Men’s Singles: Andy Murray beat Novak Djokovic 7-6 (10) 7-5 2-6 3-6 6-2
Irina Begu beat Donna Vekic 6-4 6-4 to win the Tashkent Open in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Kirsten Flipkens beat Lucie Hradecka 6-1 7-5 to win the Bell Challenger in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Hsieh Su-Wei beat Zhang Shuai 6-2 6-2 to win the Ningbo International Challenger in Ningbo, China
Spain beat United States 3-1 at Gijon, Spain
Czech Republic beat Argentina 3-2 at Buenos Aires, Argentina
World Group II Playoffs
(Winners advance to World Group in 2013)
Kazakhstan beat Uzbekistan 3-1 at Astana, Kazakhstan
Germany beat Australia 3-2 at Hamburg, Germany
Israel beat Japan 3-2 at Tokyo, Japan
Belgium beat Sweden 5-0 at Brussels, Belgium
Canada beat South Africa 4-1 at Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Brazil beat Russia 5-0 at Sao Jose do Rio Preto, Brazil
Italy beat Chile 4-1 at Napoleon, Italy
Switzerland beat Netherlands 3-2 at Amsterdam, Netherlands
World Group I First Round Playoff
Asia/Oceania: India beat New Zealand 5-0 at Chandigarh, India
World Group I Second Round Playoffs
Americas Zone: Ecuador beat Peru 4-1 at Lima, Peru
Europe/Africa Zone: Slovak Republic beat Portugal 3-1 at Bratislava, Slovak Republic
World Group II Third Round
(Winners advance to Group I in 2013)
American Zone: Dominican Republic beat Mexico 3-2 at Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic
Asia/Oceania: Indonesia beat Philippines 3-2 at Jakarta, Indonesia;
Europe/Africa: Ukraine beat Latvia 3-2 at Liepaja, Latvia; Poland beat Belarus 3-2 at Lodz, Poland
“Novak (Djokovic) is so, so strong. He fights until the end in every single match. I don’t know how I managed to come through in the end.” – Andy Murray, after beating Djokovic in the US Open final and becoming the first British man to win a Grand Slam tournament singles title since Fred Perry in 1936.
“It feels great to win a title. I’ll take back sweet memories from the Tashkent Open. I’m glad I made the last-minute decision to play here, and I will surely come back to defend my title next year.” – Irina-Camelia Begu, after winning her first tournament title.
“I don’t think like a 16-year-old. In tennis one has to grow fast, and I think I have matured fast. I love tennis and want to be playing. I have to get stronger physically and mentally and develop my game. I hope to first get into the Top 150 and probably play at a Grand Slam tournament in the near future.” – Donna Vekic, a 16-year-old qualifier who reached the final of her first WTA tournament.
“I just told her she’s one of the greatest of all time. ‘Go have fun and hit your shots.’” – Leander Paes, on what he told Venus Williams before she led the Washington Capitals to the WTT title.
“It was a complicated decision to leave a world you have lived in intensely. But I have had a tough year and you start to notice that you don’t have the same ambition and motivation.” – Juan Carlos Ferrero, announcing his retirement from tennis next month.
“’Once you win, you have no doubt that you can win.” – Ivan Lendl, when asked if Andy Murray can win another Grand Slam tournament.
With an Olympic singles gold medal already in his trophy room, Andy Murray snapped the British curse and won a Grand Slam tournament men’s singles crown in record time. Murray became the first British man to win a men’s Grand Slam singles title since Fred Perry captured the US Championships in 1936. And the four-hour, 54-minute match equaled the record for the longest US Open final. Another record came when Murray and Novak Djokovic battled through a 22-point first-set tiebreaker, the longest in US Open men’s final history. The tiebreak lasted 25 minutes. Murray’s victory came in his fifth Grand Slam tournament final. His coach, Ivan Lendl, also lost his first four Grand Slam tournament finals before tasting victory for the first time. “I have been asked about it many times when I got close to winning Grand Slams before,” Murray said. “I hope now it inspires some kids to play tennis and also takes away the notion that British tennis players choke or don’t win, or it’s not a good sport.” Earlier this year Murray became the first British man to reach the final at Wimbledon since Bunny Austin in 1938. A few weeks later, he defeated Roger Federer to win the gold medal on the same Wimbledon Centre Court at the London Olympics.
STOPPED BY INJURY
Argentina lost its top player in its Davis Cup semifinal, resulting in the Czech Republic earning a spot in the final against Spain. Argentine Juan Martin del Potro withdrew from the competition because of an injury to his right wrist. Czech captain Martin Jaite said del Potro almost withdrew earlier in the week when he felt more pain in his left wrist in Friday’s three-set win over Radek Stepanek.
