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Mondays with Bob Greene

 

STARS

Roger Federer beat Rafael Nadal 6-4 6-3 to win the Shanghai Rolex Masters in Shanghai, China

Maria Sharapova beat Aryna Sabalenka 7-5 7-6 (8) to win the Tianjin Open in Tianjin, China

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova beat Daria Gavrilova 5-7 6-3 7-6 (3) to win the Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open in Hong Kong

Barbora Strycova beat Magdalena Rybarikova 6-4 6-1 to win the Upper Austria Ladies Linz in Linz, Austria

Guillermo Garcia-Lopez beat Kamil Majchrzak 6-1 7-6 (1) to win the Tashkent Challenger in Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Mackenzie McDonald beat Bradley Klahn 6-4 6-2 to win the Northbay Healthcare Men’s Pro Championship in Fairfield, California, USA

 

SAYING

“You can’t win them all against Rafa, to be honest. He’s too good of a player.” – Roger Federer, after beating Rafael Nadal in the Shanghai Masters final.

“Of course, was not the best match of the week for me … but when someone plays better than you in most of the things that really matter in this sport, then it’s tough.” – Rafael Nadal.

“We didn’t think maybe we were going to have the year we did. I definitely didn’t.” – Roger Federer, 36, looking at Rafael Nadal after beating the 31-year-old Spanish left-hander. The two won all four Grand Slam tournaments in 2017.

“Such a special, special tournament, and victory for me, one that I’ll remember forever. Sometimes you never know when it will all come together, but it happened to me this week in Tianjin.” – Maria Sharapova, after winning her first tournament title in two years.

“I just won a title, so I’m extremely happy with that. It was a really, really tough match.” – Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who won a typhoon-delayed tournament in Hong Kong.

“I’m very happy. It’s the second title of my career. It’s sweet. It feels nice.: — Barbora Strycova, after winning in Linz, Austria.

“The thing about Serena is that she has won 23 Grand Slams before she had her baby. I only had one. So she has that under control, she knows what to do.” – Kim Clijsters, when asked what advice she would give Serena Williams on returning to tennis after having a baby.

“’Serena will be back. We look forward to welcoming her and again go on that journey of breaking the all-time record for the most number of Grand Slams.” – Craig Tiley, Australian Open tournament director, saying Serena Williams is returning to the year’s first Grand Slam tournament, which she won last January before giving birth to her daughter.

 

SHANGHAI MASTER

Reprising the form that carried him to two Grand Slam tournament titles earlier this year, Roger Federer knocked off his old rival Rafael Nadal to win the Shanghai Masters. It was Federer’s 94th career title, pulling him even with Ivan Lendl and second only to Jimmy Connors. It also closed the gap on Nadal at the top of the rankings. “I was pretty clear about how I wanted to play the match,” Federer said. “And then I came out and started off very well. Felt relaxed from then on.” The Swiss master broke Nadal’s serve to begin the match and never trailed after that. Nadal still leads their rivalry 23-15, but Federer has won their last five meetings. It was a dominant display by Federer, who won a second Shanghai title and 27th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 level crown. It was his 700th match victory on hard courts and improved his record to 10-1 against Top 10 players this year. The 36-year-old has won six titles this year, three of them Masters 1000 events. “I always know that Rafa can come back at any moment if he connects well, picks the right sides and does the right things,” Federer said. Nadal didn’t do any of those things this time.

 

SHARAPOVA TRIUMPHANT

Maria Sharapova won her first WTA title in more than two years, beating teenager Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus in Tianjin, China. “It’s a special title, a special victory,” the five-time Grand Slam winner said. “It has been a couple of years since I have held the winner’s trophy. It is a great feeling, a team effort.” Sharapova served a 15-month ban for doping, returning to the WTA tour in April. And while she wound up capturing the crown, she had a hard time holding her serve against Sabalenka. Sharapova trailed 4-1 in the first set before taking six of the next seven games. Playing in her first WTA final, the Belarusian opened up a 5-1 lead in the second set before Sharapova again rallied. Still, Sabalenka staved off three match points in the tiebreak before double-faulting at 8-8. This time, Sharapova cashed in for the trophy. Sharapova’s last title came at the Italian Open in May 2015.

