Mondays with Bob Greene
Roger Federer beat Rafael Nadal 6-3 6-4 to win the Miami Open men’s singles in Miami, Florida, USA
Johanna Konta beat Caroline Wozniacki 6-4 6-3 to win the Miami Open women’s singles in Miami, Florida, USA
“The dream continues. What a start to the year. Can’t believe it.” – Roger Federer, who added the Miami Open to his Australian Open and Indian Wells titles.
“I think I am close to what I need to be. I am at a very high level of tennis and I believe I am ready to win titles.” – Rafael Nadal, after losing to Roger Federer in the Miami Open final.
“I probably won’t play any clay court events except the French (Open).” – Roger Federer.
“I had no more gas in the second and third sets. But at the end of the day, you have to try with what you have that day, and today was not enough.” – Stan Wawrinka, after losing to Alexander Zverev 4-6 6-2 6-1.
“Is it the best I’ve ever played? For me, it’s hard to say yes to that question. … Maybe on the offensive side, overall, I think I’m doing definitely a few things better than I ever have. I do feel that I have improved. The game has evolved, I had to adjust, but overall I do believe I’m probably a better player than I was 10 years ago.” – Roger Federer, responding to a question.
“This wasn’t the best start I would have wished for, but it’s not a drama because I’m still playing good and winning matches. I’m looking forward to playing again.” – Angelique Kerber, after losing to Venus Williams in the quarterfinals at Miami.
“I started normal, and then like at 3-3 or something like this I started to feel headache, pain in my stomach. And then it kind of went more and more during the match. When I was getting to the 5-4, something like this, I started to feel a little bit dizzy. I think it was the heat?” – Garbiñe Muguruza, who retired after losing the first set while playing Caroline Wozniacki.
“It’s just my personality to be hard on myself. I want to change that in the future. I can say that I’m better than before, and I’m working on it.” – Simona Halep, who was two points from victory before losing to Johanna Konta 3-6 7-6 (7) 6-2.
“I think I’ve always had the belief of wanting to become a Grand Slam champion, wanting to become the best in the world. I think that stays throughout, with every player I imagine, their career. Without that, I don’t think it makes … victories as sweet and I think also the defeats as motivating. I think that stays.” – Johanna Konta.
“It’s been a fabulous couple of weeks,” Roger Federer said. He was so right. The 35-year-old Swiss star defeated Rafael Nadal for the fourth straight time to win the Miami Open, his third title of the year. He has won 19 of 20 matches this year, won a major for the first time since 2012 and captured two Masters titles for the first time since 2014. “I was more in fight-mode today, just trying to stay afloat,” Federer said of the Miami final. “Physically and emotionally it has been a draining week. I think I did very well.” Federer broke Nadal just twice. It was all he needed as once again he rifled winners from the baseline or ended points with sharply angled volleys as Nadal lost in the Miami Open title match for the fifth time in his career. “Maybe if you didn’t see the match and just saw the score, you might think it was some sort of straightforward match with a couple of breaks,” Federer said. “But that is not the full story.” The full story is that Federer is playing some of the best tennis of his career.
With a perfectly placed lob, Johanna Konta wound up with the biggest title of her career. Konta out-gunned former world number one Caroline Wozniacki to win the Miami Open women’s singles. The final-point lob caught Wozniacki at the net, and the Dane race back to the baseline, then waited for instant replay to confirm the call. “I couldn’t believe it was really over,” Konta said. “I was convinced there were more points coming.” It was one of the few things Konta was wrong about on the day she won the tournament she failed to qualify for just two years ago. Against Wozniacki, Konta was the more aggressive, finishing with 33 winners to just eight for her Danish opponent. “She’s very aggressive,” Wozniacki said. “She takes the ball early and stresses the opponent. With her third career title, Konta climbed to a career-high seventh in this week’s WTA rankings.
On her way to the Miami Open semifinals, Venus Williams knocked off top-ranked Angelique Kerber 7-5 6-3. “I have to play well against the number one in the world,” Williams said. “She’s on top of her game and she played well, so I had to find a way to play a little better.” It was the first time Williams had played Kerber since the two clashed in the semifinals at Wimbledon last summer. The German won that encounter in straight sets. She broke Williams in the game’s opening match, but the American’s aggressive play proved to be too much for Kerber. “She was really aggressive from the beginning and was hitting the balls really hard,” Kerber said. “I think I didn’t move too well today and made a lot of mistakes, which isn’t normal for my game. It wasn’t my best game, but she deserved to win because she played really well.” Williams lost in the semifinals to eventual winner Johanna Konta.
Serena Williams has picked the Madrid Open in May as her first tournament since winning the Australian Open in January. She pulled out of both the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, and the Miami Open because of a knee injury. Sitting on the sidelines caused her to lose her number ranking to Germany’s Angelique Kerber. Williams has been selective over which tournaments she will play to give herself every chance of winning more Grand Slam events.