Playing the best tennis of her career, Irina-Camelia Begu captured her first WTA title by beating 16-year-old Donna Vekic in the final of the Tashkent Open. Begu last year was in two finals as she reached 38th in the WTA world rankings and was named Newcomer of the Year. This year, her ranking dropped to 96th in the world, but it all began to turn around at the US Open. That’s when the Romanian shocked former world number one Caroline Wozniacki in the opening round. Begu backed that up by winning the tournament in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. “My serve is what got me through,” Begu said. “Donna played very well and I was happy to break her in both sets.” As champion, Begu received a Chapan, which is a traditional Central Asian coat. “I saw Sorana Cirstea wear this when she won the title here in 2008, but now I have one of my own.” Begu said.
Until the final, it was Vekic who was the star of the tournament. She had to qualify for her first WTA main draw and was the youngest player in six years to reach a WTA final – the youngest since Tamira Paszek won a tournament in 2006 when she was 15. “I’m happy I had a good week, but a little disappointed of not being able to win the title after coming close,” Vekic said. “But I will come back.” Before Tashkent, Vekic had lost in qualifying in both of the WTA tournaments she had entered.
Paula Kania and Polina Pekhova apparently believe in starting at the top. The two young players captured the doubles title at Tashkent, Uzbekistan, when Anna Chakvetadze and Vesna Dolonc had to retire following the opening set because of a back injury suffered by Chakvetadze. Kania, a 19-year-old from Poland, and Pekhova, a 20-year-old from Belarus, were playing their first WTA event as a team. “We are thrilled and speechless,” the winning duo said. “We were the last pair to get in and to win the tournament is amazing. We played as juniors but this was our first WTA event together, and we hope to play more tournaments now. Our goal is to make it to the Grand Slams.”
STEPPING IT UP
Venus Williams beat Coco Vandeweghe in a last-game tiebreaker to help lead the Washington Kastles to their second straight undefeated championship World TeamTennis (WTT) season. Williams and Anastasia Rodionova won the women’s doubles match to put Washington in front 8-6. Then, after Sacramento took the men’s doubles to lead 11-10, Williams and Leander Paes teamed to win the mixed doubles in a last-game tiebreak. That sent the WTT championships into a final women’s singles showdown tied at 15. “I really felt like I came out on fire in all my matches,” said Williams, who was named the WTT finals MVP.
SAYS NO TO TWO
Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna will not represent India in Davis Cup play for at least two years. The All India Tennis Association (AITA) said in a statement that it had “decided not to consider” for selection until June 20, 2014. Bhupathi has been a Davis Cup player since 1995 and Bopanna for 10 years. Both players refused to play doubles in the London Olympics with Leander Paes. The AITA said it will instead use two of the following four players: Yuki Bhambri, Vishnu Vardhan, Divij Sharan and Sanam Singh.
At least three Grand Slam tournament champions will be in the field when the Brisbane International gets underway December 31-January 6. “Going into Australia after a long off season you always want to have the best possible matches,” reigning French Open winner Maria Sharapova said in a news release. It will be the first time Sharapova will compete in the tournament, which also will feature US Open champions Serena Williams and Andy Murray.
SWINGING AT LETS
There will be a new look on the men’s tour this year. The ATP board of directors approved the elimination of lets on the Challenger Tour for the first three months of next year. ATP Executive chairman Brad Drewett says the board believes “a trial at the ATP Challenger level will be a good way to test this initiative in a competitive environment and get feedback from players and the public before deciding if it could be adapted more broadly.” The board also announced a change to the penalties for a time violation that goes into effect next year. The move changes the penalty for a second and all subsequent violations of the 25-second rule by a server to a fault. Currently, the penalty for multiple violations is a point for the server and receiver.
STARTING A FAMILY
Like her former Belgian teammate, Kim Clijsters, Justine Henin is going to have a family. The seven-time Grand Slam tournament champion announced on her Facebook page that she is pregnant and expecting her first child in March. “Soon there will be three of us,” Henin said of her and her partner, Benoit Bertuzzo. Henin won four French Opens, two US Opens and one Australian Open. She retired for the first time in 2008. After making a comeback in 2010, Henin retired for good the following year with an elbow injury.
Now that she has a baby, Yan Zi is returning to the WTA tour. One of the original Chinese trailblazers, Yan is making her comeback at the GRC Bank Guangzhou International Women’s Open in Guangzhou. Yan and Zheng Jie won China’s first Grand Slam tournament title when they captured the Australian Open women’s doubles in 2006 and followed it up by adding the Wimbledon title later that year.
