Roger Federer beat Novak Djokovic 6-0 7-6 (7) to win the Western & Southern Open men’s singles in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Li Na beat Angelique Kerber 1-6 6-3 6-1 to win the women’s singles at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Paolo Lorenzi beat Daniel Gimeno-Traver 7-6 (5) 6-3 to win the Friuladria Tennis Cup in Cordenons, Italy
Goran Ivanisevic beat Thomas Enqvist 7-6 (3) 2-6 10-6 (match tiebreak) to win The Optima Open in Knokke-Heist, Belgium
“I am very sad to announce that I am not ready to play the US Open in NY.” – Rafael Nadal, announcing on his Twitter account that he will not play this year’s final Grand Slam tournament.
“Sort of the 12 days before the Open, you figure he might still have time to fix what he has to fix to get ready. If he pulls out that early before the Open, it must be something serious. That’s what is sort of scary.” – Roger Federer, on Rafael Nadal’s early withdrawal from the US Open.
“Looking back, it’s just unbelievable. This was probably the best week for me here in Cincinnati. I didn’t lose a set. This is very sweet, no doubt about it.” – Roger Federer, after winning his fifth Western & Southern Open title.
“Husband is husband and coach is coach. Otherwise, it’s too tough for my mind.” Li Na, who dropped her husband as her coach and hired Carlos Rodriguez.
“I like to live life with no regrets. I don’t want look back and feel like I gave up or say I could have done this or that. That’s not me. I wanted to go the very end and at least know that maybe I missed some shots or maybe I wasn’t feeling my best, but I gave it my all.” – Venus Williams, who played with back pain in her Western & Southern Open semifinal loss to Li Na.
“It was a final today, so I really wanted to win. There is no question about it. Maybe playing couple weeks in a row, four weeks in a row, got to me maybe mentally. Physically it didn’t. I felt OK on the court.” – Novak Djokovic, after losing to Roger Federer in the Western & Southern Open final.
“I felt like she was playing unbelievable in the first set. I was trying to play flat and fast, but she had no mistakes and every ball came back to my side. I tried to change something at the beginning of the second set but it didn’t work, but I just kept trying and finally it worked. I’m very happy to win this title and now I’ll take two days off. I’ve played a lot of tennis these two weeks.” – Li Na, after winning her first tournament in 15 months.
“One year ago I was everywhere – I was just in the hundreds, I don’t know, like number 90 or number 100. Now I’m in the finals of Cincinnati, a really big tournament. So there are so many things that have changed in the last year. I prefer this year to last year.” – Angelique Kerber, after losing to Li Na in the Western & Southern Open women’s final.
“I pretty much couldn’t serve. But I wanted to try, especially since this is my first semifinal of the year. I wanted to try to see if I could get to the final. It didn’t work out for me.” – Venus Williams, after playing through back pain in her semifinal loss to Li Na in Mason, Ohio.
“It was just energy. I have been playing a lot, been traveling a lot, been training a lot. It’s been a really big summer. Singles and doubles is a tough schedule.” – Serena Williams, following a tough win over Urszula Radwanska. Williams lost to Angelique Kerber in her next match.
“Because Serena won Wimbledon, she won the Olympics, I mean, she won everything. She was the favorite, not me. It also feels better to tell yourself you have nothing to lose than you need to win. So I like it better.” – Angelique Kerber, on why she kept saying she had nothing to lose before going out and upsetting Serena Williams.
“I absolutely love seeing another pair of sisters in the locker room that’s doing so well.” – Serena Williams, who teamed with her sister Venus to win their third Olympic doubles gold medal, talking about the Radwanska sisters, Agnieszka and Urszula.
