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Mondays with Bob Greene

 

STARS

Leonardo Mayer beat Florian Mayer 6-4 4-6 6-3 to win the German Tennis Championships in Hamburg, Germany

John Isner beat Ryan Harrison 7-6 (6) 7-6 (7) to win the BB&T Atlanta Open in Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Fabio Fognini beat Yannick Hanfmann 6-4 7-5 to win the J. Safra Sarasin Swiss Open in Gstaad, Switzerland

Peng Shuai beat Nao Hibino 6-3 6-2 to win the JiangXi Open in Nanchang, China

Katerina Siniakova beat Caroline Wozniacki 6-3 6-4 to win the Ericsson Open in Båstad, Sweden

Blaz Kavcic bet Peter Polansky 6-2 2-6 7-5 to win the Challenger Banque Nationale de Granby in Granby, Quebec, Canada

 

SAYING

“I’ve made a decision to not play any competitions or tournaments for the rest of the 2017 season. It’s a decision that had to be made.” – Novak Djokovic, ending his season because of a right elbow injury.

“I couldn’t imagine a better week. I’m so happy that I won. I was just enjoying the game.” – Katerina Siniakova, after beating Caroline Wozniacki to win the Ericsson Open.

“I’m looking forward to the US Open Series and the US Open. It’s one of the tournaments where I’ve done my best, and it’s one of my favorite tournaments of the year. I’m excited to go back, see how I can do on the hardcourts and hopefully finish the year strongly.” – Caroline Wozniacki.

“This is always going to be my favorite time of year.” – John Isner, after reaching the Atlanta Open final for the seventh time in eight years and winning the tournament for the fourth time in five years, his 12th career ATP title

“Believe it or not, I am actually looking forward to playing the top seeds in the third or fourth round of major tournaments because for once the pressure will be off.” – Novak Djokovic, acknowledging he probably will drop out of the Top 10 rankings after skipping the last six months of this season.

“Five years ago, we committed to the players that total player compensation for players would reach USD $50 million at the US Open, and we are honoring that commitment.” – Katrina Adams, USTA President, in a statement announcing the record USD $50.4 million purse for this year’s US Open.

 

SEASON ENDED

In a bid to recover from a right elbow injury, Novak Djokovic has stepped away from tennis for the remainder of this year. “I have been dragging this injury for the past 18 months and it has escalated in the last month or two,” the 12-time Grand Slam tournament champion said. “It became very painful at Wimbledon, where unfortunately I had to retire against (Tomas) Berdych.” Djokovic consulted doctors and specialists before deciding to rest for the next six months, missing the US Open for the first time since 2004. He said surgery would not be necessary. After winning four straight major tournaments – the French Open last year giving him a career Grand Slam – Djokovic has struggled with the elbow injury. “I have to admit that I wasn’t quite as poised after lifting the Roland Garros because I felt flat after all the exertions,” the Serbian right-hander said. He also noted the resurgence of both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal after they both took off the last half of last season. This year Federer has already won five titles, including the Australian Open and Wimbledon, while Nadal won the French Open for a record 10th time. “The bright side is that now I have time to heal and build up my body and strength and focus on elements of my game that I never had time to work on,” Djokovic said. “I want to play professional tennis for many years to come.”

 

SWEET ON CLAY

Fabio Fognini pounded out a straight-set victory over qualifier Yannick Hanfmann to capture the Swiss Open. No surprise that the Gstaad, Switzerland, tournament is played on clay. It was Fognini’s fifth ATP World Tour title, all coming on clay. “It’s always a nice feeling when you win,” said the 31-year-old Italian, who didn’t look like a champion at the start of the week. “This week was really tough for me,” Fognini said. “I lost my first set 6-1 in 20 minutes. But each day I felt better and better.” In his first match, Fognini recovered to stop Slovakian Norbert Gombos 1-6 6-4 6-3. And he needed three sets in his next two matches as he beat Ernests Gulbis and second-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut. In the final he took on a German qualifier who was ranked 170th in the world. Despite losing in the title match, Hanfmann enjoyed the best week of his career, winning six matches in seven days. But Hanfmann ran into a buzz saw in Fognini. The Italian fired 21 winners, including two aces, while committing just 11 unforced errors. It was Fognini’s first title in just over a year.

