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STARS

Gilles Simon beat Mischa Zverev 6-3 6-2 to win the Open de Moselle in Metz, France

Juan Ignacio Chela beat Pablo Andujar 7-5 6-1 to win the BCR Open Romania in Bucharest, Romania

Alisa Kleybanova beat Klara Zakopalova 6-1 6-3 to win the Hansol Korea Open in Seoul, Korea

Alla Kudryavtseva beat Elena Vesnina to win the Tashkent Open in Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Romina Oprandi beat Alize Cornet 6-2 2-6 6-2 to win the Open GDF Suez de Bretagne in Saint Malo, France

SAYINGS

“The first title is always special, but the second one gives me confidence and proves the first one wasn’t a lucky one. I deserved it, and I’m good enough to win another one.” – Alisa Kleybanova, after winning the Hansol Korea Open, her second career title.

“The score line made it look like an easy final, but it wasn’t.” – Alla Kudryavtseva, who won the Tashkent Open.

“Juan and I signed up last minute. It’s great to play with one of the best clay court players. Of course I’m sad that my usual doubles partner, Oliver Marach, is injured right now. I’m thankful that Juan played with me and that he kept up the great level in both singles and doubles.” – Lukasz Kubot, after teaming with Juan Ignacio Chela to win the doubles in Bucharest, Romania.

“I was not supposed to come here initially; my son was due to be born this week, so logically I hadn’t entered any tournaments. Because I had been playing well, also in the Davis Cup preparation, I really wanted to try to compete and really wanted to come to Metz; I knew I could do something good.” – Gilles Simon, whose son was born on September 2, after winning the singles title at Metz, France.

“I am so happy. This is my first ATP-level title. It feels great. I am happy I was able to convince Rogier to come as we were the first alternate team. … We recently won two Challengers so we had confidence and I must say we played good all week.” – Dustin Brown, after teaming with Rogier Wassen to win the doubles at Metz.

Alisa Kleybanova wins second career title

“Being the first alternate team, I really didn’t want to come to Metz. I was home, planning on taking the week off, but I am so happy I ended up coming. Dustin and I have opposite personalities, opposite games and I think we complement each other very well on the court. It’s a pleasure to play with him.” – Rogier Wassen.

“I didn’t expect to go this far when I came here to play qualies. My coach had his return ticket for last Wednesday. Of course I’m very happy I had to buy him a new one.” – Pablo Andujar, a qualifier who reached final of the BCR Open Romania in Bucharest, Romania.

STILL SIDELINED

Continuing to recover from foot surgery, Serena Williams has withdrawn from the China Open in Beijing next month. She had previously pulled out of this weeks’ Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, Japan. Ranked number one in the world, Williams cut her foot on a broken glass shortly after winning her fourth Wimbledon singles title in July and has not played since. “While I have continued to make progress in the recovery of my foot injury, unfortunately I am still not ready to compete at the upcoming Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo and China Open in Beijing,” Williams said in a statement.

SECOND TITLE

When Alisa Kleybanova reaches a tournament final, she’s perfect. The Russian thumped Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic 6-1 6-3 to win the Hansol Korea Open. It was Kleybanova’s second career title. Fifth-seeded in Seoul, Kleybanova struggled in her second-round match against Ksenia Pervak. But after that she surrendered just 15 games in the next eight sets she played. “Before coming here I wasn’t thinking about winning the title because I haven’t been playing so well recently,” Kleybanova said. “Day by day, match by match, I was feeling better about my game. Towards the end of the tournament I was fighting to win the title. I’m really happy that I made it in the end.” She won her only previous final in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in February.

