Mondays with Bob Greene
Daria Kasatkina beat Jelena Ostapenko 6-3 6-1 to win the Volvo Car Open in Charleston, South Carolina
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova beat Angelique Kerber 6-4 2-6 6-1 to win the Abierto GNP Seguros in Monterrey, Mexico
World Group Quarterfinals
Belgium beat Italy 3-2 at Charleroi, Belgium
Australia beat United States 3-2 at Brisbane, Australia
France beat Great Britain 4-1 at Rouen, France
Serbia beat Spain 4-1 at Belgrade, Serbia
Americas Zone, Second Round: Brazil beat Ecuador 5-0 at Ambato, Ecuador; Colombia beat Chile 3-1 at Medellin, Colombia
Asia/Oceania Zone, Second Round: Kazakhstan beat China 4-1 at Astana, Kazakhstan; India beat Uzbekistan 4-1 at Bangalore, India
Asia/Oceania Zone Relegation Playoff: New Zealand beat Korea 3-2 at Auckland, New Zealand
Europe/Africa Zone, Second Round: Netherlands beat Bosnia/Herzegovina 3-1 at Zenica, Bosnia/Herzegovina; Belarus beat Austria 3-1 at Minsk, Belarus; Portugal beat Ukraine 4-1 at Portugal, clay
Americas Zone, Second Round: Barbados beat Guatemala 3-2 at St. Michael, Barbados; Venezuela beat El Salvador 3-2 at Miami, Florida, USA
Americas Zone, Relegation Playoff: Mexico beat Paraguay 5-0 at Zapopan, Mexico; Bolivia beat Bahamas 3-1 at Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia
Asia/Oceania Zone, Second Round: Thailand beat Philippines 5-0 at Nonthaburi, Thailand
Asia/Oceania Zone, Relegation Playoff: Iran beat Vietnam 5-0 at Isfahan, Iran; Indonesia beat Kuwait 4-1 at Solo, Indonesia
Europe/Africa Zone, Second Round: Sweden beat Turkey 4-1 at Antalya, Turkey; Lithuania beat Georgia 3-2 at Tbilisi, Georgia; Denmark beat Norway 4-1 at Stavanger, Norway; South Africa beat Slovenia 5-0 at Centurion, South Africa
Europe/Africa Zone, Relegation Playoff: Tunisia beat Cyprus 4-1 at Nicosia, Cyprus; Finland beat Madagascar 3-2 at Hanko, Finland; Morocco beat Latvia 3-2 at Marrakech, Morocco; Estonia beat Monaco 3-2 at Tallinn, Estonia
Europe Zone at Sozopol, Bulgaria: Ireland and Luxembourg promoted to Europe/Africa Zone Group II in 2018
Asia/Oceania Zone at Isa Town, Bahrain: Cambodia and Saudi Arabia promoted to Zone Group III in 2018
“I was ready to be on the court five, six hours. Because it’s a final, I have to be ready for everything, but I’m happy that I finished it in, let’s say, an easy way. So, I am very happy and proud of myself.” – Daria Kasatkina, after winning her first WTA title, the Volvo Car Open.
“In doubles, you win and lose as a team. so you set shared goals. I never set out to be number one. You always try to improve and string together results to build up confidence. But it’s pretty cool to know I’ve got to number one.” – Henri Kontinen, the first player from Finland and the 50th player to be ranked number one in the world in men’s doubles.
“Everything was going in. She was hitting the lines. Everything that could go her way today was going her way. All I could do was try my best, try my hardest to fight and try and get somewhat of a grip on it. But you know, it is what it is sometimes.” – Caroline Wozniacki, after losing to Jelena Ostapenko in the Volvo Car Open quarterfinals.
“He wants us to play every point, be focused on every point, even if it’s 0-40, 40-0. He just wants to win everything.” – Nicolas Mahut, explaining French Davis Cup captain Yannick Noah.
“I tried my best to think this could be the best match she’ll ever play in her life, honestly. I basically won the match but still lost.” – Venus Williams, after losing to Laura Siegemund in Charleston.
“It gives me a lot of confidence because I was pretty unlucky this year. I’ve had a lot of these kinds of matches, but I was losing them, and you start to doubt. Now I feel very confident on clay and I think I showed I still have some good tennis in my hands.” – Laura Siegemund, after beating Venus Williams.
“A simple phone call would have sufficed to tell me that I was not playing. A captain can have his style, but criteria for selection should be transparent. If it was form, I just won an event. That said, team is more important than me. Country is even bigger. My full support to the team.” – Leander Paes, disappointed after being passed over for a spot on India’s Davis Cup team in its tie against Uzbekistan.
“Indian tennis is far bigger than Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes, and it is important everyone around realizes that and acts accordingly.” – Mahesh Bhupathi.
