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Mondays with Bob Greene

 

STARS

Caroline Garcia beat Ashleigh Barty 6-7 (3) 7-6 (4) 6-2 to win the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open in Wuhan, China

Denis Istomin beat Marcus Baghdatis 3-2 retired to win the Chengdu Open in Chengdu, China

David Goffin beat Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-4 6-7 (5) 6-3 to win the Shenzhen Open in Shenzhen, China

Kateryna Bondarenko beat Timea Babos 6-4 6-4 to win the Tashkent Open in Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Norbert Gombos beat Julien Benneteau 6-3 5-7 6-2 to win the Open D’Orleans in Orleans, France

Cameron Norrie beat Tennys Sandgren 6-2 6-3 to win the Wells Fargo Tiburon Challenger in Tiburon, California, USA

 

SAYING

“A title is the best thing you can have in tennis, that’s why you fight all year long. I’m over the moon for sure.” – Caroline Garcia, after winning the Dongfeng Moor Wuhan Open.

“Disappointing to not come away with it in the end, but sometimes it crumbles that way.” – Ashleigh Barty, after losing the Wuhan Open final to Caroline Garcia.

“To come back from injury to qualify my country for the Davis Cup final and then to win my third trophy, it means a lot. I cannot be happier today.” – David Goffin, who snapped a losing streak of six straight finals to win the Shenzhen Open.

“I’ve had back issues before, but not like this.” – Marcos Baghdatis, who retired from the Chengdu Open final in the opening set with severe back spasms.

“Of course I want to win the title, but not this way. I hope he gets better and will be OK for the rest of the season.” – Denis Istomin, after winning the Chengdu Open when Marcos Baghdatis retired with back spasms five games into the final.

“I just beat number one and it’s amazing.” – Jelena Ostapenka, after beating top-ranked Garbiñe Muguruza in the Wuhan Open quarterfinals.

“Right now we feel like we are the team to beat, the hot team till the end. It’s a nice position to be in.” – Martina Hingis, after she and Chan Yung-Jan won the Wuhan Open doubles, their third consecutive title.

“Martina and I have been performing very well this year. We have won many matches. We have been through many difficult matches. We were very confident. Also, we have belief in each other. I’m very happy today that we won this match.” – Chan Yung-Jan.

“I’ve been here since Wednesday last week practicing, but never thought about the title. Today, when I was leading, I thought I had a realistic chance to win the title.” – Kateryna Bondarenko, following her victory over Timea Babos to win the Tashkent Open.

“It didn’t feel like it took long at all to gel. We kind of hit the ground running.” – Rajeev Ram, who with Alexander Peya won the first tournament they played as a team, the Shenzhen Open.

 

SEVENTH TIME WORKS

David Goffin snapped a string of disappointments by outlasting Alexandr Dolgopolov to win the Shenzhen Open. The title was Goffin’s first after losing in his last six finals, a string stretching back to 2014. “This one is really special because you know it’s always tough to come back from injuries,” said Goffin, who retired from the French Open and missed Wimbledon with an ankle injury. “I cannot be happier today.” After the two split the opening two sets – Goffin rallied from a 1-5 deficit to force a second-set tiebreak, only to lose – they held serve through the first seven games of the third set before Goffin broke Dolgopolov at love to take a 5-3 lead. Dolgopolov tried to return the favor, winning the first point as Goffin served for the match. But the Belgian lost only one more point as he won his third career title. “For sure I wanted to have an easier second set, but I had some issues and overall he played better, I think,” said Dolgopolov, who was playing in his third final of the year. “I had a good week.”

 

SECOND TITLE

It didn’t come easy, but Caroline Garcia of France finally won the biggest title of her career, the Wuhan Open, with a three-set victory over Australia’s Ashleigh Barty. “It was such a fight all the week, and especially today,” Garcia said. Twice Barty rallied from a break down in the opening set to force a tiebreak, which she then dominated. The Australian served for the match twice in the second set, but Garcia refused to fold. It was Garcia who won the second-set tiebreak before breaking away in the decider. “In the beginning of the second set I was a little bit down, I couldn’t get my focus again,” Garcia said. “I just kept going, fight until the end.” When Barty’s return found the net on match point, Garcia fell to her knees in celebration. During the week, Garcia beat former world number one Angelique Kerber and seventh-seeded Dominika Cibulkova. The 21-year-old Barty, who began the year ranked outside the top 300, had a dream run to the final, knocking off former world number one Karolina Pliskova, ninth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska, fifth-seeded Johanna Konta and French Open champion Jelena Ostapenka. “It was a hell of a week, probably the best week of my tennis career,” Barty said. It was the first time the two had played since Garcia beat Barty on her way to the 2011 US Open Junior Girls final.

