Monday, April 30, 2012

Nadal wins seventh Barcelona title

Updated April 30, 2012 08:11:25

Rafael Nadal confirmed his status as king of clay by winning his seventh Barcelona Open title with a high-quality 7-6 (7-1), 7-5 defeat of David Ferrer.

World number two Nadal went from one history-making weekend to another after claiming an unprecedented eighth straight title a week ago in Monte Carlo where he beat world number one Novak Djokovic.

Seven days later, he took nearly three hours to add to his records in Barcelona as he held off compatriot Ferrer.

Nadal and his friend were playing their fourth final at the Real Club de Tenis, with Nadal winning all of them dating back to 2008.

He now stands as the only man to win two different events at least seven times each.

"This was my hardest match since the start of the clay season," said the winner. "David always takes you to the limit.

"I was lucky when I saved break points. The odds were on my side. In the second set David played very close, but I had the luck at the end. I'm so happy and I feel sorry for him. I'm starting to feel my game well on the clay."

Nadal's victory was his 34th in a row at Barcelona and improved his finals record on clay to 34-4.

His only clay finals losses have come against Djokovic and Roger Federer, each beating him twice.

The Barcelona triumph in front of 8,000 fans came exactly 10 years to the day that a 15-year-old Nadal made his debut on the ATP Tour in his native Mallorca.

Sunday's final was the 10th between Spaniards at the tournament in the Open era, the sixth featuring Nadal and the fourth in five years between Nadal and Ferrer.

Spaniards have won the home title for the past 10 years since 2003.

"Rafa is Rafa and he is very good," Ferrer said in defeat. "I've lost four times to him in this final. But I've always lost to one of the greats. He is a very good player and even better as a person."

The marathon final looked never-ending after a first set lasting 93 minutes with Nadal saving five set points in the 12th game before the tiebreaker which he dominated.

Ferrer, 30, refused to roll over, with the third seed coming from 1-3 down as he broke Nadal in the fifth game and then did it again for 5-4 as Nadal produced a double-fault.

But Nadal was not done, with the top seed breaking back for 5-5, producing a love game for 6-5 and breaking again to end the dramatic contest a game later on the first of three match points.

Nadal now stands 14-4 over Ferrer after winning the 48th trophy of his career.


Tags: sport, tennis, spain

First posted April 30, 2012 08:09:12

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Third time lucky for Sharapova against Azarenka

Updated April 30, 2012 08:16:15

Maria Sharapova earned her first WTA title of the year by blasting her way past world number one Victoria Azarenka 6-1, 6-4 in the final of the Stuttgart clay court tournament.

This was the 25-year-old Sharapova's 25th title of her career, but her first in 2012 having lost three finals.

It was also revenge for both this year's Australian Open and Indian Wells defeats at the hands of Azarenka and having also been runner-up at the Miami tournament.

Her victory in 84 minutes comes with both a winner's cheque of 115,000 dollars and a new Porsche sports car.

Azarenka needed treatment on her right wrist after the first set and did not look as sharp as she had done throughout the week, but rallied in the second to push Sharapova.

"I am just happy to win, it's a good tournament with very good players," said world number two Sharapova.

"It's a shame she was injured and couldn't play her normal game. I am just happy to have won the tournament.

"I came to Europe a bit earlier than normal before the French Open and was just going to use this tournament as a warm-up, but it works for me."

Sharapova demolished her 22-year-old opponent in the first set, needing exactly 30 minutes having raced into a 3-0 lead.

In a competitive encounter, the world's top two players even barged into one another during a change over.

The Belarusian world number one raised her game in the second set, but Sharapova got the break she needed to make it 4-3 and then served out to win the tournament on her debut in Stuttgart.

"Congratulations to Maria, she's had a good week here," said Azarenka, whose next clay court tournament will be Madrid, which starts May 5.

"I had a problem with my wrist and it was bothering me, but it's been bothering me all week. There is not much to say about it, I just got off court and will see what I can do to get it right before Madrid.

"I couldn't really perform, but I am not going to sit here and look for excuses. The world won't stop turning, there will be another tournament.

"It's still been a good week and I won't be thinking about it too much, there is no point looking back. I have to say Maria served well and she was on her game."


Tags: sport, tennis, germany, belarus, russian-federation

First posted April 30, 2012 07:54:16

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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sharapova and Azarenka meet in final

Updated April 29, 2012 07:47:45

Maria Sharapova hopes to avoid losing a third time to world number one Victoria Azarenka this year when they meet in the Stuttgart final.

In Saturday's last four tie, world number two Sharapova needed just under two hours to see off Petra Kvitova to claim revenge for her defeat in the 2011 Wimbledon final and secure a 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) victory.

Having lost to world number one Azarenka twice already in the three finals she has contested this season, the Russian is hoping for fourth-time lucky on Sunday with $110,000 dollars plus a new sports car on offer for the winner.

Sharapova broke her Czech opponent in the fifth game in the first set and the 11th of the second, after Kvitova had earlier missed a chance for a set point, before the world number three broke back.

Sharapova failed to serve out at 6-5 up as the second set went to a tie-break when the Russian held her nerve having raced into a 3-0 lead and said she is looking forward to facing Azarenka in the final.

"She is really confident this year and is the one to beat, I am really looking forward to the match," said Sharapova.

Sharapova will claim the 25th title of her career if she beats Azarenka and said her semi-final win was hard earned.

"It was extremely close and I am just glad to get through," said the Russian.

"She's a very powerful hitter and hits it really low, you have to stay down and be aggressive."

Azarenka booked her place in the final with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska.

It was the fifth time this year Azarenka had beaten the Pole having already seen off the world number four on hardcourt in Sydney, at the Australian Open, Doha and Indian Wells.

It was their first meeting on clay, but Azarenka needed just 24 minutes to blitz Radwanska to take the first set as the Polish number one managed just 11 points.

In the second, the Belarusian kept up the pressure with an impressive selection of shots, but despite claiming her tenth overall victory over Radwanska in just 77 minutes, Azarenka insisted it had been far from easy.

"I think she is such a good player that I have to step up to beat her, I think she brings the best out of my game," said Azarenka.

"We had some good rallies and I was just trying to stay in control of the game."

Despite needing nearly three hours to beat wildcard Mona Barthel in Friday's quarter-final, Azarenka said she was feeling little fatigue.

"Sometimes the long matches make you feel tired, but sometimes they energise you and give you confidence," she said. "I felt good on the court."


Tags: sport, tennis, germany, belarus, russian-federation

First posted April 29, 2012 07:32:46

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Nadal, Ferrer set Barcelona date

Updated April 29, 2012 13:56:00

Rafael Nadal crushed Fernando Verdasco for the 13th time in his career to set up a fourth Barcelona Open final with long-time rival David Ferrer.

The Sunday showdown will be a repeat of the 2008, 2009 and 2011 finals which were all won by Nadal.

French Open champion Nadal, who is fresh from winning an unprecedented eighth straight title at Monte Carlo last weekend, overwhelmed Verdasco 6-0, 6-4 in just 85 minutes with four breaks of serve.

Third-seed Ferrer had a tougher afternoon, requiring just over two hours in defeating huge-serving Canadian Milos Raonic 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-5).

"I'm very happy to reach a fourth final. It's a very special relationship I have with this tournament," said Ferrer, who had said this week it would be the culmination of his career to lift the trophy.

"I hope I can finally fulfil my dream of finally winning here."

Nadal has dominated the Barcelona event, winning six titles in seven previous appearances. On the one occasion he didn't play -- he missed 2010 with knee problems -- Verdasco took the honours.

Nadal's victory was his 38th winning semi-final in a row on clay, with his last loss coming against Carlos Moya in August 2003.

Raonic had turned in a breakthrough week on the clay of the Real Club de Tenis, winning all of his matches in straight sets.

He defeated Spaniard Nicolas Almagro and upset second-seeded, world number four Andy Murray in the quarter-finals.

"It was very tough to beat Raonic," said Ferrer. "We each had chances but it came down to winning on the key points. He has a huge forehand and he's very difficult to break."

The 21-year-old, ranked 25th, threatened early in the opening set against Ferrer but could not convert on four break chances.

Raonic saved six set points before Ferrer finally clinched it in the tiebreaker from the Canadian's netted forehand.

In the second set, the pair stayed on level-pegging, with Raonic saving the lone break points of the set in the 11th game.

In the tie-breaker, Raonic salvaged a match point as a return caught the line. But Ferrer advanced on his second opportunity from a Raonic error.

"I felt I played very well on the clay this week. I had some very good sensations," said Raonic. "I'm ready for my next objective, Madrid (from next weekend).

"But he was too good when it mattered, that's what makes him a great player who has beaten me every time we've played."

Ferrer improved to 28-4 this season with three titles.


Tags: sport, tennis, spain

First posted April 29, 2012 07:39:39

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Isner shapes as American hero

Updated April 09, 2012 15:58:48

John Isner gave more evidence to suggest he may become the tennis star the United States has been waiting for after leading his country to an upset Davis Cup victory in France.

Isner steered the States into the semi-finals at the weekend, beating Gilles Simon and then Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in four sets as France were humbled 4-1 on the famous clay courts of the Monte Carlo Country Club.

The 6ft 9in big server defeated Roger Federer, also on clay, in February's first round 5-0 Davis Cup whitewash of Switzerland.

