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Archive for the ‘dubai’ Category

One Match Away.

Posted by gauloises1 on February 17, 2011

Hold on to whatever you haven’t already shed in despair: Caroline Wozniacki is one win away from taking back the no. 1 ranking in Dubai.

She benefitted from a dramatic collapse from Anna Chakvetadze in the second round, who was suffering from the aftereffects of gastroenteritis, just when the Russian looked to be making an impact in the match:

Wozniacki then beat Ayumi Morita today after the Japanese qualifier upset Petra Kvitova in the opening round. She’ll play Shahar Peer in the quarterfinals. It was Peer who beat her in the third round last year, but she had a tough third-round match against Yanina Wickmayer, so I suspect that no. 1 trophy is headed back Wozniacki’s way, and why not.

Still, let’s not forget the conditions Peer is playing under to even be allowed to participate in this tournament. I hope she goes on winning just to stick it to them. It’s absurd and cynical that the WTA even has a tournament under these conditions, no matter how good the field is. Anyway.

Radwanska will play Kuznetsova after the former beat Bartoli and Svetlana reprised her Melbourne epic with Francesca Schiavone. Six match points went begging again before the Russian closed it out this time. Azarenka flattered to deceive in one of her patented pointless comebacks, taking Pennetta to a third set before losing.

Pennetta will face Alisa Kleybanova, who surprised Vera Zvonareva in straight sets earlier, but the Italian needed an MTO in her singles match and withdrew from her doubles with a leg strain, so maybe don’t expect too much. The remaining quarterfinal will be Sam Stosur against Jelena Jankovic, who came back from losing the first set 2-6 to Kaia Kanepi to win 7-5 in the third. Yay.

Singles – Third Round
(1) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. (Q) Ayumi Morita (JPN) 61 60
(15) Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) d. (2) Vera Zvonareva (RUS) 63 62
(16) Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) d. (3) Francesca Schiavone (ITA) 16 60 75
(4) Samantha Stosur (AUS) d. Patty Schnyder (SUI) 63 64
(6) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) d. (12) Kaia Kanepi (EST) 26 63 75
(11) Flavia Pennetta (ITA) d. (7) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) 63 67(2) 64
(8) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. (10) Marion Bartoli (FRA) 63 62
(9) Shahar Peer (ISR) d. Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) 36 64 61

Doubles – Second Round
(1) Peschke/Srebotnik (CZE/SLO) d. Dushevina/Peng (RUS/CHN) 75 62
(2) Huber/Martínez Sánchez (USA/ESP) d. Groth/Zakopalova (AUS/CZE) 64 64
(WC) Kuznetsova/Zvonareva (RUS/RUS) d. (3) Chan/Zheng (TPE/CHN) 63 75
(4) Azarenka/Kirilenko (BLR/RUS) d. Kleybanova/Yan (RUS/CHN) 64 64
(6) Mattek-Sands/Shaughnessy (USA/USA) d. Pennetta/Schiavone (ITA/ITA) w/o (Pennetta: left lower leg muscle strain)
(7) Raymond/Stosur (USA/AUS) d. Niculescu/Peer (ROU/ISR) 75 57 107
Hantuchova/Radwanska (SVK/POL) d. Diatchenko/Poutchek (RUS/BLR) 61 61
Mirza/Vesnina (IND/RUS) d. Dulgheru/Sfar (ROU/TUN) 62 46 1210

Posted in anna chakvetadze, caroline wozniacki, dubai, flavia pennetta, jelena jankovic, shahar peer, victoria azarenka, video | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Monday’s Results: Dubai, Bogota, Buenos Aires, Marseilles, Memphis

Posted by gauloises1 on February 15, 2011

No time wasted in getting going in Dubai, where probably the biggest upset was qualifier Chanelle Scheepers (apparently pronounced ‘Skeppers’, at least according to the Eurosport commentators) upsetting Maria Kirilenko in straight sets. Scheepers was on really sharp form and Kirilenko … was wearing shorts, which looked nice.

Jeepers creepers.

