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STARS

 

Ivo Karlovic beat Alejandro Falla 6-3 7-6 (4) to win the Claro Open Colombia in Bogotá, Colombia

 

Fabio Fognini beat Federico Delbonis 4-6 7-6 (8) 6-2 to win the bet-at-home Open – German Tennis Championships in Hamburg, Germany

 

Serena Williams beat Johanna Larsson 6-4 6-1 to win the Collector Swedish Open in Båstad, Sweden

 

Yvonne Meusburger beat Andrea Hlavackova 7-5 6-2 to win the Nürnberger Gastein Ladies in Bad Gastein, Austria

 

FED CUP

 

Bahamas and Ecuador, topping Group B and A respectively in competition held in Santa Tecla, El Salvador, are promoted to Fed Cup Americas Group I next year

 

SAYING

 

“I feel like I’m dreaming. My key was to enjoy the match and enjoy playing this kind of player, because he’s the best of all time.” – Federico Delbonis, after upsetting Roger Federer in the semifinals in Hamburg, Germany.

 

“It’s disappointing, but defeats like that happen sometimes.” – Roger Federer, after losing to Federico Delbonis.

 

“To lose the final with match points is disappointing. But at the end of the week, the result of all the week is positive for me. It’s my first final. I beat Roger (Federer) yesterday.” – Federico Delbonis, who reached the final in Hamburg.

 

“I wasn’t playing well at Wimbledon when I lost, so I thought, ‘OK, just remember what I did wrong there and don’t make the same mistake here.’ I really wanted to do better here in Båstad this week.” – Serena Williams, after winning in Båstad, Sweden.

 

“I had some good chances in the first set today but didn’t take them, and when you’re playing such a good player, you need to take every opportunity you get.” – Johanna Larsson, following her loss to Serena Williams.

 

“Only happiness that after all these injuries and illnesses I was able to be back here.” – Ivo Karlovic, talking about his emotions following his winning the Claro Open Colombia.

 

“I’ve come here every season and I can’t believe I’ve won it now.” – Yvonne Meusburger, who won her first WTA title at the Gastein Ladies.

 

“I was, I think, a little bit lucky. I was nervous. Today, I didn’t play really good, but I fought hard. I think that was the key. Another trophy, that’s the important thing.” – Fabio Fognini, whose victory at Hamburg, Germany, was his second in two weeks.

 

SERENA BACK TO WINNING WAYS

 

It took her 53 titles before Serena Williams captured her first WTA International-level tournament by winning the Collector Swedish Open. Before she was victorious at Båstad, Williams had never come away with a title in five previous attempts at the International level – never even making it past the semifinals before. Williams is now tied with Monica Seles for ninth place for the most WTA titles in the Open Era. Sweden’s Johanna Larsson put up a strong fight before Williams unveiled the game that has made her the top-ranked player in the world. Larsson twice went up a break in the first set, but with the Swede serving at 4-3, Williams began an eight-game streak that gave her the victory. “Johanna played well and I made a lot of unforced errors in the beginning. I just hit everything out,” Williams said. “I had to kind of come back and do a little better. You just have to stay positive.” Larsson has now reached three WTA finals, but has yet to win. It was her second runner-up finish in Båstad. “Of course I’m a little bit disappointed to lose today,” Larsson said. “If I could close the first set, maybe the match would’ve been different. But overall I’m happy with the week.”

 

SHOCKED AGAIN

 

Roger Federer has become the feather in every other player’s cap. This time it was Argentine qualifier Federico Delbonis who shocked the former world’s number on 7-6 (7) 7-6 (4) in the semifinals in Hamburg. “He played well, he was a little more aggressive,” Federer said of his conqueror, who is ranked 114th in the world. Hamburg was Federer’s first tournament since he was upset in the second round at Wimbledon by 116th-ranked Sergiy Stakhovsky – a player who failed to qualify for the German event. Delbonis was playing in only the second semifinal of his career. But he maintained his composure and gave the 17-time Grand Slam tournament champion only two break points, one of which he saved. In the second-set tiebreaker, Federer made two straight groundstroke errors and then netted a forehand on Delbonis’ first match point.

