Germany beat Argentina 2-1 to win the Power Horse World Team Cup in Düsseldorf, Germany
Caroline Wozniacki beat Peng Shuai 2-6 6-3 6-3 to win the Brussels Open by GDF Suez in Brussels, Belgium
Nicolas Almagro beat Victor Hanescu 6-7 (5) 6-3 6-3 to win the Open de Nice Cote d’Azur in Nice, France
Andrea Petkovic beat Marion Bartoli 6-4 1-0 retired to win the Internationaux de Strasbourg in Strasbourg, France
Mark Philippoussis beat Carlos Moya 7-5 6-7 (3) 10-4 (match tiebreak) to win the Seguros Bolivar Tennis Champions in Bogotá, Colombia
Bahamas and Venezuela were promoted to Americas Zone Group I for Fed Cup 2012 in competition held at Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
“I’ve never been the overwhelming favourite going into the French Open because of Rafa’s great record here over the years. Last year here I was the defending champion. The year before, and the years before that I was trying to win Paris for the first time. I’ve always had that big cloud hanging over, and the ‘Am I ever going to win the French Open question.’ But that’s been answered. This year, maybe (people) expect more from Rafa and Novak, and that could be a good thing for me and more pressure for them.” – Roger Federer, on having rivals Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic being the favourites to win Roland Garros.
“It’s always a strange feeling when somebody retires. We’re all rushing for the points and titles through the year, but you feel happy and sad at the same moment. I felt so sad for Marion, but also I was playing well and I wanted to finish this match normally.” – Andrea Petkovic, who won Strasbourg when Marion Bartoli retired from the match with a left thigh injury.
“The time for recovery (before Roland Garros) is really short, because I am playing on Monday. I’d say it’s time to pray for a miracle. But I guess having a dad as a doctor is very helpful. He is the most important person for me to talk to and find out if I can play. Hopefully I can get through my first match on Monday, just fight through it, and then I can hope for another day of recovery. Hopefully I’ll be alright to continue after that.” – Marion Bartoli, who retired from the Strasbourg final with a left thigh injury.
“I feel in good shape. I don’t feel tired at all. I am full of confidence.” – Carolina Wozniacki, who needed medical treatment on her left thigh in the third set before winning the Brussels Open.
“I had a great 2009 and winning tournaments became almost a habit, but when I won Fès this year I realized I hadn’t won one for more than a year. I’m enjoying the feeling of winning more because it’s not something I expected, but something I really wanted.” – Andrea Hlavackova, who teamed with Galina Voskoboeva to win the doubles in Brussels.
“Playing together for the first time we didn’t expect to win the title. We’re really happy. We were very relaxed and got the maximum reward.” – Galina Voskoboeva, after teaming with Andrea Hlavackova to capture the doubles title in Brussels.
“There are a lot of things going on in the world to get mad at and a few points in tennis isn’t one of them.” – Heather Watson, saying she has thrown her last racquet on a tennis court in anger.
“The balls are very, very fast, so it’s really difficult to control. Maybe it’s going to favor the servers and the big hitters. But it still is clay and it still is best-of-five. You have to rely on your physical ability, as well.” – Novak Djokovic, talking about the Babolat balls that will be used in the French Open.
“I have been doing everything that I can, so I cannot ask myself more. I am trying and I am doing very well, but one player is doing better than me. The champion in my opinion is not only be able to win every week; it is when they are able to wait at the right moments and I am waiting at every week, trying to find solutions, and we will see what is going on next time.” – Rafael Nadal, talking about Novak Djokovic.
“I love playing tennis and never wanted to stop playing, so this is the perfect opportunity for me. Even though this isn’t the main ATP Tour, it’s something I’m really looking forward to because the standard of tennis is still really good and I know it’s going to be good fun.” – Carlos Moya, making his ATP Champions Tour debut in Bogotá, Colombia.
“I lost my singles match, but I came out strongly for the doubles and it’s great to have a happy ending.” – Philipp Kohschreiber, who teamed with Philipp Petzschner to win the decisive doubles match and lead Germany to victory in the World Team Championships.
“The truth is that when I saw the draw, it wasn’t very good for me, but I knew that with a little luck I’d win.” – Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo, after upsetting 19th-seeded Marin Cilic on the first day of the French Open. Ramirez Hidalgo next will play fellow Spaniard Albert Montanes.