 

SINIAKOVA TRIUMPHANT

For Caroline Wozniacki, it has become a sickening rut. She has been on a winning tear until the final in tournaments. The Ericsson Open was the fifth time this season the former world number one reached a title match, only to lose. This time it was to Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic, who won her second career title. “It’s really amazing for me,” said Siniakova, who was runner-up at the Båstad, Sweden, tournament last year. “Last year was really good, and so I’m so happy that I came back because I couldn’t imagine a better week.” Siniakova was only one of Wozniacki’s problems. The title match was delayed for more than two hours by heavy rain. And both players needed medical time-outs during the battle. A right elbow injury may have been responsible for the 39 unforced errors the Dane committed against just 19 winners. “It was a tough match,” Wozniacki said. “Katerina played very well, so congratulations on winning the title.”

 

STILL SMOKIN’

For the second straight week John Isner has claimed the big trophy. This time the second seed edged fellow American Ryan Harrison to win the BB&T Atlanta Open for the fourth time in five years. He won in Newport, Rhode Island, USA the week before. Isner also won Atlanta in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Neither player lost serve in the opening set and Isner had to stave off a set point with a booming serve in the tiebreak. He then converted a set-point of his own at 7-6 with a forehand winner. Isner’s run of 75 consecutive service holds, dating back to the Newport tournament, ended when Harrison took a 2-0 lead in the second set. But Isner broke right back and they held to another tiebreaker. Harrison saved one match point before reaching a set point at 7-6. Isner erased it was an ace, then wrapped up the victory on his second match point with a forehand winner up the line.

 

SWEET COMEBACK

For the second straight week, a lucky loser has wound up a winner on the ATP World Tour. This time, it was Leonardo Mayer who, after losing in the final round of qualifying, got a spot in the main and ended up winning the German Tennis Championships. “It’s something special about this sport,” the winner said. “I lost in qualifying and then beat the number one seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the first round. It also happened last week in Umag with (Andrey) Rublev. Now I took the opportunity.” The Argentine beat Germany’s Florian Mayer for the title, only his second. Leonardo won his only other tournament in 2014. In Hamburg, Leonardo lost to 16-year-old Rudolf Molleker in qualifying before gaining a spot in the main draw when Martin Klizan withdrew with a calf injury. Florian Mayer was attempting to become the first German to win in Hamburg since Michal Stich in 1993.

 

SHUAI POWER

Playing at home suits Peng Shuai perfectly. The Chinese player won her second title when she captured the Jiangxi Open in Nanchang, China. The 31-year-old won her maiden WTA singles crown last year in Tianjin, China. This time, Peng crushed Japan’s Nao Hibino in a final that lasted just under 90 minutes. Seeded second, Peng never was in real trouble during the week, becoming the only seeded player to reach the semifinals of the hard-court tournament.

 

STRENGTH THROUGH STRUGGLES 

Her 15-month drug suspension has made her stronger, Maria Sharapova says. “These last two years have been tougher, so much tougher, than I ever could have anticipated,” the Russian wrote in a column for The Players’ Tribute, but “my passion for the game has never wavered. If anything, it’s only grown stronger.” The winner of five Grand Slam tournaments, the 30-year-old Sharapova returned from her ban in April when she played in Stuttgart, Germany. She also played the Madrid Open and the Italian Open before a thigh injury sidelined her for the grass-court season. She returns to the WTA tour this week at the Bank of West Classic in Stanford, California, USA. Sharapova said she’s “not oblivious” to the criticisms tournaments received for giving her wild-card entries. “I’ve never wanted to respond to the people trashing me by trashing them back; that’s always been important to me,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to face my critics by simply taking the high road. And by showing them, by showing everyone, that taking the high road is a choice.”

STRAIGHT IN

Maria Sharapova isn’t the only player receiving wild-card entries into tournaments. Petra Kvitova has received a wild card into Stanford, giving the Bank of the West five Grand Slam champions in its field. Kvitova returned to the WTA tour at the French Open after having not played since her left playing hand was badly cut in a knife attack at her home in the Czech Republic. Twice a Wimbledon winner, Kvitova won her second event back, at Birmingham, Great Britain.

Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard and Sharapova have received wild cards into the Roger Cup, a hard-court event played in Toronto this year.

Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka, Sloane Stephens and young Czech Marketa Vondrousova have received wild cards into the Western & Southern tournament in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. Azarenka is playing again following the birth of her son, Leo, while Stephens had been sidelined by injuries.

