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Mondays with Bob Greene

 

STARS

 

Stan Wawrinka beat Mischa Zverev 4-6 6-3 6-3 to win the Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open in Geneva, Switzerland

 

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat Tomas Berdych 7-6 (2) 7-5 to win the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Lyon in Lyon, France

 

Kiki Bertens beat Barbora Krejcikova 6-2 6-1 to win the Nürnberger Versicherungs Cup in Nürnberg, Germany

 

Samantha Stosur beat Daria Gavrilova 5-7 6-4 6-3 to win the Internationaux de Strasbourg is Strasbourg, France

 

SAYING

 

“The pressure is always there, especially in the big tournaments and the Grand Slams. Now I have to find myself again and just try to forget the clay court season as soon as possible and then reset for the grass courts.” – Angelique Kerber, who became the first top-seeded woman to lose in the first round of the French Open when she fell to Ekaterina Makarova.

 

“I kind of like big tournaments.” – Ekaterina Makarova, after beating Angelique Kerber 6-2 6-2 on the opening day at Roland Garros.

 

“I’m extremely happy to in my second title in Switzerland. It means a lot to me.” – Stan Wawrinka, who successfully defended his Geneva title.

 

“I am very happy. First title on clay court. … It has been a great week overall.” – Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, after joining Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev as ATP World Tour players who have won three titles this year.

 

“I played four matches, which is good. That’s why I came. One more win and it would be absolutely perfect.” – Tomas Berdych, who lost to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the Lyon final.

 

“I feel at home.” – Rafael Nadal, on making his 13th consecutive appearance at Roland Garros, where he has won nine times.

 

“I was glad to be able to serve the match out very well. Sometimes that’s not an easy thing to do, especially in a final.” – Samantha Stosur, following her title win in Strasbourg.

 

 

“You look up them, to the other ones in the Top 10 and feel strange somehow, because they have been your idols and now you’re with them.” – Dominic Thiem, who says he now feels he belongs among the top players.

 

 

“They played better today for the majority of the match and this time we got a little lucky going down match point.” – Jean-Julien Rojer, who teamed with Horia Tecau to win the doubles in Geneva.

 

“I’m happy with the game, of course, but I mean, it wasn’t really about the game today.” – Petra Kvitova, who won her first match back after undergoing surgery on her playing hand for a serous stab wound inflicted by an intruder in her home in December.

 

“For us it’s amazing. It’s a miracle. Not even me or Petra thought she could be ready to come back so soon. The prognosis was, let’s just say, not optimistic.” – Jiri Novak, Petra Kvitova’s coach.

 

SETS NEW LOW

 

The nightmare just won’t go away for Angelique Kerber. The world’s number one player became the first top-seeded woman to lose in the opening round of the French Open since the Open Era began in 1968. And it wasn’t even close. The 29-year-old German was crushed by Ekaterina Makarova 6-2 6-2 on opening day at Roland Garros. Last year Kerber won two Grand Slam tournaments – the Australian and US Opens – and reached the Wimbledon final to replace Serena Williams at the top of the rankings. This year has been a complete reversal. The highest-ranked player Kerber has beaten in 2017 was 25th-ranked Carla Suárez Navarro. Kerber has remained at the top simply because Williams stopped playing while awaiting the birth of her first child. Kerber was only the fifth top seeded woman to lose in the first round of a Grand Slam tournament in the Open Era. “I think she played good match. It was a tough first round,” Kerber said of Makarova. “I had a few chances in the first set and also in the second set, and I didn’t make it. I think that was the key for the match.” Makarova has twice reached semifinals at Grand Slam tournaments.

 

SWEET SWISS STOP

 

Quietly honing his game in time for the French Open, Stan Wawrinka successfully defended his Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open title by stopping Mischa Zverev in three sets. The 29-year-old Zverev was playing in his first final in seven years and has never won an ATP World Tour title. Still, Zverev won the opening set 4-6 before Wawrinka rallied in the clay court tournament. “The level was great today I think it was a great final,” the world’s third-ranked player said. “Mischa was playing very well and maybe I was hesitating a bit in the beginning. I’m happy that I came back strongly in the second set and managed to turn the match round.” Trailing love-40, Wawrinka came up with five consecutive clutch serves to hold to start the second set. He broke Zverev and held again for a 3-0 lead, eventually leveling the match. Wawrinka won four of the final five games of the match, closing out his victory with a forehand passing shot.