USA captain Jim Courier, who won back-to-back French Opens in 1991 and 1992, lauded the efforts of Isner who fired down 16 aces and unleashed 56 winners in his 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), 5-7, 6-3 win over Tsonga.

"I am not surprised by the way John has played. We were hoping he could be at this kind of level and he was. He was exceptional," said Courier.

"He is continuing to progress. He was a lot stronger than he was against Switzerland."

The 32-time Davis Cup champions now face a third road trip in this year's tournament and have the imposing task of ending Spain's 23-tie unbeaten run on home soil.

Despite the absence of Rafa Nadal, Spain comfortably beat Austria 4-1 with Nicolas Almagro and David Ferrer both winning two singles games.

The other semi-final will feature Argentina against the Czech Republic after both recorded 4-1 victories over Croatia and Serbia respectively.

Both semi-finalists' stars came to the fore with Juan Martin del Potro and Tomas Berdych winning both of their singles matches.


Tags: sport, tennis, united-states

First posted April 09, 2012 11:53:35

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Australia takes 2-0 lead in Germany

Updated April 22, 2012 08:16:35

Australia is on the verge of promotion to the Fed Cup World Group after US Open winner Samantha Stosur and Jarmila Gajdosova put their team 2-0 up in the play-off against Germany in Stuttgart.

Stosur, ranked fifth in the world, needed a tie-break to see off Angelique Kerber 7-6 (7-1), 6-4.

Gajdosova, 50th in the world, then blasted Julia Goerges, ranked 16 in the world, 6-4, 6-4 to put Australia firmly in control ahead of Sunday's three remaining matches.

Just one more win would give Australia promotion from World Group II.

"I gave a good performance. I was playing well and I kept the momentum of my game," said Stosur, who needed one hour and 41 minutes to see off Kerber, ranked 14th in the world.

"There is always pressure on both players to win the first point for your team. For Angelique because she is playing in front of her home crowd and for me as I'm ranked higher.

"Of course, it helped having won the first set. It eases you up and you can stay focused and calm. I know that everybody is expecting me to win two points for Australia and I will do my best."

Gajdosova says she is happy to have torn up the form book and consolidated Australia's lead.

"I felt very comfortable, played more winners and made fewer mistakes so that was what proved to be in favour for me in the end," said the Bratislava-born Gajdosova.

"I know that on paper Julia should have got this match, but I am happy that I didn't allow her to come forward with her game and that I could get the second point for my team."

Stosur is back in action in Sunday's first reverse singles, when she takes on Georges, while Gajdosova is then scheduled to face Kerber.

In the doubles, specialist Anna-Lena Groenefeld is due to partner Andrea Petkovic against Australian pair Casey Dellacqua and Fed Cup debutant Olivia Rogowska.


Tags: tennis, sport, germany

First posted April 22, 2012 06:38:22

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Kerber takes Wozniacki's Copenhagen title

Updated April 16, 2012 13:23:23

Double defending champion Caroline Wozniacki suffered her first defeat at the WTA Copenhagen Open on Monday (AEST) when Germany's Angelique Kerber took her title in a 6-4, 6-4 win.

Top seed Wozniacki had won the first two editions of the indoor hardcourt title in 2010 and 2011, building up a 14-0 streak in the process at her home event.

Kerber, the second seed, had lost her two previous meetings with Denmark's Wozniacki.

"I felt like I had nothing to lose. If I lost the match, it's OK against her. It made me take more chances and I'm glad it worked out," said Kerber, who won her second career title after her maiden triumph in Paris in February.

"I love playing here and today I played a really good match against Caroline. I'm happy I was able to raise my level for the last few matches here and I've gained a lot of confidence. I'm very motivated to continue working hard."

Wozniacki said she would recover fron the defeat.

"You always want to win," said the Dane.

"Yes, it's disappointing to lose, but it's not a disaster. You lose matches sometimes, and today was one of those times. There's a new match and new tournament coming, so you go on."


Tags: sport, tennis, denmark

First posted April 16, 2012 13:23:23

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Stosur triumphs in South Carolina

Updated April 04, 2012 17:26:52

World number five Samantha Stosur won her second-round match at the WTA event in Charleston, South Carolina.

Stosur, the 2010 champion, was too strong for American qualifier Jamie Hampton, winning 6-0, 7-5.

Fellow Australian Anastasia Rodionova also stayed alive in the tournament with a 7-5, 6-3 defeat of Spain's Anabel Medina Garrigues.

"I'm really looking forward to this part of the season. I hope I can have a good week here," Stosur said.

"Today I lost serve for the first time when I was serving for the match, but she played some good points.

"She probably felt she had nothing to lose and went for it more. But from 5-all I played two good games."

Meanwhile, Serena and Venus Williams made a successful transition to clay, easing through their opening matches with straight-set victories.

Fifth-seed Serena, the 2008 Charleston champion, hammered 11 aces in overpowering last year's runner-up Elena Vesnina, 6-3, 6-4, in a second-round match.

World number 87 Venus, who returned to the tour last month in Miami after being out for seven months due to illness, needed just 79 minutes to dispatch qualifier Iveta Benesova of the Czech Republic, 6-4, 6-3, in a first-round encounter.

"Miami was definitely a whirlwind," Venus said Tuesday.

"A lot of times I ended up the victor at the end of these matches and I didn't really know how it happened."


Tags: tennis, sport, united-states

First posted April 04, 2012 12:54:17

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Stosur and Tomic win in Miami

Updated March 23, 2012 16:16:15

Australian tennis stars Samantha Stosur and Bernard Tomic both secured first-up wins at the Miami hardcourt tournament.

Sixth-seeded Stosur cruised into the third round of the women's event with a 6-4, 6-0 victory over Russian qualifier Valeria Savinykh. Stosur had received a bye in the opening round.

The US Open champion next faces South African Chanelle Scheepers.

Tomic booked a meeting with Spanish fifth seed David Ferrer after downing Ukraine's Sergiy Stakhovsky 7-6, (7-4), 6-3 in the men's first round.

But fellow Australian Matt Ebden lost to American Sam Querrey 6-1, 5-7, 7-5, having produced a stirring fight-back after losing the first set in just 24 minutes.

While it was a low-key day for the men, a host of women's stars were in action, including Serena Williams, who made a successful WTA return in her first tournament match since the Australian Open.

Williams beat China's Zhang Shuai 6-2, 6-3 in her first tour match since she was sidelined by a left ankle injury.

The former world number one fired six aces and connected on 64 per cent of her first serves while surrendering only one break to advance to the third round.

The 13-time grand slam singles champion will next face Italy's Roberta Vinci, who ousted Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova 7-5, 6-1.

Williams played for the US Fed Cup team last month, winning two singles matches in a 5-0 World Group II victory over Belarus.

But she had not been in a tour match since losing to Russia's Ekaterina Makarova in the round of 16 at Melbourne.

Five-time Miami winner Williams, the 10th seed on the women's side of the $US9.6 million ($A9.27 million) event, withdrew before her Brisbane quarter-final match because of an ankle injury in her only other WTA start this year.

Kim Clijsters also continued her comeback from injury, ousting German 14th seed Julia Goerges 6-2, 7-5 to reach the third round.

Russian second seed Maria Sharapova also made it through to the third round, beating Israeli Shahar Peer 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.


Tags: sport, tennis, united-states, australia

First posted March 23, 2012 11:08:46

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Monaco outlasts Isner to win in Houston

Updated April 16, 2012 13:30:25

Argentina's fourth-seeded Juan Monaco outlasted US second seed John Isner for a 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 triumph on Monday (AEST) in the final of the ATP US Men's Clay Court Championship.

Monaco, ranked 16th in the world, captured his fifth career title and his second of the year after a February crown at Vina del Mar. Before that, he had not won a title since 2007.

"This is a great moment in my career," Monaco said. "This tournament is going to bring me a lot of confidence."

Monaco, who improved to 5-8 in finals, had reached the semi-finals last month at Miami, losing to the eventual winner and world number one Novak Djokovic.

Isner saved 12 of 15 break points that he faced, but lost the only one he saw in the third set to surrender a break in the penultimate game of the match. Monaco held serve once more to claim the crown after two hours and 27 minutes.

"I came out of the gates slow," Isner said. "I wasn't quite there. It took a while to get warmed up and engaged in the match. I got better as the match went on. After the first set, the quality from both of us picked up a lot.

"I had some things go right in the second set but I had some things go against me in the third set. He was pressuring me pretty well all day. All in all, it was a good effort and was the best match I played all week."

Monaco had lost both prior matches against Isner, including a third-round affair last month at Indian Wells.

"We played a great final," Monaco said. "First set, I played really well. Then he came back in the second. In the final set, it was a battle. We fought until the last point. I served pretty well in the last game so I'm happy."

Despite the defeat, Isner will become the top-ranked American player in the world on Monday when he passes countryman Mardy Fish and moves up one spot into ninth in the ATP rankings.

"I'm making good strides this year. I just have to keep on working," Isner said. "I know there's room to improve in my game. I still need to get into better shape.

"I want to play 70 matches a year. To do that, I would have to have a pretty darn good year."

Isner, who sparked a US semi-final Davis Cup triumph on French clay last week to book a semi-final date with Spain in September, missed a chance for his fourth career ATP title and the first on clay.

Isner, a runner-up to Roger Federer last month at Indian Wells, lost to fellow American Sam Querrey in the 2010 Belgrade final in his only prior clay final.


