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Mondays with Bob Greene

 

STARS

Alexander Zverev beat Roger Federer 6-3 6-4 to win the Coupe Rogers in Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Elina Svitolina beat Caroline Wozniacki 6-4 6-0 to win the Rogers Cup presented by National Bank in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Lu Yen-Hsun beat Ricardas Berankis 6-3 6-1 to win the China International Challenger in Jinan, China

Alexander Bublik beat Liam Broady 6-2 6-3 to win the Nordic Naturals Challenger in Aptos, California, USA

 

SAYING

“This one against Roger is something so special for me because he was always a great idol growing up for me. The greatest player of all time, beating him in a final, not just any final but in the final of a Masters 1000, is amazing.” – Alexander Zverev, after beating Roger Federer to win in Montreal.

“I’m disappointed with today. I thought I would do better. I wanted to fight a bit more and make the match a bit more tighter. I had opportunities. But Zverev played extremely well. He played well all week.” – Roger Federer, following his loss to Alexander Zverev in the Montreal final.

“My whole life has changed in the past five days. It’s crazy how it is.” – Denis Shapovalov, the 18-year-old Canadian who reached the semifinals at the Montreal Masters.

“It has been amazing. The title’s very special for me and I am very happy that it could happen here.” – Elina Svitolina, after winning the Rogers Cup in Toronto.

“Hopefully I will get another chance to get the trophy.” – Caroline Wozniacki, who lost her seventh straight final, this time to Elina Svitolina.

“I went for my shots in the big moments and I caught a couple of lines, got a little bit lucky, but at the end of the day that is what tennis is.” – Denis Shapovalov, an 18-year-old Canadian after upsetting Rafael Nadal in Montreal.

“He has nothing to lose. It is win-win for him. If he lost playing a good match, it was good for him. If he lost in straight sets, already he played a good tournament. If he won, he’s amazing. Just well done for him. It’s a great story.” – Rafael Nadal, after losing to Denis Shapovalov.

“We battled, both tried to find a way to win. You know, he had a good start, I had a better finish.” – Roger Federer, after beating David Ferrer 4-6 6-4 6-2 in Montreal.

“It’s going to be tough. There are a few tournaments to go before the end of the year and I know Simona’s (Simona Halep) behind me. I’ll do my best to stay there as long as I can – hopefully a few more weeks.” – Karolina Pliskova, admitting she faces a tough challenge to hold onto her world number one ranking.

“I think I was moving very well and retrieving and just trying to stay aggressive when I could. But it was a difficult match. And I think it was closer than what the score-line showed.” – Caroline Wozniacki, after beating Sloane Stephens 6-3 6-2.

 

SHOCKER

Showing he belongs among the top players in the world, 20-year-old Alexander Zverev blasted Roger Federer in straight sets to capture the Montreal Masters, aka Rogers Cup. It was Zverev’s fifth title of the season, tying Federer for the tops on the ATP World Tour. “I tried to be aggressive as I can,” Zverev said. “If Roger starts being aggressive with his forehand and backhand, then it is not going to be an easy day for me.” Using his big serve, Zverev dominated play against the man who has dominated the men’s tour so far this year. The young German slammed six aces and won 80 percent of his first serve points. His defense was just as strong as he tracked down almost every shot Federer took. “It’s a wonderful achievement for him,” said Federer, who beat Zverev in the final at Halle, Germany, in June. “I’m just really happy for him, to see that he’s taking everything not just to the next level, but the two next levels.” Federer, who is close to taking over the world number one ranking, suffered only his third loss of the season and had his winning match streak snapped at 16. The 36-year-old said playing a lot on the hardcourts this week caught up to him on Sunday. “After vacation and practice, it’s always a bit of a shock for the body,” he said. “We’ll have to wait and see now how I feel in the next couple of days.” Federer was going after his 94th career title, which would have moved him into a tie for second all-time with Ivan Lendl.

 

SVITOLINA TRIUMPHANT

Elina Svitolina turned a nightmare of a draw into the title of her dreams in Toronto. The 22-year-old from Ukraine battled her way through Daria Kasatkina, Venus Williams, Wimbledon champion Garbiñe Muguruza, Simona Halep and former world number one Caroline Wozniacki to collect her fifth title of the year. And she completely dominated her last two opponents, dropping only six games in blasting Halep 6-1 6-1 before clobbering Wozniacki in the final. Svitolina finished up playing her best tennis of the week, winning the final eight games of the tournament. The fifth seed from Ukraine hammered out 15 winnings and finished with 63 points, 20 more than Wozniacki. “I was very, very tired after the first game of the first set,” Svitolina said. “And I knew that I needed to give everything because Caroline doesn’t miss much. … Emotionally I was relieved when I won the first set and then was playing better and better in the second. And, yeah, it just happened. I really couldn’t believe that it’s all finished and I’m holding the trophy.” Svitolina has won all five finals she has played this season: Dubai, Istanbul, Taiwan, Rome and Toronto. Wozniacki, on the other hand, has lost six finals this year and seven straight dating back to last season. “It was a tough day,” Wozniacki said. “She played well. She mixed up the pace and made it uncomfortable for me out there.”

 

STAR IS BORN?

Denis Shapovalov was not an unknown when the Rogers Cup in Montreal began, especially in his home country. But his success in Montreal has boosted the young Canadian up the rankings and possibly to a scintillating rivalry. The 18-year-old Shapovalov became the youngest player to reach the semifinals of a Masters 1000 Series tournament after he pulled off a series of upsets. “I saved four match points the first round (against Rogerio Dutra Silva),” he said. “I just played loose after that, just went with it. I mean, I beat one of my idols.” Shapovalov’s victims included 2009 US Open winner Juan Martin del Potro and top-seeded Rafael Nadal, the 10-time French Open champion. Then came his semifinal meeting with Alexander Zverev. The German proved to be too strong for the left-handed teen, but not before Shapovalov showed off the skills that have made him the youngest player in the Open Era to reach the last four at the Rogers Cup. “Like the media was putting it, it was a dream week for me,” Shapovalov said. “Obviously I didn’t expect it.”

