By Bob Greene
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat Andreas Seppi 6-1 6-2 to win the Moselle Open in Metz, France
Caroline Wozniacki beat Kaia Kanepi 6-1 6-0 to win the KDB Korea Open in Seoul, South Korea
Martin Klizan beat Fabio Fognini 6-2 6-3 to win the St. Petersburg Open in St. Petersburg, Russia
Hsieh Su-Wei beat Laura Robson 6-3 5-7 6-4 to win the GRC Bank Guangzhou International Women’s Open in Guangzhou, China
Victor Hanescu beat Inigo Cervantes 6-4 7-5 to win the Pekao Szczcin Open in Szczcin, Poland
“I had a complete match with no gaps, as opposed to yesterday. Of course, it’s a lot easier when I can make a difference in two or three shots. If I had to define this week, I would simply say it was a perfect one.” – Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, after beating Andreas Seppi to win the title in Metz, France.
“I want to congratulate Jo because he played too well today. His serve was impressive and there’s very little I could do. Unfortunately, this is the way it goes sometime indoors, matches go by really fast without being able to do anything.” – Andreas Seppi, who lost in the Moselle Open final to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
“The final is the final, and you just do anything you can to win. Today I did well at turning defense to offense and offense to defense. That’s actually a strength of mine. I’m very pleased with how everything turned out.” – Caroline Wozniacki, after winning the KDB Korea Open.
“My season has definitely had its ups and downs because of my injuries, but last year was the same, and my whole career has been a little bit up and down as well. It’s nothing new and I’m used to it.” – Kaia Kanepi, who lost to Caroline Wozniacki in the KDB Korea Open final.
“Some people say I don’t often hit the ball with a lot of power, that I used the opponent’s power against them and put the ball in unexpected places. I don’t have big muscles so I have to work hard and do that and try to make my opponent run as much as possible.” – Hsieh Su-Wei, following her Guangzhou International Women’s Open title victory.
“She’s a really good player. She’s very difficult to play. She changes everything so much – sometimes I couldn’t tell what she was going to do with the ball. It’s very difficult to get any rhythm against her.” – Laura Robson, after losing the Guangzhou final to Hsieh Su-Wei.
“At the twilight of my career to face a ban from playing for the country and termed a traitor is unacceptable to me.” – Mahesh Bhupathi, after India’s ruling tennis body handed Bhupathi a two-year ban to represent the country in Davis Cup.
“This is the first time I have been able to defend a title. So it’s even more special that it’s here at the Moselle Open where I am the ambassador.” – Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
“It’s horrible to play a final like this. I’ve played two finals this year. (Gilles) Simon in Bucharest was a really great final; we played one hour and 50 minutes and I lost. On the court today he (Martin Klizan) played his best tennis ever and I did not play my best tennis for sure.” – Fabio Fognini, after losing in St. Petersburg.
“We had no hesitation in awarding Lleyton a wild card when he asked for it. Shanghai tennis fans will remember the outstanding run he had here in 2002 when he won the year-end championship which was then known as the Tennis Masters Cup.” – Michael Luevano, after giving Lleyton Hewitt a wild card entry into the Shanghai Rolex Masters.
STAYING ON TOP
With a spot in the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals within his grasp, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga successfully defending his Moselle Open title, defeating Italy’s Andreas Seppi in the final. It was the second title this season for the Frenchman, who needed only 50 minutes to capture his ninth career crown. “I did great, it was good,” Tsonga said after riding his powerful first serve and huge forehand to victory. “I stayed focused all along until the last second. I am very happy because it was the first time I have defended a title. I hope it will happen again.” Tsonga is currently in the eighth and final qualifying place for the elite London tournament, which will be held in November.
It’s been a tough year for Caroline Wozniacki, who was ranked number one in the world back in January. But she halted her season slide by crushing Kaia Kanepi to win the KDB Korea Open, capturing her first tournament title in more than a year. “I don’t really think about the ranking,” Wozniacki said. “I’m just happy I won the tournament. I want to enjoy it and be positive.” Going into the KDB Korea Open, Wozniacki was ranked 11th in the world. She now has won 19 career titles, fourth among active players behind Serena Williams, who has 45 titles, Venus Williams with 43 and Maria Sharapova with 27. “I want to enjoy it and be positive, so that’s what I’m thinking about right now,” the Dane said. “I want to build up for the next season and hopefully my results this week will help me move forward and get back to playing my best.” Despite losing 6-1 6-0 in the title match, it was a good week for Kanepi, who had pulled out of all 10 of her tournaments since the French Open with a bilateral Achilles injury.
Martin Klizan won his first ATP title when he stopped Italian Fabio Fognini in the final of the St. Petersburg Open. It was the first time the Slovakian had even reached an ATP Tour final, and it did it in style. The 23-year-old raced out to a 4-0 lead to being the match. The second set saw the two lose serve for five consecutive games before Klizan clinched the victory with a drop shot on match point. “This is my first title but I hope it won’t be the last,” Klizan said. Fognini was disappointed in his play. “I don’t even have words to describe how bad I played today,” said the Italian, who lost in his only previous final this past April.