 

SURGICAL RECUPERATION

The sight of Bethanie Mattek-Sands lying sprawled on the court at Wimbledon was shown on television repeatedly, the American’s right leg bent as she screamed in pain. Now, the world number one-ranked doubles player is back in training despite wearing a full leg brace. The 32-year-old Mattek-Sands dislocated her kneecap and underwent surgery to repair a torn patella tendon. She recently posted videos of her training efforts, including lifting weights. She also is working on her cardiovascular fitness by using a stationary bicycle.

 

SAYING VOWS

Serena Williams wasn’t the only player to win a Grand Slam tournament title while expecting a baby. Jordanne Whiley was 11 weeks pregnant when she teamed with Yui Kamiji to win the wheelchair doubles title at Wimbledon. A 10-time Grand Slam tournament winner, Whiley is also a two-time Paralympic bronze medalist. The father is Marc McCarroll, Whiley’s partner of five years and also her coach. “It was planned,” Whiley told women’s sports website The Mixed Zone. “After Rio we decided we wanted a family. I thought, ‘If we start trying in May, I could still play Wimbledon,’ and it worked. But I had no idea how incredibly sick I’d be.”

 

STRAIGHT TO THE BANK

The US Open will pay out a record USD $50.4 million at this year’s tournament. That’s an increase of USD $4 million over last year, once again making America’s premier tournament the richest event in tennis. The winners of the men’s and women’s singles will each pocket $3.7 million, while prize money for each round will increase by an average of 7.5 percent compared to a year ago. The qualifying tournament has increased its purse by 49.2 percent over 2016 to USD $2.9 million. This year’s US Open will be held from August 28 to September 10.

 

SEX CHARGES FILED

The father of retired Australian tennis star Mark Philippoussis was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting two nine-year-old girls he coached in California. Nikolaos Salvator Philippoussis, who pled “not guilty,” was held on USD $9.2 million bail and was ordered to surrender his passport. The 68-year-old Philippoussis was working as a private tennis instructor in San Diego County, California, USA, at the time of the alleged assaults. He faces a maximum of 210 years in prison if convicted.

 

SAD NEWS

Australian Mervyn Rose, a champion player who later worked with Billie Jean King and Margaret Court, is dead at the age of 87. The left-hander won two Grand Slam tournament titles – at Australia in 1954 and the French in 1958 – and was ranked as high as third in the world. He also won the three major men’s doubles titles, the US Championships in 1953 and the Australian and Wimbledon in 1954. Inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2001, Rose was on the Australian team that won the Davis Cup in 1951 and 1957.

 

SHARED PERFORMANCES

Atlanta: Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan beat Wesley Koolhof and Artem Sitak 6-3 6-4

Båstad: Quirine Lemoine and Arantxa Rus beat Maria Irigoyen and Barbora Krejcikova 3-6 6-3 10-8 (match tiebreak)

Granby: Joe Salisbury and Jackson Withrow beat Marcel Felder and Go Soeda 4-6 6-3 10-6 (match tiebreak)

Gstaad: Oliver Marach and Philipp Oswald beat Jonathan Eysseric and Franko Skugor 6-3 4-6 10-8 (match tiebreak)

Hamburg: Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavic beat Pablo Cuevas and Marc Lopez 6-3 6-4

Nanchang: Jiang Xinyu and Tang Qianhui beat Alla Kudryavtseva and Arina Rodionova 6-3 6-2

 

SURFING

Washington: www.citiopentennis.com/

Los Cabos: www.abiertoloscabos.com/es/

Kitzbühel: www.generaliopen.com/

Biella: http://ifaggiclub.it/

Stanford: www.bankofthewestclassic.com/

Montreal: www.rogerscup.com/

Toronto: www.couperogers.com/en/

Aptos: www.seascapesportsclub.com/

 

TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK

MEN

$2,002,460 Citi Open, Washington, DC, USA, hard

$729,995 Abierto Mexicano de Tenis Mifel presentado por Cinemex, Los Cabos, Mexico, hard

$630,247 Generali Open, Kitzbühel, Austria, clay

$125,000 International Challenger Chengdu, Chengdu, China, clay

$123,644 Thindown Challenger Biella, Biella, Italy, clay

 

WOMEN

$710,900 Bank of the West Classic, Stanford, California, USA, hard

$226,750 Citi Open, Washington, DC, USA, hard

 

TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK

MEN

$4,662,300 Coupe Rogers, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, hard

$150,000 China International Challenger Jinan 2017, Jinan, China, hard

$100,000 Nordic Naturals Challenger, Aptos, California, USA, hard

 

WOMEN

$2,434,389 Rogers Cup presented by National Bank, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, hard

 

John Isner

John Isner



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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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