 

SURFACE BREAKTHROUGH

 

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga grew up on red clay. But until this year’s Lyon Open, he had never reached a final on the slow dirt surface. Tsonga stopped Czech Tomas Berdych for his maiden clay-court title. He has won three crowns this year, joining three other players who have won at least three times this year: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev. Berdych reached double set point at 5-4 40-15 on Tsonga’s serve before the Frenchman played the big points perfectly. “It was a very close match,” Berdych said. “I had a very big chance at the end of the first set when I had two set points, and I think that was the key to the match.” The two remained on serve in the second set until the 12th game when Berdych served to stay in the match. But the 31-year-old veterans double-faulted on match point to give Tsonga the title. “I served very well, which allowed me to relax a little I during the returning game,” Tsonga said.

 

SECOND STRAIGHT

 

Kiki Bertens won the Nürnberger Cup for the second straight year when she easily beat Czech qualifier Barbora Krejcikova. “I did not expect to win, but I am really happy,” said Bertens, who reached the semifinals at Roland Garros last year. “It was important to get confidence for the French Open. It could not be better this week.” The week continued the Dutch woman’s strong clay court season. She had reached the quarterfinals in Madrid and the semifinals at Rome. The top-seeded Bertens ripped off the final four games of the opener and the last five of the second set. She finished with seven aces, including one on match point.

 

STILL NUMBER ONE

 

Sam Stosur is still Australia’s number one female player. She assured that result by beating fellow Australian Daria Gavrilova at the Strasbourg International. If Gavrilova had won, she would have surpassed Stosur, who has been Australia’s top WTA player for 450 consecutive weeks, since October 2008. “I felt I was really composed and played very well,” Stosur said. “So, I’m happy to get the lead and hold on in the end.” Playing just her second WTA final, Gavrilova took the early lead. But Stosur broke her opponent late in the second set to level the match. “I tried to hang in there, especially when she was playing very well at the start of the match,” Stosur said. “It was only in the last few games of the third set where she made a few errors, and that’s when I was able to capitalize.” Stosur reached her first Grand Slam tournament semifinal at the 2009 French Open. The next year she beat Justine Henin, Serena Williams and Jelena Jankovic before losing in the final to Italy’s Francesca Schiavone. She also reached the semifinals at Paris last year before falling to eventual champion Garbiñe Muguruza.

 

SICK BAY

 

Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard withdrew from the Nürnberger Cup with a right ankle injury. She tore the ligament in training the previous week. “She told me she needs a miracle” to play the French Open, Nürnberger Cup tournament director Sandra Reichel said. “She sent for her doctor from Canada.”

 

A back injury forced Caroline Wozniacki to retire from the Internationaux de Strasbourg while trailing 7-6 (8) 1-0 to American Shelby Rogers. The tournament’s top seed, Wozniacki was treated during the match, but was unable to continue. Her fitness for Roland Garros is questionable. Wozniacki led the tiebreak 5-1 before Rogers stormed back to take it 10-8.

 

Simona Halep is pretty sure she will be able to compete in the French Open. The Romanian, ranked fourth in the world, said she was “50-50” sure she would play in the year’s second Grand Slam tournament. She suffered an ankle injury during the final of Internazionali BNL d’Italia.

 

Despite pain in his shoulder and back, Juan Martin del Potro is scheduled to play the French Open for the first time since 20012. The Argentine missed all of January and has played seven tournaments this season, posting an 11-6 record. He has gone past the quarterfinals just once.

 

SHE’S BACK

 

Five months after a near-career-ending injury, Petra Kvitova triumphantly returned to competition, winning her first-round French Open match over American Julia Boserup 6-3 6-2. Last December, the left-hander, twice a Wimbledon champion, was slashed on her left hand during a burglary in her Czech Republic home. She didn’t play again until the opening day in Paris at the year’s second Grand Slam tournament. When Boserup netted a forehand on match point, Kvitova dropped her racquet and grabbed her head, her eyes filling with tears. She then sat on her chair and openly wept. “Thank you, guys, I love you so much,” she told the appreciative crowd. “I’m glad with the way I played.”

 

SQUEAKING BY

 

Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu is upset he didn’t receive a wild card for Roland Garros. The 35-year-old is in the main draw, however, after successfully going through the qualifying. “Enough with the farewell wild cards. ‘Paulo’ is not the future,” said French federation president Bernard Giudicelli, backing the decision to give Mathieu a wild card into the main draw. “His career is more behind than ahead of him.” Mathieu is known for battling Rafael Nadal for nearly five hours in the 2006 French Open before the nine-time winner finally won 5-7 6-4 6-4 6-4.

