Weekly Roundup: ATP Winners

ATP Kitzbuhel

Robin Haase became the seventh player (most recently Albert Costa 98/99) to defend the Kitzbuhel title with his defeat of Philipp Kohlschreiber in three sets. The first set was a tight one, with serve dominating and the Dutchman saving numerous break points. However, in the tiebreaker he could not hold off Kohlschreiber who took it 7-2. After that Haase took control in the second and third sets and was only broke once throughout the whole match on his way to a (2)6-7 6-3 6-2 victory. It appears that Kohlschreiber was carrying an injury of sorts during the week as after the final he announced his withdrawal from the Olympics.

Meanwhile in the doubles there was some Austrian success as No.1 seeds Julian Knowle and Czech teammate Frantisek Cermak picked up the Doubles title in an extremely close encounter. They defeated the No.2 pairing of Dustin Brown and Paul Hanley in three sets winning 7-6(4) 3-6 12-10


Source: Bet-at-home Kitzbuhel Facebook


ATP Los Angeles

Sam Querrey joined an impressive list of three-times winners at the Los Angeles Open, that includes Arthur Ashe and Fred Perry, with a comprehensive defeat over the Lithuanian qualifier Ricardas Berankis 6-0 6-2. Querrey was unstoppable as he took eight games in a row with Berankis failing to get even to deuce until game 9 where he failed to take break points on the Querrey serve. It capped an excellent week for Querrey who has served brilliantly throughout, hitting 32 aces in four matches and only getting broken once all week (against Rajeev Ram SF).

Unseeded Belgians Ruben Bemelmans and Xavier Malisse took their first doubles title as a pairing with an impressive victory over the No.3 seeds Ken Skupski and Jamie Delgado. Both teams were dominant on serve and breaks were minimal as the match went into the final set deciding tiebreak. Bemelmans and Malisse earned the mini-break early and did not relinquish it as they took the match 7-6(5) 4-6 10-7.


Source: AFP/Getty Images/Frederic J Brown


WTA Baku Review

Bojana Jovanovski took the first WTA title of her career with a 6-3 6-1 victory in Baku defeating the American Julie Cohen. Jovanovski was broken just once in the whole match and broke Cohen’s serve five times on the way to victory to become the first Serbian to win a title this year. 

While Cohen will be disappointed to have gone down so easily in the final, it has been a great week for her. Julia Cohen’s hefty schedule has finally paid dividends with this final moving her into the top 100 for the first time. Her defensive style may not have been pleasing on the eye to some but it has been incredibly effective here.

No.4 seeds Irina Buryachok and Valerie Solovieva became the eighth doubles team of the year to win their first tournament together with a 6-3 6-2 win over the Czech/Italian pairing over Eva Birnerova and Alberta Brianti. The pairing dropped just sixteen games over the four matches where they did not drop a set.

Citi Open Preview – ATP 500/WTA International

While the majority of the top players are off in London taking part in the Olympic Games, the tour continues to roll on with one tournament this week – The Citi Open. The Citi Open is a joint tournament based in Washington D.C., formerly known as the Legg Mason Tennis Classic on the Men’s side while the Women’s tournament is only in it’s second year.

(click for draw)

ATP 500

While not at the usual standard of a 500 points tournament, there is still a fairly strong field on the men’s side. Mardy Fish, who chose not to play in the Olympics, leads the field while fallouts with their tennis federations meant Alexandr Dolgopolov and Kevin Anderson meant that neither man was available for the Olympics. The French and Germans are also represented well here, with Jeremy Chardy and Tommy Haas the best chances of a title here for the respective nations.

Favourite – Seeing as he withdrew from the Olympics in order to concentrate on defending points he picked up in the 2011 hard court swing, it is very likely that Mardy Fish will have his mind fully focused on the tournament here. He missed out last year here due to injury, but had he played he would have been expected to make the third final in three weeks due to the form he was in. There is no doubting his hard court credentials and he had an impressive 29-11 record last year. The only thing to look out for is the potential ankle injury he may have, which forced his retirement against Gilles Muller and stopped him from defending his Atlanta title.

Outsider – No.4 seed Tommy Haas has continued his great run of form by making the Hamburg final a few weeks back, where he was defeated by Juan Monaco in straight sets. The 34 year old has continued to amaze by competing so well at this level since his return from injury over a year ago. The disappointment of missing out on the Olympics (German Olympic Committee refused to support him, a decision made to look even sillier with Philipp Kohlschreiber’s late withdrawal) will serve as top motivation to do well here. Before his injury, the majority of Haas’s titles were during the US Hard Court seasons so it is obvious that he still favours this type of surface.