SERENADING THE JOURNEY

Women’s professional tennis is 40 years old. It started when nine players signed symbolic contracts for USD one dollar each with the late Gladys Heldman, publisher of World Tennis. The new Virginia Slims Circuit played its first tournament on September 23, 1970, in Houston, Texas, with a field consisting of Billie Jean King, Rosemary Casals, Nancy Richey, Kerry Melville, Peaches Bartkowicz, Kristy Pigeon, Judy Dalton, Valerie Ziegenfuss and Julie Heldman. The 20-tournament Virginia Slims Circuit offered total prize money of USD $309,100. In 1971, King became the first female athlete in history to earn USD $100,000 in a single season – when she won 17 singles titles, including the US Open. “When the nine of us signed one-dollar contracts with Gladys, one of our goals was to create opportunities for new generations,” King said “We wanted to make sure that any young girl, if she was good enough and if she wanted to, would have the opportunity to make a living playing tennis.” Last year, Serena Williams won a record USD $6,545,586. The WTA – then known as the Women’s Tennis Association – was founded during Wimbledon in 1973, uniting all of women’s professional tennis into one Tour. King was its first president.

SENIOR STUDS

John McEnroe came thisclose to winning the French Open in 1984. Instead, Ivan Lendl rallied from a two-set deficit and won the first of his eight Grand Slam tournament titles. The two are returning to Paris for the seventh annual Jean-Luc Lagardere Trophy at Stade Coubertin. Having been drawn into the same group, they will battle once again on October 3, this time in an ATP Champions Tour event. Lendl led the head-to-head competition 21-15 when they retired in the early 1990s, and has just recently joined the senior tour. Also in the field are Mats Wilander, Stefan Edberg, Guy Forget and Cedric Pioline. Besides the singles action, the event will also celebrate the recent 50th birthday of 1983 French Open champion Yannick Noah.

McEnroe and Patrick Rafter will be headlining an ATP Champions Tour stop in Sydney, Australia, in November. Others in the maiden Champions Downunder tournament are Wilander, 2001 Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic, Australian Pat Cash, Thomas Enqvist of Sweden, South African Wayne Ferreira and Henri Lecanto of France. “This is a great coup for Australian tennis and for sporting fans,” Rafter said. “It’s great that I will get the chance to play some of the legends of the game in front of a home crowd.”

SAYS GOING BACK

Rafael Nadal will be playing the AEGON Championships at The Queen’s Club next year. “I love playing at The Queen’s Club because it is a traditional club,” said Nadal, who has reached the Wimbledon final after all four of his appearances at The Queen’s Club. In 2006 and 2007, he was runner-up to Roger Federer at Wimbledon, while in 2008 and 2010 he won the grass court championships. In 2009, Nadal was injured and didn’t play either tournament.

SAY IT AGAIN, AND AGAIN, AND AGAIN

Billie Jean King’s name has just been added to another building. At her annual “Billie Jean King and Friends’ dinner to benefit athletics at her alma mater, California State Los Angeles (CSLA), it was announced that the entire CSLA athletic complex will be henceforth known as the Billie Jean King Athletic Complex. “I’m feeling a little bit overwhelmed,” King said. “I have so many great memories of my days at Cal State L-A, but what we’re really doing now is looking toward the future. It’s nice to have a complex named after you, but this is really the beginning of building more things at the school to benefit students as well as student-athletes. It’s really about family and embracing the kind of values my family taught me when I was young.”

SWEEP

Juan Ignacio Chela won both titles at the BCR Open Romania in Bucharest, Romania, downing Spanish qualifier Pablo Andujar 7-5 6-1 to capture the singles. A day earlier, Chela had teamed with Lukasz Kubot to win the doubles. “It was an unbelievable week, winning both singles and doubles. I didn’t expect that,” the Argentine said. The 31-year-old Chela is the third player this season to win both singles and doubles titles at an ATP World Tour event. Sam Querrey completed the double in Memphis, Tennessee, USA, and Michael Llodra pulled off the feat in Marseille, France. Chela has now won six career titles – all coming on clay. Andujar was playing in his first career final. He had qualified for the main draw and was attempting to become the eighth Spanish player to win an ATP World Tour title this year.