 

SKIPPING CINCY

Because of his ongoing hip injury, Andy Murray will probably be sitting on the sidelines when he loses his number one world ranking. The Scot says he hopes to be ready for the US Open, which begins its two-week run later this month. “Unfortunately I won’t be playing in Cincinnati as I continue my recovery,” Murray said in a statement. “I always enjoy playing there and I look forward to returning next year. I’m continuing to work hard on the court with the aim of being in New York.” The 30-year-old Murray has not played since losing in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon in July. With Murray on the sideline, either Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer could take over the top spot in the ATP World Tour rankings.

Defending champion Marin Cilic withdrew from the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati because of an abductor injury. “I had already started with my preparation and the progress is going well, but there isn’t enough time for me to prepare for Cincinnati and to be completely ready to play there,” Cilic said. “I feel very confident that I will be back in action very soon.” The 28-year-old Cilic suffered the injury last month at Wimbledon, where he lost in the final to Roger Federer.

Maria Sharapova will miss her third straight tournament because of her injured left arm. “I arrived in Cincinnati yesterday eager to play,” the five-time Grand Slam tournament champion said. “However, following the doctor’s advice on-site, as a precaution for the US Open, I am unfortunately withdrawing from the tournament with the left forearm injury I sustained in Stanford.” Sharapova had been drawn to play French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in a first-round match. The same injury forced her to withdraw from the Bank of the West Classic after she won her first match and the Rogers Cup in Toronto.

 

SOAKING IT IN

Caroline Wozniacki battled Karolina Pliskova and rain to get through the Rogers Cup quarterfinals in Toronto. Their match was halted four times by rain in the opening set. Pliskova, playing in her first tournament as the world’s top-ranked player, ripped through the first three games before rain stopped play for the first time. When they were finally able to play, Wozniacki won five straight games and eventually won the set. “Almost every tournament I’ve played this year there has been a rain delay, so at this point I just have to laugh because I feel like it is following me,” Wozniacki said after her 7-5 6-7 (3) 6-4 victory. Every time this year when it has been raining I’ve had a great tournament, so I thought this must be luck.” It was the first time in her career that Wozniacki had beaten a world number one-ranked player.

 

STRANGE HAPPENINGS

There’s a chance Victoria Azarenka’s comeback won’t including this year’s US Open. The Belarus player is in a custody battle with her baby’s father, Billy McKeague. According to a TMZ Sports report, Azarenka and McKeague split up in July after Wimbledon and McKeague has filed for custody of their eight-month-old son in California. Azarenka reportedly has a valid custody order from Belarus, but the California judge refuses to defer to the Belarus court. Twice an Australian Open winner, Azarenka has been ranked as high as number on in the world. She left the tennis tour to give birth to her son, and returned to play this past spring. She withdrew from this week’s Cincinnati Open, citing a “family matter.” The California judge has said he child cannot leave that state until the dispute is settled. Azarenka is unwilling to leave the child with McKeague.

 

SHOT CLOCK

A shot-clock will be tested at the US Open this year. Stacey Allaster, head of pro tennis at the United States Tennis Association (USTA), says the new technology will be tested during the tournament’s junior and collegiate events during the second week of the year’s final Grand Slam event. The clock tracks the amount of time taken by the server between points. Grand Slam tournaments and the women’s tour allow 20 seconds for a player to serve, while the men’s tour has a 25-second limit. Enforcement of the rule will be left to the discretion of the chair umpire.

 

SORRY ‘BOUT THAT

After Australian Nick Kyrgios toweled his sweaty brow during his match at the Montreal Masters, he tossed the towel to a ball boy. Or so he thought it was ball boy. Actually, Kyrgios threw his towel at a line judge, and grabbing sweating towels is not part of his job description. The linesman didn’t move while the towel struck him and fell to the ground. Kyrgios apologized profusely to the line judge, then later apologized on Instagram.

 

SHARED PERFORMANCES

Aptos: Jonathan Erlich and Neal Skupski beat Alex Bolt and Jordan Thompson 6-3 2-6 10-8

Jinan: Hsieh Cheng-Peng and Peng Hsien-Yin beat N.Sriram Blaji and Vishnu Vardhan 4-6 6-4 10-4 (match tiebreak)

Montreal: Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut and Rohan Bopanna and Ivan Dodig 6-4 3-6 10-6 (match tiebreak)

Toronto: Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina beat Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Kveta Peschke 6-0 6-4

 

SURFING

Cincinnati: www.wsopen.com/

Santo Domingo: http://labocha.org/es-es/

Vancouver: http://vanopen.com/

Winston-Salem: www.winstonsalemopen.com/

New Haven: www.ctopen.org/

 

TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK

 

MEN

$5,627,305 Western & Southern Open, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, hard

$125,000 Milex Open At La Bocha, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, clay

$100,000 Odlum Brown Vanopen, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, hard

 

WOMEN

$2,513,000 Western & Southern Open, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, hard

$100,000 Odlum Brown Vanopen, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, hard

 

TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK

 

MEN

$748,960 Winston-Salem Open, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA, hard

 

WOMEN

$731,000 Connecticut Open, New Haven, Connecticut, USA, hard

 

Federer and Zverev

Federer and Zverev



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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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