It didn’t take long for favorites to tumble out of the year’s second Grand Slam tournament. Three seeded players were eliminated on the opening day at Roland Garros. Varvara Lepchenko, who is ranked 85th in the world, upset 18th-seeded Flavia Pennetta of Italy 6-3 2-6 6-3. A native of Uzbekistan, Lepchenko now lives in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and represents the United States. Because her next opponent is Bethanie Mattek-Sands, the winner will be the first woman from the United States other than either Serena or Venus Williams to reach the third round at Roland Garros since 2006.
Ruben Ramirez Hildago, a 33-year-old Spaniard who had lost in the first round in 13 of his 14 previous Grand Slam tournament appearances, knocked off 19th-seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia 7-6 (5) 6-4 6-4. Cilic made 67 unforced errors in the match.
Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez overcame 19th-seeded Shahar Peer of Israel 7-6 (4) 6-1. It was Peer’s third first-round exit in her last four tournaments.
The Power Horse World Team Cup title played in Düsseldorf, Germany, is staying home. After losing his singles match, Philipp Kohschreiber teamed with Philipp Petzschner to win the doubles and lead Germany to a record fifth World Team Cup title, defeating Argentina 2-1. The two Philipps stopped Juan Ignacio Chela and Maximo Gonzalez 6-3 7-6 (5) in the decisive doubles battle. Florian Mayer gave Germany the lead by defeating Juan Monaco 7-6 (4) 6-0, before Chela pulled Argentina even with a 6-4 7-6 (4) win over Kohschreiber, setting the stage for the doubles. Argentina was playing in the final for the seventh time. All three of its losses in finals have come against Germany.
SHOWING HER METTLE
Caroline Wozniacki had never won a red clay tournament title until the inaugural Brussels Open. And it comes just in time for the only Grand Slam tournament played on red clay, the French Open. The top-ranked Wozniacki overcame a thigh injury and China’s Peng Shuai to capture the crown, 2-6 6-3 6-3, her fourth title of the year, the most on the WTA Tour. Wozniacki had medical treatment on her left thigh in the third set and played the remainder of the match with tape on her leg. But she said it wouldn’t affect her play at Roland Garros in Paris. “It is fine. There are no big problems. It was a small pain. I just didn’t want it to get bigger,” she said. Peng was more aggressive throughout the match, going for the lines and winners. Wozniacki mostly waited for her opponent to make errors, which she did. It was the fourth WTA Tour final for the 25-year-old Peng – her first Premier-level final. She has yet to win a title. Going into Roland Garros, Wozniacki and Peng lead the WTA Tour with match wins in 2011. Wozniacki’s record is now 38-7, while Peng is 34-12.
SAYS NOVAK MORE IMPRESSIVE
John McEnroe still holds the record – as of now – for the longest match winning streak to begin the season. In 1984, the American won his first 42 matches. But McEnroe believes the 37-match winning streak that Novak Djokovic has put together this year is much more impressive. “Given that there’s more competition, more athleticism and deeper fields now, I’d say his record is even more impressive than mine,” McEnroe said. “Especially given that in 1984 the major in Australia was played at the end of the year, whereas he had to win it (as part of his streak). I was coming into my first Grand Slam of the year at the French, where the streak was broken (in the final against Ivan Lendl). So things are different. Also, he came into the year at number three, an d to be able to dominate (higher-ranked players) the way he has, well, to put it mildly, it’s been quite amazing to see what he’s done and how much more confidently he’s playing.” McEnroe said he is pulling for Djokovic to break his record. “I’m quite excited that he might break my record at the French Open,” McEnroe said. “Records are made to be broken. It’s the definition of mixed emotions. I think I’ve pretty much lost every record that I had but, at the same time, I know that this has been a shot in the arm for our sport.”
SITE NOW KNOWN
Instead of playing in the year’s second Grand Slam tournament in Paris, France, Julie Cohen is seeking dollars and a title this week in Bangkok, Thailand. The American signed up for six events this week while hoping she would play in a seventh. Taking part in the qualifying event for the French Open, Cohen won her first-round match, beating Anais Laurendon of France 6-2 6-2 before losing to fellow American Sloane Stephenson 6-0 6-3. No problem. Cohen, who is ranked 169th in the world, is the top seed in a USD $25,000 tournament in Bangkok, Thailand, this week after withdrawing from other events in Changwon, South Korea; Grado, Italy; Itaparica, Brazil; Niigata, Japan, and Carson, California, USA.