“I mean, playing Serena, I’m not surprised. Playing Venus, I’m not surprised. And Federer is Federer.” – Madison Keys, when asked if she was surprised by the continued success of Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Roger Federer, all of whom are 35 or older.
“I’ve lived exactly how I’ve wanted to. I’ve tried my hardest every single time. I didn’t win the matches I should have always won, but I really gave it my all. That, for me, is enough.” – Venus Williams.
“I think my forehand, especially on the clay, is heavy. I think a lot of players find it difficult. For me, I love not finishing the point in one-two strokes, but a couple more. On clay that is easier for me. The sliding also.” – Kiki Bertens, who is delighted to be back playing on clay, her favorite surface.
“I think if you’re not enjoying it at this time, what are you doing it for? I don’t have necessarily anything to prove. If you can’t step on court and enjoy that feeling of hitting a winner or having a crowd cheer for you, it’s probably time to do something else.” – Samantha Stosur, the 2011 US Open champion.
The future may have been on view at the Volvo Car Open. In an all-teenager final, the first in a WTA event since 2009, Daria Kasatkina stopped Jelena Ostapenko to win her first tour title. “It’s very difficult to describe my feeling now,” Kasatkina said. “I feel I’m just sleeping and everything is not real.” The victorious Russian won the French Open girls singles in 2014, while her Latvian opponent won the junior Wimbledon title the same year. “These two are the future of women’s tennis,” Hall of Famer Tracy Austin said before the match. “They really have great talent and they have great drive, and you can see that they have a lot of weapons.” Ostapenko won a long sixth game to level the opening set. She would win just one more game in the battle of 19-year-olds. “When I won the last ball, everything like closed and I just feel like I’m dreaming,” said Kasatkina, who was playing in her first WTA final.
Not even the world’s top player could keep Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova from winning the Monterrey, Mexico, tournament. The Russian captured her fourth Abierto GNP Seguros title by shocking Angelique Kerber in the final. Despite being ranked number one in the world, Kerber is still seeking her first title of the season. Pavlyuchenkova continued her sparkling 2017, having reached the quarterfinals at the Australian Open and Indian Wells. After Kerber rallied to win the second set and level the match, the big-hitting Russian raced to a 5-0 lead in the decider. Two games later, Pavlyuchenkova triumphantly lifted the trophy. “I’m really overwhelmed and don’t think I realized that I just won my fourth Monterrey trophy,” Pavlyuchenkova said. “Playing the final against the number one player in the world is already very special because everyone wants to compete against the number one. You don’t get so many chances to do it, so it was one opportunity for me today. Beating her feels amazing.” Pavlyuchenkova also beat Kerber in the Monterrey final in 2013, besides winning the crown in 2010 and 2011.
Nick Kyrgios won both of his singles matches to lead Australia over the United States and into the Davis Cup semifinals. The young Australian captured the decisive rubber with a 7-6 (4) 6-3 6-4 victory over Sam Querrey, slamming an ace on match point. “I’ve been looking forward to this tie for a long time now,” said Kyrgios, who also beat John Isner on the first day. Against Querrey, who replaced Jack Sock in the reverse singles, Kyrgios double-faulted twice in his opening service game and fell behind 0-3. He won the first-set tiebreak on his third set point. He also trailed 1-4 in the third set before rallying to win the decider. “Tough third set out there,” Kyrgios said. Obviously, a lot of emotions close to the finish line. Sock, America’s top-ranked player, was upset in his opening singles by Jordan Thompson. Sock then teamed with Steve Johnson to win the doubles and give the United States its first point. In the dead fifth rubber, Isner downed Sam Groth 7-6 (5) 6-3.
Caroline Wozniacki’s bid for a spot in the Top Ten came up one match short. The former world number one would have earned a spot in the Top Ten if she reached the semifinals of the Volvo Car Open. Instead, she ran into 19-year-old Jelena Ostapenko, who came away with a 6-2 6-4 victory. The Latvian had 40 winners to just 14 by Wozniacki. And the Dane could convert only one of the five break chances she created, while Ostapenko converted four of eight. “I really tried my best out there,” Wozniacki said. “I was trying to grind everything down. I tried to change the pace when I had the opportunity, but I mean if she played like this every day, then she would be number one in the world.”
SET TO RETURN
Victoria Azarenka, less than seven months after giving birth to her son Leo, is returning to the tennis tour in July. “I am very excited to be returning to the WTA at the Bank of the West Classic,” Azarenka said. “Becoming a mother has been the most rewarding thing that has ever happened to me and really puts things in perspective. I am looking forward to beginning this new stage of my career.” The two-time Australian Open champion has not played since winning both the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, USA, and the Miami Open last year. She sat out the remainder of 2016 after announcing she was pregnant. The Bank of the West Classic begins July 31.