STEP UP

Until her current swing through Asia, Alla Kudryavtseva had never gone past the quarterfinals in any tournament. Then, in Guangzhou, China, she reached the final, where she lost. At the Tashkent Open, the seventh-seeded Kudryavtseva beat fellow Russian Elena Vesnina in the title match 6-4 6-4. “I was nervous. I didn’t expect to win. It was a high-pressure situation,” said Kudryavtseva, who handled it quite well, thank you. Vesnina is winless in four trips to finals, losing to Elena Dementieva, Caroline Wozniacki, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and now Kudryavtseva. “I didn’t play as well as I did the whole week, but I congratulate Alla on winning her first title,” Vesnina said. “Alla played amazing tennis today.”

SPORTS SWITCH

Known for their tennis, Steffi Graf and husband Andre Agassi were the keynote speakers for the Amazing Mile Children’s Run in Lynchburg, Virginia, USA. The two tennis greats emphasized the importance of running to their lives as athletes as they formally opened the 2010 Virginia Ten Miler. Agassi praised Lynchburg as a great community. “The few hours that we’ve been here, it’s been clear to us that there’s a strong sense of community here,” Agassi said. “I’m just a big fan of beautiful small towns.”

SPANISH HELP

Two Grand Slam tournament champions from Spain say they back the six players who have threatened to boycott next year’s Fed Cup. Arantxa Sanchez Vicario and Conchita Martinez – along with 51 other current and former players – issued a statement throwing their support behind Spain’s top six players. The six, including Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez and Anabel Medina Garrigues, have accused the Spanish national tennis federation (RFET) of failing to provide enough support for the women’s game. The RFET refutes the accusations, saying it was investing more money in women’s tennis than ever before and was open to dialogue with the players and their suggestions for improvements. The statement by Sanchez Vicario, who won four Grand Slam tournament singles titles, and the others denounced “the general apathy shown by the federation toward women’s tennis in recent years.”

SCRATCHING HEADS

After watching its Davis Cup team being thrashed by Kazakhstan, the Swiss Tennis Association is seeking answers from the player who wasn’t there. The 5-0 loss dropped Switzerland from the World Group – the top 16 nations who actually compete for the prestigious international team tennis trophy – to the Europe/Africa Group Zone. “We need to have an answer (from Roger Federer). Is he going to be part of the team or not?” Rene Stammbach, president of Swiss Tennis, told swissinfo.ch. “Any answer will be respected and accepted – but we want answers.” Since 2006, Federer has played in only three out of nine Davis Cup ties. Ranked third in the world and considered by many to be the best tennis player in history, Federer pulled out of the Davis Cup tie against Kazakhstan after losing in the semifinals of the US Open. “At the end of the day it’s always going to be his decision,” Stammbach said. “We don’t have a contract with him. We’re just depending on his good will. If he wants to defend the colors of the country, that’s up to him.”

SANIA NOT WORRIED

India’s top female player, Sania Mirza, isn’t worried about the absence of star players at the Commonwealth Games. “As a tennis player, one can only compete with the players who are on the other side of the net,” she said. “However, I can assure you that at least in a global sport like tennis, the depth is tremendous and stardom or rankings have no bearing once a player enters the court.” Several top players have pulled out of the Game, including fourth-ranked Andy Murray, former world number one Lleyton Hewitt, French Open finalist Samantha Stosur and Cyprus’ Marcos Baghdatis. Concerned about disease and hygiene in Delhi, Britain’s number one female player, Elena Baltacha, has withdrawn from the Games. An elevated walkway at the main stadium for the Games collapsed, injuring 23 construction workers. Security concerns surrounding the Games were heightened when gunmen shot and wounded two tourists near one of India’s biggest mosques in New Delhi. A bed given to one Indian athlete collapsed and a venomous snake was found in one of the rooms meant for use by the Indian tennis team. “It looks like someone deliberately let the snake in to spoil the name of the tennis stadium,” a senior official of RK Khanna stadium told rediff.com. “Even Davis Cup matches have been held at this venue but we have never ever had this kind of problem. It is a clear case of mischief.”