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First posted April 16, 2012 13:30:25

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Sharapova fights back to down Wozniacki

Updated March 30, 2012 14:00:16

Maria Sharapova advanced to her fourth Miami final after the world number two rallied to beat fourth seeded Caroline Wozniacki 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.

Sharapova, a three-time runner-up in Miami, is in her second consecutive tournament final after losing in straight sets to Victoria Azarenka at Indian Wells.

"I started off the match so well and then I just had a concentration dropped a little bit and she started playing so much better. But I am happy I pulled it through," Sharapova said.

The 24-year-old Sharapova will face either Polish fifth seed Agnieszka Radwanska or Marion Bartoli of France in the final. She lost in the Miami final in 2005, 2006 and last year.

Sharapova clinched the two hour, 34 minute match on the second match point but she needed the chair umpire to overrule a call on the second one after her serve was initially called long.

The chair umpire disagreed and overruled the initial call, saying it was on the line. Wozniacki did not like it but the television video replay backed up the umpire.

Sharapova stepped up for her second serve then worked her way into position so she could eventually hit an easy forehand smash at the net for the winner.

Wozniacki, who was out of challenges, said it does not matter that the replay showed the ball was in.

"I think when the ball is so close that I think he should give her a chance to challenge at least when I don't have any challenges," Wozniacki said.

"She was gonna challenge it, anyways. So if it shows it's good, it's good. If it shows it's out, it's out. The ball was so close that it might as well have been out."

Sharapova is now a perfect 4-0 in semi-finals in Miami and beat Wozniacki after losing the last two meetings to her on hardcourts.

"I was going to challenge and then he overruled it," Sharapova said.

"It is a tough situation to be in because it is close to the end of the match and both of us fought so hard for over two hours and you don't want the match to end like that."


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First posted March 30, 2012 10:02:31

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Azarenka's streak snapped by Bartoli

Updated March 29, 2012 14:07:23

Victoria Azarenka's 26-match winning streak has been snapped by French seventh seed Marion Bartoli, the world number one falling 6-3, 6-3 in the quarter-finals of the Miami hardcourt event.

Bartoli ended defending champion Azarenka's undefeated start to the season by posting her third win over a world number one and first in three years.

"I really went on court with a lot of belief in myself, and I stayed very focused at the end," said Bartoli. "I'm so happy."

Bartoli previously beat number ones Justin Henin of Belgium in 2007 at Wimbledon and Jelena Jankovic two years later at the Australian Open.

Bartoli finished with two aces, five double faults and won 68 per cent of her first-serve points against Azarenka in the 97-minute match.

Azarenka had five double faults and won just 49 per cent of her first serve points as she tried but failed to play catch-up for the second straight match.

In her fourth round match, Azarenka dropped the first set and then fell behind 5-2 in the second set against Dominika Cibulkova before fighting back to win in three sets.

But there would be no magical comeback this time as Bartoli used her counterpunching style to blunt Azarenka's athletic baseline game.

"I have to be proud of what I have done in the last couple of months," Azarenka said.

"I am a human not a superwoman. I wish I could be, but I am not."

Bartoli will next face Agnieszka Radwanska who brought Venus Williams' comeback to a halt, downing the American 6-4, 6-1.

The 23-year-old Radwanska from Poland reached the semi-finals here for the first time, after getting to the quarter-finals each of the past two years.

She needed one hour, 21 minutes to overcome Williams, who was playing her first WTA tournament in more than six months after her abrupt withdrawal from the second round of the US Open, where she revealed she had been diagnosed with the auto-immune disorder Sjogren syndrome.

Williams said it was frustrating not to be able to execute all elements of her game as well as she would like.

"I think out of all the matches, today was probably the one where I had the least pressure in terms of someone who was going to maybe hit winners on me or pressure me.

"So it was disappointing not to be able to feel my best today," she said.

"I was able to keep it close in the first set and try different strategies, but it was definitely a mental battle, and today I didn't conquer the mental part of it."


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First posted March 29, 2012 13:44:49

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Stosur falls in Miami

Updated March 27, 2012 12:28:54

Samantha Stosur bowed out of the WTA/ATP event in Miami following a straight-sets loss to Serena Williams.

Williams recovered from a break in both sets to beat Stosur 7-5, 6-3 in what was a rematch of last year's US Open final, which the Australian won.

The defeat continues what has been a mixed start to 2012 for Stosur, who is ranked number five in the world.

Williams produced 20 aces but it was not all plain sailing for the former world number one, who lost her first serve of the match but came back to grind out the set in the first meeting between the two players since the US Open decider.

Down 5-2 in the second, Stosur twice saved match point and forced Williams to serve out for the match and although the American trailed 0-40 she booked her spot in the quarter-finals.

"I think for the most part things are working pretty decent," said Williams, who claimed revenge for her defeat at Flushing Meadows had not entered her head.

"I honestly feel like I can do better but my serve was hot and that is pretty cool."

Top seed Victoria Azarenka survived a scare from Dominika Cibulkova, gutting out a 1-6, 7-6 (9-7), 7-5 victory in the fourth round.

Azarenka advances to face France's Marion Bartoli, who easily defeated Maria Kirilenko 6-1, 6-2.

Russian Maria Sharapova also booked a place in the quarters with a 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) win over compatriot Ekaterina Makarova despite being broken four times.

Makarova fought particularly hard in the second set but eventually fell 7-3 in the tie-break.

Sharapova, the runner-up im Miami last year, will face China's Li Na after the French Open champion beat German Sabine Lisicki 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Meanwhile, defending champion Novak Djokovic dispatched fellow Serbian Viktor Troicki with a 6-3, 6-4 win to move into the fourth round of the men's draw.

The world number one broke Troicki three times en route to his 11th consecutive win against his compatriot to set up a fourth-round match against Frenchman Richard Gasquet.

Gasquet, who has been a quarter-finalist in four tournaments so far this year, beat Spain's Albert Ramos 6-2, 5-7, 6-3.

Leading American Mardy Fish recovered from being a break down in the first set to defeat 28th ranked Kevin Anderson of South Africa, 6-4, 6-3.

Fish advances to face Spain's 12th seed Nicolas Almagro who played solid tennis, committing just 10 unforced errors in his 6-3, 6-4 win over compatriot Fernando Verdasco.


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First posted March 27, 2012 07:36:16

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Age just a number for red-hot Federer

Updated March 20, 2012 10:51:24

Swiss superstar Roger Federer is setting his sights on more grand slams, after winning his third-straight tournament on Monday in Indian Wells.

The 16-time grand slam winner had to fight off a cold and a strong field to capture his fourth Indian Wells title.

"Well, naturally I love winning tennis tournaments, especially when you put in all the hard work and the sacrifice of playing a lot of matches before this to make sure I get some momentum and confidence going," Federer said after beating John Isner 7-6 (9-7) 6-3 in the decider.

"Then when it all pays off, after a bit of a scare early in the week, and you get the title and the emotions are going, it's a wonderful feeling."

Federer has won 15 straight matches, three consecutive tournaments and six of his past eight. His last lost this year was to Isner in Davis Cup in February but he avenged that by beating the 11th seeded American on Monday.

World number three Federer will play the next tournament in Miami and then take a break.

"I'm happy I have been holding up because it's been a lot of tennis and I am definitely looking forward to a break soon," he said.

"But I will push for one more in Miami, and then I'll probably have to take a week off or so and then I will manage my schedule all the way through to the French Open."

Many were starting to write Federer off last season when he turned 30 and his game dropped off slightly. Last year was the first time since 2002 that Federer did not win at least one grand slam title.

But age is just a number for Federer.

"Some people don't understand how you can play tennis at 30-years-old which is shocking to me because normally that's still when you're young enough to play some of your best tennis," Federer said.

"I think I'm showing that since I turned 30 in August last year. That's basically when my run began.

"But at the end of the day, it doesn't matter what people say."

Federer said his biggest wish this year was to win a gold medal at the London Olympics. But he also wants to some day reclaim the world number one ranking.

"I said it loud and clear that it's not right now a goal for me in the short-term because I can't be world number one because Novak (Djokovic) has played amazing these last 12 months.

"So right now that's not even on top of my head. I'm just happy how well things are going, and I will try to use that momentum to win more tennis matches."


Tags: sport, tennis, united-states

First posted March 20, 2012 10:44:24

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Stosur secures Australia victory

Updated April 22, 2012 22:37:52

Samantha Stosur has hauled Australia back into the Federation Cup top-flight with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Germany's Andrea Petkovic in Stuttgart.

Stosur backed up her opening day straight-sets win over world number 14 Angelique Kerber to dismiss the returning Petkovic in one hour and 14 minutes.

The win handed Australia an unbeatable 3-0 advantage in the tie and secured the nation a berth in the elite eight-nation World Group next year.

Fed Cup captain David Taylor said Australia should in the top tier of the competition with players of the calibre of Stosur and Jarmila Gajdosova at their disposal.

"We have had a good Fed Cup team the past few years but we have not really had all our players in form at the same time," Taylor said.

"With the players we have got, I think Australia belongs in the World Group."

Stosur entered the weekend with a 1-5 record this year against top-20 players following a mixed start to 2012.

However the combination of the European spring and red dirt under her feet again proved agreeable as the 2010 French Open finalist produced two impressive wins before Roland Garros next month.