 

STOPPED BY SPASMS

Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin was the last person standing at the Chengdu Open – literally. With Istomin leading 3-2 in the first set, Marcos Baghdatis collapsed onto the court with severe back spasms and was unable to continue. He retired, giving the title to Istomin, after being gingerly helped to his chair, where he buried his head in his towel. “I was feeling a bit of pain in my back during the week, but late after my match last night I felt some spasms,” the 32-year-old Cypriot said. “This morning I woke up a bit the same. After my warmup, it got worse.” Baghdatis said his back felt OK for the first few games of the final before the spasms came back with a vengeance. It was the second career title for Istomin.

 

STOPPING FOR YOM KIPPUR

Israel’s Dudi Sela was one set away from reaching the semifinals of the Shenzhen Open when he retired from his match because of the start of Yom Kippur. The 32-year-old Sela was playing in just his second quarterfinal of the yea. He had asked that his match start as early as possible to reduce his chances of having to stop because of the Jewish holiday. But his match against Alexandr Dolgopolov was scheduled as the second match on center court. Henri Laaksonen of Switzerland edged China’s Zhang Zhizhnen 6-4 3-6 6-2 in the first quarterfinal, which lasted two hours and 16 minutes. Sela then lost the first set 3-6 before winning the second 6-4. After Dolgopolov held serve to begin the third set, Sela approached the chair umpire and told him that he needed to retire. “Dudi isn’t a religious man and he doesn’t usually fast on Yom Kippur, and for the first time in his career he was forced to make this excruciating decision which affects his ATP ranking and cost him tens of thousands of dollars,” Sela’s brother, Ofer, wrote to The Jerusalem Post newspaper. “No one forced him to retire. He didn’t do it because he was afraid of anyone, or because he was asked to. He did it only because he respects Yom Kippur and country which he represents.”

The next day, after Yom Kippur ended, Sela and his partner, Andre Sa of Brazil, lost their doubles semifinals to the top-seeded team of Nikola Mektic and Nicholas Monroe 6-3 7-6 (4).

 

STUNNER

Kateryna Bondarenko won her first WTA title in nine years by stunning second-seeded Timea Babos in the Tashkent Open. The 31-year-old Ukrainian was ranked 81 spots higher than the 52nd-ranked Babos. Because of rain delays in the Uzbekistan tournament, Bondarenko played two singles matches and a doubles match the day before the final. “I was very tired after three matches yesterday,” she said, “but I told myself it’s the last day and I need to give it all I had. “

Bondarenko was leading her semifinal 7-6 (7) 4-1 when former world number two Vera Zvonareva retired from the match. A former Wimbledon and US Open finalist, Zvonareva returned to the WTA tour this year after two years away due to injuries and motherhood.

 

SINGAPORE BOUND

With Caroline Wozniacki clinching a spot in the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore, only two spots remain in the season-ending event. Wozniacki, who will make her fifth appearance in the elite field, joins Garbiñe Muguruza, Simona Halep, Karolina Pliskova, Elina Svitolina and Venus Williams in the singles field. Wozniacki has been in seven WTA singles finals this season, winning her 26th career title at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo. The top eight singles players and doubles teams will compete in Singapore October 22-29.

 

STAYING AROUND

Andre Agassi will be Novak Djokovic’s head coach when the Serbian star returns to cation next season. “We can confirm that Agassi remains the head coach while Italian Marco Panichi will take over as the fitness coach and Argentine Ulises Badio is the new physio,” Djokovic’s office said in a statement. “The only remaining issue is appointing a second coach, and that will complete the staff accompanying Djokovic in 2018.” An elbow injury forced Djokovic to retire from his Wimbledon quarterfinal match against Tomas Berdych. He has not played since. Djokovic “is working hard to get started with tennis practice as soon as possible in order to meet his own expectations of making a comeback in Australia in 2018,” the statement added.

 

STRONG WOMEN

In a battle of Grand Slam tournament champions, French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko defeated Wimbledon winner Garbiñe Muguruza in the quarterfinals of the Wuhan Open. Ostapenka ripped through the final five games to beat Muguruza for the first time, 1-6 6-3 6-2. With Ostapenko making 15 unforced errors, Muguruza made a blazing start. But in the second set, the Latvian broke Muguruza four times to build a 5-3 lead. After the Spaniard held serve, Ostapenko evened the match with a winner down the line. Although Muguruza took the early lead, Ostapenko got her game into high gear to advance to the semifinals, where she fell to Australia’s Ashleigh Barty.