Rafael Nadal will be watching this year’s US Open instead of seeking his second title on the hard courts at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York’s Flushing Meadows. Ranked third in the world and winner of the French Open earlier this summer, Nadal withdrew from the year’s final Grand Slam tournament because of tendinitis in his left knee. The 26-year-old left-hander has not played since Wimbledon, even failing to defend his Olympic singles title or carry Spain’s flag in the opening ceremonies in the London Games. Nadal’s 11 Grand Slam tournament titles include a record seven on the red clay of the French Open. Nadal was runner-up at the US Open last year to Novak Djokovic. He won America’s premier tennis event in 2010. Nadal said his sole focus is getting back to being fully fit. “I’m not bothered if I’m third or fourth in the ATP,” the Spaniard said about his world ranking. “The most important thing is to be physically fit. I’ve missed too many important tournaments to continue taking risks. I’ll return when my knee is better.”
The records keep falling for Roger Federer. The Swiss master became the first player in the Open Era to win five Cincinnati trophies as he beat second-ranked Novak Djokovic in the Western & Southern Open final. It was the first time in the Open Era that the world’s top two players faced each other in the tournament’s title match. “I’m obviously very happy,” Federer said. “If I remember correctly, this was the first win here I had also after I had twins, right? … I’ve been able to win five. It’s obviously incredible because I remember the first few here I struggled. Now looking back it’s just unbelievable. Plus this was probably the best week ever here in Cincinnati for me never dropping my serve and all that stuff and beating Novak in the final. This was very sweet. No doubt about it.” With the win, Federer tied Rafael Nadal for the most ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles with 21 – and his third of 2012, including Indian Wells, California, USA, and Madrid, Spain. It was Federer’s first title since he won his 17th Grand Slam tournament trophy at Wimbledon in July. What could be even more remarkable is that Djokovic, who was appearing in the title match for the fourth time in five years, has yet to win the Cincinnati stop on the ATP World Tour.
China’s Li Na finally won her first tournament title since capturing the French Open in 2011. And she had to weather a horrible first set to do it. Li bested Angelique Kerber 1-6 6-3 6-1 to capture the women’s singles at the Western & Southern Open. This was Li’s fourth final of the year – and her first victory. The final matched the two players who had knocked the Williams sisters out of the tournament. Kerber had ended Serena Williams’ 19-match winning streak in the quarterfinals, while Li ousted Venus Williams in a three-set semifinal. Because of rain, Li had to play two matches on Friday to gain a spot in the semifinals.
Goran Ivanisevic overcame an injury to win the Optima Open, an ATP Champions Tour event in Knokke-Heist, Belgium. The Croatian left-hander pulled a thigh muscle early in the second set of his 7-6 (3), 2-6 10-6 (match tiebreak) victory over Sweden’s Thomas Enqvist. “That was one of the best tiebreaks I ever played,” Ivanisevic said. “I hit the ball as hard as I could and went for every shot because I couldn’t really move, and they all went in. I am so annoyed that I pulled a muscle at the beginning of the second set. I felt it go and I was worried.”
In an exhibition match AT Knokke-Heist, Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe took to the same side of the court for the first time in their ATP World Tour or ATP Champions Tour careers. The two Hall of Famers defeated Frenchman Henri Leconte and Sweden’s Mats Wilander in doubles.
Serena Williams was riding a long winning streak when she showed up for the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. She hadn’t lost since her shocking first-round departure from the French Open. Since then, she took home the trophies from Wimbledon, the Bank of America Classic and the London Olympics. Angelique Kerber made sure Serena’s long run ended at 19 consecutive matches and was only her second loss in 38 matches. The German bested Williams 6-4 6-4 in the quarterfinals, concluding the upset with an ace on match point. In a fit of anger, Williams bashed her racket to the court, not once but twice, destroying it. “I was nervous at the end but I told myself to just keep hitting the ball,” Kerber said. “Serena has been playing well. This was a good win for me and I’m very pleased.”
Former US Open champion Lleyton Hewitt of Australia, American James Blake and Frenchman Guillaume Rufin are among eight men who have received wild card entries into this year’s US Open. The 31-year-old Hewitt won the US Open in 2001 and Wimbledon in 2002. Blake, one year older than Hewitt, reached the quarterfinals at Flushing Meadows in both 2005 and 2006. The 22-year-old Rufin is ranked a career-best 127th in the world. Others receiving wild cards from the United States Tennis Association (USTA) were reigning US college singles champion Steve Johnson, Rajeev Ram, 2010 US Open junior boys champion Jack Sock and runner-up Denis Kudla as well as the reigning USTA Boys’ 18s champion Dennis Novikov.