 

SURVIVORS

 

Facing defeat, Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau rallied to win their 14th team title, defeating Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah in the Geneva Open. “It was a really tough match,” Rojer said. The Dutch-Romanian duo survived a championship point at 6-5 in the second set tiebreak and went on to win the match tiebreak 10-6. It was Tecau who came up with the big serves when the duo needed them, hitting a service winner to erase the match point, and the winner to close out the tiebreak.

 

SLOW STARTER

 

Venus Williams might not be as quick as she once was, but she is playing – and winning – in her 20th French Open. The veteran American trailed 4-2 in the first set and 5-3 in the second before stopping China’s Wang Qiang 6-4 7-6 (3). Just three weeks shy of her 37th birthday, Williams staved off her opponent’s two set points before wrapping up the victory. Williams made her debut at Roland Garros in 1997 and was runner-up to her sister Serena on the red clay courts in Paris in 2002. Her second-round opponent, Japan’s Kurumi Nara, will have taken on both the oldest and youngest players in the draw. Nara beat 15-year-old American Amanda Anismova 3-6 7-5 6-4 in her first-round match.

 

SET FOR RETURNING

 

Now that Petra Kvitova has returned to the tennis tour, she will be joined by a couple other players who have been sitting on the sidelines this year.

 

Sabine Lisicki is expected to return to the WTA Tour at the Mallorca Open next month. The 2013 Wimbledon finalist has not played since the Hawaii Open last November when she retired from her quarterfinal match against Jacqueline Cako because of a shoulder injury. “I can’t wait to come back on Tour again,” Lisicki said in a video posted on Twitter. “It’s been a long time. It’s my first tournament of 2017 and I can’t wait to be back on court, fight for every point and do what I love most.”

 

Joining Lisicki at Mallorca will be former world number one Victoria Azarenka. She hasn’t played since last year’s French Open and gave birth to her first child in December. The Belarussian, who twice won the Australian Open, had previously announced she would be ready for Wimbledon, which being on July 3.

 

SUPER SPANIARDS

 

Spaniards Sergio Casal and Emilio Sanchez will receive the International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) highest honor, the Philippe Chatrier Award, for their services to the game as players and coaches. Named after the former ITF president, the award is presented annually for outstanding contributions to tennis. Former recipients include Billie Jean King, John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova, the All England Club and Brad Parks. Casal and Sanchez were one of the leading doubles teams of their era, winning 44 tournaments together, including two Grand Slam tournament titles. They won the silver medal at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. In 1998, they opened the Sanchez-Casal Academy in Barcelona, Spain. They have since opened academies in Florida in 2012 and in Nanjing, China, last year.

 

SET FOR TORONTO

 

Thanks to receiving a wild card entry, Maria Sharapova will be playing in the Rogers Cup in Toronto this year. Since returning from a 15-month doping ban, the former world number one player has used wild cards to play three events on the WTA Tour. She was denied a wild card into the French Open, but has qualified for the qualifying tournament into Wimbledon. The Russian is currently ranked 173rd in the world. If her ranking rises and she makes the main draw on her own, the wild card would go to another player.

 

SEEKING HELP

 

Beginning in 2019, fans will be able to vote players into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Todd Martin, CEO of the Newport, Rhode Island, USA, shrine, announced other changes to its induction policies. Players will be automatically added to the ballot if they have won five major singles titles; won three major singles titles and spent at least 13 weeks ranked number one in the world; won 15 major doubles titles; or won 12 major doubles titles and spent at least 52 weeks ranked number one. Players can remain on the ballot for three years. If they fail to be voted into the Hall, they would be removed for two years before being eligible to return to the ballot. The Recent Player and Master Player categories will be replaced by just a Player category. After next year’s class, players retired for more than 20 years will be ineligible for that category. In another change, the Wheelchair and Contributor categories will be open every four years instead of annually.

 

SIGNAGE

 

Margaret Smith Court’s name will remain on an Australian Open arena, despite the player’s personal beliefs. Court, who has won a record 24 Grand Slam tournament singles titles, said she would no longer fly Qantas Airlines because of the airline chief executive’s support for same-sex marriage. “I believe in marriage as a union between a man and a woman as stated in the Bible,” the 74-year-old Court said in an open letter published in The Western Australian. Martina Navratilova was one of many tennis players who said Court’s name should be removed from the arena because of her anti-gay remarks. But Australian Open officials said Court’s name will remain on the stadium.

