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Mondays with Bob Greene

 

STARS

Hyeon Chung beat Andrey Rublev 3-4 (5) 4-3 (2) 4-2 4-2 to win the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan, Italy

Belinda Bencic beat Hsieh Su-Wei 6-3 6-4 to win the WTA EA Hua Hin Championship in Hua Hin, Thailand

Monica Niculescu beat Antonia Lettner 6-4 6-2 to win the Engie Open de Limoges in Limoges, France

Lukas Lacko beat Marius Copil 6-4 7-7 (4) to win the Peugeot Slovak Open in Bratislava, Slovak Republic

Carol Zhao beat Liu Fangzhou 7-5 6-2 to win the Shenzhen Open in Shenzhen, China

Zhang Shuai beat Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-4 6-0 to win the Ando Securities Open in Tokyo, Japan

Elias Ymer beat Yannick Madon 7-5 6-4 to win the Internationaux de Tennis de Vendée in Mouilleron-le-Captif, France

 

FED CUP

Final

United States beat Belarus 3-2 in Minsk, Belarus

 

SAYING

“It’s been an incredible ride thanks to these ladies. We’re family and we’ve had each other’s backs. This was a very tough match.” – Kathy Rinaldi, coach of the Fed Cup-winning United States team.

“She’s such a leader for this team, she’s been here all year long for us, and to have this moment here is so special.” – Shelby Rogers, who teamed with CoCo Vandeweghe to win the doubles and lead the United States to the Fed Cup title over Belarus.

“That’s exactly what Fed Cup’s about: you have your teammates supporting you all weekend, and when they’re called upon, they come through. (Shelby) definitely carried me through most of that match when it mattered.” – CoCo Vandeweghe.

“CoCo (Vandeweghe) came out and just played unbelievable. Shelby (Rogers) stepped up, and Sloane (Stephens) – my heart was broken for her, but she battled this whole weekend, she battled all the way to the end. I’m so proud of all four of them.” – Kathy Rinaldi.

“No matter if something goes wrong, he was still fighting. And me, from a little thing, I just lose my control and that’s it. I just lost because of my head.” – Andrey Rublev, after losing the Next Gen ATP Finals to Hyeon Chung.

 

SUPERSTAR

After winning both of her singles matches, CoCo Vandeweghe teamed with Shelby Rogers to capture the doubles and lead the United States to its 18th Fed Cup title and first since 2000. With the Americans and Belarus tied a 2-2, Vandeweghe and Rogers beat Aryna Sabalenka and Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-3 7-6 (3) to wrap up the international team competition in Minsk, Belarus. “It’s unbelievable,” first-year American coach Kathy Rinaldi said of the victory. “It’s been incredible, the atmosphere is something special. It’s a day we’ll never forget.” Vandeweghe, who began the two-day competition with a 6-4 6-4 victory over Sasnovich, rallied from 4-1 down in the tiebreak to beat Sabalenka 7-6 (5) 6-1 on Day Two, giving the USA a 2-1 lead. But Sasnovich upset US Open champion Sloane Stephens 4-6 6-1 8-6 to level the final and set up the doubles for the winning point. “They stepped it up, they played more aggressive at the end, they really took it,” Rinaldi said. “And that was the plan, to go out there and take it.” It was the 18th Fed Cup title for the United States, the most in the women’s team competition. Belarus played without its star, Victoria Azarenka, who has been unable to leave California because of a court dispute over her baby with the child’s father. The country was making its first appearance in a Fed Cup final.

Stephens, who lost her first match 6-3 3-6 6-4 to Sabalenka, has not won a singles match since capturing the US Open on Sept. 9.

 

SUCCESSFUL RUN

Not showing any emotion paid off for Hyeon Chung. The South Korean rallied from behind to knock off top-seeded Andrey Rublev and win his first title at the Next Gen ATP Finals. “After losing the first set and down one break in the second, I was really nervous, really angry, but I tried to have a poker face,” Chung said. “I’m trying to create an image of being really strong mentally and I started playing better and better.” It was Chung’s third win over the Russian. He beat Rublev in the round-robin portion of the Milan, Italy, event and at Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA, in August. In winning all three round-robin matches in group play and defeating Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in the semifinals, Chung became the first South Korean to win an ATP World Tour singles title since Lee Hyung-Taik captured Sydney in 2003. Medvedev took third place when Croatia’s Borna Coric withdrew with an injury.

