Mondays with Bob Greene
4 March 2013
Novak Djokovic beat Tomas Berdych 7-5 6-3 to win the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships inDubai,United Arab Emirates
Rafael Nadal beat David Ferrer 6-0 6-2 to win the Abierto Mexicano Telcel men’s singles in Acapulco,Mexico
Ernests Gulbis beat Edouard Roger-Vasselin 7-6 (3) 6-3 to win the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships inDelray Beach,Florida,USA
Monica Niculescu beat Olga Puchkova 6-2 4-6 6-4 to win the WTA Brasil Tennis Cup inFlorianopolis,Brazil
Sara Errani beat Carla Suarez Navarro 6-0 6-4 to win the women’s singles at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel inAcapulco,Mexico
Karolina Pliskova beat Bethanie Mattek-Sands 1-6 7-5 6-3 to win the BMW Malaysian Open inKuala Lumpur,Malaysia
“The French Tennis Federation has noted with astonishment the decision of the Administrative Tribunal of Paris.” – The French tennis federation (FFT) in a statement after aParisadministrative tribunal rejected an expansion of Roland Garros.
“This was a great week for me and today I played exceptionally well, I dominated the game against the world number four and couldn’t be happier, especially when I think where I am coming from. Perhaps the conditions were in my favor, but I feel it was maybe one of the best matches of my career.” – Rafael Nadal, after beating fellow Spaniard David Ferrer in theAcapulcofinal.
“I wish I could have played a better match, but I never found my rhythm. You have good days and bad days. Rafa played really well and I couldn’t do much, and never had any chance.” – David Ferrer.
“The ball started getting heavier and the rallies were getting much tougher, and also she started to play much better. It got very difficult at the end. I’m so happy I closed it out. … I’m even happier because it’s my first time defending a WTA title.” – Sara Errani, who won the women’s singles in Acapulco,Mexico.
“I competed in two finals before and lost to (Victoria) Azarenka and Venus (Williams), and today I finally managed to win one. I’m so happy. … Right now I can’t really explain how happy I feel. I’ll just relax tonight and go to bed, and tomorrow I’ll think about what I’ve done here. I think tomorrow I’ll realize what I’ve accomplished.” – Monica Niculescu, after winning the WTA Brasil Tennis Cup singles title.
“I leave this match with a lot of regrets. The match was on my racket. You do all the right things for so long and then at the end you’ve got to explain why you didn’t hit two shots decent.” – Roger Federer, after losing to Tomas Berdych in Dubai.
“My God, I just cannot believe I won this match. I saved I don’t know how many match points, I think eight. It was such a great fight and such a great match.” – Alizé Cornet, who saved nine match points before outlasting Lourdes Domínguez Lino in the quarterfinals at Acapulco,Mexico.
“It’s only taken me 10 years to make a damn final. After so many semifinal losses, it was great to finally have a chance of winning a WTA title with Valeria (Savinykh), but I guess it wasn’t to be.” – Anne Keothavong, who reached her first career WTA final in either singles or doubles, only to lose in the doubles.
“We decided to play together at the last minute. We were supposed to play with different partners, but they got injured. I think we did great. Every match we played much better. We played good tennis today, especially in the second set.” – Lukasz Kubot, who teamed with David Marrero to win the men’s doubles atAcapulco.
“I really like coming back toAcapulco. It is amazing to repeat winning the title. We played good in every match. I am so happy because I have great memories here. I hope to come back every year.” – David Marrero, after winning theAcapulcodoubles title.
“Apparently you can’t take pictures of golfers. In my defense peeps always take pics of tennis players.” – Serena Williams, who found herself in trouble with security officials at thePGATour’s Honda Classic when she tried to photograph Tiger Woods.
Playing on clay, his favorite surface, Rafael Nadal showed off his best tennis of the season when he easily handled fellow Spaniard David Ferrer to win the Abierto Mexicano Telcel title in Acapulco, Mexico. Nadal crushed the three-time defending champion 6-0 6-2. Since returning from a seven-moth absence with a left knee injury, Nadal has won 12 of his 13 matches and two titles. “My knee responded well this week and I really hope it will continue this way,” Nadal said. The left-hander won the first eight games against the world’s fourth-ranked player and broke Ferrer five times. It was Nadal’s 38th clay-court trophy, seven of them coming against Ferrer. Nadal also won inAcapulco in 2005.
