BNP Paribas at Indian Wells, California, USA
Christina McHale beat third-seeded Petra Kvitova 2-6 6-2 6-3
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez beat fourth-seeded Andy Murray 6-4 6-2
“Today I was a shadow of myself. I didn’t feel like I did anything right.” – Jelena Jankovic, after being upset 6-4 6-3 by Jamie Hampton at Indian Wells.
“I have to go away and think about what happened.” – Andy Murray, after losing 6-4 6-2 to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.
“I don’t like to be out there for too long if I don’t have to. I like to play tennis and I love grinding it out, but if I have the opportunity to finish it off fast, I like that opportunity as well.” – Caroline Wozniacki, after beating Ekaterina Makarova in just over an hour.
“We didn’t play a beautiful match and there were a lot of unforced errors, but look, it’s the opening match of the tournament for me and I am getting used to the conditions and the court.” – Novak Djokovic, following his victory over Andrey Golubev.
“It’s not easy to be back after a while without competition, but I did really well. I started the match very focused, very aggressive. I’m very happy about almost everything.” – Rafael Nadal, after winning his opening match at Indian Wells.
“It’s always tough to play a same-country player because we know each other a lot. We stay in the national teams so we practice every day and travel all of the time, so it’s very tough. But I was so happy because it’s the first time I beat her.” – Li Na, after beating fellow Chinese Zheng Jie 6-1 6-3.
Gustavo “Guga” Kuerten is the newest member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame. A three-time French Open champion, Kuerten is the second Brazilian to be inducted into the Newport, Rhode Island, USA, shrine, joining 1978 Hall of Famer Maria Bueno. Winner of Roland Garros in 1997, 2000 and 2001, Kuerten’s induction was announced in São Paulo, Brazil. Bueno was on hand for the announcement. “I was inspired by lots of great tennis players, like Maria Esther Bueno and Thomas Koch, two of the biggest Brazilian tennis players, and I have also always greatly admired Hall of Famers including (Bjorn) Borg, (John) McEnroe, (Pete) Sampras and (Andre) Agassi,” Kuerten said. “To be honored in the same category as those great players is amazing.” He also reached the French Open quarterfinals in 1999 and 2004, was a quarterfinalist at Wimbledon in 1999, at the US Open in 1999 and 2001, and at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. In 2000, Kuerten became the first South American to finish the year number one in the world in the history of the ATP World Tour rankings since they began in 1973. A panel of international tennis media selected the 35-year-old Kuerten for induction in the Recent Player Category. A 75 percent favorable vote is required for induction. Previous announced inductees in the Class of 2012 include Spanish great Manuel Orantes in the Master Player Category; tennis administrator and promoter Mike Davies in the Contributor Category; and Randy Snow, who was elected posthumously in the Recent Player Category for his accomplishments as a wheelchair tennis player.
There apparently is no such thing as a smooth start for Andy Murray. The Scot hit an unexpected road bump when he was upset 6-4 6-2 by Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in a second-round match in Indian Wells. Ranked fourth in the world, it’s the second straight year he has stumbled in the California desert. Last year he was eliminated by American qualifier Donald Young. “I have to go away and think about what happened,” Murray said after his latest loss. “I played great in practice, was hitting the ball really well. I felt pretty fresh. … It almost felt like playing the match on a clay court. I wasn’t able to hit through the court and I squandered so many chances.”
At least six players were felled in the first week of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells by a viral infection that has swept through the California desert. Frenchman Gael Monfils pulled out of the tournament because of stomach problems, as did American Vania King. King, who won her first WTA title in Paris last month, had already won two matches, so her withdrawal advanced Angelique Kerber of Germany into the fourth round with the walkover. Earlier, Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber, Italy’s Andreas Seppi, Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova and American Bethanie Mattek-Sands all suffered from stomach bugs. Health officials in the Palm Springs, California, area, said the virus had spread across the Coachella Valley, resulting in symptoms of nausea, vomiting, fever and diarrhea. “It (the virus) is self-limited and lasts between 24 and 48 hours,” the Eisenhower Medical Center said in a statement. “It is transmitted by air and direct contact and not passed via food. … We have seen increases in overall visits to the emergency department by about 15 percent over the past week. We have seen fans and players at the tournament experience these symptoms as well.”
Leander Paes chalked up another milestone when he captured the 600th doubles win of his career. That came when Paes and his Czech partner Radek Stepanek won their first-round match in Indian Wells, California, USA, by outplaying unseeded Spaniards David Ferrer and Albert Ramos 6-3 6-3. Paes, who will be 39 in June, and Stepanek won the Australian Open doubles in January. The veteran Indian, who turned pro in 1991, has a 600-311 doubles record overall. He won the Indian Wells doubles in 2007 when he teamed with Martin Damm.