Following Gajdosova's shock win over Julia Goerges on the opening day, the Germans decided to replace Goerges with world number 11 Petkovic on Sunday.

It was a gamble for the Europeans considering that Petkovic had not played a match for three months because of back stress fractures - and the home girl was not able to cope with Stosur's game in front of a parochial German crowd.

Australia were relegated to the second tier of the Fed Cup last year following a surprise home loss to the Ukraine.

Stosur, a long-time servant for the national team with a 30-9 career record, opted to skip that tie to concentrate on her preparations for last year's French Open.

She had looked in great touch in Paris in 2011 before an inexplicable third-round exit at the hands of Gisela Dulko.

This time the tie fit in perfectly with Stosur's program - she had intended to be in Stuttgart anyway for next week's WTA event.

Following Stuttgart, Stosur will fine-tune her game for Roland Garros at key lead-up tournaments in Madrid and Rome.

The French Open starts on May 27.


Tags: sport, tennis, australia, germany

First posted April 22, 2012 21:34:23

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Aussies face Germany in Davis Cup play-off

Updated April 12, 2012 15:46:43

The last time Australia faced Germany in the Davis Cup, Patrick Rafter played a crucial on-court role to help seal a World Group quarter-final win.

Twelve years later, Rafter will hope to be just as effective off the court when Australia travels to Germany in September vying to break back into the elite bracket of tennis.

Australia avoided a nightmare trip to Roger Federer's Switzerland when the World Group play-off draw was announced in London on Wednesday night but still faces a tough stay in Germany from September 14-16.

Victory will allow 28-time Davis Cup winners Australia to break back into the elite 16-team World Group for the first time since 2007.

The key will be a man who was Rafter's team-mate when Australia last tasted success over Germany - Lleyton Hewitt.

Rafter will be sweating on the availability of the former world number one, who is out until June due to toe surgery.

Yet Rafter believes he has already formed a winning team's nucleus after cruising through their Asian-Oceania group.

Australia booked its fifth World Group play-off appearance in six years by completing a 5-0 sweep of a depleted South Korea in Brisbane on Sunday.

"It's been a while since Australia's been back in the World Group and I think we've got the team," Rafter said after the win.

"We'll get Lleyton back up and running and we'll have a very, very good team."

Wimbledon quarter-finalist Bernard Tomic and world number 73 Matthew Ebden spearheaded Australia's singles in Brisbane, while Rafter blooded late bloomer Marinko Matosevic in the doubles with veteran Chris Guccione.

"These guys are forming a really good team," Rafter said.

"They're understanding that they've been together now for the last four or five ties, and that's what we need."

Rafter said the presence of the recovering Hewitt had ensured the Brisbane team camp was a success.

Last September, Australia's World Group hopes were dashed in Sydney by a Swiss team featuring Federer and Stan Wawrinka.

Australia lead 4-2 overall against Germany in Cup ties but will not be given any favours in September by a team expecting to boast the likes of world number 20 Florian Mayer, Phillipp Kohlshreiber (34), Philipp Petzschner (74) and veteran Tommy Haas.

Despite their Asia-Oceania group success, Australia dropped two places on the world rankings to 20 - Germany is 10th.

Meanwhile, Germany has named its line-up to take on the Australian Fed Cup team in their World Group play-off tie in Stuttgart next week.

World number 5 Sam Stosur must lift Australia against a German team boasting three top-20 players - Andrea Petkovic (11), Angelique Kerber (15) and Julia Goerges (16) - in the April 21-22 tie.


Tags: tennis, sport, australia, germany

First posted April 12, 2012 15:46:43

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Azarenka extends winning streak

Updated March 24, 2012 15:26:20

World number one Victoria Azarenka stretched her unbeaten run to 24 matches this year with another easy win in her first appearance at the WTA/ATP event in Miami on Friday.

Her latest victim was Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands, who fought hard but was no match for Azarenka as the Belarusian cruised to a 6-3, 7-5 win.

Azarenka is off to the hottest start to a season since Martina Hingis won her first 37 matches in 1997. Her wins this year include the Australian Open and Indian Wells last week, but she realises she now has a target on her back.

"I felt that she had nothing to lose, so she went for her shots, she was really aggressive," Azarenka said.

"I think I could have been more aggressive and play more my game, but I found the right shot selection and the right opportunities when I needed."

Meanwhile, former world number one Venus Williams, idled for six months, upset Czech third seed Petra Kvitova 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 to reach the third round.

Williams, in her first WTA event since pulling out of last year's US Open, took advantage on 9-of-11 break-point chances and fought off a rally to advance after two hours and 18 minutes.

She booked a third-round match-up with Canadian wildcard Aleksandra Wozniak, who defeated Romania's Monica Niculescu 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Spanish second seed Rafael Nadal began his quest for a first-ever Miami hardcourt title by ousting Colombia's Santiago Giraldo 6-2, 6-0 in 69 minutes.

Nadal, who received a first-round bye, advanced to a third-round match with Czech Radek Stepanek, who ousted Germany's Tommy Haas 7-6 (7-4), 6-1.

Great Britain's Andy Murray, who was given a bye in the first round, rebounded from his early exit at Indian Wells last week to beat Colombia's Alejandro Falla 6-2, 6-3.

The fourth seed faces a third-round clash with Milos Raonic, who defeated Arnaud Clement 7-6 (9-7), 6-2.

"I was expecting it to be tricky ... and managed to play better," Murray said.

"Once I settled down and started playing well, I was in most of his service games. So I was putting pressure on him."

American John Isner maintained his great run of form, which has included a win over world number one Novak Djokovic, by defeating Russian Nikolay Davydenko 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, highlighted by 10 aces.


Tags: tennis, sport, united-states

First posted March 24, 2012 13:18:38

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Nadal fights off Tsonga challenge

Updated March 29, 2012 16:44:21

World number two Rafa Nadal has qualified for the semi-finals of the Miami Masters, but only after being pushed all the way by France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Nadal threw away chances for an easier win, before he finally emerged with a 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 victory in two hours, 49 minutes.

Nadal next faces fourth-seeded British player Andy Murray, who also had to fight hard for his 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Serb Janko Tipsarevic.

Having won the first set comfortably, Nadal was within two points of victory on his own serve at 5-4 in the second set.

However Tsonga began his comeback by breaking the Spaniard's serve, aided by an untimely double-fault from Nadal.

He won three games in a row, claiming the set with a magnificent forehand return winner.

The third set produced some highly entertaining tennis and the Frenchman combined explosive shots, deft slices and glorious backhand work around the net to stay in touch.

Tsonga came close to breaking in the sixth game but Nadal held his nerve. The pair managed to remain on serve until the ninth game, when Nadal made the decisive break.

Although the Frenchman staved off a number of match points, the second seed claimed the match when Tsonga dumped a forehand into the net.

Medical attention

Murray was also given a scare as the world number four trailed by a set and a break before receiving medical attention for what appeared to be a stomach problem.

The Scot then promptly turned the match around as he broke the next service game from ninth seed Tipsarevic and went on to clinch the second set.

He then broke in the third game of the final set and held firm with his serve to ensure a last-four showdown against Nadal.

Overall Murray's backhand was below standard, contributing to a worrying tally of 34 unforced errors.

Murray said after the game that his health problem was almost certainly related to over-hydrating before the game.

"I have this thing that tests how hydrated you are, which I used for the match, and (afterwards) I was very hydrated, even though I'd drunk nothing the last couple of sets,'' Murray said.

"So I don't know if I drunk too much beforehand and kind of over-hydrated and my stomach was filled with liquid.

"It was so hot and humid, and to come off the court hydrated after not really drinking would probably suggest that I had drunk way too much."


Tags: sport, tennis, united-states

First posted March 29, 2012 13:08:50

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Federer beats Isner to win Indian Wells title

Updated March 19, 2012 12:18:46

World number three Roger Federer beat John Isner 7-6 (9-7), 6-3 in the Indian Wells final Sunday to capture his third tournament in a row and a record fourth Indian Wells title.

Federer has been battling a flu bug all week and said he was close to pulling out of Indian Wells. It limited his practice time early in the event but he said he was feeling much better after beating American 11th seed Isner.

"Sometimes just have to play a bit sick," said Federer, who earned $943,000 for the victory. "I am happy to come through at the end. It makes me really happy beating the best.

"I've really played amazing these last three matches in particular. I couldn't be more happy. They were really great wins."

One of the hottest players on the ATP Tour, Federer has now captured three consecutive events after winning back-to-back finals in Rotterdam and Dubai.

The Swiss star's fourth Indian Wells title is one more than the old mark he had shared with Jimmy Connors and Michael Chang.

He clinched Sunday's contest on the first match point when Isner smacked a forehand into the net.

Federer's road to the finals included wins over hard-serving Canadian Milos Raonic, Brazilian number one Thomaz Bellucci, former US Open champ Juan Martin del Potro and Spanish rival Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals.

"Honestly, I never looked one match ahead of me," Federer said.

"I thought del Potro was going to be extremely difficult. Once I got through that one, I only thought of the Nadal match.

"So for me, maybe mentally because of what happened, it was a bit of an easier tournament.

"I played with an attitude that I can only win here. I don't favor myself because I have not felt great. It would be a surprise to come through.

"That's how it feels now. I was able to come through, and so convincingly at the end is amazing. I've really played amazing these last three matches."