Novak Djokovic didn’t even wait for the French Open to clinch a spot in the season-ending 2011 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. The Serbian right-hander did just that with his win over Rafael Nadal in the final of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia a week ago. The world’s top eight players qualify for the season finale, which will be played November 20-27 in London. Djokovic qualifies for the Finals for the fifth successive year. He won the title in 2008 when it was held in Shanghai, China. Last year, he lost to eventual champion Roger Federer in the semifinals. Djokovic has not lost a match since going into the French Open. He became only the second player to qualify for the season-ending event before Roland Garros since 1990. In 2009, Rafael Nadal also qualified before Roland Garros.
SAYS NO MAS
Lleyton Hewitt pulled out of the French Open at the last moment. The Australian, who has won two Grand Slam tournaments in his career, withdrew from Roland Garros just hours before he was to play his first-round match against Albert Montanes of Spain. The 30-year-old won the US Open in 2001 and Wimbledon in 2002. He was ranked number one in the world for a total of 80 weeks. Hewitt has not played on the ATP Tour since March after undergoing foot surgery. “Lucky loser” Marc Gicquel of France replaced Hewitt and immediately lost to Montanes 6-4 6-4 6-2.
Russia’s Alisa Kleybanova cited illness when she withdrew from the French Open. Kleybanova had been seeded 23rd in the women’s draw. Her place in the field was taken by another Russian, Anastasia Pivovarova, a “lucky loser” who lost in qualifying. Last year, Kleybanova reached the third round at Roland Garros, beating 2008 champion Ana Ivanovic in the second round.
Soggy grounds at the University Vermont forced the annual commencement ceremony indoors. So appropriate. The dais was at one end of the university’s indoor tennis courts and the commencement speaker was Billie Jean King, who also was the recipient of an honorary doctorate degree. King said she had “an epiphany” at age 12 that she would dedicate her life to “equal rights and opportunities for boys and girls and men and women.” Her breaking barriers for women athletes was among the reasons she was honored by UVM. In her speech, she recalled going to college in Los Angeles when she had to hold down two jobs to get through school while two male players – Stan Smith and Arthur Ashe – received full scholarships at the University of Southern California and UCLA, respectively. After concluding her remarks, the 67-year-old King grabbed a racquet and hit tennis balls into the crowd.
The Brisbane International will become a Premier level tournament on the WTA tour next year, strengthening the start of the women’s tennis season. The upgraded Australian tournament will have increased prize money of USD $655,000 in 2012 and USD $1,000,000 beginning in 2013. The Brisbane International along with the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand; the Medibank International in Sydney, Australia, and the Moorilla Hobart International in Hobart, Tasmania, will give the WTA a strong lead-in to the year’s first Grand Slam tournament, the Australian Open. Last year, WTA attendance was up five percent at Premier events and four percent at international events, while a record 19 players earned more than USD $1,000,000 for the year.
David Nalbandian has been awarded a wild card into the main draw of the AEGON Championships at The Queen’s Club, a grass court warm-up event for Wimbledon. A Wimbledon finalist in 2002, Nalbandian has been sidelined by injuries over much of the past 12 months. “It has been a frustrating time, but my recovery is going well and I expect to be in good shape for the tournament,” the Argentine said. “I enjoy playing on grass, and reaching the Wimbledon final in 2002 was a special moment in my career.” The Queen’s Club is celebrating its 125th anniversary.
Mark Philippoussis is finding the senior circuit is just his speed. The Australian won his third straight ATP Champions Tour event by beating former world number one Carlos Moya 7-5 6-7 (3) 10-4 (match tiebreak). Philippoussis collected the Seguros Bolivar Tennis Champions in Bogotá, Colombia, to go along with his other two senior tour titles in 2011, in Delray Beach, Florida, USA, and Zurich, Switzerland. Moya, making his senior tour debut, was the favorite of the capacity crowd of 4,000. But in the deciding set Champions Tiebreak, Philippoussis raced to a 5-3 lead, then won four of the next five points for a 9-4 advantage and five match points. The hard-serving Aussie only needed one, closing out the match with a cross-court forehand return winner.