 

SURVIVES WEATHER AND FOE

Not sure when or whether she would play because of a typhoon lashing the area, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova finally took to the court and outlasted Daria Gavrilova to win the Hong Kong Tennis Open. The final started much later than scheduled due to nearly constant precipitation from a typhoon just off-shore. Then there was a half-hour rain delay with the two knotted at 5-5 in the third set. “It was not easy mentally as this morning we were not sure if we were going to play or not,” the 26-year-old Russian said. “But it’s the final day, so I knew there is just one match today, so I gave everything I had out there.” The two struggled with the late-night conditions – the match ended at 1 a.m. local time – as they combined for 103 unforced errors, 62 of those by the eventual winner. After they held serve through the first four games of the third set, the final eight games all went against serve. Gavrilova jumped out front in the tiebreak 3-1 before Pavlyuchenkova won six straight points to capture her third title of the year.

 

STRYCOVA WINS SECOND TITLE

It’s been a long time since Barbora Strycova held a winner’s trophy aloft. Six years, to be exact. But the Czech knocked off top-seeded Magdalena Rybarikova in straight sets to win her second WTA career title and first since 2011. “I know that we’ve had huge matches against each other, especially the one three weeks ago in Tokyo,” Strycova said of her matchup against Rybarikova. “I knew it would be a hard one because we have a little bit tricky, similar games. We serve and volley, we go a lot to the net. But I felt like I handled the game on the same level, and sometimes I stepped it up a little bit.” Strycova now leads the head-to-head 5-1, winning their last four meetings. Strycova was dominant throughout, breaking Rybarikova in the opening game of the match. She led 5-0 in the second set and served for the match only to be broken. Strycova broke right back to gain the title.

 

SECURES SPOT

When Great Britain’s Johanna Konta withdrew from this week’s Kremlin Cup, it gave Caroline Garcia of France the eighth and final berth in the WTA Finals. Konta reached a career-high ranking of fourth in the world in July after reaching the Wimbledon semifinals, but since then has lost her first match at her last five tournaments. Garcia, meanwhile, has won her last two tournaments, in Beijing and Wuhan. Garcia is the first Frenchwoman to qualify for the season finale since Amelie Mauresmo in 2006. Others in the elite field are Simona Halep of Romania, Garbiñe Muguruza of Spain, Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic, Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, American Venus Williams, Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki and Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia. The BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global begins October 22 in Singapore.

 

SLAMMED WITH FINE

For walking off the court after losing the first set of his Shanghai Masters match, Nick Kyrgios has been fined USD $10,000. He also defaulted his first-round loser’s check of USD $21,000. The ATP World Tour, in making the decision, said Kyrgios was being punished for “unsportsmanlike conduct” for failing to complete a medical visit to explain his actions. The 22-year-old Australian later said on Twitter that he had been suffering with a stomach bug and a shoulder problem. After losing the first-set tiebreak to Steve Johnson, Kyrgios shook hands with his American opponent and left the court. Last year, Kyrgios was fined USD $16,500 and banned for eight weeks for deliberately throwing a game during a second-round loss in Shanghai.

 

SUSPENDED, PERHAPS

Italy’s Fabio Fognini has been provisionally suspended for two Grand Slam tournaments and fined USD $96,000 for directing vulgar language towards a chair umpire at this year’s US Open. The outburst was directed toward Swedish chair umpire Louise Engzell during Fognini’s first-round loss to fellow Italian Stefano Travaglia. He also was subsequently disqualified from the men’s doubles at the US Open. The Grand Slam Board said it found Fognini guilty of “aggravated behavior and conduct contrary to the integrity of the game.” One of the two Grand Slam tournaments the Italian will not be allowed to play will be the US Open, although the sanction will only be imposed if he is found guilty of another Grand Slam Major Offense during the next two years. The fine will also be halved if Fognini stays out of trouble over the next two years. “Mr. Fognini accepts and will not appeal this decision and he has expressed remorse for his admitted misconduct,” the Grand Slam Board said in a statement. “He has confidence that he will meet the conditions necessary to reduce his financial penalty and to lift his Grand Slam tournament suspensions in the future.”

 

SET FOR ATP FINALS

Dominic Thiem has qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals for the second straight year. Thiem joins Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev in the select field for the tournament, which will be held November 12-19 in London. “It is not easy to qualify once, but even more so to repeat the following year,” Thiem said. “I look forward to competing with the best players in the world at The O2.”

Three doubles teams – Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares, Ryan Harrison and Michael Venus, and brothers Bob and Mike Bryan – have clinched spots for the elite eight-team doubles competition. Other teams who have qualified are Henri Kontinen and John Peers, Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo, and Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau.