Alisa Kleybanova came back from the brink of defeat against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, in what was an all-too-familiar Pavs tale; unable to close out the match from a commanding position, she utterly collapsed in the third set. I still think Pavlyuchenkova has all the game in the world, but she has to improve her movement so that she can defend her way through a rocky patch, otherwise this is just going to happen again and again and again. Here endeth.

Speaking of improved movement, a back-from-injury Marion Bartoli beat Kimiko Date-Krumm. And we all know how an in-form Marion can lend a frisson to things. Go Marion.

Memphis saw a seed massacre in a not-particularly-strong draw, as lucky loser Alexandra Stevenson accounted for second seed and defending finalist Sofia Arvidsson, fifth seed Olga Govortsova went down to a qualifier (in what could be a stroke of luck for Heather Watson, now facing Foretz Garcon in the second round), and top seed Barbora Zahlalova Strycova lost to big-serving Michaella Kraijcek.

On the plus side? Wins for Melanie Oudin, Rebecca Marino and last year’s semi-finalist Anne Keothavong. Up the British.

In Bogota, I talked up Simona Halep and she promptly lost to Mathilde Johansson. And Annabel Medina Garrigues lost too, to Colombian wildcard Catalina Castano. What has happened to AMG of late?

Not much to report on the men’s side. Grigor Dmitrov lost rather disappointingly to Dmitry Tursunov in Marseilles, and that’s about it.

Full results under the cut.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in barbora zahlalova strycova, bogota, buonos aires, dubai, maria kirilenko, marion bartoli, marseilles, memphis | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

WTA Week Ahead: Dubai, Bogota, Memphis

Posted by gauloises1 on February 13, 2011


Premier; Venus Williams defending; draw here.

Top 8 seeds: Caroline Wozniacki, Vera Zvonareva, Francesca Schiavone, Samantha Stosur, Li Na, Jelena Jankovic, Victoria Azarenka, Agnieszka Radwanska

Points of Interest: The amazing thing about the WTA is that, with a half-decent draw, you are never short for things to say in this category. To start with, Wozniacki could get the no. 1 ranking back if she reaches the semi-final – a tough prospect given her draw. Although her probable second and third round opponents (Hantuchova and Kvitova) could be expected to be weary from their exploits this week, there’s also Yanina Wickmayer and Li Na in her quarter. Both Kaia Kanepi (who’s played well in Dubai in the past) and Andrea Petkovic have a good shout in JJ’s quarter, if the perennial wait to see Ana Ivanovic come up with something in a big tournament isn’t over and Sam Stosur isn’t feeling it. I have a feeling about Vera Zvonareva and/or Svetlana Kuznetsova, though. Just saying.


International; Mariana Duque Marino defending; draw here.

Top 8 seeds: Julia Goerges, Polona Hercog, Simona Halep, Arantxa Parra Santonja, Carla Suarez Navarro, Edina Gallovits-Hall, Lourdes Dominguez Lino, Annabel Medina Garrigues

Points of Interest: I’m all about the young guns this week (and most weeks). Let’s see if Polona Hercog and Simona Halep can come up with something. I have major hopes for the latter, who was in fine fettle in Auckland. Still, someone with more than one surname will probably win this one.



International; Maria Sharapova defending; draw here.

Top 8 seeds: Barbora Zahlalova Strycova, Sofia Arvidsson, Melanie Oudin, Alla Kudryavtseva, Olga Govortsova, Rebecca Marino, Renata Voracova, Vania King

Points of Interest: This … is not a good draw. And yet I’m perversely excited. Two words: Heather Watson, who has already beaten Andrea Hlavackova in the first round and will face Olga Govortsova (probably) in the next. Two more words: Rebecca Marino, who is a lot like Delpo, only female and Canadian. And higher-ranked.  

Posted in bogota, dubai, memphis, wta week ahead | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

Nole Breaks Defensive Duck in Dubai

Posted by gauloises1 on March 1, 2010

What do you know? He can do it. Novak Djokovic beat Mikhail Youzhny 75 57 63 over two days to retain the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships crown. In case you haven’t heard, it’s the first title he’s ever successfully defended. Ever. Yay.

Nole led 75 20 when the heavens opened and the match was rained off on Saturday, to the visible frustration of both players. When the match resumed on Sunday, Youzhny broke back for 3-3 and Djokovic was visibly frustrated after double-faulting a break away, smashing his racquet.