 

SURVEYMONKEY

 

Tennis isn’t the only game for Serena Williams. The player has joined the board of online survey giant SurveyMonkey, whose board member, Sheryl Sandberg, and her late husband, Dave Goldberg, were longtime friends of the superstar.  Goldberg was the former CEO of SurveyMonkey. “Everything just came together easily,” Williams told Fortune Magazine. Williams is the world’s highest paid female athlete with USD $77.6 million in career prize money, according to Forbes.

 

SHARED PERFORMANCES

 

Geneva: Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau beat Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah 2-6 7-6 (9) 10-6 (match tiebreak)

 

Lyon: Andres Molteni and Adil Shamasdin beat Marcus Daniell and Marcelo Demoliner 3-6 6-3 10-5 (match tiebreak)

 

Nürnberg: Nicole Melichar and Anna Smith beat Kirsten Flipkens and Johanna Larsson 3-6 6-3 11-9 (match tiebreak)

 

Strasbourg: Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua beat Chan Hao-Ching and Chan Yung-Jan 6-4 6-2

 

SURFING

 

Paris: www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/index.html

Prostejov: www.czech-open.cz

Marseille: www.openfeminindemarseille.com

Surbiton: www.lta.org.uk/major-events/aegon-trophy-series

 

TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK

 

MEN and WOMEN

 

French Open, Paris, France, clay (first week)

 

TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK

 

MEN

 

French Open, Paris, France, clay (second week)

$142,187 Unicredit Czech Open, Prostejov, Czech Republic, clay

$142,187 Aegon Surbiton Trophy, Surbiton, Great Britain, grass

 

WOMEN

 

French Open, Paris, France, clay (second week)

$100,000 Open Féminin de Marseille Trophée les Terrasses du Port, Marseille, France, clay

$100,000 Aegon Surbiton Trophy, Surbiton, Great Britain, grass

 

 

STARS

Stan Wawrinka beat Mischa Zverev 4-6 6-3 6-3 to win the Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open in Geneva, Switzerland

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat Tomas Berdych 7-6 (2) 7-5 to win the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Lyon in Lyon, France

Kiki Bertens beat Barbora Krejcikova 6-2 6-1 to win the Nürnberger Versicherungs Cup in Nürnberg, Germany

Samantha Stosur beat Daria Gavrilova 5-7 6-4 6-3 to win the Internationaux de Strasbourg is Strasbourg, France

 

SAYING

“The pressure is always there, especially in the big tournaments and the Grand Slams. Now I have to find myself again and just try to forget the clay court season as soon as possible and then reset for the grass courts.” – Angelique Kerber, who became the first top-seeded woman to lose in the first round of the French Open when she fell to Ekaterina Makarova.

“I kind of like big tournaments.” – Ekaterina Makarova, after beating Angelique Kerber 6-2 6-2 on the opening day at Roland Garros.

“I’m extremely happy to in my second title in Switzerland. It means a lot to me.” – Stan Wawrinka, who successfully defended his Geneva title.

“I am very happy. First title on clay court. … It has been a great week overall.” – Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, after joining Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev as ATP World Tour players who have won three titles this year.

“I played four matches, which is good. That’s why I came. One more win and it would be absolutely perfect.” – Tomas Berdych, who lost to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the Lyon final.

“I feel at home.” – Rafael Nadal, on making his 13th consecutive appearance at Roland Garros, where he has won nine times.

“I was glad to be able to serve the match out very well. Sometimes that’s not an easy thing to do, especially in a final.” – Samantha Stosur, following her title win in Strasbourg.

“You look up them, to the other ones in the Top 10 and feel strange somehow, because they have been your idols and now you’re with them.” – Dominic Thiem, who says he now feels he belongs among the top players.

“They played better today for the majority of the match and this time we got a little lucky going down match point.” – Jean-Julien Rojer, who teamed with Horia Tecau to win the doubles in Geneva.

“I’m happy with the game, of course, but I mean, it wasn’t really about the game today.” – Petra Kvitova, who won her first match back after undergoing surgery on her playing hand for a serous stab wound inflicted by an intruder in her home in December.