Nick Kyrgios came out of his latest loss a winner. Roger Federer in the Miami Open semifinals edged the 21-year-old Australian 7-6 (9) 6-7 (9) 7-6 (5) in the tournament’s best match. “My draw was incredibly tough this week,” Kyrgios said. “I thought (Ivo) Karlovic third round, I could have lost there. Playing (David) Goffin, then (Alexander) Zverev, then Federer. Maybe if I played a couple of easier rounds I could have got over the line (against Federer). Who knows?” Known previously for his hijinks as well as his tremendous talent, Kyrgios has beaten Novak Djokovic twice this year. And he matched Federer almost stroke for stroke before the Swiss master pulled out the three-hour victory. “I feel like my level of tennis has always been high,” Kyrgios said, “but mentally I’m competing for every point. That’s making a difference. I need to keep putting that in every day. I’ve got a lot of work to do. I’m 16th in the world. There are 15 players better than me.”
Leander Paes just won’t quit – and he shouldn’t. The 43-year-old teamed with Canadian Adil Shamasdin to win the Leon Challenger Tour event in Leon, Mexico, beating Luca Margaroli of Switzerland and Caro Zampieri of Brazil 6-1 6-4 in the USD $75,000 hard-court event. It was the 20th ATP Challenger title for Indian veteran, who has now won at least one title every year for the past 26 years. Paes has been named a reserve on India’s Davis Cup team that will meet Uzbekistan in a Group I second-round tie this week.
The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission again has said no to tennis great Bill Tilden. A year ago, a commission pan voted 4-1 against recommending a historical marker honoring Tilden be installed at Philadelphia’s Germantown Cricket Club, citing Tilden’s convictions in the 1940s on charges involving teenage boys. Karen Galle, coordinator of the historical marker program, said the panel again voted 4-1 against approving the marker, a recommendation that was confirmed by the full commission. Tilden was the first American to win Wimbledon in 1920 and won seven US Championships. In 1950, The Associated Press voted him the greatest player of the first half of the century. After his convictions, Tilden’s Germantown membership was revoked and his portrait was removed. In recent years the club has been lobbying for a historical marker at the site.
Miami (men): Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo beat Nicholas Monroe and Jack Sock 7-5 6-3
Miami (women): Gabriela Dabrowski and Xu Yifan beat Sania Mirza and Barbora Strycova 6-46-3
Davis Cup: www.daviscup.com/en/
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
$710,900 Volvo Car Open, Charleston, South Carolina, USA, clay
$226,750 Abierto Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico, hard
World Group Quarterfinals
Belgium vs. Italy at Charleroi, Belgium, hard
Australia vs. United States at Brisbane, Australia, hard
France vs. Great Britain at Rouen, France, clay
Serbia vs. Spain at Belgrade, Serbia, hard
Americas Zone, Second Round: Ecuador vs. Brazil at Ambato, Ecuador, clay; Colombia vs. Chile at Medellin, Colombia, clay
Asia/Oceania Zone, Second Round: Kazakhstan vs. China at Astana, Kazakhstan, clay; India vs. Uzbekistan at Bangalore, India, hard
Asia/Oceania Zone Relegation Playoff: New Zealand vs. Korea at Auckland, New Zealand, hard
Europe/Africa Zone, Second Round: Bosnia/Herzegovina vs. Netherlands at Zenica, Bosnia/Herzegovina, hard; Belarus vs. Austria at Minsk, Belarus, hard; Portugal vs. Ukraine at Portugal, clay
Americas Zone, Second Round: Barbados vs. Guatemala at St. Michael, Barbados, hard; Venezuela vs. El Salvador at Miami, Florida, USA, hard
Americas Zone, Relegation Playoff: Mexico vs. Paraguay at Zapopan, Mexico, hard; Bolivia vs. Bahamas at Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, clay
Asia/Oceania Zone, Second Round: Thailand vs. Philippines at Nonthaburi, Thailand, hard
Asia/Oceania Zone, Relegation Playoff: Iran vs. Vietnam at Isfahan, Iran, clay; Indonesia vs. Kuwait at Solo, Indonesia, hard
Europe/Africa Zone, Second Round: Turkey vs. Sweden at Antalya, Turkey, clay; Georgia vs. Lithuania at Tbilisi, Georgia, hard; Norway vs. Denmark at Stavanger, Norway, hard; South Africa vs. Slovenia at Centurion, South Africa, hard
Europe/Africa Zone, Relegation Playoff: Cyprus vs. Tunisia at Nicosia, Cyprus, hard; Finland vs. Madagascar at Hanko, Finland, hard; Morocco vs. Latvia at Marrakech, Morocco, clay; Estonia vs. Monaco at Tallinn, Estonia, hard
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
$600,345 Fayez Sarofim & Co. US Men’s Clay Court Championships, Houston, Texas, USA, clay
$575,419 Grand Prix Hassan II, Marrakech, Morocco, clay
$226,750 Ladies Open Biel Bienne, Biel, Switzerland, hard
$226,750 Claro Open Colsanitas, Bogota, Colombia, clay