Federer also avenged a loss to Isner earlier this year in Davis Cup play.

On Sunday, Federer and Isner held serve in the second set until Federer finally broke the American in the seventh game to take a crucial 4-3 lead. Federer hit a backhand straight at Isner, who tried a drop shot on his backhand but it hit the net.

Federer won four of five points on his serve in the next game to take a 5-3 lead and then broke Isner again in the final game.

He has compiled a 22-2 ATP Tour record this season and has now won 15 matches in a row since losing to Isner in Davis Cup.

The only people to have beaten him on the court this year are Nadal and Isner and he defeated both of them in Indian Wells. France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga won in a walkover over Federer in January at Doha.

Federer has been on a blistering pace this season and is showing no signs of slowing down. He cannot afford to if he is going to catch world number one Novak Djokovic.

"For the moment, Novak is the best player," Federer said. "A lot has to happen for me to come through. I am playing well and I have won six of the last eight events I have played."

Another goal of Federer's is winning at the London Olympics, which begin in just over four months.

Asked if he could pick one thing to win this year, he replied, "to win the Olympic gold. Why not, right? But it is going to be lot of hard work."

Isner's path to the final included a semi-final upset of Djokovic.

Isner, who was leading the tournament in aces heading into the final, hit just four aces against Federer. He also had one double fault and won just 47 per cent of his second-serve points.

Isner said when he looks back on the tournament, it was a good experience to reach his first Indian Wells final.

"I certainly played well all week and obviously today it did not go my way," he said. "I don't really feel like I necessarily played my best, but that's what Roger does.

"I mean, if I have any shot to beat him I'm going to have to play my best. That wasn't the case today. He was too strong."


Tags: sport, tennis, united-states

First posted March 19, 2012 10:18:59

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Spain pinned back, Stepanek row rumbles on

Updated April 08, 2012 09:26:44

Spain's Davis Cup juggernaut collided with an unexpected Austrian roadblock on Saturday while the Czech Republic and Serbia took their bitter quarter-final feud onto Twitter.

Austria kept alive its slim hopes of reaching a first semi-final since 1990 when Oliver Marach and Alexander Peya captured the doubles against holders Spain in Castellon.

The Austrian duo defeated Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (14/12), clinching victory on their fifth match point.

"It was very important for us to win today as after being 2-0 down we didn't want to lose the tie and go home already after the second day," said Marach.

"After the rain break (early in the second set) we decided to play different tactics which was good for us, we played more aggressively and it worked."

Five-time champions Spain, playing without the injured Rafael Nadal, had cruised into a 2-0 overnight lead on Friday when Nicolas Almagro beat Jurgen Melzer 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 and David Ferrer brushed aside Andreas Haider-Maurer 6-1, 6-3, 6-1.

The tie will be settled on Sunday when Melzer takes on Ferrer while Almagro faces Haider-Maurer in the reverse singles.

Victory in the tie would extend Spain's winning record at home to 23 matches, a run stretching back to 1999 when they lost to Brazil.

In Prague, the Czech Republic took a 2-1 lead over Serbia, who is without world number one Novak Djokovic, after Radek Stepanek and Tomas Berdych breezed past Nenad Zimonjic and Ilija Bozoljac 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4).

On Friday, Berdych swept Viktor Troicki 6-2, 6-1, 6-2, while Stepanek lost a stormy epic five-setter to Janko Tipsarevic 5-7, 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 9-7.

That clash was overshadowed by an angry bust-up after Tipsarevic accused the Czech veteran of refusing to shake hands, aiming an obscene gesture at him and calling him names.

Tipsarevic then posted a picture of Stepanek's 'sign of the horns' gesture on his Twitter account on Saturday with the words 'It really is a shame that a great tennis nation like CZE is represented by someone like him'.

Zimonjic was then reported to have described Stepanek as "the least likeable guy on the tour, especially on the court" while Bozoljac then refused to shake hands with Stepanek.

"He has shown his weakness," blasted back Stepanek. "It's no good to elaborate."

Meanwhile, brothers Bob and Mike Bryan made it 10 wins in 10 Davis Cup trips to give the United States, the record 32-time champions, a crucial 2-1 edge against France in Monte Carlo.

The Bryans cruised past Michael Llodra and Julien Benneteau 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) to hand John Isner the opportunity on Sunday to wrap up the tie when the giant American takes on French number one Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the first reverse singles.

"When you take American tennis in general, it's probably right to say that clay courts are not our best surface," said US captain Jim Courier.

"But today our players adored being out there. Just look at the way they played on Friday, see how confident John Isner was on clay."

Tsonga had defeated teenager Ryan Harrison 7-5, 6-2, 2-6, 6-2 on Friday before Isner saw off Gilles Simon 6-3, 6-2, 7-5.

If Tsonga levels the tie Sunday, then Simon will tackle Harrison in the decider.

"It's another day. We are playing on a surface which we selected in front of our own crowd. We are going to play and win," said France captain Guy Forget.

The winner of that quarter-final will meet either Spain or Austria while the Czech Republic or Serbia will face either Argentina or Croatia.

David Nalbandian played his second five-hour, five-set match in two days when he teamed with Eduardo Schwank to hand Argentina a 2-1 lead over Croatia in Buenos Aires.

Nalbandian and Schwank saw off Marin Cilic and Ivo Karlovic 3-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-3, 6-7 (6-8), 8-6 after Friday's opening singles had been shared.


Tags: sport, tennis, spain

First posted April 08, 2012 09:26:44

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Tomic pushed, Aussies take early lead

Updated April 06, 2012 18:26:00

Stepping up in Lleyton Hewitt's absence proved more difficult than first thought for Bernard Tomic despite pulling off a straight-sets Davis Cup win in Brisbane on Friday.

Australia drew first blood in the Asia-Oceania zone second-round tie against South Korea after Tomic took out Min-Hyeok Cho 7-5, 6-3, 6-3 at Patrick Rafter Arena.

World number 75 Matthew Ebden then gave Australia a 2-0 lead when he sealed a 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 win over Suk-Young Jeong, ranked 730th.

Jeong became South Korea's number one after its six top-ranked players opted not to come to Brisbane, reportedly due to a dispute with their federation.

Australia's Chris Guccione and Marinko Matosevic have been named to take on Jeong and Jae-Min Seol in Saturday's doubles rubber.

At just 19, Tomic was asked to lead Australia with Hewitt out until June due to toe surgery.

And a comfortable victory was expected for the world number 36.

But the Wimbledon quarter-finalist hardly had everything go his way despite lining up against a player who does not have an official ATP ranking.

Indeed Tomic looked like a concerned man when he was broken in the match's opening game before Cho saved three break points to lead 3-1 in the first set.

Tomic rattled off the next three games before Cho again went toe to toe with the young Aussie from the baseline to provide unexpected resistance.

Cho, 25, only conceded a break in the second game of the second set before giving Tomic another fright in the third.

Tomic broke to lead 2-1 in the third, only to have Cho return the favour immediately then serve out the next game to lead 3-2.

Alarm bells were ringing when Tomic then limped off to receive treatment for what appeared to be a thigh complaint.

However, Tomic regrouped to claim the next four games, sealing his second match point with a backhand winner to extend his Cup singles record to 6-1.

World number 18 Australia will advance to the World Group play-offs in September if it defeats number 31 South Korea.

Australia has not been in the elite 16-team World Group since 2007.


Tags: tennis, sport, brisbane-4000, qld, australia, korea-republic-of

First posted April 06, 2012 18:26:00

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Stosur sets up Sharapova quarter

Updated April 27, 2012 05:53:25

Samantha Stosur avenged last year's semi-final defeat by Julia Goerges, beating the German 6-2 2-6 6-3 at the WTA event in Stuggart.

The Australian number five's win sets up a quarter-final against world number two Maria Sharapova.

World number one Victoria Azarenka also moved into the quarters after Germany's Andrea Petkovic retired with an ankle injury while trailing 6-2, 4-4.

Azarenka will face in-form Mona Barthel of Germany for a spot in the last four.

Petkovic looked set to give her opponent a tougher time but badly twisted her ankle as she tried to hit a forehand.

"It's such a tough situation and the ankle right away blew up," said Azarenka in a courtside interview.

"I hope she recovers soon because she is a great player. Andrea is one if the players who is tough mentally, she is a great fighter," she said.

German Barthel kept up her spectacular form this year with a 6-3, 6-1 demolition of world number seven Marion Bartoli to book her spot in the last eight and notch her first career victory over a top-10 player.

"It was one of the best matches of my life," said Barthel, who won her maiden WTA title in Hobart in January.

"I was immediately able to put her serve under pressure. It's great to have won my first match against a Top 10 player. It's something special."

Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova also advanced with a comfortable straight-sets victory over Italy's Francesca Schiavone and China's Li Na beat Akgul Amanmuradova of Uzbekistan 6-4 6-4.


Tags: tennis, sport, germany

First posted April 27, 2012 05:53:25

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Rogowska replaces Dokic for Fed Cup

Updated April 10, 2012 18:03:30

Olivia Rogowska has been selected in Australia's Fed Cup team for the first time, replacing struggling Jelena Dokic for the tough World Group play-off tie against Germany.

Nineteen-year-old Rogowska (ranked 120) was called up by captain David Taylor on Tuesday, joining Samantha Stosur (five), Jarmila Gajdosova (50) and Casey Dellacqua (101) in the team for the April 21-22 claycourt clash in Stuttgart, as Australia seeks promotion to the World Group.

