat Nao Hibino 6-3 6-2 to win the ALYA WTA Malaysian Open in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Jurgen Melzer beat Michael Przysiezny 6-4 6-3 to win the Wroclaw Open 2017 in Wroclaw, Poland
“I defended pretty well and moved well. I served a lot better as the match went on. It was obviously good to win the first tournament here.” – Andy Murray, after winning the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships for the first time.
“He’s number one in the world right now. It was obviously a really difficult final to win, but I came trying everything and giving everything.” – Fernando Verdasco, after losing to Andy Murray in Dubai.
“After the match against (David) Goffin, I knew I could go far here if I continued to play at that level. My forehand and backhand were great and my serve bailed me out of trouble when I needed it.” – Sam Querrey, after upsetting Rafael Nadal to win in Acapulco.
“He played very well, almost reaching perfection.” – Rafael Nadal, explaining why he lost to Sam Querrey in the Acapulco final.
“Losing is always disappointing, but I’m not sad. I played great tennis, one of my best matches. We both played almost the best tennis we can play.” – Philipp Kohlschreiber, after losing a brilliantly played second-set tiebreak and eventually the match to Andy Murray in Dubai.
“I’m over the moon. I don’t really know what to say. I’m a bit speechless.” – Ashleigh Barty, a qualifier, after winning her first career singles title, the ALYA Malaysian Open, then teaming with Casey Dellacqua to win the doubles.
“That tiebreak: we did really well after being 5-1 down.” – Casey Dellacqua, who with Ashleigh Barty won rallied to the doubles in straight sets in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
“I wasn’t thinking about winning at any stage. I knew I had to stay in the moment because I’ve been in situations where matches have gotten away from me, so I had to stay switched on the whole time. I knew that if I just waited and waited, eventually I’d get my chance.” – Nick Kyrgios, following his win over Novak Djokovic.
Fernando Verdasco proved to be no match for Andy Murray as the Scot dominated his Spanish opponent to win the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, Murray’s first title of 2017 and the 45th of his career. The world’s top-ranked player needed just 73 minutes to close out the victory on his first match point. “It’s obviously nice to finally win here,” Murray said, referring to his loss in the Dubai final to Roger Federer in 2012. “It feels great to take the trophy for the first time.” In their 14 career meetings, Murray has lost just once. It also was his second final of the year, with Murray losing to Novak Djokovic in Doha in January. Murray is the first British player to win the Dubai tournament in its 25-year history.
SAM THE MAN
Sam Querrey grabbed the biggest title of his career by shocking Rafael Nadal in the final at Acapulco, Mexico. “It’s definitely a tournament that I’m going to remember for the rest of my life,” Querrey said after beating Nadal for the first time in his career. “It’s just one of those weeks where I got in the zone and everything was working for me. I hope I can have more like this.” Nadal reached the title match without dropping a set. Querry proved to be an obstacle too big to overcome. The winner pounded out 19 aces and repeatedly struck huge forehand winners. “I played under a lot of pressure because of his serve and baseline game,” Nadal said. “He left me with very few options, and the few I had he also played good.” Nadal had six break points in the match, but Querrey saved them all. His ninth career title was deserved by Querrey, who during the week also beat Dominic Thiem, David Goffin and Nick Kyrgios.
It was a dream week for Ashleigh Barty. The Australian not only qualified for the main draw singles at the ALYA WTA Malaysian Open, she won the title, beating Nao Hibino. Then Barty teamed with Casey Dellacqua to capture the doubles, stopping Nicole Melichar and Makotoa Ninomiya. “I feel great – very tired, but great,” Barty said. “It’s been a monster week for me. I don’t think I could have physically played any more matches.” The 20-year-old Barty put pressure on Hibino’s serve from the beginning of the match, and after wrapped up the 73-minute final by serving it out with a love game. Then came the doubles. The Australian pair trailed 5-1 in the first-set tiebreak before ripping off the next six points to win the set. “In tennis, you’re never out of it,” Dellacqua said. “I think that was pretty crucial to get that first set, and then just to get a break in the second, to space that lead out a little bit. That tiebreak: we did really well after being 5-1 down.”
STOPPED BY RAIN
Rain halted play in the second set of the Brasil Open, which was to be completed on Monday. With Albert Ramos-Vinolas leading Pablo Cuevas 7-6 (3) 3-3, the rain began again, this time much heavier and causing play to stop. Just one point into the second set rain briefly delayed the action. Cuevas played better and took a 3-1 lead. But Ramos-Vinolas got the break back. With Ramos-Vinolas serving at 3-3, the rain began again and the players were taken off the court. In the first-set tiebreak, Cuevas committed four straight errors to give Ramos-Vinolas a 6-2 lead. Another error, this time on the forehand side, gave the Spaniard the opening set.