Canada’s Aleksandra Wozniak was forced to withdraw from the Bell Challenge in Quebec City after injuring her right shoulder during a warm-up session. Wozniak had been scheduled to play American Melanie Oudin in a second-round match. When she was unable to play, Wozniak apologized to the large crowd that had expected to see her take on Oudin. Canada’s top female player, Wozniak said she would return next year to the Bell Challenge in Quebec City. “I apologize to all my fans who came out to see me play tonight and to the Bell Challenge, which always does a great job and treats me so well here in Québec,” Wozniak said.
Juan Carlos Ferrero is calling it quits. The former world number one says he will retire after playing in his hometown Valencia Open next month. Now 32, the Spaniard won the French Open in 2003 and reached the final of the US Open later that year, losing to Andy Roddick. In his career, Ferrero won 15 titles and helped Spain win two of its five Davis Cup titles, in 2000 and 2004. Ferrero said he plans to spend more time to his tennis academy and hotel.
SPENDING TIME ON COURT
Now that he’s retired, Andy Roddick is ready to play tennis. Exhibition tennis, that is. The 30-year-old Roddick retired from the men’s tour after the US Open earlier this month. But he will play Canada’s Milos Raonic in an exhibition at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre. Also on the card will be a match between US Open women’s champion Serena Williams and Agnieszka Radwanska. The four – Roddick, Raonic, Williams and Radwanska – will also play mixed doubles.
The United States Tennis Association’s (USTA’s) decision to hold a top American junior player out of competition because of her fitness has caused Serena Williams to raise an eyebrow. “If that happened, that’s obviously a tragedy because everyone deserves to play,” Williams said of 16-year-old Taylor Townsend, the world’s top-ranked junior girl. “She’s so sweet and she works so hard. For a female, particularly in the United States, in particular an African-American, to have to deal with that is unnecessary. … Women athletes come in all different sizes and shapes and colors and everything. I think you can see that more than anywhere on the tennis tour.” The Wall Street Journal reported the USTA withheld funding Townsend’s tournament appearances while she focused on getting in better shape. “She’s still number one,” Williams said. “That’s saying something.”
SET FOR ISTANBUL
Wimbledon and US Open champion Serena Williams and two doubles teams have qualified for the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships, to be held in Istanbul, Turkey, October 23-28. The WTA’s season finale will feature the world’s top eight singles players and top four doubles teams. Besides Williams, others who have qualified include the doubles team of Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka, as well as the American duo of Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond.
Venus and Serena Williams will play each other in an exhibition match in South Africa in November. The sisters will also attend a coaching clinic in Soweto township when they travel to the country in support of a women’s charity. They will face each other on court for the first time in Africa in Johannesburg. Venus and Serena have combined for 13 Grand Slam tournament doubles titles and won Olympic gold in the doubles in 2000, 2008 and this year.
American brothers Bob and Mike Bryan and Australian Samantha Stosur are the first winners of the US Open sportsmanship award. The Bryan twins won their Open era record 12th Grand Slam tournament doubles title, while Stosur, the 2011 women’s US Open champion, last in this year’s quarterfinals to top-ranked Victoria Azarenka. The USTA sportsmanship award comes with a USD $5,000 donation to the charity of the winner’s choice.
Ningbo: Shuko Aoyama and Chang Kai-Chen beat Tetiana Luzhanska and Zheng Saisai 6-2 7-5
Quebec City: Tatjana Malek and Kristina Mladenovic beat Alicja Rosolska and heather Watson 7-6 (5) 6-7 (6) 10-7 (match tiebreak)
Tashkent: Paula Kania and Polina Pekhova beat Anna Chakvetadze and Vesna Dolonc 6-2 retired
St. Petersburg: www.spbopen.ru
Kuala Lumpur: www.malaysianopentennis.com/
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
(All money in USD)
$509,114 Moselle Open, Metz, France, hard
$410,850 St. Petersburg Open, St. Petersburg, Russia, hard
$136,148 Pekao Szczcin Open, Szczcin, Poland, clay
$500,000 Korea Open, Seoul, Korea, hard
$220,000 Guangzhou International Women’s Open, Guangzhou, China, hard
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
$850,000 Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, hard
$551,000 Thailand Open, Bangkok, Thailand, hard
$140,000 Open Orléans, Orléans, France, hard
$2,168,400 Toray Pan Pacific Open, Tokyo, Japan, hard