While called up, Rogowska appears unlikely to play.

Taylor said Stosur and Gajdosova remained the team's top two singles players while Dellacqua's new tour doubles combination with Stosur could prove crucial in the tie.

Germany, which has four players in the top 20 - Andrea Petkovic (11), Sabine Lisicki (13), Angelique Kerber (15) and Julia Goerges (16) is due to name its team in the next few days.

Taylor indicated much rested on the form of his personal coaching charge Stosur, who has yet to recapture the form that won her the 2011 US Open this season.

"A lot of our chances for success will be with our number one (Stosur) reaching top form," he said.

"Sam has done well at this venue in the past, losing in a close (WTA Tour) final to Justine Henin in 2010 and losing a very close match in the semi-finals last year to Germany's number two Julia Goerges.

"Sam is one of the best claycourt players in women's tennis at the moment and is capable of leading our team to what would be a memorable victory."

Dokic, who turns 29 on Thursday, has slipped below Rogowska in the rankings at 126 and has struggled badly on tour this year, winning only three matches and losing in the first round in Indian Wells, Miami and Charleston in her last three starts.

She also lost a tight three-set clash with Rogowska in Kuala Lumpur in early March.

"Nicole and I decided to go with Olivia Rogowska as a reward for her big ranking improvement in the past six months and her performances at the WTA level during the Australian summer," Taylor said.

"She has also proven herself on clay with a win over Russian star Maria Kirilenko at Roland Garros."

The German team lost 4-1 to the Czech Republic in Stuttgart in February in their World Group tie to face possible relegation while Australia reached the play-off for promotion by beating Switzerland 4-1 in Fribourg in a World Group II tie.

"Germany is fortunate to be enjoying a renaissance in women's tennis," Taylor said.

"They have four top 20 players and it is the strongest team Australia could have drawn.

"The venue has already sold out and the Germans, like us, have high expectations."


Tags: tennis, sport, australia, germany

First posted April 10, 2012 18:03:30

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Nadal advances to Miami quarters

Updated March 28, 2012 15:13:41

Defending champion Novak Djokovic and world number twos Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova have all advanced at the Miami Masters.

Serbian star Djokovic, winner of the past three grand slam singles crowns, reached the quarter-finals with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over French 17th seed Richard Gasquet.

Djokovic will next face the winner of a later match between Spanish fifth seed David Ferrer and Argentina's 11th seed Juan Martin Del Potro.

Nadal, a three-time Miami runner-up who has never lifted the trophy, ousted Japanese 16th seed Kei Nishikori 6-4, 6-4.

British fourth seed Andy Murray ousted French 13th seed Gilles Simon 6-3, 6-4.

The Scotsman, who could face Nadal in the semi-finals, booked a last-eight date against Serbian ninth seed Janko Tipsarevic, who defeated Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov 7-6 (7-3), 6-2.

US eighth seed Mardy Fish outlasted Spanish 12th seed Nicolas Almagro 6-3, 6-7 (2-7), 6-3 in other fourth-round matches.

Next for Fish will be Argentina's Juan Monaco, who stopped Andy Roddick - after his memorable win over Roger Federer- with a 7-5, 6-0 victory.

Nadal fired eight aces and won 65 per cent of first-serve points while saving six of the eight break points he faced to advance in two hours and 11 minutes, improving to 16-3 on the season.

"The beginning was very tough," Nadal said.

"I started playing more aggressively. At the end of the first set, I felt that I started to win my serves easier than him. I believe that I had more the control of the game.

"In the second set I started well, 3-0. Just 5-3, I didn't play my best game there and he broke me. Happy to have the break back later and finally win the match."

The Spaniard will face French sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarter-finals, after he defeated Florian Meyer of Germany 6-3, 6-2.

On the women's side, second seed Sharapova advanced to the semi-finals with a 6-3, 6-0 victory over Chinese eighth seed Li Na, the Russian beauty snapping a four-match losing streak to the Asian star.

"I came into this match losing to her the last few times," Sharapova said.

"I really wanted to change that."

The match began with five consecutive service breaks but Sharapova found her form at 4-3, winning the last eight games of the match and 12 points in a row in one stretch to move on after 68 minutes.

"I was really consistent in conditions where it was a little gusty and blowing around and I faced a tough opponent too," Sharapova said.

"I did a good job of maintaining my consistency throughout the whole match."

Sharapova will next face Caroline Wozniacki after the fourth seed enjoyed her first ever victory over Serena Williams, winning 6-4, 6-4.

"I knew I had to close it out, she wasn't going to give it me, she was determined," said the Dane, who played intelligent and patient tennis, and made the most of Williams's 36 unforced errors.

"I knew if I didn't take care of my serves it would be difficult."


Tags: tennis, sport, united-states

First posted March 28, 2012 08:07:48

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Spain cruising against Austria

Updated April 07, 2012 08:30:03

Holders Spain raced into a 2-0 lead over Austria in the opening singles rubbers when Nicolas Almagro and David Ferrer outplayed Juergen Melzer and Andreas Haider-Maurer respectively in their Davis Cup quarter-final.

As the four World Group ties got underway, including France taking on United States, Czech Republic versus Serbia and Argentina against Croatia, Almagro thumped Melzer 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 and Ferrer thrashed Haider-Maurer 6-1, 6-3, 6-1.

Those performances put the favourites in command on the clay in blustery Marina d'Or on the Spanish coast.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, leading the French charge against the Americans, carved out a 1-0 lead for the 2010 finalists when he beat teenager Ryan Harrison 7-5, 6-2, 2-6, 6-2.

But John Isner levelled the best-of-five tie with a 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 dismissal of Gilles Simon in glamorous Monte Carlo.

The Czechs took an early lead in Prague in their tie against 2010 winners Serbia - without world number one Novak Djokovic - when Tomas Berdych hammered Viktor Troicki 6-2, 6-1, 6-2.

Radek Stepanek and Janko Tipsarevic then traded blows for more than five hours before Serbian Tipsarevic saved two match points to level at 7-7 in the final set and went on to clinch a nail-biting 5-7, 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 9-7 success.

The match ended in controversy as Stepanek refused to shake hands with Tipsarevic, who had to be restrained by team-mates and later accused the Czech of making an obscene gesture.

There was a classic Davis Cup party atmosphere at the Parque Roca in Buenos Aires for David Nalbandian's opening singles against Marin Cilic, as Argentina seeks to make up for the disappointment of losing to Spain in the 2011 final.

But Cilic stayed focused amid the drumming and raucous chanting in the 14,000 capacity arena to edge the former world number three 5-7, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-3 in a five-hour thriller.

World number 10 Juan Martin del Potro shrugged off a bout of nausea to cruise past Ivo Karlovic 6-2, 7-6 (9-7), 6-1 and pull Argentina level 1-1.

Tricky match

Spain, who has won its last 22 home Davis Cup ties, appeared far too strong for underdogs Austria despite the absence of Rafael Nadal and the doubles pair in the 2011 final of Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez.

French Open champion Nadal has opted not to play in the competition in an Olympic year, citing the packed calendar, and is carrying a knee injury aggravated last week in Miami.

Verdasco and Lopez have been replaced after disappointing doubles performances in last year's victorious campaign.

Almagro and Ferrer ensured Nadal will not be missed too much, as they put Spain on the verge of a September semi-final against France or the US.


Tags: tennis, sport, spain

First posted April 07, 2012 08:30:03

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Sharapova, Wozniacki through with walkovers

Updated April 26, 2012 06:05:35

World number two Maria Sharapova reached the quarter-finals of the WTA event in Stuttgart's while former world number one Ana Ivanovic suffered a shock first-round exit.

Sharapova progressed to the last eight of the clay-court tournament after French qualifier Alize Cornet was forced to retire after the first game of the second set with a shoulder injury in the second-round tie.

"You never want a match to finish like that, but we are approaching Roland Garros and, being French, she would want to be fit to be able to play in her home country," said Sharapova.

"I wish her the very best for a fast recovery.

"It is quite a task to adjust to clay, you need matches to find your game.

"The ball bounces differently and you have to be prepared for the longer rallies.

"The only thing that helps is playing matches, that is priceless."

Sharapova will face either US Open winner Samantha Stosur or Stuttgart's defending champion Julia Goerges, who meet late on Thursday (AEDT).

Sixth-seed Caroline Wozniacki is into the second round after opponent Jelena Jankovic was also forced to retire in their opening match.

Wozniacki took the first set 6-3, but Jankovic was forced to retire after 56 minutes with a back problem and the Dane will face Germay's Angelique Kerber for a place in the quarter-finals.

Polish fourth-seed Agnieszka Radwanska is already in the quarter-finals following her 6-3, 6-4 second-round victory over Hungary's Greta Arn.

Earlier, wild-card Mona Barthel was delighted by her shock first-round win over her former idol Ivanovic in straight sets.

The 21-year-old German blasted down 11 aces to out-muscle the Serbian, ranked 15th in the world, for a 7-5, 7-6 (7-4) victory and will now face seventh-seed Marion Bartoli of France in the second round.


Tags: tennis, sport, germany

First posted April 26, 2012 06:05:35

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Radwanska wins Miami title

Updated April 01, 2012 06:36:58

Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska used her wits to defeat world number two Maria Sharapova 7-5, 6-4 to win the women's final at the Miami WTA/ATP event.