The third set looked to be a repeat of the second after Nole went 3-0 up and then got pegged back to 3-3, at which point it looked like it might all be slipping through his fingers.

But he hung tough, raised his level and won the next three games for the match and the title. I think he was quite happy about it …

Defending a title gets you picspam, Nole. Remember that.

Seriously, it wasn’t his best week ever. He went three sets in every match from the second round onwards, looked listless and lacking in concentration at times, and his serve was on the wonk to my eyes at least – something’s off with it. But the level of fight he showed was fantastic and honestly, anyone who still questions his mettle as a champion should really look at this week and shut up. I’m so pleased for the kitten-haired one. I’m still smiling.


Posted in dubai, mikhail youzhny, novak djokovic, titlists | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

Dubai: Comeback Kid

Posted by gauloises1 on February 27, 2010

Novak Djokovic had his third consecutive three set come-from-behind win in Dubai today, which according to my hazy maths works out as about ninety thousand cubits of awesome. He beat Marcos Baghdatis 67(2) 63 64. Nole made faces, Baggy lost a shoe, there was extreme net love, it was that kind of fantastic match. That I had to work through.

Luckily other people did watch the match. Step forward, Flatman:

“It was an incredible struggle again,” admitted Djokovic, who will now be looking for revenge over Youzhny after losing to the Russian in the Rotterdam semi-final a fortnight ago. “For the third time in a row I’m fortunate to get through.

“There is no excuse. I’m definitely tired. It’s been a long week, but a final is a final and I have faced this kind of feeling and situation before in my life. It’s ups and downs, and it shouldn’t be happening at this level. Now I’m just focused on the fact I’ve never defended a title before. I want to do it now.” […]

The Cypriot, so entertaining when he reached the Australian Open as a rank outsider four years ago, has been plagued by injuries since. He is determined to recapture a place in the sport’s elite yet clearly has a problem with his concentration.

Repeatedly he engaged Djokovic in long rallys and seemed to have the point won only to slam a basic unforced error either into the net or wide of the court. “I just don’t know what is going on in my head,” said Baghdatis, who was sufficiently focused to win the title in Sydney a week before this year’s Australian Open.

“What can I say? I lost a match that I had in my hands. I’m really frustrated. I put him back in the game when I had him on the ground, and I should have kept him there.”



The other semifinal saw Mikhail Youzhny – who really is playing scaringly well this year – beat Jurgen Melzer in straight sets. Now he is all that stands between Nole and defending a title for the first time, which would be great, apart from that whole Rotterdam semifinal thing that happened a few weeks ago, which I am choosing to erase from my memory.

All we have to fear is fear itself. And Mikhail Youzhny.

Singles – Semi-finals
[2] N Djokovic (SRB) d M Baghdatis (CYP) 67(2) 63 64
[7] M Youzhny (RUS) d J Melzer (AUT) 75 76(4)

Doubles – Semi-finals
[2] L Dlouhy (CZE) / L Paes (IND) d C Kas (GER) / D Norman (BEL) 26 76(6) 10-7
S Aspelin (SWE) / P Hanley (AUS) d F Lopez (ESP) / T Robredo (ESP) 62 36 14-12

Posted in dubai, jurgen melzer, marcos baghdatis, mikhail youzhny, novak djokovic | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

All Grown Up

Posted by gauloises1 on February 26, 2010

Nole talks responsibility (and incidentally calls out Andy Murray, or at least that’s how The Times spins it; Flatman, you stirrer):

Sitting in the same chair 24 hours earlier after losing on the same court, Murray said defeat against Djokovic’s fellow Serb Janko Tisparevic wasn’t the end of the world because events of this nature are an opportunity to experiment and practise different tactics.

Djokovic, Australian Open champion two years ago and No 2 in the world, two spots above Murray, begs to differ. He has been paid the same handsome six-figure sum as a guarantee and enjoyed the luxury of a £2,300-a-night duplex suite at the seven-star Burj al Arab hotel throughout his stay.

