Novak Djokovic beat Roger Federer 6-3 6-3 to win the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
David Ferrer beat Nicolas Almagro 7-6 (4) 6-7 (2) 6-2 to win the Abierto Mexicano Telcel men’s singles in Acapulco, Mexico
Vera Zvonareva beat Caroline Wozniacki 6-4 6-4 to win the Qatar Ladies Open in Doh
Juan Martin del Potro beat Janko Tipsarevic 6-4 6-4 to win the Delray Beach International Championships in Delray Beach, Florida, USA
Gisela Dulko beat Arantxa Parra Santonja 6-3 7-6 (5) to win the women’s singles at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco, Mexico
Mark Philippoussis beat Aaron Krickstein 6-3 6-2 to win the ATP Champions Tour portion of the Delray Beach Tennis Championships in Delray Beach, Florida, USA
“This is a difficult, emotional day for me. However, I don’t want it to be a sad day and I would like to still be remembered for everything I did in tennis and for the glory I brought to both Split and Croatia. Everything has en end. For me it was beautiful while it lasted and that is why this is a happy day.” – Mario Ancic, announcing his retirement from tennis.
“Any time I win against Roger (Federer) it’s a great success because he’s such a great player. We all know how mentally strong of a player he is. To be able to win against Roger in straight sets as I did tonight is incredible, but I want to keep on going. I know that I have qualities to do even more, and that’s what I want.” – Novak Djokovic, after beating Federer in the final in Dubai.
“(It was) obviously (a) disappointing end as well to the match. I guess you can’t win them all. I played so well in Doha in the finals, in London in the finals, in Basel in the finals. I guess I had to mess one up. It’s a pity, but, look, Novak played great.” – Roger Federer.
“He plays tennis on his terms.” – Somdev Devvarman, on Roger Federer.
“Caroline is number one and playing very well. I was just fighting for every point and trying to go for my shots. This is definitely a special moment for me, especially after that tough match against Daniela (Hantuchova) and another great one against Jelena (Jankovic).” – Vera Zvonareva, after beating Caroline Wozniacki to win the Qatar Ladies Open.
“I’m always disappointed to lose but I played a great competitor today. Vera played a great match and a great tournament. I’m happy to be in the finals; it was another great tournament for me and I always enjoy being back in Doha. I will be back next year for sure.” – Caroline Wozniacki.
“I didn’t lose because I had the title or the prize money or the car or the points in my head. I had a big enough problem in beating del Potro.’” – Janko Tipsarevic, after losing to Juan Martin del Potro in the final of the Delray Beach International.
“I don’t know if I’m ready to fight with top-10 players, but I’m working very hard and hope to do it soon. I need 20 to 25 matches before I’ll really be ready to play with them, but it’s coming soon.” – Juan Martin del Potro, after winning the Delray Beach International.
“Inconsistency has always been a problem throughout my career – you only need to look at the up-and-down graph of my ranking – but now as I see the years passing by, I really want to get out there and win the matches I should win.” – Mardy Fish.
“I really don’t have one with him. I wish we could. After all this time you would think it would be reasonable.” – Ivan Lendl, when asked if he had and rival John McEnroe were friends and had a relationship with one another.
For the first time since the US Open in 2009, Juan Martin del Potro has taken home a winner’s trophy. The 22-year-old Argentine, who missed most of last year with a right wrist injury, defeated Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia 6-4 6-4 to win the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships. When he won the last point, del Potro thrust his arms into the air and kept kissing his right wrist. “Three months ago I was thinking I’ll be trying to play tournaments,” del Potro said. “Now I won a tournament. It’s great to win a tournament after a year. It was del Potro’s eight career title. And while it had been a long time since he last won, he had displayed his winning game before Delray Beach, reaching the semifinals at San Jose, California, and Memphis, Tennessee, the two prior weeks. Tipsarevic was attempting to win his first title in three career finals.
It also had been a long time between titles for Vera Zvonareva. Although ranked third in the world, Zvonareva hadn’t taken home the winner’s trophy since Pattaya City, Thailand, a year and two weeks ago. And her 11th career title came with a strong 6-4 6-4 victory over top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki in the final of the Qatar Open in Doha. Despite playing three-set matches in both the quarterfinals and semifinals, the Russian showed not signs of fatigue against Wozniacki, who had reached the final without dropping a set. Zvonareva broke in the third game and held her serve to capture the first set, then rallied from a break down to wrap up the victory. “Coming into this tournament I wasn’t expecting to end my week like this. It’s great,” Zvonareva said.