“For us it’s amazing. It’s a miracle. Not even me or Petra thought she could be ready to come back so soon. The prognosis was, let’s just say, not optimistic.” – Jiri Novak, Petra Kvitova’s coach.

 

SETS NEW LOW

The nightmare just won’t go away for Angelique Kerber. The world’s number one player became the first top-seeded woman to lose in the opening round of the French Open since the Open Era began in 1968. And it wasn’t even close. The 29-year-old German was crushed by Ekaterina Makarova 6-2 6-2 on opening day at Roland Garros. Last year Kerber won two Grand Slam tournaments – the Australian and US Opens – and reached the Wimbledon final to replace Serena Williams at the top of the rankings. This year has been a complete reversal. The highest-ranked player Kerber has beaten in 2017 was 25th-ranked Carla Suárez Navarro. Kerber has remained at the top simply because Williams stopped playing while awaiting the birth of her first child. Kerber was only the fifth top seeded woman to lose in the first round of a Grand Slam tournament in the Open Era. “I think she played good match. It was a tough first round,” Kerber said of Makarova. “I had a few chances in the first set and also in the second set, and I didn’t make it. I think that was the key for the match.” Makarova has twice reached semifinals at Grand Slam tournaments.

 

SWEET SWISS STOP

Quietly honing his game in time for the French Open, Stan Wawrinka successfully defended his Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open title by stopping Mischa Zverev in three sets. The 29-year-old Zverev was playing in his first final in seven years and has never won an ATP World Tour title. Still, Zverev won the opening set 4-6 before Wawrinka rallied in the clay court tournament. “The level was great today I think it was a great final,” the world’s third-ranked player said. “Mischa was playing very well and maybe I was hesitating a bit in the beginning. I’m happy that I came back strongly in the second set and managed to turn the match round.” Trailing love-40, Wawrinka came up with five consecutive clutch serves to hold to start the second set. He broke Zverev and held again for a 3-0 lead, eventually leveling the match. Wawrinka won four of the final five games of the match, closing out his victory with a forehand passing shot.

 

SURFACE BREAKTHROUGH

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga grew up on red clay. But until this year’s Lyon Open, he had never reached a final on the slow dirt surface. Tsonga stopped Czech Tomas Berdych for his maiden clay-court title. He has won three crowns this year, joining three other players who have won at least three times this year: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev. Berdych reached double set point at 5-4 40-15 on Tsonga’s serve before the Frenchman played the big points perfectly. “It was a very close match,” Berdych said. “I had a very big chance at the end of the first set when I had two set points, and I think that was the key to the match.” The two remained on serve in the second set until the 12th game when Berdych served to stay in the match. But the 31-year-old veterans double-faulted on match point to give Tsonga the title. “I served very well, which allowed me to relax a little I during the returning game,” Tsonga said.

 

SECOND STRAIGHT

Kiki Bertens won the Nürnberger Cup for the second straight year when she easily beat Czech qualifier Barbora Krejcikova. “I did not expect to win, but I am really happy,” said Bertens, who reached the semifinals at Roland Garros last year. “It was important to get confidence for the French Open. It could not be better this week.” The week continued the Dutch woman’s strong clay court season. She had reached the quarterfinals in Madrid and the semifinals at Rome. The top-seeded Bertens ripped off the final four games of the opener and the last five of the second set. She finished with seven aces, including one on match point.

 

STILL NUMBER ONE

Sam Stosur is still Australia’s number one female player. She assured that result by beating fellow Australian Daria Gavrilova at the Strasbourg International. If Gavrilova had won, she would have surpassed Stosur, who has been Australia’s top WTA player for 450 consecutive weeks, since October 2008. “I felt I was really composed and played very well,” Stosur said. “So, I’m happy to get the lead and hold on in the end.” Playing just her second WTA final, Gavrilova took the early lead. But Stosur broke her opponent late in the second set to level the match. “I tried to hang in there, especially when she was playing very well at the start of the match,” Stosur said. “It was only in the last few games of the third set where she made a few errors, and that’s when I was able to capitalize.” Stosur reached her first Grand Slam tournament semifinal at the 2009 French Open. The next year she beat Justine Henin, Serena Williams and Jelena Jankovic before losing in the final to Italy’s Francesca Schiavone. She also reached the semifinals at Paris last year before falling to eventual champion Garbiñe Muguruza.

 

SICK BAY

Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard withdrew from the Nürnberger Cup with a right ankle injury. She tore the ligament in training the previous week. “She told me she needs a miracle” to play the French Open, Nürnberger Cup tournament director Sandra Reichel said. “She sent for her doctor from Canada.”