 

SENT PACKING

Serena Williams once called Naomi Osaka a “very dangerous” player. Venus Williams now knows exactly how dangerous. The Japanese right-hander upset Venus Williams 7-5 6-2 in a second-round match at the Hong Kong Open. The elder Williams was up a break and serving for the opening set at 5-4 when Osaka found the range with her big ground strokes to win the next three games and take the set. “She played well,” the 37-year-old Williams admitted. “You know, I made a few errors at 5-4 and after that she played pretty flawless. I can only give her credit.” Osaka won the first five games in the second set before Williams rallied briefly. “I felt like I played offensively and hit really deep hard balls, but she had the luck today and could return those balls even harder and deeper,” Williams said.

 

STAYING HOME

Russia’s Maria Sharapova will play the Kremlin Cup in Moscow for the first time in a decade. The tournament organizers announced Sharapova accepted a wild card entry. She has played the Kremlin Cup only three times in her career, but not since 2007. She was a quarterfinalist in both 2005 and 2006.

Two other Russians are returning to play the Moscow event. Alisa Kleybanova, who has overcome Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and a series of knee and foot injuries, is making yet another comeback attempt. Margarita Gasparyan is returning to action after undergoing a series of knee surgeries.

 

SERENA TO MELBOURNE?

Australian Open officials believe Serena Williams will defend her title at next year’s opening Grand Slam tournament. Williams beat her sister Venus in the final last January, then announced she was pregnant and would take time off to have her baby. She gave birth to Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. on September 1. Tournament director Craig Tiley said Williams was planning on playing the January 15-28 Australian Open.

Tiley also announced the 2018 Australian Open singles champions will receive about USD $3.1 million. The tournament’s overall prize pool will increase about 20 percent to USD $4.7 million.

 

SUIT FILED

Rafael Nadal has filed a lawsuit against former French sports minister Roselyne Bachelot, seeking USD $118,000 in damages. Nadal is suing Bachelot for accusing the Spanish star of a dope test cover-up. Appearing on French television in March 2016, Bachelot alleged that Nadal faked an injury in 2012 in order to hide a positive drug test. Nadal missed the final six months of that year due to knee problems. The 16-time Grand Slam tournament winner has never failed a drugs test and vehemently denies ever using a banned substance.

 

SHARED PERFORMANCES

Fairfield: Luke Bambridge and David O’Hare bat Akram El Sallaly and Bernardo Oliveira 6-4 6-2

Hong Kong: Chan Hao-Ching and Chan Yung-Jan beat Lu Jia-Jing and Wang Qiang 6-1 6-1

Linz: Kiki Bertens and Johanna Larsson beat Natela Dzalamidze and Xenia Knoll 3-6 6-3 10-4 (match tiebreak)

Shanghai: Henri Kontinen and John Peers beat Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo 6-4 6-2

Tashkent: Hans Podlipnik-Castillo and Andrei Vasilevski beat Yuki Bhambri and Divij Sharan 6-4 6-2

Tianjin: Irina-Camelia Begu and Sara Errani beat Dalila Jakupovic and Nina Stojanovic 6-4 6-3

 

SURFING 

Moscow: http://kremlincup.ru/

Antwerp: www.europeanopen.be/en/

Stockholm: www.stockholmopen.se/

Luxembourg: www.bglbnpparibas-open.lu/main_en.html

Vienna: www.erstebank-open.com/

Basel: www.swissindoorsbasel.ch/de-de/

Brest: www.openbrestarena.fr/

Singapore: www.wtafinals.com/

Poitiers: www.lfv86.com

 

TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK

 

MEN

$823,600 VTP Kremlin Cup, Moscow, Russia, hard

$774,740 European Open, Antwerp, Belgium, hard

$774,740 Intrum Stockholm Open, Stockholm, Sweden, hard

$125,000 Yinzhou International Men’s Tennis, Ningbo, China, hard

 

WOMEN

$702.900 VTP Kremlin Cup, Moscow, Russia, hard

$226,750 BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open, Luxembourg, Luxembourg, hard

 

TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK

 

MEN

$3,099,020 Erste Bank Open 500, Vienna, Austria, hard

$2,708,970 Swiss Indoors, Basel, Switzerland, hard

$125,292 Open Brest Arena Credit Agricole, Brest, France, hard

 

WOMEN

$7,000,000 BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, Singapore, hard

$100,000 Internationaux Feminins de la Vienne, Poitiers, France, hard

 

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal



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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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