Roger Federer may have slipped off the top perch, but he still is the leading tennis celebrity in the sports world. Federer is 25th on Forbes’ annual “Celebrity 100” compilation of the most powerful people or groups in the entertainment business. Golfer Tiger Woods is ranked sixth on the list, the highest of any of the 19 athletes who are named. Miami Heat star LeBron James is 10th and the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant is at No. 14. Other tennis players on the list are Maria Sharapova (number 80), Serena Williams (84) and Venus Williams (86). Combined, Forbes said the 19 athletes on the list this year earned a combined USD $647 million. Lady Gaga tops Forbes’ overall rankings, followed by Oprah Winfrey, Justin Bieber, U2 and Elton John.
SAYS HE’S RETURNING
After a three-year absence, John McEnroe is returning to the AEGON Masters Tennis tournament being played November 30-December 4 at London’s Royal Albert Hall. The 52-year-old McEnroe says he is fitter now than he was eight years ago when he won his fourth and most recent title in London. “I’m really excited to be back playing at the AEGON Masters Tennis in London this year,” said the left-hander, who won the title in each of the first three years of the event – in 1997, 1998 and 1999. “The London tournament has always been one of my favorite events of the year; the crowds are really fantastic, the atmosphere is great and the Royal Albert Hall is one of the most spectacular arenas I’ve ever played in.” At the end of last year McEnroe defeated Ivan Lendl, Mats Wilander and Guy Forget to win the title in Paris.
Two players from Zimbabwe have been selected by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) for its 2011 national awards for Junior and Community Colleges. Mbonisi Ndimande was named ITA Player of the Year and Admire Mushonga was named ITA Rookie Player of the Year. Both play at Seminole State in Oklahoma. The ITA Player of the Year for women went to Sun Wen of Tyler (Texas) Junior College, a native of China. Katerina Mozolyuk of Santa Monica (California) College was named female ITA Rookie Player of the Year.
Cade Sherman of Jones County Junior College (men) and Gabriela Rodriguez of Pima Community College (women) were awarded the ITA/Arthur Ashe Jr. Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship. Sherman was named salutatorian of his senior class and received a Presidential Scholarship from the school. For the past four years Sherman has been an active volunteer in helping mentally and physically handicapped individuals compete in the Annual Special Olympics event held on the campus of JCJC. He will be enrolling at Mississippi State University in August where he will study civil engineering.
Rodriguez is a native of Mexico, where she participated three times in the Junior Olympics. At Pima Community College, she has a triple major – political science, communications and business – while playing number one singles. She is 27th in the nation in the Campbell/ITA College Tennis Rankings. She also serves as vice president of the International Student’s Club and is an active member of the University’s Student Government.
SINGERS ON CALL
The United States Tennis Association (USTA) will hold its annual open casting call on Tuesday, June 21, at the Apollo Theater in New York City to select children to perform at Arthur Ashe Stadium during night sessions of this year’s US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The auditions are free of charge and will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Eastern time. Children 12 years of age and younger as of September 11, 2011, will be asked to sing “America the Beautiful” a cappella in front of a panel of celebrity judges from the music and entertainment industries.
Brussels: Andrea Hlavackova and Galina Voskoboeva beat Klaudia Jans and Alicja Rosolska 3-6 6-0 10-5 (match tiebreak)
Nice: Eric Butorac and Jean-Julien Rojer beat Santiago Gonzalez and David Marrero 6-3 6-4
Strasbourg: Akgul Amanmuradova and Chuang Chia-Jung beat Natalie Grandin and Vladimira Uhlirova 6-4 5-7 10-2 (match tiebreak)
Sao Paulo: www.grandchampionsbrasil.com.br
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
(All money in USD)
MEN and WOMEN
Roland Garros, Paris, France, clay (first week)
Grand Champions Brazil, Sao Paulo, Brazil, clay
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
Roland Garros, Paris, France, clay (second week)
$152,000 Czech Open, Prostejov, Czech Republic, clay
Roland Garros, Paris, France, clay (second week)