Showing off the form that has taken him to the top of the rankings, Novak Djokovic extended his winning streak to 18 matches as he won his fourth Dubai Championships title in five years. Unbeaten since October, Djokovic didn’t drop a set in Dubai and has now won all 13 matches against top-10 opponents since losing to Andy Murray in the US Open final. “My serving today was great,” Djokovic said. “I really felt that I could rely on my serve. And in tough moments, that part of my game actually helped me to prevail.” Berdych took a 3-2 lead when he broke Djokovic in the fifth game. It only woke up the world’s number one-ranked player. “I had a break, but playing with the best returning guy on tour, it’s an advantage but not something really huge,” Berdych said, adding the pressure Djokovic put on his serve was mentally and physically draining. “I fight and believe I can come back,” Djokovic said. “That’s something that can eventually decide the winner in these kinds of matches, just hanging in there, waiting for your chance and then going for it.”
Alizé Cornet knew what she was in for when she played Lourdes Domínguez Lino in the quarterfinals of the Abierto Mexicano Telcel. “I was physically ready for this fight,” Cornet said. “I knew it would be a long match.” How right she was. The two battled for more than three and a half hours and Cornet saved nine match points before prevailing 3-6 7-6 (10) 7-6 (2). “Lourdes was one point away from having the victory many times, but I just kept fighting and stayed very focused on every point,” the winner said. “I had to dig very deep inside of me to find the power to win this match.” It wasn’t a completely lost week for Domínguez Lino, however. She teamed with Arantxa Parra Santonja to win the doubles title.
SAYS NO TO EXPANSION
An administrative tribunal has squashed the French Open’s plans for expansion at Roland Garros. The project, which has been championed by Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe, was approved by the city two years ago. But the tribunal ruled that complaints by local residents were not thoroughly considered and the fee payable by the French tennis federation (FFT) was too low. The extension, which the FFT said would cost nearly $357 million and include a center court with a retractable roof, was fought by residents’ associations because the building work would encroach on the nearbyAuteuil botanical greenhouse complex. The FFT said it would appeal the tribunal’s decision. The mayor’s office said: “The City of Parisis determined to achieve this beautiful project for Paris and will promptly agree with the FFT on the way forward.”
Talk about a turnaround. Monica Niculescu was facing triple match point when she trailed 6-3 in a second-set tiebreak in her first-round match against Anabel Medina Garrigues. She won 5-7 7-6 (7) 6-1, and five days later captured her first WTA title, the inaugural WTA Brasil Tennis Cup, stopping Olga Puchkova in the final. “I was very tired and she was playing very well. It got very tough at the end,” Niculescu said of her third WTA final. “But I just kept fighting. I knew I had to be more aggressive but still think a lot on the court, and I was able to gain control of the match at the end again. I was very tired, so I am very happy I could win tonight.”
Russia’s Olga Puchkova came from behind to knock off top-seeded Venus Williams in the semifinals of the Brasil Tennis Cup 4-6 6-4 7-5. “I gave my best, but just couldn’t play consistent enough today,” Williams said. “She played so well, it was hard.” Puchkova, who trailed 2-0 in the second set, broke Williams’ in the final games of each of the last two sets. Williams was visibly tired and took her time after every point near the end of the match. Playing in her first tournament since losing to Maria Sharapova in the third round of the Australian Open in January, Williams was lost her serve six times in the match.
Her fame on a tennis court didn’t help Serena Williams on a golf course. The world’s top-ranked woman player found herself in trouble with security officials at thePGATour’s Honda Classic inPalm Beach Gardens,Florida,USA, when she tried to take a picture of Tiger Woods. UnderPGATour rules, spectators are not allowed to take pictures or video of players on competition days. A video posted on CBSSports.com shows a tournament official pulling Williams’ cell phone down as she was about to snap a photograph during the second round of the tournament. Williams said security was “mad” and “yelled” at her during the episode. Williams lives inPalm BeachGardens.
Tomas Berdych staved off three match points on his way to shocking defending champion Roger Federer in the semifinals of theDubaitournament. “I couldn’t have a better feeling than this one, coming from court playing Roger almost in front of his home crowd,” Berdych said after the 3-6 7-6 (8) 6-4 victory. The win was Berdych’s fifth in eight matches over the world’s second-ranked player. After trailing 5-2 in the second set, Federer rallied to send it into the tiebreak. He then lost three match points before Berdych knotted the match at a set apiece. Federer lost his serve in the fifth game of the final set with three forehand errors and a double fault.