STRAIGHT SET SHOCKER
Jelena Jankovic said fatigue played as much in her losing as did the game of her conqueror, American Jamie Hampton. “I am feeling jet-lagged and have allergies here and there,” the 12th-seeded Jankovic said. “I went on court and I expected much more from myself, but it didn’t happen.” Jankovic flew to Indian Wells from Southeast Asia, arriving in the California desert four days before her first match. Once ranked number one in the world, the Serb won the Indian Wells title two years ago. She reached the semifinals in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, before heading to the United States. The 22-year-old Hampton fired three aces in the match and clinched the win when Jankovic pushed a forehand wide.
SET TO MOVE
Johan Kriek is moving again, this time to Charlotte, North Carolina, where he will open a junior tennis academy. A native of South Africa, Kriek won the Australian Open in 1981 and 1982. He moved to Florida and became a United States citizen. He and his wife Daga had a tennis academy for three years in Sarasota, Florida. About 18 months ago they moved their academy to Roanoke, Virginia. Now he plans to move to Charlotte with his family in May. “It’s 100 percent now, we’re coming,” Kriek told The Observer newspaper in Charlotte. “I’ve always liked Charlotte and have some connections there and I think this academy is something the tennis community in Charlotte could really use.” Now 53, Kriek will partner with Charlotte Indoor Tennis Club. He plans on teaching between 24 and 32 students. During his career he posted victories over John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg, Andre Agassi and Jimmy Connors.
John Laffnie de Jager, who captains both the South African Davis Cup and Fed Cup teams, is still waiting for his top players to commit to the international team competition. Both Kevin Anderson and Chani Scheepers have yet to confirm their availability. “I’m still expecting Anderson and Scheepers to come up with positive replies for the respective Davis Cup tie against Slovenia in Soweto and the Euro-Africa Group Two Fed Cup playoffs in Egypt,” de Jager said. A strong incentive exists for both to play, since that could make them eligible to compete in this year’s London Olympics. Ranked 30th in the world, Anderson would almost certainly gain a spot in the Olympics. Scheepers’ situation is not as clear-cut. She would still not have fulfilled the International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) requirement to make herself available for Fed Cup in at least two of the past five years. But should Scheepers play in this year’s Fed Cup, she could apply for special dispensation to be included in the Olympics.
Ivan Ljubicic is calling it a career. The 32-year-old Croatian right-hander says he will retire from the sport following the Monte Carlo Masters in April. Ljubicic has won 10 titles since turning professional in 1998, and reached a career-high ranking of third in the world in May 2006. Two years ago he won Indian Wells, California, USA, by beating Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Roddick. Ljubicic also was part of Croatia’s Davis Cup-winning team in 2005, and in 2004 he teamed with Mario Ancic to win a bronze medal in doubles at the Athens Olympics.
Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will be seeking his first grass court title when he plays the AEGON Championships in London in June. Currently ranked sixth in the world, Tsonga last year lost to Andy Murray in the final. Agreeing to return to Queens Club this year, Tsonga said the event last year was a turning point for him. He went on to reach the semifinals at Wimbledon and the title match at the ATP World Tour Finals at the end of the year. “I had an incredible year in 2011, and it all started there (at Queens Club),” Tsonga said. “I beat Lleyton Hewitt there in 2007 to get into the Top 100 for the first time.”
SCHEDULE SET FOR SERENA
The only World TeamTennis appearance for Serena Williams with the defending champion Washington Kastles will be on July 22 before she heads to the London Olympics. Williams will play in the nation’s capital against the Kansas City Explorers. Venus Williams of the Kastles will take on Martina Hingis of the New York Sportimes on July 23 in Albany, New York, USA, and then will play a home match the next night. Others scheduled to play WTT matches include Lindsay Davenport and John Isner. The eight-team league runs from July 9-28, with the WTT finals scheduled to be held September 14-16 in Charleston, South Carolina, USA.
Indian Wells: www.bnpparibasopen.com/
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
(All money in USD)
$4,694,969 BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells, California, USA, hard (second week)
$125,000 Dallas Tennis Classic, Dallas, Texas, USA
$100,000 Aeromexico Jalisco Open, Guadalajara, Mexico, hard
$5,536,664 BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells, California, USA, hard (second week)
$100,000 The Bahamas Open, Nassau, Bahamas, hard
Kings of Tennis by Index International, Stockholm, Sweden, hard
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
$3,973,050 Sony Ericsson Open, Miami, Florida, USA, hard (first week)
$4,828,050 Sony Ericsson Open, Miami, Florida, USA, hard (first week)
BNP Paribas Zurich Open, Zurich, Switzerland, hard