France has lost yet another player from its Davis Cup team. Richard Gasquet is the third Frenchman to withdraw from this coming weekend’s first-round Davis Cup tie with Austria, making captain Guy Forget admit that his country’s chances of winning have been reduced. Gasquet, who suffered a shoulder problem in the semifinals in Dubai this past week, joins Gael Monfils and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on the sidelines as last year’s Davis Cup runners-up begin their 2011 campaign. “We know our chances are now a lot less, we need to use that as an advantage,” said Forget, who now will field Gilles Simon, Michael Llodra, Jeremy Chardy and Julien Benneteau.
David Ferrer went 6-for-7 on break point opportunities to defeat Nicolas Almagro and successfully defend his Abierto Mexicano Telcel title. The defeat ended Almagro’s bid to win three of the four Golden Swing crowns in one season. Last year, the top-seeded Ferrer’s victory in Acapulco, Mexico, denied Juan Carlos Ferrero a chance to win a third title on the clay-court swing. Ferrer’s 7-6 (4) 6-7 (2) 6-2 win over Almagro was his 11th ATP tour title and snapped Almagro’s 13-match winning streak. “I didn’t think I could win here twice in a row and I realize I am having the best season start of my career this year,” Ferrer said. “I hope I can continue like that this season.” Ferrer has started the season with a match record of 14-2, including titles in Auckland and Acapulco, and a semifinal run at the Australian Open.
An earthquake that shattered Christchurch forced the International Tennis Federation to halt a seniors tennis tournament in the New Zealand community. At least 148 people were killed in quake, which measured 6.3 on the Richter scale, but all of the participants in the tennis tournament were safe. “While we are, of course, relieved that all the players, captains and officials who were in Christchurch this week are safe, we are mindful of the loss of life and the large number of injuries,” said ITF president Francesco Ricci Bitti. While the competition in Christchurch was canceled, the Seniors World Team Championships in nearby Timaru and Ashburton were completed. The ITF canceled the Seniors World Individual Championships, which had been scheduled for Christchurch.
The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships will stay right where it is – next door to a new 293-room hotel. There had been talk of moving the tournament from the Emirates Airline Aviation club, but tournament officials will leave the ATP 500 event where it has been staged since its start in 1993. Construction of the new hotel is a strong reason the tournament is staying put. “Just imagine having all the players under one roof and walking distance away from the tennis courts,” tournament director Colm McLoughlin said of the new Aviation hotel project. “I’m sure the current high profile of our championships will go up another few notches. We don’t know when the hotel will be opened, but for sure we will have all the players and officials staying there for next year’s championships.”
Retired tennis star Paradorn Srichaphan of Thailand and Canadian beauty queen Natalie Glebova are separating after three years of marriage. In a statement, the couple said they decided to split last July because work commitments had kept them apart. “Over the past few years, responsibilities and work turned our married life in a different direction. However, we still care for each other and we are still good friends,” the couple said in the statement issued by their publicists. Srichaphan, once ranked ninth in the world, and the former Miss Universe have launched beauty products, diet supplements and a Bangkok restaurant together. They said in the statement they planned to continue to do business with one another. The couple met at the Thailand Open in 2006, a year after Glebova was crowned Miss Universe, and were married in September 2007, the year Paradorn’s tennis career ended because of a wrist injury.
Fred Stolle is the latest member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame (ITHoF) to be presented a commemorative ring. The Australian, whose career featured Grand Slam tournament titles and Davis Cup victories, was presented the ring in a center court ceremony at the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships. Stolle was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1985. The one-of-a-kind rings are being presented to Hall of Famers at tennis events around the world over the next several years to mark their achievement of Hall of Fame induction.
Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny is quitting Davis Cup play so he can spend more time with his family. The 28-year-old Youzhny, who is ranked 11th in the world, is Russia’s top-ranked player. He told Sport-Express he has stepped down from the international team competition to make way for younger players. Youzhny rallied from two-sets down in the decisive fifth match to beat Paul-Henri Mathieu and lift Russia over France and to its first Davis Cup title. He also was on the team that won the title against Argentina in 2006. Russia plays host to Sweden in the first round of Davis Cup World Group on March 4-6.