A back injury forced Caroline Wozniacki to retire from the Internationaux de Strasbourg while trailing 7-6 (8) 1-0 to American Shelby Rogers. The tournament’s top seed, Wozniacki was treated during the match, but was unable to continue. Her fitness for Roland Garros is questionable. Wozniacki led the tiebreak 5-1 before Rogers stormed back to take it 10-8.

Simona Halep is pretty sure she will be able to compete in the French Open. The Romanian, ranked fourth in the world, said she was “50-50” sure she would play in the year’s second Grand Slam tournament. She suffered an ankle injury during the final of Internazionali BNL d’Italia.

Despite pain in his shoulder and back, Juan Martin del Potro is scheduled to play the French Open for the first time since 20012. The Argentine missed all of January and has played seven tournaments this season, posting an 11-6 record. He has gone past the quarterfinals just once.

 

SHE’S BACK

Five months after a near-career-ending injury, Petra Kvitova triumphantly returned to competition, winning her first-round French Open match over American Julia Boserup 6-3 6-2. Last December, the left-hander, twice a Wimbledon champion, was slashed on her left hand during a burglary in her Czech Republic home. She didn’t play again until the opening day in Paris at the year’s second Grand Slam tournament. When Boserup netted a forehand on match point, Kvitova dropped her racquet and grabbed her head, her eyes filling with tears. She then sat on her chair and openly wept. “Thank you, guys, I love you so much,” she told the appreciative crowd. “I’m glad with the way I played.”

 

SQUEAKING BY

Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu is upset he didn’t receive a wild card for Roland Garros. The 35-year-old is in the main draw, however, after successfully going through the qualifying. “Enough with the farewell wild cards. ‘Paulo’ is not the future,” said French federation president Bernard Giudicelli, backing the decision to give Mathieu a wild card into the main draw. “His career is more behind than ahead of him.” Mathieu is known for battling Rafael Nadal for nearly five hours in the 2006 French Open before the nine-time winner finally won 5-7 6-4 6-4 6-4.

 

SURVIVORS

Facing defeat, Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau rallied to win their 14th team title, defeating Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah in the Geneva Open. “It was a really tough match,” Rojer said. The Dutch-Romanian duo survived a championship point at 6-5 in the second set tiebreak and went on to win the match tiebreak 10-6. It was Tecau who came up with the big serves when the duo needed them, hitting a service winner to erase the match point, and the winner to close out the tiebreak.

 

SLOW STARTER

Venus Williams might not be as quick as she once was, but she is playing – and winning – in her 20th French Open. The veteran American trailed 4-2 in the first set and 5-3 in the second before stopping China’s Wang Qiang 6-4 7-6 (3). Just three weeks shy of her 37th birthday, Williams staved off her opponent’s two set points before wrapping up the victory. Williams made her debut at Roland Garros in 1997 and was runner-up to her sister Serena on the red clay courts in Paris in 2002. Her second-round opponent, Japan’s Kurumi Nara, will have taken on both the oldest and youngest players in the draw. Nara beat 15-year-old American Amanda Anismova 3-6 7-5 6-4 in her first-round match.

 

SET FOR RETURNING

Now that Petra Kvitova has returned to the tennis tour, she will be joined by a couple other players who have been sitting on the sidelines this year.

Sabine Lisicki is expected to return to the WTA Tour at the Mallorca Open next month. The 2013 Wimbledon finalist has not played since the Hawaii Open last November when she retired from her quarterfinal match against Jacqueline Cako because of a shoulder injury. “I can’t wait to come back on Tour again,” Lisicki said in a video posted on Twitter. “It’s been a long time. It’s my first tournament of 2017 and I can’t wait to be back on court, fight for every point and do what I love most.”

Joining Lisicki at Mallorca will be former world number one Victoria Azarenka. She hasn’t played since last year’s French Open and gave birth to her first child in December. The Belarussian, who twice won the Australian Open, had previously announced she would be ready for Wimbledon, which being on July 3.

 

SUPER SPANIARDS

Spaniards Sergio Casal and Emilio Sanchez will receive the International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) highest honor, the Philippe Chatrier Award, for their services to the game as players and coaches. Named after the former ITF president, the award is presented annually for outstanding contributions to tennis. Former recipients include Billie Jean King, John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova, the All England Club and Brad Parks. Casal and Sanchez were one of the leading doubles teams of their era, winning 44 tournaments together, including two Grand Slam tournament titles. They won the silver medal at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. In 1998, they opened the Sanchez-Casal Academy in Barcelona, Spain. They have since opened academies in Florida in 2012 and in Nanjing, China, last year.