Sharapova has now lost all four finals she has featured in at the Miami tournament and all three she has played in this year.

Radwanska's victory was her second of the year following a triumph in Dubai and her ninth WTA title, arguably her most valuable one.

"I'm just very, very happy that I have been able to play my best tennis since the beginning of the year. Let's hope that I can continue," Radwanska said.

"I will never be able to serve like Maria but I try different things and mix it up."

The Pole, ranked fourth in the world, won the tournament without losing a set and she showed exactly why with a classy display that left Sharapova scurrying around the court at times.

There was characteristically little emotion from Radwanska, beyond a timid half-raising of her arms, when Sharapova went long on the final point to hand her victory.

But that was typical of the businesslike and strategic way Radwanska went about beating Sharapova.

In the first set, Radwanska, in control of her service game despite lacking a powerful first serve, survived break point in the fifth game but that was a rare opening for her opponent.

The set was heading to a tie-break when Sharapova, down 6-5, suddenly lost her previously solid service game.

Sharapova produced two loose shots and then a volley into the net to leave her trailing 0-40 in the game and although Radwanska wobbled with two tame returns into the net, Sharapova failed to clear the net herself to hand her opponent the set.

It was a similar story in the second set, with both players solid on serve, but Radwanska coming out on top when it mattered at the conclusion of the set.

Radwanska fought back from 0-30 down to go 6-5 up and force Sharapova to hold serve to stay in the match.

Sharapova looked agitated and was let down by some reckless strokes, twice going long on returns, as Radwanska lured her into defeat.


Tags: tennis, sport, united-states

First posted April 01, 2012 06:03:19

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Djokovic books Miami final with Murray

Updated March 31, 2012 13:42:38

World number one Novak Djokovic beat Argentine Juan Monaco 6-0, 7-6 (7-5) to reach the final of the Miami Masters, where he will meet Andy Murray.

Fourth-ranked Murray's semi-final against Rafa Nadal was a walkover after the Spaniard pulled out with a knee injury.

There was the air of a virtual walkover in the way Djokovic dealt with a wayward Monaco in the first set.

The Serb, in imposing form, dismissed him in just 27 minutes and took full advantage of the Argentine's numerous unforced errors as he won 24 of 32 points.

"He was incredible, he really played like the world number one and it was tough on me," said Monaco.

But after Djokovic broke to go 3-2 up in the second, Monaco fought back well and forced some errors out of the Australian Open champion, who was finally broken when he served for match at 5-4.

The gritty Argentine took the match into a tie-break - a tight affair featuring several long rallies, including one entertaining 26 stroke exchange won by the Serb.

Monaco, who had been cheered on by a largely Latin-American crowd, eventually went long on the decisive point to hand victory to Djokovic.

"I started very strong, just going for the shots, being very aggressive, then I just wasn't able to close it out," said Djokovic, who is now looking for his third win at Key Biscayne.

"All the credit to him for staying in the match, fighting and coming back (but) I still think I gave him points. I made so many unforced errors that I got him back to the match."

Djokovic has a 7-5 record from previous meetings with Murray although the Scot won the most recent in the semi-final in Dubai three weeks ago and also the last time they met in a final - when Djokovic retired in the second set at Cincinnati.

The pair also met in the 2009 Miami final with Murray running out a 6-2, 7-5 winner and Djokovic knows he can expect a tough encounter in the Florida heat.

"We all know his talent, his potential, and quality," he said of Murray.

"He's dangerous on any surface. Obviously here we played finals in 2009 and I lost in straight sets. He likes the conditions. He likes to play in the heat as well, and has a good serve.

"We kind of play similar, as well. We grew up together. We know each other really well and we have been rivals since and good friends off the court. It's going to be a good match.

"I don't think it's going to affect him that much that he hasn't played today, but we'll see what happens," he added.


Tags: tennis, sport, united-states

First posted March 31, 2012 13:42:38

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Stosur thrashed by Serena

Updated April 08, 2012 14:26:04

Serena Williams, playing what she called one of the best matches of her career, steamrolled Samantha Stosur 6-1, 6-1 on Saturday to reach the WTA event's Charleston final.

Williams needed just 59 minutes to subdue the second-seeded Australian, who beat the American in the US Open final last September but has now lost to her twice in two events.

In Sunday's final on the green clay court at Charleston, the fifth-seeded American will face ninth-seeded Czech Lucie Safarova, who notched her own lopsided semi-final win, 6-0, 6-0 over Slovenia's Polona Hercog.

"I have to say, this is probably the best match I've played in my career, either in a long time or it's up there in the top five," said Williams, owner of 13 grand slam titles and 39 singles titles overall.

She seized control by winning the first eight points, broke Stosur five times and saved both break points she faced.

"It didn't really seem to matter what I did," said Stosur, who won the Charleston title in 2010.

"She came out with the goods every time."

Williams improved to 6-3 overall against Stosur, including a straight-sets victory in Miami 11 days ago in which Williams fired 20 aces.

Williams had a relatively sedate seven aces on Saturday, but that was plenty to prevent Stosur from becoming just the eighth player to beat both Williams sisters in the same tournament.

Stosur had beaten Venus Williams in the quarter-finals to spoil the chance of an all-Williams semi.

Stosur may have been feeling the effects of a long Friday, on which she had to complete a rain-disrupted third-round victory over Galina Voskoboeva, then battle past Venus in three sets.

Safarova, owner of four WTA Tour titles, will try to add a first victory in one of the WTA's premier level events.

Her emphatic victory over Hercog, in 64 minutes, ended a dream run for the Slovenian that included a first career win over a top-10 player with her upset of third-seeded Marion Bartoli in the third round, and a quarter-final triumph over former Charleston champion Nadia Petrova.

However, Safarova will be a heavy underdog against Serena, seeking a first win against the American after four career defeats.


Tags: sport, tennis, united-states, australia

First posted April 08, 2012 07:18:13

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Williams, Clijsters make winning returns to tour

Updated March 23, 2012 10:39:03

Former world number ones Venus Williams and Kim Clijsters have made triumphant returns to the women's tennis tour after long lay-offs with victories at the WTA and ATP Miami hardcourt tournament.

Seven-time grand slam champion Williams, who has not played a WTA event since pulling out of last year's US Open, defeated Japan's Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-0, 6-3, in 77 minutes.

Williams announced at last year's US Open she had been diagnosed with the auto-immune disorder Sjogren's Syndrome. The illness saps her energy and causes pain in her joints.

Clijsters, playing for the first time since her Australian Open semi-final loss to world number one Victoria Azarenka, rallied to eliminate Australia's Jarmila Gajdosova 4-6, 6-1, 6-0. The Belgian won 12 of the last 13 games to defeat Gajdosova.

"It's always tough to get that first match rhythm under your belt," Clijsters said. "When it comes down to my game I felt I wasn't quite going through my shots as I should have.

"I was just trying to find that rhythm, but on the other hand maybe forgetting to still play aggressive tennis. But as I started to feel more comfortable with the conditions and being in a match situation again I was hitting better, and that definitely showed in the second and third sets."

Clijsters, who won at Miami in 2005 and 2010, skipped last week's Indian Wells tournament to rest her injured ankle, the latest in a list of ailments in the past year that has also included a sore shoulder, wrist and abdomen.

"It's just a matter of getting those matches again," Clijsters said. "One thing I can count on is I have the experience, though. It doesn't take me that long to get used to it again. But it has become tougher."

Saying her ankle is at 95 per cent of peak fitness, Clijsters pondered how close she came to knocking off top seed Azarenka in Australia and how strong Azarenka - now undefeated this season in 23 matches - has played.

"I felt like I was really close to winning that match (at Melbourne Park)," Clijsters said. "She has been playing really good tennis. I think she's in a state of mind where she feels very confident and is on a roll.

"It's really showing in her game and in the way she approaches matches. I know what it's like to be in that situation, where you feel very focused but at the same time playing freely, without any worries."

Williams advanced to a second-round match against Czech third seed, and Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, who had a first-round bye. Next up for Clijsters is her match against Germany's 14th-seeded Julia Goerges.

First round matches began in the men's draw with Russian Nikolay Davydenko outlasting American James Blake 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, to book a second-round date with US 10th seed John Isner, the runner-up to Roger Federer last week at Indian Wells.

Colombia's Alejandro Falla was leading 6-1, 2-1 when Uzbek Denis Istomin retired with an injury, advancing the South American into a second-round match with British fourth seed Andy Murray.

Chile's Fernando Gonzalez was set to open his farewell event against Frenchman Nicolas Mahut on Wednesday night. Gonzalez, a three-time Olympic medallist, last month announced his decision to retire after this event.


Tags: sport, tennis, united-states

First posted March 22, 2012 15:14:31

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Williams crushes Safarova to win Charleston

Updated April 09, 2012 10:08:59

Serena Williams captured her 40th career WTA title by overpowering ninth-seed Czech Lucie Safarova 6-0, 6-1 in the Charleston claycourt tournament final on Sunday.

The 13-time Grand Slam winner needed just 58 minutes to dispatch Safarova in her first final appearance since last year's US Open when she lost to Samantha Stosur.

This marked Williams' first WTA title since turning 30 in September and she is the first 30-year-old to win on the green clay in Charleston since Martina Navratilova in 1990.