STAMP OF APPROVAL
Novak Djokovic is in the groove. The Serb crushed Roger Federer 6-3, 6-3 to continue his mastery over the Swiss maestro and win the Dubai Tennis Championships for the third
time. Federer won three of the first four games in the match before Djokovic rocketed past him. The Serb wrapped up his 20th career title in just one hour, 11 minutes and improved his head-to-head record against Federer to 8-13. Federer has lost his last three meetings with Djokovic, including the US Open semifinals and the Australian Open title match. Federer was seeking his fifth Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title at the Aviation Club.
Once ranked seventh in the world but since hampered by a series of injuries, Mario Ancic of Croatia has retired from professional tennis. “The decision to end my career was extremely difficult but after consulting experts from Croatia, the US, France and Germany I realized that my body can no longer keep up with the rhythm of today’s tennis,” an emotional Ancic said at a news conference in his hometown of Split. “The last back injury was the last straw.” in making such a decision, the 26-year-old stressed at a press conference in his hometown of Split, on the central Adriatic coast. Ancic led Croatia to victory in the 2005 Davis Cup and, partnered with Ivan Ljubicic, won a bronze medal in doubles for Croatia at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. He also reached the semifinals at Wimbledon in 2004. Ancic’s health problems started in 2007 when he was diagnosed with mononucleosis, which sidelined him for six months. He also suffered from shoulder problems and a back injury. While sidelined, Ancic returned to school and graduated from the Split University Faculty of Law.
Somdev Devvarman had a close-up look at Roger Federer, and came away quite impressed with one particular part of his game. India’s top player, Devvarman lost to Federer in the Dubai Tennis Championships. But after his 6-3, 6-3 defeat, all Devvarman wanted to talk about was Federer’s serve. “I mean, his serve is absolutely unbelievable,” Devvarman said. “I think his ground strokes, I mean, all of us have seen magic from that, but his serve is unbelievable. It’s so hard to read, you know. It’s not about the pace. I think I played guys that hit a little bit harder. But it’s really tough to read. He really focuses on hitting his sports right. I think once he does that, it’s tough. I think it’s very underrated, how good his serve is.”
STILL STAYING AWAY
Serena Williams still isn’t ready to return to tennis. She withdrew from the Nike Clash of Champions exhibition scheduled for March 8 in Eugene, Ore. She has not played publicly since July. Besides Williams, others scheduled to play are Maria Sharapova, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. Even without the reigning Wimbledon champion, the event will be a success. All 12,000 tickets sold out within 11 minutes, minus a few singles. Although she’s not playing, Williams will be at the event. ”I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to play at the Nike Clash of the Champions as I had anticipated,” Williams said in a statement. “I’m thrilled, however, to still be able to participate in the Family Tennis Festival and in the exhibition as a referee during the mixed doubles.” Ninth-ranked Victoria Azarenka will replace Williams in the exhibition. The 21-year-old from Belarus will play Sharapova in a singles set, followed by a mixed doubles set and then a men’s singles set between the world’s top two players, Nadal and Federer. A portion of the proceeds from the Nike Clash of the Champions will benefit each of the five athletes’ charitable foundations.
In the latest rankings, Alex Bogdanovic tumbled 86 places to 378th in the world, his lowest position in eight years. No problem. Bogdanovic was selected for Great Britain’s Davis Cup squad that will meet Tunisia in a Europe/Africa Zone Group Two tie. With Andy Murray deciding not to play, team captain Leon Smith selected James Ward, who is ranked 212th, Bogdanovic and Jamie Baker, ranked 401. Two of the three will play singles, while Jamie Murray and Colin Fleming will play doubles. Bogdanovic has received eight wild card entries into Wimbledon but has yet to win a match at the grass court Grand Slam tournament. He has lost all six of his live Davis Cup rubbers. The last time Bogdanovic represented Great Britain in Davis Cup was against Austria in September 2008.