 

STEPS UP

Martina Hingis sits atop the WTA doubles rankings. No surprise there. The 37-year-old Swiss star celebrated her return to the top of the rankings by teaming with China’s Chan Yung-Jan to win their third consecutive title, the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open, by edging Shuko Aoyama and Yang Zhaoxuan in a match tiebreak. Her latest victory came on her 37th birthday. “It’s nice to celebrate (my birthday) with a victory, obviously, and with a great partner to do it with,” Hingis said. “It’s my third time obviously here in Wuhan. It’s even more special now with Leticia (Chan) because she kind of guided me through this week. It was nice.” Chan and Hingis have now won 14 consecutive matches and have qualified for the season-ending BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore, which will be held later this month. Hingis replaced Lucie Safarova at number one in the WTA doubles rankings, while Chan moved to a career-high second. Hingis has now held the top ranking for 67 weeks, the first coming 19 years ago in June 1998.

 

SAFAROVA INJURED

Citing a wrist injury, Lucie Safarova pulled out of this week’s China Open. The 30-year-sold Czech had missed last week’s Wuhan Open. “I’m sad to announce I won’t be coming to Beijing for the China Open this year,” Safarova said. “My wrist injury still doesn’t allow me to come back on court.” While sidelined, Safarova lost her world number one spot in doubles, falling behind both Martina Hingis and her partner, Chan Yung-Jan. Safarova and Bethanie Mattek-Sands won at both Wuhan and Beijing last year. Mattek-Sands has been out since suffering a serious knee injury at Wimbledon.

 

SHOULD BE FIRED

Former tennis star James Blake says the New York City police officer who tackled him in a mistaken arrest should be fired. Blake said the police department should send a message to officers that they can’t use excessive force. The officer, James Frascatore, said he was told Blake was a suspect in a counterfeit credit card ring and may have been armed. The internal disciplinary trial is over, but the details of any punishment may never be known. City officials said that under state law officer disciplinary records are secret. Lawyers for the police watchdog group prosecuting the case recommended Frascatore forfeit 10 vacation days as punishment. Blake called for the mayor and police commissioner to fire the officer and make the decision public.

 

SHARED PERFORMANCES

Chengdu: Jonathan Erlich and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi beat Marcus Daniell and Marcelo Demoliner 6-3 7-6 (3)

Orleans: Guillermo Duran and Andres Molteni beat Jonathan Eysseric and Tristan Lamasine 6-3 6-7 (4) 13-11 (match tiebreak)

Shenzhen: Alexander Peya and Rajeev Ram beat Nikola Mektic and Nicholas Monroe 6-3 6-2

Tashkent: Timea Babos and Andrea Hlavackova beat Nao Hibino and Oksana Kalashnikova 7-5 6-4

Tiburon: Andre Goransson and Florian Lakat beat Marcelo Arevalo and Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela 6-4 6-4

Wuhan: Chan Yung-Jan and Martina Hingis beat Shuko Aoyana and Yang Zhaoxuan 7-6 (5) 3-6 10-4 (match tiebreak)

 

SURFING

Beijing: www.chinaopen.com/

Tokyo: http//en.rakutenopen.com/

Kaohsiung: http://oecopen.com/

Monterrey: www.sierramadretennisclub.com/

Shanghai: http://en.shanghairolexmasters.com/

Tashkent: www.tennis.uz/

Hong Kong: www.hktennisopen.hk/en/

Linz: www.ladieslinz.at/

Tianjin: www.tianjinopen.com/

 

TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK

MEN

$4,280,460 China Open, Beijing, China, hard

$1,706,170 Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships, Tokyo, Japan, hard

$125,000 Kaohsiung OEC Open, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, hard

$100,000 Abierto GNP Seguros, Monterrey, Mexico, hard

$100,000 Stockton Challenger, Stockton, California, USA, hard

 

WOMEN

$4,720,380 China Open, Beijing China, hard

 

TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK

 

MEN

$8,092,625 Shanghai Rolex Masters, Shanghai, China, hard

$150,000 Tashkent Challenger, Tashkent, Uzbekistan, hard

$100,000 Northbay Healthcare Men’s Pro Championship, Fairfield, California, USA, hard

 

WOMEN

$226,750 Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open, Hong Kong, hard

$226,750 Upper Austria Ladies Linz, Linz, Austria, hard

$227,750 Tianjin Open, Tianjin, China, hard

 

David Goffin

David Goffin



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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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