First she had it, then she didn’t. Then she had it again. Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-Wei mixed spins and slices to build a 6-3 5-3 lead against Britain’s Laura Robson. That was when things changed dramatically as Robson fought off five match points in the 17th game and went on to win seven consecutive games. Then it was Hsieh’s turn again. She won five games in a row and six of the next seven to win the GRC Bank Guangzhou International Women’s Open. Robson became the first Brit to reach a WTA title match since Jo Durie did so in 1990. The last British woman to win a title was Sara Gomer in 1988. Gaining her second WTA career title, Hsieh is one of only two players from Chinese Taipei to win a WTA championship. Wang Shi-Ting won six WTA titles during the mid-1990s. “I’m very happy to play so well in singles this season,” Hsieh said. “But even thought I’ve done well in singles, I’m going to keep playing doubles too, even more actually. My sister, who is 19 years old, is young and needs my help, so I’m bringing her to WTA tournaments with me. She’s improving fast.”
Mahesh Bhupathi accused India’s tennis association of carrying out “a personal vendetta” against him when he was banned for two years from competing in Davis Cup. The All India Tennis Association (AITA) also handed Rohan Bopanna a two-year suspension for refusing to partner Leander Paes in the London Olympics. Paes eventually partnered rookie Vishnu Vardhan, while Bhupathi and Bopanna was a second pair for India. Neither pair won a medal in the London Games. The 38-year-old Bhupathi said he has played his last match for India. He also said next year would be his last as a player. “At the twilight of my career to face a ban from playing for the country and termed a traitor is unacceptable to me,” said Bhupathi, who has won 12 Grand Slam tournament doubles titles, three of them with Paes. However, Paes and Bhupathi are no longer on speaking terms following a second acrimonious split last year. Bhupathi blamed AITA president Anil Khanna for the deteriorating relation with his former friend. “Anil Khanna has enjoyed the rift between Leander and me as no other,” Bhupathi said. “He has re-defined the term divide and rule, and at this year’s Olympics used Leander’s shoulder to fire the gun against me multiple times. Unfortunately the media terms this a Bhupathi-Paes rift and the true underbelly is left unquestioned.”
A court in Karnataka has issued a stay order blocking the AITA’s decision until further appeal. In a statement, AITA secretary Bharat Oza said the organization will have a new code of conduct to avoid a repeat of the situation arising the future. “We’re going to lay down a new code of conduct in the next two to three months,” Oza said. “Mahesh and Rohan refused to partner any other player in the Olympics. That clearly amounts to indiscipline and calls for action.”
The United States will have a big-serving team for the Hopman Cup this winter. Venus Williams will team with John Isner at the tournament in Perth, Australia, from December 29 to January 5. The teams will play a men’s singles, a women’s singles and a mixed doubles match in each contest. “I’ve never played the Hopman Cup so for me it’s going to be a wonderful experience,” Williams said. Earlier, the tournament announced Serbia’s team will be composed on Novak Djokovic and Ana Ivanovic.
Lleyton Hewitt is going back to Shanghai. The former world number one has been awarded wild card into the Shanghai Rolex Masters, which will be played October 7-14. Now 31 years old, Hewitt won the Tennis Masters Cup in 2002 when it was played in Shanghai. The Australian is currently ranked 101st in the world after undergoing several surgeries. “Lleyton held the world number one ranking for 80 weeks and was a winner of Wimbledon and the US Open, and I have doubt fans at the Shanghai Rolex Masters will be thrilled to see Lleyton in action once again at Qi Zhong Tennis Center,” said tournament director Michael Luevano. Hewitt also played at the first Shanghai Rolex Masters in 2009. Others in the field include Andy Murray, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and David Ferrer.
Britain’s James Ward will not play again this season after tearing a tendon in his wrist. The 25-year-old reached the second round at Wimbledon in June where he lost to American Mardy Fish in five sets. But he fractured his left wrist in a training fall in July and then retired from a quarterfinal match in Shanghai in September because of pain in the joint. Ward revealed the bad news on his Twitter account. “Injury update,” he posted. “Torn tendon in the same wrist I fractured after wimby so I won’t play again this year!! Gutted!!”
Guangzhou: Tamarine Tanasugarn and Zhang Shuai beat Jarmila Gajdosova and Monica Niculescu 2-6 6-2 10-8 (match tiebreak)
Metz: Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin beat Johan Brunstrom and Frederik Nielsen 7-6 (3) 6-4
Seoul: Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears beat Akgul Amanmuradova and Vania King 2-6 6-2 10-8 (match tiebreak)
St. Petersburg: Rajeev Ram and Nenad Zimonjic beat Lukas Lacko and Igor Zelenay 6-2 4-6 10-6 (match tiebreak)
Szczcin: Andre Begemann and Martin Emmrich beat Tomasz Bednarek and Mateusz Kowalczyk 3-6 6-1 10-3 (match tiebreak)
Tokyo (women): www.toray-ppo.co.jp
Kuala Lumpur: www.malaysianopentennis.com/
Tokyo (men): www.rakutenopen.com/
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
(All money in USD)
$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
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
$2,205,000 China Open, Beijing, China, hard
$1,280,565 Rakuten Japan Open, Tokyo, Japan, hard
$138,230 Ethias Trophy, Mons, Belgium, hard
$100,000 Rely Aid Natomas Challenger, Sacramento, California, USA, hard
$4,828,050 China Open, Beijing, China, hard