But Djokovic also feels a responsibility to give something back to those who reward his stature in the game. “You carry certain responsibility when you are in the world’s top five,” said the player who had to rally from a disastrous start to beat Ivan Ljubicic 2-6,6-4,6-0 but is now only two wins away from retaining the title. “You cannot just go out there and practise. Every tournament is important. That’s the way I accepted every tournament in my professional career.” […]

“Who knows what’s going to happen tomorrow, so I try to play 100 per cent, and try to win every match I play,” he continued. “I cannot calculate and I cannot experiment. Sometimes maybe you should prioritise some bigger events. But, look we are professionals, and we are here to perform as best as we can.

“There are not just a lot of expectations from ourselves and our people that are surrounding us. It’s about the tournament and people who come to watch.”

Hard to argue with that.

I also loved this:

Things looked bleak as he trailed Ljubicic by a set and faced a couple of break points. A loud voice in the crowd shouted: “Ace him Novak.” Pulling out of his service motion, Djokovic allowed himself a smile and replied: “I wish.”

Oh Nole. You’re so that guy that you find yourself going out on a limb for time and time again and getting disappointed and you don’t even ask yourself any more why you keep trying, because you know that every so often they’ll do something that reminds you and you can live off that moment for weeks.

So that guy.

Posted in dubai, novak djokovic | Tagged: | 8 Comments »

Dubai: Carry On Culling

Posted by gauloises1 on February 25, 2010

Not that there were many top seeds left to cull, but sixth seed Marin Cilic was the latest victim of whatever is going on in Dubai, falling to Jurgen Melzer 76(8) 75.

For a while there it looked like Novak Djokovic might join him, but fortunately he fought back against Ivan Ljubicic and ended in fine style, by bagelling him.

Next up for Nole, sole survivor of a field that looked so promising? Marcos Baghdatis, who beat Michael Berrer in straights, while Melzer faces seventh seed and perennial question mark Mikhail Youzhny.

And that is what happened today.

Full results

Singles – Quarter-finals
[2] N Djokovic (SRB) d I Ljubicic (CRO) 26 64 60
J Melzer (AUT) d [6] M Cilic (CRO) 76(8) 75
[7] M Youzhny (RUS) d J Tipsarevic (SRB) 63 64
M Baghdatis (CYP) d M Berrer (GER) 76(5) 61

Doubles – Quarter-finals
[2] L Dlouhy (CZE) / L Paes (IND) d A Clement (FRA) / R Lindstedt (SWE) 76(3) 61
C Kas (GER) / D Norman (BEL) d [4] F Cermak (CZE) / M Mertinak (SVK) 64 62
F Lopez (ESP) / T Robredo (ESP) d J Tipsarevic (SRB) / V Troicki (SRB) 63 64

Order of Play

CENTRE COURT start 2:00 pm
J Melzer (AUT) vs [7] M Youzhny (RUS)
F Lopez (ESP) / T Robredo (ESP) vs S Aspelin (SWE) / P Hanley (AUS)
Not Before 7:00 PM
M Baghdatis (CYP) vs [2] N Djokovic (SRB)
C Kas (GER) / D Norman (BEL) vs [2] L Dlouhy (CZE) / L Paes (IND)

Posted in dubai, jurgen melzer, marcos baghdatis, marin cilic, mikhail youzhny, novak djokovic | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Bad Pusher and Brainless Ball-Basher: the Adventure Continues

Posted by gauloises1 on February 25, 2010

Sweet article (and accompanying video) on Wozniacki and Azarenka doing kind of a cheesy photoshoot in Dubai …

Asked by an increasingly exasperated photographer and shoot director to act angry, fierce and pull at each other’s jewellery as if they were fighting in front of an audience of surprised duty-free shoppers the two friends collapse into giggles every time they caught sight of the other’s quiff.

“It’s too funny,” Azarenka says as she tries to catch her breath. “It’s hard to act angry off the court. Can we do something like we like each other? At the end?”

It’s fascinating to see the friendships that exist on the ten-month tour. While an outsider might think it’s a lonely, competitive existence where you have more rivals than mates, Wozniacki and Azarenka are quick to dispel that myth.

“It’s a great life we have,” says Danish star Wozniacki. “We play tennis and that’s what I love to do and to be able to live from your hobby is just great.