 

SET FOR TORONTO

Thanks to receiving a wild card entry, Maria Sharapova will be playing in the Rogers Cup in Toronto this year. Since returning from a 15-month doping ban, the former world number one player has used wild cards to play three events on the WTA Tour. She was denied a wild card into the French Open, but has qualified for the qualifying tournament into Wimbledon. The Russian is currently ranked 173rd in the world. If her ranking rises and she makes the main draw on her own, the wild card would go to another player.

 

SEEKING HELP

Beginning in 2019, fans will be able to vote players into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Todd Martin, CEO of the Newport, Rhode Island, USA, shrine, announced other changes to its induction policies. Players will be automatically added to the ballot if they have won five major singles titles; won three major singles titles and spent at least 13 weeks ranked number one in the world; won 15 major doubles titles; or won 12 major doubles titles and spent at least 52 weeks ranked number one. Players can remain on the ballot for three years. If they fail to be voted into the Hall, they would be removed for two years before being eligible to return to the ballot. The Recent Player and Master Player categories will be replaced by just a Player category. After next year’s class, players retired for more than 20 years will be ineligible for that category. In another change, the Wheelchair and Contributor categories will be open every four years instead of annually.

 

SIGNAGE

Margaret Smith Court’s name will remain on an Australian Open arena, despite the player’s personal beliefs. Court, who has won a record 24 Grand Slam tournament singles titles, said she would no longer fly Qantas Airlines because of the airline chief executive’s support for same-sex marriage. “I believe in marriage as a union between a man and a woman as stated in the Bible,” the 74-year-old Court said in an open letter published in The Western Australian. Martina Navratilova was one of many tennis players who said Court’s name should be removed from the arena because of her anti-gay remarks. But Australian Open officials said Court’s name will remain on the stadium.

 

SURVEYMONKEY

Tennis isn’t the only game for Serena Williams. The player has joined the board of online survey giant SurveyMonkey, whose board member, Sheryl Sandberg, and her late husband, Dave Goldberg, were longtime friends of the superstar.  Goldberg was the former CEO of SurveyMonkey. “Everything just came together easily,” Williams told Fortune Magazine. Williams is the world’s highest paid female athlete with USD $77.6 million in career prize money, according to Forbes.

 

SHARED PERFORMANCES

Geneva: Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau beat Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah 2-6 7-6 (9) 10-6 (match tiebreak)

Lyon: Andres Molteni and Adil Shamasdin beat Marcus Daniell and Marcelo Demoliner 3-6 6-3 10-5 (match tiebreak)

Nürnberg: Nicole Melichar and Anna Smith beat Kirsten Flipkens and Johanna Larsson 3-6 6-3 11-9 (match tiebreak)

Strasbourg: Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua beat Chan Hao-Ching and Chan Yung-Jan 6-4 6-2

 

SURFING

Paris: www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/index.html

 

Prostejov: www.czech-open.cz

Marseille: www.openfeminindemarseille.com

Surbiton: www.lta.org.uk/major-events/aegon-trophy-series

 

TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK

 

MEN and WOMEN

French Open, Paris, France, clay (first week)

 

TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK

MEN

French Open, Paris, France, clay (second week)

$142,187 Unicredit Czech Open, Prostejov, Czech Republic, clay

$142,187 Aegon Surbiton Trophy, Surbiton, Great Britain, grass

 

WOMEN

French Open, Paris, France, clay (second week)

$100,000 Open Féminin de Marseille Trophée les Terrasses du Port, Marseille, France, clay

$100,000 Aegon Surbiton Trophy, Surbiton, Great Britain, grass

 

Angelique Kerber

Angelique Kerber



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About Admin
Randy Walker is a communications and marketing specialist, writer, tennis historian and the managing partner of New Chapter Media – www.NewChapterMedia.com. He was a 12-year veteran of the U.S. Tennis Association’s marketing and communications division where he worked as the press officer for 22 U.S. Davis Cup ties, three Olympic tennis teams and was an integral part of USTA media services team for 14 US Opens. He is the author of the books ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY and THE DAYS OF ROGER FEDERER

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