Eight women were also given wild cards into this year’s tournament, including Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Melanie Oudin, both members of the United States Fed Cup team. Other recipients were 2012 NCAA singles champion Nicole Gibbs, college singles runner-up Mallory Burdette, USTA Girls’ 18s champion Victoria Duval, American Julia Cohen, Australia’s Casey Dellacqua and Kristina Mladenovic of France.
The USTA also awarded wild card entries into the US Open Qualifying Tournament, which is being held this week at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York. They are 2012 Easter Bowl singles finalist Brooke Austin; 2008 Orange Bowl champion Julie Boserup; 2008 USTA Girls’ 18 winner Gail Brodsky; 2012 Easter Bowl and USTA Girls’ 18s doubles champion Samantha Crawford; 2012 USTA Girls’ 18s singles runner-up and doubles champion Alexandra Kiick, the daughter of former Miami Dolphin runner Jim Kiick; 2010 USTA Girls’ 18s singles winner Shelby Rogers; world number nine junior Chalena Scholl; and 2007 USTA Girls’ 18s champion Ashley Weinhold.
Hall of Famer Chris Evert will be awarded the Eugene L. Scott Award in recognition of her years of dedication to tennis and the positive impact she has made on the sport. The honor will be made at The Legends Ball, an annual social event that honors some of the sport’s great champions and contributors, including the International Tennis Hall of Fame Class of 2012: Jennifer Capriati, Gustavo Kuerten, Manuel Orantes, Mike Davies and Randy Snow. The award will be presented to Evert by fellow Hall of Famer and a past Scott Award recipient, Billie Jean King. Presented annually, the Eugene L. Scott Award honors an individual who embodies Scott’s commitment to communicating honestly and critically about the game, and who has had a significant impact on the tennis world. Previous recipients of the award have been John McEnroe (2006); Andre Agassi (2007); Billie Jean King (2008); Arthur Ashe and his wife Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe (2009); Martina Navratilova (2010); and Dick Enberg (2011). During her Hall of Fame career, Evert won 18 Grand Slam tournament singles championships, including a record seven championships at the French Open and a record six US Opens. She also won three major doubles titles. Evert was the year-end world number one player seven times, and she won a total of 157 singles titles and 29 doubles titles in her career. Evert’s decade-long rivalry with fellow Hall of Famer and good friend Martina Navratilova is considered one of the greatest in sports history.
Two-time US Open champion Andre Agassi is the 2012 inductee into the US Open Court of Champions. Agassi will be inducted during an on-court ceremony in Arthur Ashe Stadium prior to the men’s singles championship match on Sunday, September 9. The US Open Court of Champions salutes the tournament’s all-time greatest champions with an individual permanent monument. Agassi joins prior inductees Arthur Ashe, Don Budge, Maureen Connolly, Jimmy Connors, Margaret Court, Chris Evert, Althea Gibson, Richard “Pancho” Gonzalez, Steffi Graf, Billie Jean King, Jack Kramer, Rod Laver, Ivan Lendl, Molla Bjurstedt Mallory, John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova, Margaret Osborne duPont, Ken Rosewall, Pete Sampras, Bill Tilden and Helen Wills. A panel of international print and broadcast journalists selected the 2012 inductee from the roster of US champions based on their performances at the tournament and their impact on the growth of the event.
The changing of coaches paid off in a hurry for Li Na. The 2011 French Open champion has hired former Justine Henin coach Carlos Rodriguez on a trial basis. Rodriguez started his new role at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, and Li responded by winning her first tournament since capturing her only Grand Slam event some 15 months ago. Li had been coached by her husband, Jiang Shan. Rodriguez coached Henin for 15 years as the Belgian won seven Grand Slam tournament titles. Li said she knew she had to make a change after losing in the second round at Wimbledon to Sabine Lisicki. “I texted my agent and said I need a new coach,” she said. “Two weeks later, my agent said, ‘Oh we have one coach.’ I said, ‘Perfect, I need him.’ Of course I know him. I was so surprised he also wanted to help me.”