The ATP used the inaugural tournament to test a number of innovation, including the first player to four games in each set winning with a tiebreak being used when the score reached 3-3. Other changes included no line judges with all calls made using Hawk-Eye Live, no lets, sudden-death points at deuce and a shot clock to ensure a 25-second rule between points. Sideline coaching was also allowed.

 

SOME QUESTIONS

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal say that while they welcome innovation, they don’t want the sport tampered too much. The ATP World Tour instituted several rule changes for the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan, Italy, hoping to create a TV-friendly product and attract new and younger fans. “We need to think, take seriously all these rule changes if ever you’re going to do it, because once you do it, you don’t want to bounce back and forth with changing something and then you don’t like it later on,” said Roger Federer. “I don’t see that much wrong with our Tour right now that it needs that much fixing, especially the shorter sets. I know it can be somewhat intriguing, but at the same time the longer sets allow you to stretch a lead, it’s more comfortable at times. … There are positives and negatives to it, but I don’t want to see anything change on the Tour that much, to be honest.” Top-ranked Rafael Nadal had a similar view. “There are a couple of things that I like and a couple of things I don’t like, but nothing is perfect,” the Spaniard said. “We are in a sport where we have a big tradition – not many changes have been made in all of its history. If you ask me, ‘Do you want changes?’ I will say no. I am number one in the world. … I’m happy with how it is, but maybe in the future you need to do something.”

 

SPORT HEROES

Argentina’s Gabriela Sabatini and David Nalbandian will represent tennis as Athlete Role Models at the third Youth Olympic Games to be held in Buenos Aires in October 2018. The tennis competition, for players aged 18 and under, will be played on clay at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club. The 64 players, with a maximum of two boys and two girls per country, will compete in singles, doubles and mixed doubles. Around 3,800 athletes and officials from 206 countries are expected to attend. The athletes, between the ages of 14 and 18, will contest 32 sports. Thirty-seven countries participated in the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic tennis competition.

 

SASNOVIC RECIPIENT

Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus is the recipient of the Fed Cup Heart Award. She finished atop a public poll for the honor earlier this year, beating out teammate Aryna Sabalenka and Americans CoCo Vandeweghe and Bethanie Mattek-Sands. With the honor, Sasnovich also received USD $10,000, which she donated to Otklik, a charitable foundation in Belarus. “Otklik will use the money to help Natalia Zhuk,” Sasnovich said. “I have known her for a long time and she is an incredible, kind and loving person. She was a doctor for many years but now has a serious illness. Unfortunately, the only people she has to take care of are her and her retired parents. She needs help like no one else, so I am happy to be able to help someone who really needs it.” The Fed Cup Heart Award is presented to players who have represented their country with distinction, shown exceptional courage on court and demonstrated outstanding commitment to their team.”

 

SCOT RETURNS

Andy Murray, who hadn’t played since losing in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon in July, played an exhibition against Roger Federer. Murray hopes to return to the ATP World Tour at the Brisbane International, which starts New Year’s Eve. Federer won a 10-6 tiebreak after the first two sets were split. The Swiss great thrilled the crowd when he wore a traditional tartan kilt for a service game in the second set, while Murray donned a Scottish bonnet with ginger hair out the back. “I’ve been training for a few weeks now,” Murray said. “Some days I’ve felt great and some days not so good. But I will come back when I’m ready and when I’m 100 percent fit.”