Henri Kontinen is now number one in the world, replacing France’s Nicolas Mahut at the top of the Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings. Kontinen is the first player from Finland and the 50th player overall since the team rankings began in Mach 1976 to become world number one. At age 26, Kontinen is the youngest player to reach the top spot in the rankings since American twins Bob and Mike Bryan did it at age 25 in September 2003. Three months earlier, in June 2003, Max Mirnyi of Belarus also became number one in the world at age 25. Kontinen and teammate John Peers of Australia have posted a 25-6 r3ecord since mid-October 2016, capturing titles at the Paris Masters, the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals and the Australian Open.
Laura Siegemund simply outplayed Venus Williams when they clashed in the second round of the Volvo Car Open. “I really played the best game I could,” Williams said after losing 6-4 6-7 (3) 7-5. “I pretty much hit winners, but she hit winners back on me and I just didn’t have any answers for that. I don’t know much more that I could do. I mean, there were some errors I made in the beginning, but when push came to shove, I feel like I did the right things but somehow inexplicably came up empty.” Williams staved off a match point in the second set, breaking Siegemund as she served for the match. The veteran eventually won the set to level the match, before Siegemund saved two match points of her own as Williams served at 5-4. The German won the final three games to reach the third round. “It was a really good match; it was going up and down,” Siegemund said. “I just tried to believe in my game, and if I was down, I told myself I was going to get more chances.”
Defending Davis Cup champion Great Britain didn’t stand a chance against France in the quarterfinals of the international team event. It didn’t help that Great Britain was playing without its top player, world number one Andy Murray, who is injured. France was also missing its top players – Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is currently taking a break from the tour following the birth of his first child, while Richard Gasquet and Gael Monfils are injured. But French captain Yannick went with Nicolas Mahut, Jeremy Chardy, Lucas Pouille and Julien Benneteau, and they came away with a 4-1 victory. “What we hope is that these guys enjoy this moment and keep working hard and having a good season,” Noah said. “The next time we’re going to see each other is going to be after the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open, so there is a lot of tennis to be played.”
In his debut as non-playing captain, Mahesh Bhupathi led India to 4-1 Davis Cup victory over Uzbekistan. But the win came amidst a row between Bhupathi and his former doubles teammate, Leander Paes. Bhupathi passed over Paes when he selected the team to take on Uzbekistan, choosing instead Rohan Bopanna, who partnered Sriram Balaji to win the doubles and give India an unbeatable 3-0 lead. After being left off the Davis Cup team for the first time in 27 years, Paes complained that, “A captain can have his style, but criteria for selection should be transparent. If it was form, I just won an event.” Bhupathi disagreed. “To hear that Leander has suggested I did not inform him and it could have been handled better is not true,” the captain said. “I have followed the most transparent method of dealing with every player in the squad. And, look, it is not about Leander. Nor is it personal. As captain, I will never allow it to be. It is about discipline, about respect and about attitude.”
Paes made his Davis Cup debut for India in 1990 in a tie against Japan. He currently is tied with Nico Pietrangeli of Italy for the most doubles wins in Davis Cup history with 42.
Daniel Garza was successful in his appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The Mexican player had been suspended for six months and fined USD $5,000 after being found guilty of attempting to influence the outcome of a match. The CAS upheld his appeal, meaning Garza can resume his career immediately. He also has been awarded USD $3,000 as a contribution toward his legal expenses. Garza reached a career-high ranking of 294 in 2012.
Charleston: Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova beat Lucie Hradecka and Katerina Siniakova 6-1 4-6 10-7 (match tiebreak)
Monterrey: Nao Hibino and Alicja Rosolska beat Dalila Jakupovic and Nadiia Kichenok 6-2 7-6 (4)
Monte Carlo: www.montecarlotennismasters.com/
Fed Cup: www.fedcup.com/en/
TOURNAMENTS THIS 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
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
$4,935,940 Monte Carlo Rolex Masters, Monte Carlo, Monaco, clay
$125,000 2017 Santaizi Challenger, Taipei, Taiwan, carpet
$125,000 International Challenger China 2017 Qingdao, Qingdao, China, clay
$100,000 2017 Elizabeth Moore Sarasota Open, Sarasota, Florida, USA, clay
$115,000 Zhengzhou Women’s Tennis Open, Zhengzhou, China, hard
World Group Semifinals
United States vs. Czech Republic at Wesley Chapel, Florida, USA, clay
Belarus vs. Switzerland at Minsk, Belarus, hard
World Group Playoffs
France vs. Spain at Roanne, France, clay; Russia vs. Belgium at Moscow, Russia, clay; Germany vs. Ukraine at Stuttgart, Germany, clay; Slovakia vs. Netherlands at Bratislava, Slovakia, clay
World Group II Playoffs
Italy vs. Chinese Taipei at Barletta, Italy, clay; Romania vs. Great Britain at Constanta, Romania, clay; Serbia vs. Australia at Zrenjanin, Serbia, hard; Canada vs. Kazakhstan at Montreal, Quebec, Canada, hard