Russia will be putting the Italian Fed Cup team on ice. When Italy travels to Moscow for the semifinals April 16-17, the tie will be played on a specially built indoor court laid on top of an ice rink. The Russian tennis federation (RTF) said the tie will be the first major tennis event held at Moscow’s 14,000-seat Hodynka arena, which was built in 2007 to stage that year’s ice hockey world championships. The winner of this tie will face Belgium or the Czech Republic, who meet in the other semifinal, in the November final.
BMW Group Malaysia has a special reason to be the title sponsors for this week’s Malaysian Open women’s tennis championships in Kuala Lumpur. “We decided to go into women’s tennis as there is a worldwide following and is an important event in the calendar,” said BMW Group
Malaysia corporate communications manager Sashi Ambi. “We want to support the initiative as well as further promote women’s tennis. We also want to create awareness and passion for tennis locally.” Among those who have entered the tournament are Shuai Peng of China, Francesca Schiavone of Italy, Marion Bartoli of France, Sania Mirza of India, Kimiko Date-Krumm of Japan, Jarmila Groth of Australia, Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand and Dinara Safina of Russia.
Acapulco (men): Victor Hanescu and Horia Tecau beat Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares 6-1 6-3
Acapulco (women): Mariya Koryttseva and Ioana Raluca Olaru beat Lourdes Dominguez Lino and Arantxa Parra Santonja 3-6 6-1 10-4 (match tiebreak)
Delray Beach: Scott Lipsky and Rajeev Ram beat Christopher Kas and Alexander Peya 4-6 6-4 10-3 (match tiebreak)
Doha: Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik beat Liezel Huber and Nadia Petrova 7-5 6-7(2) 10-8 (match tiebreak)
Dubai: Sergiy Stakhovsky and Mkhail Youzhny beat Jeremy Chardy and Feliciano Lopez 4-6 6-3 10-3 (match tiebreak)
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
(All money in USD)
$220,000 BMW Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, hard
$220,000 Whirlpool Monterrey Open, Monterrey, Mexico, hard
Serbia vs. India at Novi Sad, Serbia, hard
Sweden vs. Russia at Boras, Sweden, hard
Czech Republic vs. Kazakhstan at Ostrava, Czech Republic, hard
Argentina vs. Romania at Buenos Aires, Argentina, clay
Chile vs. United States at Santiago, Chile, clay
Belgium vs. Spain at Chaleroi, Belgium, hard
Croatia vs. Germany at Zagreb, Croatia, hard
Austria vs. France at Vienna, Austria, clay
Group I – Americas: Mexico vs. Canada at Asuncion, Estado de Mexico, clay; Uruguay vs. Colombia at Montevideo, Uruguay, clay
Group I – Asia/Oceania: China vs. Chinese Taipei at Shanghai, China, hard; Philippines vs. Japan at Lapu City, Philippines, clay; Uzbekistan vs. New Zealand at Namangan, Uzbekistan, clay
Group I – Europe/Africa: Slovenia vs. Finland at Ljubjana, Slovenia, clay; Ukraine vs. Netherlands at Kharkiv, Ukraine, hard; Portugal vs. Slovak Republic at Cruz Quebrada, Portugal, clay
Group II – Americas: Peru vs. Netherlands Antilles at Lima, Peru, clay; El Salvador vs. Dominican Republic at Santa Tecla, El Salvador, clay; Puerto Rico vs. Paraguay at Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, hard; Venezuela vs. Haiti at Caracas, Venezuela, hard
Group II – Asia/Oceania: Korea vs. Syria at Changwon, Korea, hard; Hong Kong vs. Pakistan at Hong Kong, hard; Iran vs. Indonesia at Tehran, Iran, clay; Pacific Oceania vs. Thailand at Guam, hard
Group II – Europe/Asia: Great Britain vs. Tunisia at Bolton, Great Britain, hard; Ireland vs. Luxembourg at Dublin, Ireland, hard; Belarus vs. Bulgaria at Minsk, Belarus, hard; Cyprus vs. Hungary at Nicosia, Cyprus, hard; Morocco vs. Bosnia/Herzegovina at Marrakech, Morocco, clay; Estonia vs. Lithuania at Tallinn, Estonia, hard; Denmark vs. Monaco at Kolding, Denmark, carpet; Greece vs. Latvia at Thessaloniki, Greece, clay
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
MEN and WOMEN
BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells, California, USA, hard (first week)
BNP Paribas Zurich Open, Zurich, Switzerland, carpet