Sunday, May 13, 2012

Djokovic crashes out, vows no return to blue clay

Updated May 12, 2012 09:26:13

World number one and defending champion Novak Djokovic has crashed out of the Madrid Masters, vowing never to return to play on the tournament's controversial blue clay.

Meanwhile, Samantha Stosur lost out to Czech qualifier Lucie Hradecka in a tough encounter in the women's draw.

Hradecka stunned the fifth-seeded Stosur to win 7-6 (10-8), 7-6 (8-6) as she rained down 19 aces to book a semi-final berth with Serena Williams.

Djokovic lost 7-6 (7-2), 6-3 to Serbian compatriot Janko Tipsarevic, his quarter-final defeat coming a day after an equally frustrated world number two Rafael Nadal had lost to fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco.

"I want to forget this week as soon as possible and move on to the real clay courts," said the top seed Djokovic, who beat Nadal a year ago for the trophy.

"They can do what they like, I won't be here next year if this clay stays."

Nadal also insisted that he, too, would not play the Madrid tournament if the blue clay remains in place in 2013.

In other women's results, Serena Williams thumped Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-3, while top seed Victoria Azarenka saw off China's Li Na with a battling 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 win to also reach the semi-finals.

The Belarusian world number one will now play Agnieszka Radwanska, the Polish fourth seed, who saw off American qualifier Varvara Lepchenko 6-4, 6-4.

On the men's side, third seed and 2009 winner Roger Federer became the only elite survivor after another effortless performance in a 6-4, 6-4 defeat of fifth seed David Ferrer.

The Swiss star will next play Tipsarevic, whom he has beaten four times.

"I missed some opportunities late in the match, and he hung in there," Federer said.

"The surface is quick and anything can happen. I'm happy to win but I've got a tough semi-final coming. It's unusual to have only one of the top four guys here, but I'll take it."

Federer stands 26-3 on the season, playing for the first time after a six-week break.

The 16-time Grand Slam champion could move to second in the world behind Djokovic should he win the title on Sunday.

Earlier tournament supremo Ion Tiriac had been forced to apologise for the anger felt by the players towards the blue surface.

"The court is slippery and I apologise," the former Davis Cup player said.

"We wanted to make sure that we had no player injuries, no ankle problems. As a result, the court experts rolled the base with too much pressure. When the blue sand was put on top it was unable to meld with the base, creating the slippage."

But Tiriac said that after striking a maintenance deal with the city of Madrid, the blue courts will remain in place year-round at the Caja Magica and will eventually be as comfortable to play on as traditional red clay.

Djokovic saved three match points in the penultimate game against Tipsarevic on Friday - the first two with aces - as he held on for 3-5.

But Tipsarevic came through for the upset on his fourth chance a game later as Djokovic lifted a backhand out.

"Janko played a great match. It was one of his best events. I hope he can go all the way. I missed chances in the opening games on return," Djokovic added.

"Any time I had a chance, he delivered his best shot. You cannot predict the court here, anything is possible."

Tomas Berdych brought Verdasco crashing back to earth as the sixth seed produced a 6-1, 6-2 quarter-final win over the Madrid-born 15th seed.

The Czech will next play Argentine 10th seed Juan Martin del Potro, who put out Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-3, 6-4, just a week after winning the title in Estoril.


Tags: sport, tennis, spain

First posted May 12, 2012 08:13:17

View the original article here

No comments:

Post a Comment