 

Delbonis wasn’t the only player to give Federer trouble in Hamburg. The Swiss star, who has dropped to fifth in the world rankings – the lowest he has been in a decade – was taken to three sets in two of his first three matches before he played Delbonis. Federer changed his racquet after Wimbledon, going for a bigger frame. He refused, however, to blame his equipment for the loss. “I don’t think it had much to do with the racket today,” he said. “I tried everything I could at this tournament. It’s been a difficult week throughout. But I’m happy I fought through many matches. It gives me the matches I was looking for.”

 

STRONG AND SWEET

 

Viral meningitis sidelined Ivo Karlovic for more than two months. Now that he’s back on the ATP World Tour, he’s back in the win column for the first time in five years. The 34-year-old Croatian won the inaugural Claro Open Colombia by stopping home favorite Alejandro Falla. Karlovic won all 61 of his service games and served a total of 104 aces during the tournament. “It was an unbelievable week,” he said upon receiving the trophy. It was the first time in three years that Karlovic had reached a final. He used two of his 16 aces to capture the final tiebreak. Falla was the first Colombian to reach an ATP Tour-level final in two years and was seeking to become the first player from his country to win a title since Mauricio Hadad in April 1995. “It was a great week for me,” Falla said. “The challenge was to reach the final and win matches, and I lost a tough final. Ivo was serving unbelievable. I tried my best every time. I take many, many positive things and I’m going to try to keep it up for the rest of the season.”

 

SUCCESSFUL JULY

 

Unlike Roger Federer, Fabio Fognini found a way to beat giant-killer Federico Delbonis. But it wasn’t easy.  The second-seeded Italian had to save three match points in the second-set tiebreak before downing the Argentine qualifier 4-6, 7-6 (8), 6-2. It was Fognini’s second ATP World Tour title in two weeks, this time at the bet-at-home Open-German Tennis Championships in Hamburg. “It’s an amazing week,” Fognini said. “I can’t believe it right now. I just feel incredible, a real good sensation. I’m very happy.” Delbonis surprised Federer in the semifinals and took the opening set against Fognini. Playing in his first ATP World Tour final, he saved all five break points he faced, and then converted his first opportunity in the 10th game to grab the early lead. After Fognini broke serve to begin the second set, the 22-year-old Delbonis won four straight games to take a 4-1 lead. He squandered three match points in the tiebreak at 6-5, 7-6 and 8-7. “I tried to do my best on the match points,” Delbonis said. “I don’t know if I played bad. I tried to do the best on the three points. But Fabio also played well on these points.” It was all Fognini in the final set, although he was broken while serving for the match at 5-1. He then broke right back for the title.

 

SINGLE ACHIEVEMENT

 

Like Fabio Fognini, Yvonne Meusburger has reached the final in her last two matches. Unlike the Italian, Meusburger won her first WTA title by capturing the Nürnberger Gastein Ladies by besting Andrea Hlavackova. Meusburger didn’t drop a set in the tournament, where she has reached at least the quarterfinals every year since it was first held in 2007. Six years ago she lost the final at Bad Gastein to Italy’s Francesca Schiavone. Hlavackova, a doubles specialist, had never been beyond the quarterfinals of a WTA event before and had not won back-to-back matches this year. “Yvonne had two great weeks in a row so she was playing well,” Hlavackova said. “But I had a great week as well here and I don’t really want to go home now.”

 

SHARAPOVA OUT

 

A left hip injury suffered during Wimbledon was listed as the reason Maria Sharapova has withdrawn from the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford, California. “Unfortunately injuries are a part of the sport,” tournament director Kim Hall said in a statement. Sharapova fell several times during her second-round loss to Michelle Larcher de Brito at Wimbledon last month. She took a medical timeout during the match and later said she thought she strained a hip muscle.

 

SIDELINED

 

Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli is skipping the Bank of the West Classic because of a hamstring strain. “During Wimbledon I developed a strain in my hamstring which has not healed over the past two weeks,” said Bartoli, who won the California tournament in 2009. “I have been receiving therapy and was optimistic that I would be able to participate. … It is one of my favorite tournaments on the circuit. Unfortunately, the injury has not completely healed and I will be unable to participate.”

 

SISTERS INTO US OPEN

 

Both Williams sisters – Serena and Venus – are expected to play in this year’s US Open. They are two of five past champions who get direct entry into the women’s main draw. Venus Williams has won America’s premier tennis event in 2000 and 2001, while Serena, currently the world’s top-ranked player, counts four US Opens among her 16 Grand Slam tournament singles titles. Serena is the defending champion in the year’s final major. Other past champions in the field are Maria Sharapova, Samantha Stosur and Svetlana Kuznetsova, along with two-time Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka and recent Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli.