A court in Muzaffanagar, India, has put off until November 11 a hearing against Sania Mirza The tennis player had been charged with insulting the national anthem during a function two years ago. According to the complaints, Mirza was not standing at attention when the national anthem was played during the closing ceremony of a women’s tennis tournament where she was the chief guest.

STAYING PUT

The French Open more than likely is staying at Roland Garros. Jean Gachassin, president of the French tennis federation (FFT), said the FFT has been granted a concession to use several courts next to the Roland Garros stadium. Despite the progress, moving the Grand Slam tournament to the Paris suburbs has not been completely ruled out. “Obviously there is a soul at Roland Garros,” Gachassin said. “We have to take this into account.”

SET TO LEAD

Jonathan Vegosen has been nominated to serve a two-year term as United States Tennis Association Chairman of the Board and President, beginning January 1, 2011. He would replace Lucy Garvin, who will assume the board position of Immediate Past President. Vegosen has served on the USTA Board of Directors for four years and is currently completing a two-year term as First Vice President. In addition, Vegosen will continue to serve as a member of the Compensation and International Committees and continue representing the USTA on the Grand Slam Committee and the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Constitutional Committee.

Dave Haggerty, chairman of Head USA, has been nominated as First Vice President, while former player Katrina Adams has been nominated as Vice President. Former US Olympic team members Chanda Rubin and Jeff Tarango are new nominees for the Board of Directors. Also nominated to the board were Carol J. Welder, Vice President; Donald L. Tisdel, Secretary-Treasurer; and Seth G. Abraham, Dale G. Caldwell, William J. Kellogg, John N. Korff, Delaine B. Mast, Andrew A. Valdez and Patrick J. Galbraith, Directors at Large

SEXY ANNA IN 3D

Anna Kournikova is featured on the cover of the October issue of Maxim magazine. To make it even more notable, it’s the first 3D issue ever printed by the magazine. The 29-year-old Kournikova said she still plays a lot of tennis and played invitational doubles with Martina Hingis at both Wimbledon and the US Open this year. She also plays World TeamTennis.

SHARED PERFORMANCES

Bucharest: Juan Ignacio Chela and Lukasz Kubot beat Marcel Granollers and Santiago Ventura 6-2 57- 13-11 (match tiebreak)

Metz: Dustin Brown and Rogier Wassen beat Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares 6-3 6-3

Saint Malo: Petra Cetkovska and Lucie Hradecka beat Mariya Koryttseva and Iona-Raluca Olaru 6-4 6-2

Seoul: Julia Goerges and Polona Hercog beat Natalie Grandin and Vladimira Uhlirova 6-3 6-4

Tashkent: Alexandra Panova and Tatiana Poutchek beat Alexandra Dulgheru and Magdalena Rybarikova 6-3 6-4

SITES TO SURF

Ningho: www.tiyuzx.com

Kuala Lumpur: www.malaysianopentennis.com/2010/

Bangkok: www.thailandopen.org/

Beijing: www.chinaopen.com.cn/

Tokyo: www.rakutenopen.rakuten.co.jp/

Mons: www.ethiastrophy.be

Jounieh: www.atcl.org

Paris: www.tropheejeanluclagardere.com

TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK

(All money in USD)

ATP

$850,000 Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, hard

$551,000 PIT Thailand Open, Bangkok, Thailand, hard

WTA

$2,000,000 Toray Pan Pacific Open, Tokyo, Japan, hard

$100,000 ITF Ningho 2010, Ningho, China, hard

SENIORS

Trophee Jean-Luc Lagardere, Paris, France

TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK

ATP

$2,100,000 China Open, Beijing, China, hard

$1,100,000 Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships, Tokyo, Japan, hard

$143,000 Ethias Trophy, Mons, Belgium, hard

WTA

$4,500,000 China Open, Beijing, China, hard

$100,000 Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships, Tokyo, Japan, hard

$100,000 Jounieh, Lebanon, clay



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About Bob Greene
Bob Greene, the esteemed former Associated Press tennis writer, wraps up the week that was in international tennis with his “Monday’s With Bob Greene” column – a revival of his popular weekly feature at the AP.

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