“I have a lot of friends on the tour, Victoria is one of my best friends. It’s nice to have some good friendships on the tour.”

Azarenka, sitting nearby having her hair styled, shoots back a retort. “We’re friends?” Wozniacki pauses for a moment. “So you’re not one of my good friends?”

“Well, I’m one of yours. But I don’t know if you’re one of mine,” deadpans Azarenka, before they both start to laugh.

Love them together. Read the whole thing.

Posted in caroline wozniacki, dubai, victoria azarenka | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

You Crack Me Up, ATP

Posted by gauloises1 on February 25, 2010

Seriously. The stuff they come up with for promotional activities just cracks me up. I can’t help it.

Exhibit A: Shopping with the Davydenkos

Exhibit B: Random ‘celebrities’ from other sports, such as England cricketer Ian Bell, for no adequately explained reason.

Exhibit C: If all else fails, have an unenthusiastic player hold a random animal.

Congratulations! You have now Promoted Your Tournament. With synergy and stuff.

Posted in andy murray, dubai, marin cilic, nikolay davydenko | Tagged: , , | 6 Comments »

And Kolya, and Jo …

Posted by gauloises1 on February 25, 2010

More pain for the top seeds in Dubai today. Literally, after Kolya was forced to retire with a wrist injury, trailing indistinguishable German Michael Berrer 6-3.

And Jo-Wilfried Tsonga lost to Ivan Ljubicic in straight sets in a match that I’m bloody glad I didn’t watch.

Not all bad news, though. Marin may look like he was constructed out of pipecleaners and wet spaghetti with no particular care taken during the process (and I love it, before the hatemail starts), but he’s holding up surprisingly well despite it, managing to beat Stefan Koubeck in straights; Baggy took care of Somdev Devvarman, and Nole meandered to a victory over compatriot Troicki, 62 in the third.

Serious business.


Nice nips though.

Full results

Men’s Singles – Second Round
[2] N Djokovic (SRB) d V Troicki (SRB) 36 64 62
J Tipsarevic (SRB) d [3] A Murray (GBR) 76(3) 46 64
M Berrer (GER) d [4] N Davydenko (RUS) 63 ret. (left wrist)
I Ljubicic (CRO) d [5] [WC] J Tsonga (FRA) 75 63
[6] M Cilic (CRO) d [Q] S Koubek (AUT) 62 76(6)
[7] M Youzhny (RUS) d [Q] B Phau (GER) 76(2) 64
J Melzer (AUT) d T Robredo (ESP) 63 75
M Baghdatis (CYP) d [Q] S Devvarman (IND) 63 36 61

Men’s Doubles – Quarter-finals
S Aspelin (SWE) / P Hanley (AUS) d [3] M Bhupathi (IND) / M Mirnyi (BLR) 64 64

Men’s Doubles – First Round
F Lopez (ESP) / T Robredo (ESP) d [1] D Nestor (CAN) / N Zimonjic (SRB) 63 36 10-7
A Clement (FRA) / R Lindstedt (SWE) d [WC] R Bopanna (IND) / A Qureshi (PAK) 57 76(5) 10-8
[4] F Cermak (CZE) / M Mertinak (SVK) d [4] N Davydenko (RUS) / I Kunitsyn (RUS) W/O (Davydenko – left wrist)

Order of Play

CENTRE COURT start 2:00 pm
J Melzer (AUT) vs [6] M Cilic (CRO)
J Tipsarevic (SRB) vs [7] M Youzhny (RUS)
Not Before 7:00 PM
I Ljubicic (CRO) vs [2] N Djokovic (SRB)
M Baghdatis (CYP) vs M Berrer (GER)

COURT 3 start 2:00 pm
C Kas (GER) / D Norman (BEL) vs [4] F Cermak (CZE) / M Mertinak (SVK)
A Clement (FRA) / R Lindstedt (SWE) vs [2] L Dlouhy (CZE) / L Paes (IND)
Not Before 5:00 PM
F Lopez (ESP) / T Robredo (ESP) vs J Tipsarevic (SRB) / V Troicki (SRB) – After Suitable Rest

Posted in dubai, jo-wilfried tsonga, marin cilic, nikolay davydenko, novak djokovic | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »