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Mondays with Bob Greene

 

STARS

Roberto Bautista Agut beat Damir Dzumhur 6-4 6-4 to win the Winston-Salem Open in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA

Daria Gavrilova beat Dominika Cibulkova 4-6 6-3 6-4 to win the Connecticut Open in New Haven, Connecticut, USA

 

SAYING

“I spoke to a lot of hip specialists. Tried resting, rehabbing, to try and get myself ready here. Was actually practicing OK the last few days, but it’s too sore for me to win the tournament, and ultimately that’s what I was here to try and do.” – Andy Murray, withdrawing from the US Open because of his hip injury.

“It was a tough final. He’s playing very smart, he changes the rhythm and plays very tricky. I was very focused and very solid.” – Roberto Bautista Agut, after beating Damir Dzumhur to win the Winston-Salem Open.

“For such a small country as Bosnia, it’s a really big result.” – Damir Dzumhur, who became the first player representing Bosnia-Herzegovina to reach an ATP World Tour final.

“It’s going to be a big challenge, first round of a Grand Slam, to face her. She beat me six times. So maybe I will change this.” – Simona Halep, on her facing 2006 US Open winner Maria Sharapova in the first round.

“Obviously I’m super happy with the way things are going, but I’m not going to be satisfied with just being the number four seed. Doesn’t really matter at the end of the tournament what seed you were. It only matters how far you went and what matches you have won.” – Alexander Zverev, on his rise into the Top 10.

“I was invited, but I didn’t go because I was playing in Toronto. Well, it was right before Toronto and I was in Toronto already. I was a little bummed out because I heard it was so much fun and I heard it was great and they had a great time. You know, maybe I’ll make the next one. Just sayin’.” – Caroline Wozniacki, on missing Serena Williams’ baby shower.

 

SICK CALL

Former champion Andy Murray was the latest to join the list of top players to withdraw from the US Open because of injuries. The three-time Grand Slam winner, including the US Open in 2012, pulled out of the year’s final major wit a nagging left hip injury. He became the fifth top-10 player to withdraw from the men’s singles. Others were defending champion Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland, 12-time major champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia, Japan’s firmer runner-up Kei Nishikori and Canadian Milos Raonic. “I certainly wouldn’t have been hurting myself more by trying to play,” Murray said. “It was more a question of whether it would settle down in time. I kind of ran out of time. … I’ve never had to take any time off because of my hip before, so we were hoping that by taking a few weeks off and resting and rehabbing and really reducing the load that I was putting through it, that I would be OK by the tie the US Open came around. But unfortunately, that has not been the case.” The 30-year-old Murray has not played since a five-set loss to American Sam Querrey in the Wimbledon quarterfinals.

The second-seeded Murray’s withdrawal caused a cascade of movement in the bottom half of the draw. Marin Cilic, the 2014 US Open champion, moved into Murray’s spot at the bottom of the draw. Sam Querrey, seeded 17th, took Cilic’s former spot. German Philipp Kohlschreiber moved into Querrey’s spot, and Kohlschreiber’ old place was filled by lucky loser Lukas Lacko of Slovakia.

SPANIARD SHINES

This time, Roberto Bautista Agut came away from Winston-Salem with the big trophy. A year after he lost in the final of the Winston-Salem Open, the Spaniard downed Bosnia’s Damir Dzumhur in straight sets to take the title. “I wanted to make the final and get the title, so it’s been a fantastic week for me,” Bautista Agut said. “It’s been a great year for me.” It was Bautista Agut’s second title of the season and sixth of his career. He won the hard-court tournament in 91 minutes, breaking Dzumhur five times. And he did it by not dropping a set the entire week. “It’s been a great week,” the winner said. “I didn’t drop a set and I played very good tennis.” Dzumhur may have run out of steam in the title match, having played 11 matches in 12 days. He played in the final of an ATP Challenger Tour event in the Dominican Republic the previous weekend before becoming the first player representing Bosnia-Herzegovina to reach an ATP World Tour final. “My legs were giving up in a few points,” Dzumhur said, “but I was trying to fight till the end.” Marin Cilic, who won the US Open in 2014, and Ivan Dodig, a 2015 French Open doubles winner, both played for Bosnia. Cilic, however, has represented Croatia as a professional, and Dodig switched allegiance to Croatia after 2008.