Seven-time Grand Slam tournament champion Mats Wilander and former British top player Jeremy Bates have been added to the field at the Statoil Masters Tennis, which will be held December 5-9 at the Royal Albert hall in London. Wilander and Bates join John McEnroe, Goran Ivanisevic, Tim Henman, Pat Cash, Mark Philippoussis, Henri Leconte, and Mansour Bahrami for the tournament. Since retiring from the sport in 1994, Wilander has been one of the star attractions on the ATP Champions Tour, as well as a television commentator for Eurosport. The Swede won the Australian, French and US Open titles in 1988, and two further Australian and French titles. Bates, who preceded Henman as the number one player in Great Britain, played in the inaugural event at the Royal Albert Hall in 1997.
Pop sensation Jordin Sparks will perform during an opening night ceremony Monday, August 27, at this year’s US Open. Sparks will perform “Celebrate,” the hit song from the movie “Sparkle,” in which Sparks stars alongside the late Whitney Houston. Houston opened Arthur Ashe Stadium 15 years ago with a performance of “One Moment in Time.” A video and light show will follow Sparks’ performance, and then the singer-actress will return to sing the National Anthem.
Two young Japanese players have been offered wild card entries into the qualifying for the junior tournaments. Eighteen-year-old Erina Hayashi, the Japanese high school, was offered a wild card into the Junior Girls’ qualifying, while Japanese high school champion Shotaro Goto, also 18, was given a wild card entry into the Junior Boys’ qualifying.
Maybe it pays not to succeed the first time around. Three US Open junior champions have gone on to win the US Open singles titles. They are Stefan Edberg, who won the Junior Boys’ in 1983; Lindsay Davenport, who captured the Junior Girls’ in 1992; and Andy Roddick, the 2000 Junior Boys’ champion. But four players who were runners-up in the juniors went on to the win the US Open singles: Boris Becker (1984), Martina Hingis (1994), Roger Federer (1998) and Svetlana Kuznetsova (2001).
SET FOR LONDON
Doubles specialists Robert Lindstedt and Horia Tecau have clinched a spot in the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. The pair won their first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title at the Western & Southern Open by stopping Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna in the final 6-4 6-4. “I don’t think the monkey can be any bigger that just got off my back, of our backs,” Lindstedt said. “We finally get the big one that we been fighting for for so long. To get that and fight through and beat such good teams on the way and you come out on top, it’s an indescribable feeling.” Lindstedt and Tecau are the third team to qualify for the London tournament, which will be held November 5-12. Earlier earning spots in the select field were brothers Bob and Mike Bryan as well as Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor.
A different woman has won each of the last seven Grand Slam tournament singles titles. Beginning with the 2011 Australian Open, the winners, in order, were Kim Clijsters of Belgium, Li Na of China, Petra Kvitova of Germany, Samantha Stosur of Australia, Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, Maria Sharapova of Russia and American Serena Williams. Last year, Novak Djokovic dominated the men, winning three of the four Grand Slam tournaments. But this year the Serbian right-hander won only the Australian Open, with Rafael Nadal of Spain capturing the French Open and Switzerland’s Roger Federer winning at Wimbledon. Great Britain’s Andy Murray won the men’s singles Olympic gold medal. So much for domination.
Cincinnati (men): Robert Lindstedt and Horia Tecau beat Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna 6-4 6-4
Cincinnati (women): Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka beat Katarina Srebotnik and Zheng Jie 6-1 6-3
Cordenons: Lukas Dlouhy and Michal Mertinak beat Philipp Marx and Florin Mergea 5-7 7-5 10-7 (match tiebreak)
New York: www.usopen.org
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
(All money in USD)
$553,125 Winston-Salem Open, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA, hard
$220,000 Texas Tennis Open, Grapevine, Texas, USA, hard
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
MEN and WOMEN
US Open, New York, New York, USA, hard (first week)