"I definitely want to continue this," said Williams who will move from 10 to nine when the new world rankings come out.

"I've never played consistently at such a high level with low errors like this, and the scary thing is I could have served so much better."

This marked Williams' first WTA title since turning 30 in September and she is the first 30-year-old to win on the green clay in Charleston since Martina Navratilova in 1990.

Williams, who did not drop a set in Charleston, improved to a perfect 5-0 against world No.26 Safarova. She won her quarter-final match when German Sabine Lisicki retired after 40 minutes in the first set with a foot injury.

Williams hammered five aces, 27 winners and had just eight unforced errors. She won 20 of 25 first serve points and saved four of four break point chances on Sunday.

"I did pretty well in (last) summer, but then I dropped off again until this tournament. So I really am like a floating bird," Williams said.

"It's motivating for me to go home and work harder, because I know Lucie and Sam (Stosur) and everyone is going to work hard, too. Now they know what to expect even more when they play me. This is a battle, and I want to continue to win."

Williams hammered five aces, won 20 of 25 first serve points and saved four of four break point chances on Sunday.

She now needs one more title to tie Kim Clijsters (41) for 13th place on the WTA all-time list.

This marked the second Charleston title for Williams who also won here in 2008.

Safarova was a heavy underdog against Williams, despite her one-sided 6-0, 6-0 win over Polona Hercog in the semi-finals.


Tags: sport, tennis, united-states

First posted April 09, 2012 07:44:44

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Murray into final after Nadal pulls out

Updated March 31, 2012 08:42:08

Rafael Nadal was forced to pull out of his semi-final against Andy Murray at the Miami Masters due to a knee injury, handing the Scot an easy path through to the final.

Nadal, who has had problems with his knees before on the American hardcourts, apologised for withdrawing from the Masters series event, but said he had no choice.

"I am not ready to compete today. I am very sorry for the fans. I'm very sorry for the tournament. I'm very sorry for everybody who were ready to watch the match on the television," Nadal told a news conference.

"I take no pleasure from this but I cannot do anything else. I am not ready to compete, and I cannot go on court and lie to everybody."

Murray, the Miami champion in 2009, was gifted his second walkover of the tournament and place in the final.

The Scotsman will play the winner of the other semi-final, between the top-seeded Novak Djokovic and Juan Monaco of Argentina.

"To be honest, it hasn't really happened to me that often where even one guy has done that," said Murray, who had also reached the last 16 without hitting a shot when Canadian Milos Raonic pulled out of their third-round clash with a right ankle injury.

"To get two in one week is strange."

Nadal, who has suffered from tendonitis in his knees several times during his career, had dropped only one set on his way to the last four as he chased a first title since last year's French Open.

He suggested the injury was probably a recurrence of his previous knee troubles.

"I have to see a doctor but it looks like nothing really, different than what happened a few times in the past," he said.

The 25-year-old Spaniard, runner-up in Miami three times, has won 13 of his 18 meetings with Murray, although all five of the Scot's victories came on hard courts.

In 2009, Nadal pulled out of Wimbledon, where he had won the year before, because of knee problems.

At the 2010 Australian Open, where he was the defending champion, he retired from his quarter-final clash with Murray, again because of knee problems.


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First posted March 31, 2012 08:42:08

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Djokovic defends Miami title

Updated April 02, 2012 10:53:51

World number one Novak Djokovic defeated Andy Murray 6-1, 7-6 (7-4) to win his second straight Miami Masters 1000 title and third overall.

Djokovic, who won in Miami for the first time in 2007, became just the third man to win the title three or more times, along with Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras.

For his third straight match, Djokovic cruised through the first set before finding himself in a tense tussle in the second.

But even though the second set went with serve until the tie-breaker, it was Murray who was under pressure most, fighting off break points in three of his service games.

"I thought I played a great match from start to end," said Djokovic, who did not drop a set in the tournament.

"There was a couple of service games I had a chance to break him in the second set. He's such a quality player, you never know.

"That's why he's right at the top, he always comes back, even if you feel you have control of the match.

"I'm really happy to close it out in straight sets."

Djokovic, 24, captured his 30th ATP title, and his second this year after his triumph at the Australian Open. It marked his 11th victory in the ATP's elite Masters 1000 series.

Murray had beaten Djokovic in the semi-finals at Dubai in February, and the Serbian was then upset by American John Isner in the semi-finals of the Indian Wells Masters 1000 last week.

Djokovic says that makes this win, which made him the first man since Roger Federer in 2006 to successfully defend the Miami crown, all the sweeter.

"I had a great tournament after that tough loss in the semi-finals at Indian Wells," he said.

Murray, who beat Djokovic in the 2009 Miami final, was playing his first match since Wednesday, when he downed Janko Tipsarevic in the quarter-finals.

He advanced to the title match on a walkover when world number two Rafael Nadal withdrew before their semi-final with a left knee injury.

Oddly, that was Murray's second walkover of the tournament, after Canadian Milos Raonic pulled out of their scheduled third-round clash with an ankle injury.

Whether it was the lay-off or not, Murray was not at his sharpest, his 39 unforced errors making things easier for Djokovic.

His only break chance came in the fifth game of the first set, but he was unable to convert it and stem Djokovic's momentum.

Djokovic had gained the upper hand in the fourth game of the opening set, which Murray led 40-0 but ended up losing on Djokovic's second break point.

The defending champion eventually closed out the opening set with his first ace of the match, and Murray promptly found himself in a 0-30 hole in the first game of the second, typical of the pressure he faced throughout the second set.

"Maybe it took a few games to get used to the pace," Murray said, but added he thought the set was closer than the score reflected.

"There were a lot of close games in the first set. He played better on the big points in the first set.

"In the second set, it was very close. If I was sluggish and I was only a couple of points away from winning the set, I'd say that's a very good sign."

Murray says his biggest problem was his return game, normally his strong point.

"If I had returned a bit better I would have been right in the match," he said. "That's the only thing that I'm surprised that I didn't do well, because it's normally the strongest part of my game."


Tags: tennis, sport, united-states

First posted April 02, 2012 05:43:46

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Kuznetsova rescues Russia

Updated April 22, 2012 08:13:48

Svetlana Kuznetsova defeated fellow former French Open winner Ana Ivanovic 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 to pull four-time champions Russia level with Serbia in their Fed Cup semi-final in Moscow.

Ivanovic went into the rubber leading her opponent 6-2 in previous encounters, but crucially it was Kuznetsova who won their only Fed Cup match-up in 2010.

The winner of the semi-final will likely face holders Czech Republic in November's final after the Czechs opened a 2-0 lead over Italy in Ostrava.

Jelena Jankovic had beaten Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 6-3 to put Serbia 1-0 up.

Lucie Safarova and Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova handed holders Czech Republic its lead over Italy in their semi-final.

Safarova, the world number 23, beat 12th-ranked Francesca Schiavone, the former French Open winner, 7-6 (7-3), 6-1 before world number three Kvitova saw off Sara Errani 6-4, 6-3.


Tags: tennis, sport, russian-federation

First posted April 22, 2012 08:13:48

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Grief-stricken Djokovic wins in Monte Carlo

Updated April 20, 2012 07:20:11

World number one Novak Djokovic raised his eyes and arms to the sky after beating Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov to reach the Monte Carlo Masters quarter-finals just hours after learning of the death of his grandfather.

The Serbian, who was told about his loss while practising in the morning, struggled to control his emotions when he walked on court for the match and then broke down in tears after completing a gutsy 2-6, 6-1, 6-4 win over Dolgopolov.

Rafael Nadal ominously moved a step closer to winning a record eighth consecutive title at the principality by demolishing Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin 6-1, 6-1.

Nadal will face Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka, who defeated Spanish eighth seed Nicolas Almagro 6-3, 6-3.

In a humid and grey afternoon next to the Mediterranean, Djokovic was warmly welcomed by a packed crowd as the news of his loss spread in the Monte Carlo Country Club alleys.

He was crying as he left the court to thunderous applause two hours later.

As the unpredictable Dolgopolov started to misfire in the second set, Djokovic regrouped and took advantage of the flurry of unforced errors flying off his opponent's racket.

Djokovic, who earlier this month had described his grandfather as "my hero and a fighter... who is always sending me lots of positive energy", screamed out loud after he broke Dolgopolov's serve early in the second set.

Even a rain delay in the third set could not unsettle Djokovic and he started weeping the moment he booked his place in the last eight.

Djokovic, who could become the first man in over 40 years to hold all four majors simultaneously if he triumphs at the French Open, will next face Dutchman Robin Haase.

The morning sunshine proved to be a false dawn at the club, which was soon drenched in rain. World number four Andy Murray, however, dodged the showers after France's Julien Benneteau retired hurt.

Murray was leading their fiercely contested opening set 6-5 when Benneteau quit, having fallen in the previous game when sliding to a wide ball. Benneteau received lengthy treatment before deciding that he could not continue.

The Scot will take on Czech Tomas Berdych, the sixth seed, who defeated Kei Nishikori 2-6, 6-2, 6-4.

As the weather turned grey and cooled down, France's fourth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga shrugged off two rain delays to beat Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 7-6 (9-7), 6-2.

He will meet compatriot and ninth seed Gilles Simon, who moved past Serbia's Janko Tipsarevic 6-0, 4-6, 6-1.


Tags: tennis, sport, monaco

First posted April 20, 2012 07:04:11

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