 

SLOVAKIAN SHOCKED

Daria Gavrilova knocked off two highly ranked players to grab her first career WTA title at the Connecticut Open. The unseeded Australian stunned defending champion a top seed Agnieszka Radwanska in the semifinals before knocking off second-seeded Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia for the title. “It feels pretty special to win my first tournament here,” Gavrilova said at the trophy presentation. “It means the world to me to hold this trophy.” With the win, Gavrilova will be ranked in the top 20 for the first time in her career. The match began with four breaks of serve in the first six games. Cibulkova took the opening set before her Australian opponent rallied, closing out the nearly three-hour battle on her third championship point with a forehand from well behind the baseline that was just out of Cibulkova’s reach. “It was a fight for every single ball, and I gave 100 percent today but she was just better,” Cibulkova said. “This was a tournament I could finally play my good tennis, and I’m happy about it.”

 

SUPER OPENER

Maria Sharapova will finally play in her first Grand Slam tournament since she served a 15-month drug suspension. It couldn’t be a tougher draw. The Russian’s opening match will be against Simona Halep of Romania, the world’s second-ranked player. And it will be only Sharapova’s second match since May. Since pulling out of the Italian Open with a thigh injury, Sharapova’s only appearance was at the Bank of the West Classic where she beat Jennifer Brady. She then withdrew from the Stanford, California, USA, event because of a sore left forearm. The United States Tennis Association (USTA) granted Sharapova a wild card into the main draw of the year’s final Grand Slam tournament, which she won in 2006. Halep has never beaten Sharapova in sixth career meetings. And the Romanian wasn’t shocked at the draw. “My reaction was normal because this year I had very tough draws every time almost,” Halep said. “Of course was a little bit like, ‘How is it possible again?’”

 

SQUARING OFF

If Roger Federer and top-ranked Rafael Nadal were to meet in the semifinals, it would the first time the two greats would face each other at the US Open.  Nadal is top-seeded at Flushing Meadows for the first time since 2010, while Federer is seeded third. They have played each other 37 times, meeting 12 times at major tournaments. But never at the US Open, which is the second-oldest of the four Grand Slam tournaments after Wimbledon, and the only one to have been played each year since its inception in 1881. While they have never played each other, they have come one match from meeting on five occasions.

If Nadal and Federer meet in the semifinals, the winner would clinch the number one ranking. Federer has not been ranked number one in the world since November 2012. Either one would be number one by winning the title. A five-time US Open winner, Federer would be the oldest world number one since the rankings were established in 1973. If he were to win his sixth US Open, Federer would break his three-way for most titles in the Open Era he shares with Jimmy Connors and Pete Sampras. And, at the age of 36, Federer would become the oldest US Open champion in the Open Era.

Federer enters the US Open for the fourth time as the reigning Australian Open and Wimbledon champion, having done it previously in 2004, 2006 and 2007. He went on to win the US Open in all three of those years.

 

SO HAPPY

Roberto Vinci reached her only Grand Slam tournament singles final at the US Open in 2015, where she lost to fellow Italian Flavia Pennetta. Then she lost her finalist trophy when a thief broke into her home in Italy and took her tennis hardware. Katrina Adams, president of the United States Tennis Association (USTA) presented Vinci with a replacement silver plate during ceremonies before this year’s US Open. “Now I’m happy,” Vinci said while clutching the trophy to her chest. “Now I have it again.”

 

SHARED PERFORMANCES

New Haven: Gabriela Dabrowski and Xu Yifan beat Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua 3-6 6-3 10-8 (match tiebreak)

Winston-Salem: Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau beat Julio Peralta and Horacio Zeballos 6-3 6-4

 

SURFING

New York: www.usopen.org/

Genova: www.atpgenova.com/

 

TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK

MEN and WOMEN

US Open, New York, New York, USA, hard, first week

 

TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK

MEN

US Open, New York, New York, USA, hard, second week

127,000 AON Open, Genova, Italy, clay

 

WOMEN

US Open, New York, New York, USA, hard, second week

 

US Open Tennis, Grandstand



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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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