 

STANDING TALL

Tatiana Poutchek of Belarus is the winner of the 2017 Fed Cup Award for Excellence. The International Tennis Federation (ITF) and the International Tennis Hall of Fame (ITHF) presented the award to Poutchek prior to the second-day of the Fed Cup final between Belarus and the United States. Poutchek competed in 45 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas ties for Belarus, leading the country every year between 1997 and 2011, compiling a record of 28-7 in doubles and 9-8 in singles. She has competed in more ties representing Belarus than any other player and holds the record for most total wins for Belarus and most doubles wins. She also was a member of the Belarusian Olympic team in 2008. The award was presented by ITF President David Haggerty and 2010 ITFH inductee Mark Woodforde of Australia.

 

STUPID MOVE

Trying to put its best foot forward, the ATP World Tour did just the opposite at the Next Gen tournament in Milan, Italy. Organizers of the inaugural tournament were criticized for staging what many felt was a sexist display during the tournament draw. With the players in attendance, a row of female models had to lift their dresses or remove clothing to reveal whether the player was in group “A” or “B.” “The ATP and Red Bull apologize for the offense caused by the draw ceremony for the Next Gen ATP Finals,” the tour and sponsor said in a statemen. “The intention was to integrate Milan’s rich heritage as one of the fashion capitals of the world. However, our execution of the proceedings was in poor taste and unacceptable. We deeply regret this and will ensure that there is no repeat of anything like it in the future.”

 

STAN’S BACK

Stan Wawrinka has begun practicing for the first time since undergoing surgery following a recurring knee injury. “First practice since July. Soooo happy and excited,” Wawrinka said on his Twitter account. The 32-year-old three-time Grand Slam tournament winner plans to play in an exhibition event, the Mubadala World Tennis Championships, in December. He has not played since Wimbledon.

 

SHE REVEALS ALL

Jelena Dokic is telling all in her new autobiography. Now 34 years old, the former star writes about the years of physical and emotional abuse she allegedly endured at the hands of her domineering father. In her autobiography, “Unbreakable,” Dokic says the violence began when she was just six years old and alleges she was whipped with a leather belt if she had a bad training session and had her shins kicked with heavy dress shoes. Dokic claims her worst beating came when she lost early at the du Maurier Open in Canada in 2000. “It was a really nasty memory that will stay with me forever  .. I ended up fainting. He beat me really badly,” she wrote. Dokic was ranked as high as fourth in the world. Her father, Damir, was barred from three of the four Grand Slam tournaments for his antics. In 2009, he was jailed for 15 months for threatening the Australian ambassador in Serbia with a hand grenade. She retired in 2014.

 

SHARED PERFORMANCES

Bratislava: Ken Skupski and Neal Skupski beat Sander Arends and Antonio Sancic 5-7 6-3 10-8 (match tiebreak)

Hua Hin: Duan Ying-Ying and Wang Yafan beat Dalia Jakupovic and Irina Khromacheva 6-3 6-3

Limoges: Valeria Savinykh and Maryna Zanevska beat Chloe Paquet and Pauline Parmentier 6-0 6-2

Mouilleron-le-Captif: Andre Begemann and Jonathan Eysseric beat Tomasz Bednarek and David Pel 6-3 6-4

Shenzhen: Jacqueline Cako and Nina Stojanovic beat Shuko Aoyama and Yang Zhaoxuan 6-4 6-2

Tokyo: Rika Fujiwara and Yuki Naito beat Eri Hozumi and Junri Namigata 6-1 6-3

 

SURFING

London: www.nittoatpfinals.com/

Taipei: www.oectennis.com/bin/home.php

Honolulu: https://hawaiitennisopen.com/

 

TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK

 

MEN

$6,500,000 Nitto ATP Finals, London, Great Brittan, hard

 

WOMEN

$115,000 OEC Taipei WTA, Taipei, Taiwan, carpet

 

TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK

 

MEN

$150,000 Ea Hua Hin Open Challenger, Hua Hin, Thailand, hard

$100,000 Bengaluru Open, Bengalore, India, hard

 

WOMEN

$115,000 Hawaii Open, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, hard

$115,000 Mumbai Open, Mumbai, India, hard

 

DAVIS CUP

Final

France vs. Belgium at Lille, France, hard

 

USA, 2017 Fed Cup Champs

USA, 2017 Fed Cup Champs



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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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