Former players Harold Solomon, Paul Goldstein and Kelly Jones are among the seven new inductees into the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame. Others in the 2013 class include coaches Bobby Bayliss of Notre Dame, Dennis Emery of the University of Kentucky and John Peterson of Tyler(Texas) Junior College, along with Alan Schwartz of Yale University, who is being inducted as a contributor. Schwartz was a former chairman of the board and president of the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and served two terms as president of the National Indoor Tennis Association. He is credited as being the co-author of the National Tennis Ratings program. Solomon, who played at Rice University from 1971-72, was ranked as high as fifth in the world and won 22 career singles titles. He reached the finals of the French Open in 1976 and was a semifinalist at the US Open in 1977. After his playing days ended, he coached many players, including Mary Jo Fernandez, Jim Courier, Jennifer Capriati, Monica Seles and Anna Kournikova, among others. House at the University of Georgia’s Dan Magill Tennis Complex, the ITA Men’s Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame has inducted more than 200 players, coaches and contributors.
SWEDE GETS RING
Mats Wilander received his official International Tennis Hall of Fame ring during a special ceremony at the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships in Florida,USA. Enshrined in the Hall in 2002, Wilander was 17 when he won the French Open in 192. He went on to be ranked number one in the world and captured an additional six Grand Slam tournament singles titles – including three in 1988 – and one doubles title. He was a driving force behind Sweden’s run of seven consecutive Davis Cup finals in the 1980s, and a member of three championship teams. Since retirement, he has remained active in the sport and competed in ATP Champions Tour events. In recent years, he has been touring the United States in a Winnebago and hosting tennis fantasy camps and lessons at clubs nationwide through his company, Wilander on Wheels. The personalized rings are being presented to Hall of Famers at tennis events around the world over the next few years as a special symbol of their induction into the Newport,Rhode Island,USA, shrine.
Tournaments in Shanghai, China; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; and Båstad, Sweden, remain as some of the most favored events on the ATP World Tour. Voted by players, the ATP World Tour Tournament Awards went to the Shanghai Rolex Masters for the fourth straight year, the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships for the ninth time in 10 years, and to the SkiStar Swedish Open for the 11th consecutive year in their respective categories.
There’s more to Andy Murray than a winning tennis game.Britain’s top player has bought the hotel where his brother Jamie, a Wimbledon mixed doubles champion, got married in 2010. “I am pleased to have acquired Cromlix House and look forward to securing its future as a successful business,”Murray said in a statement. The Scottish media is reporting Murraypaid 1.8 million pounds (US $2.75 million) for the luxury hotel, which is located in the tennis star’s hometown of Dunblane,Scotland. He plans to refurbish the hotel before re-opening it next year ahead of the 2014 Ryder Cup, which is being held a short drive away at Gleneagles. “I’m pleased to be able to give something back to the community I grew up in,”Murraysaid. Dunblane is also known as the site of Britain’s worst school massacre when 16 children and their teacher were gunned down in 1996. Last September, Murray, a survivor of the Dunblane Primary school atrocity, became the first British man in 76 years to win a Grand Slam tournament singles titles when he captured the US Open.
Acapulco (men): Lukasz Kubot and David Marrero beat Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini 7-5 6-2
Acapulco (women): Lourdes Domínguez Lino and Arantxa Parra Santonja beat Catalina Castaño and Mariana Duque-Mariño 6-4 7-6 (1)
Delray Beach: James Blake and Jack Sock beat Max Mirnyi and Horia Tecau 6-4 6-4
Dubai: Mahesh Bhupathi and Michael Llodra beat Robert Lindstedt and Nenad Zimonjic 7-6 (6) 7-6 (6)
Florianopolis: Medina Garrigues and Yaroslava Shvedova beat Anne Keothavong and Valeria Savinykh 6-0 6-4
Kuala Lumpur: Shuko Aoyama and Chang Kai-Chen beat Janette Husarova and Zhang Shua 6-7 (4) 7-6 (4) 14-12 (match tiebreak)
Indian Wells: www.bnpparibasopen.com
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
$4,330,625BNPParibas Open, hard, IndianWells,California,USA(first week)
$5,185,625 BNP Paribas Open, hard, Indian Wells,California,USA(first week)
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
$4,330,625 BNPParibas Open, hard, Indian Wells,California,USA(second week)
$5,185,625 BNPParibas Open, hard, Indian Wells,California,USA(second week)
Kings of Tennis by Index International, hard,Stockholm,Sweden