Andy Murray survived seven match points before beating Philipp Kohlschreiber and advancing to the semifinals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. After dropping the first set, Murray outlasted Kohlschreiber 20-18 in the second-set tiebreaker. “I have never played a tiebreak that long ever,” Murray said. “I’ll probably never play another one like that again. I mean, I have been playing on the tour for 11, 12 years now, and nothing’s been close to that.” The tiebreak wasn’t just long. It featured great shots by both players. And it was so intense that umpire Renaud Lictenstein and both players forgot to change ends at 15-15. They changed two games later, at 16-16. “There was definitely some unbelievable points in that second-set tiebreak,” Murray said. “We both missed a couple of shots, but in general I think the level was extremely high. It’s a special match to win because of how it went.”
The most successful Israeli woman to play on the WTA tour has retired. Shahar Peer, who was ranked as high as 11th in the world, called it quits. “I made this decision following a chronic inflammation in my shoulder that has been lasting for over two years and prevents me from competing at the high level that I am used to and expect from myself,” Peer wrote on Facebook. “At the same time, I lost my desire for the game of tennis and the intense way of life I have lived since I was 6.5 years old. Besides winning five WTA titles and becoming the first Israeli woman to reach the quarterfinals in a Grand Slam tournament, Peer in 2008 became the first Israeli to compete in a WTA tournament in the Arabian Peninsula. She compiled a 45-31 record in Fed Cup play and in 2008 represented Israel at the Beijing Olympics. “I look back on this experience with a huge smile, a lot of happiness and satisfaction,” she wrote.
Twice Roger Federer reached match point against Evgeny Donskoy – at 6-4 and 7-6 in the second-set tiebreak. Twice Donskoy, a qualifier, battled back, eventual won the tiebreak and force a third set. That’s where he stunned Federer, a seven-time former champion, in an early round match at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. “I surprised everyone today,” Donskoy said. “I think whoever wins against Roger surprises himself. I can say it’s a dream come true, but I don’t like this because you always want to win, even if it’s Roger.” Donskoy also staved off a third match point, when Federer served for the match at 5-4 in the third set. But he lost his serve at 30 and Donskoy eventually forced another tiebreak. This time Federer raced out to a 5-2 lead with two serves to come. In an astonishing turn of events, Donskoy won the final five points of the match to pull off the upset. It was just the third time since 2007 that Federer has lost to a qualifier, and it was his first defeat of the year.
STOP AT THE TOP
Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares finally won a title this year. The pair beat John Isner and Feliciano Lopez to capture the crown at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco, Mexico. “We did well to win the first match this week because we were down for most of the match tiebreak,” Murray said of their battle against Marin Cilic and Nikola Mektic, which they won 6-3 2-6 10-8 (match tiebreak). “But that’s what often happens in doubles. You squeeze through the first match and go on to win the tournament.”
Like Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic was shocked out of tournament in mid-week. The top-seeded Serb was ousted by Nick Kyrgios 7-6 (9) 7-5 at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel. “It’s what I dream of as a little kid, playing on these great venues against some of the greatest players in the world,” Kyrgios said. “I never have a problem getting up for these matches.” The Australian now has career victories over Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
SUFFERS HEART ATTACK
Troubles seemed to pile up for a former ESPN announcer. Doug Adler said he suffered a heart attack that he says is linked to stress from his legal dispute with his former employer. Adler was fired by ESPN after he apparently described Venus Williams as using “gorilla tactics.” The announcer said he said “guerilla tactics.” He claims he was fired even though ESPN and its executives knew he used the word “guerilla.” Adler said doctors blamed the heart attack on stress stemming from people calling the former announcer a racist.
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has refused to allow Aljaz Bedene to play Davis Cup for his adopted Great Britain. After an arbitration hearing, the ITF said he remains ineligible because he has already represented his native Slovenia three times in the team competition. The ITF introduced the new rule in 2015, shortly before Bedene became a British citizen.
Acapulco (men): Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares bet John Isner and Feliciano Lopez 6-3 6-3
Acapulco (women): Darija Jurak and Anastasia Rodionova beat Veronica Cepede Royg and Mariana Duque-Marino 6-3 6-2
Dubai: Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau beat Rohan Bopanna and Marcin Matkowski 4-6 6-3 10-3 (match tiebreak)
Kuala Lumpur: Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua beat Nicole Melichar and Makoto Ninomiya 7-6 (5) 6-3
Sao Paulo: Rogerio Dutra Silva and Andre Sa beat Marcus Daniell and Marcelo Demoliner 7-6 (5) 5-7 10-7 (match tiebreak)
Wroclaw: Adil Shamasdin and Andrei Vasilevski beat Mikhail Elgin and Dennys Molchanov 6-3 3-6 21-19 (match tiebreak)
Indian Wells: www.bnpparibasopen.com/en/
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
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BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells, California, USA, hard, first week
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