 

SHOULDER TROUBLES

 

Shoulder injuries struck down the two top players at the Nürnberger Gastein Ladies tournament. First, defending champion Alize Cornet of France pulled out of the event with a shoulder injury. That moved Mona Barthel of Germany into the position of the number one seed. Then, in her second-round match against 725th-ranked Lisa-Maria Moser, Barthel retired with a shoulder injury while trailing 6-2 4-3. Moser was playing in her first WTA event. She broke Moser twice to take the opening set and was up a break when Moser withdrew.

 

SHE’S BACK

 

Six years after she retired and right after she was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, Martina Hingis is returning to the WTA tour. The Swiss star, now 32, is scheduled to play doubles at next week’s Southern California Open in Carlsbad, California, USA. She will partner with Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia. “I am very much looking forward to making a return to competitive play at the Southern California Open,” the former world number one said in a statement on the WTA website. “My competitive spirit is still very much alive and I love being out on court.” Hingis won nine Grand Slam tournament doubles titles and one mixed doubles title. Hingis has not played a WTA event since September 2007.

 

SKY JUMPER

 

Stanislas Wawrinka took to the skies in the Bernese mountains – literally. The Swiss star, currently ranked 10th in the world, jumped out a plane for the second time. “At the beginning of the flight we were talking quite a lot, but just before jumping you obviously have to focus and you stop talking,” Wawrinka said. “It was a great experience. Of course, you get very nervous just before jumping off the plane, but once you are in the air it’s a great feeling.” Wawrinka is playing this week in the Crédit Agricole Suisse Open in Gstaad, Switzerland.

 

SWITCHING SURFACES

 

The Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart, Germany, has always been played on clay. Not any more. Five courts at the Weissenhof Tennis Club are being switched to grass, and the ATP World Tour 250 tournament is being moved to the week following Roland Garros in the lead-up to Wimbledon, beginning in 2015. The Stuttgart tournament was first held in 1898, with Mercedes-Benz assuming the role of title sponsor in 1979.

 

SHARED PERFORMANCES

 

Båstad: Anabel Medina Garrigues and Klara Zakopalova beat Alexandra Dulgheru and Flavia Pennetta 6-1 6-4

 

Bogotá: Purav Raja and Divij Sharan beat Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Igor Sijsling 7-6 (4) 7-6 (3)

 

Gastein: Sandra Klemenschits and Andreja Klepac beat Kristina Barrois and Eleni Daniilidou 6-1 6-4

 

Hamburg: Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski beat Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares 3-6 6-1 10-8 (match tiebreak)

 

SURFING

Baku: http://bakucup.az/

Stanford: www.bankofthewestclassic.com/

Atlanta: www.bbtatlantaopen.com

Gstaad: www.creditagricolesuisseopengstaad.ch/

Umag: www.croatiaopen.hr

Astana: http://tennis.wettpoint.com

Carlsbad: www.southerncaliforniaopen13.com/

Washington: www.citiopentennis.com/

Kitzbühel: www.bet-at-home-cup.com/de/

Vancouver: www.vanopen.com/

 

TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK

(All money in USD)

 

MEN

 

$546,930 BB&T Atlanta Open, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, hard

$535,623 Crédit Agricole Suisse Open, Gstaad, Switzerland, clay

$535,623 Vegeta Croatia Open, Umag, Croatia, clay

$125,000 President’s Cup, Astana, Kazakhstan, hard

 

WOMEN

 

$795,707 Bank of the West Classic, Stanford, California, USA, hard

$235,000 Baku Cup, Baku, Azerbaijan, hard

 

TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK

 

MEN

 

$1,295,790 Citi Open, Washington, DC, USA, hard

$539,000 bet-at-home Cup Kitzbühel, Kitzbühel, Austria, clay

$100,000 Odlum Brown Vancouver Open, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, hard

 

WOMEN

 

$795,707 Southern California Open, Carlsbad, California, USA, hard

$235,000 Citi Open, Washington, DC, USA, hard

$100,000 Odlum Brown Vancouver Open, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, hard

 



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About Bob Greene
Bob Greene, the esteemed former Associated Press tennis writer, wraps up the week that was in international tennis with his “Monday’s With Bob Greene” column – a revival of his popular weekly feature at the AP.

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