One To Watch –  Wildcard Ricardas Berankis is another player who has returned to form (though not quite to the extent of Haas above) after a sizable amount of time out with injury. The Lithuania dropped just one set on his run to the Final in Los Angeles (1st qualifying round, 5-7 to Dennis Lajola), looking impressive in victories against the likes of Nicolas Mahut and Marinko Matosevic. He did not face a break point in his match against the latter and looked utterly dominant on serve for most of the week. While he was embarrassed in the final by Sam Querrey, only picking up two games, it had been a great week for him and much better than what he would have expected. Berankis favoured surface is the hard court and he had also made the final of a Challenger in Winnetka at the start of this month.

Did You Know…?

Only four players have won a singles title in the draw this year, Sam Querrey, Pablo Andujar, Tommy Haas and Kevin Anderson.

Of the 12 finalists in Washington last year (8x doubles, 4x singles), only losing Women’s doubles finalists Olga Govortsova and Alla Kudryavtseva will be attending this year. 

Final Prediction – Mardy Fish defeats Sam Querrey in three sets

WTA International

While the tournament is weakened slightly, the Women’s side of the Citi Open does not suffer as much due to the lower tournament level. Many of the seeds would have qualified for the Olympics if not due to competitor limits while Chanelle Scheepers (much like Kevin Anderson in the Men’s tournament) did not enter due to her disagreements with the South African tennis authorities.

Favourite – Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia is the No.1 seed here and suffers from being from a strong tennis country in that she fails to make the tournament despite being in the top 30 currently. After a 25-13 record (w/ Monterrey title) on the hard courts last year, Pavlyuchenkova has struggled to build on that only going 2-7 so far this year. She will be hoping for better in the run up to the US Open, where she made the quarter finals and was defeated by Serena Williams. In the past year Pavyluchenkova has had issues with her service motion and this could be her downfall. Another issue is that many of her recent defeats have been in matches she should be expected to win and that perhaps she does not deal well with the tag of “favourite”.

Outsider – The highly rated Sloane Stephens is yet to win a tournament in her WTA career, but for someone of her talent it cannot be much longer. Sloane is only one of a few teenagers around the top 60 at present, where a lot of that can be put down to her appearances in slams. Stephens impressed at Wimbledon and Roland Garros, being defeated by Sabine Lisicki and Samantha Stosur respectively but had great chances in both. While there are no complaints with her performances in the bigger tournaments, defeats like those she has suffered since Wimbledon are incredibly disappointing – losing from 6-1 4-1 up against Melanie Oudin and losing in three sets to Heather Watson. If she can convert her form in slams to the International tournaments there is no reason why she cannot go deep here.

One To Watch – As a relative unknown at Wimbledon Camila Giorgi impressed the tennis world with a handy run defeating both Flavia Pennetta and Nadia Petrova (2011 Citi Open champion). The Italian has an aggressive style of play and when on form is hard to deal with. Much like many other young stars, inconsistency is a big issue. Great results like those at Wimbledon are combined with disappointing defeats in matches she is highly favoured to win. There is no doubting her talent though, and if she can get it together there is definitely potential to spring a shock or two.

Did You Know…?

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova is a multiple junior grand slam champion having won the Girls Singles at the Australian Open and US Open

None of the seeds have a Singles title this year, though unseeded players Melanie Oudin and Bojana Jovanovski do.
Finals Prediction – Sloane Stephens defeats Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in 3 sets

Olympics Preview – Men’s Singles

While the Women’s previous Gold medalists since the introduction of tennis to the Olympics read like a who’s who of WTA in the last 25 years, the Men’s side has a few more surprise winners including Marc Rosset, Miroslav Mecir and more recently Nicolas Massu. The Chilean is the only male in the modern era of Olympic tennis to have two gold medals – one in singles and one in men’s doubles.


Quarter 1 (1) Roger Federer-Janko Tipsarevic (7)

I think that Roger Federer will be very pleased with his draw here. Although his first opponent Alejandro Falla famously almost knocked out the Wimbledon champion two years ago, there is no such danger here. Federer is showing new found confidence and with nemesis Rafael Nadal out yet again, will be confident of making the Gold Medal match at least. The round 2 possibilities for Federer are at two extremes – the Frenchman Julien Benneteau, who took the first two sets against him at Wimbledon and so would have won in this format. His other potential opponent is Mikhail Youzhny, the Russian has never beat Federer and was dispatched of with ease in the quarter finals this year. His potential third round opponent is tough to pick out – big serving Gilles Muller has the chance but would get woefully exposed by the Swiss if it came to it. Spaniard Fernando Verdasco is always capable of a big match (see Madrid 2012 vs Nadal) but is often weak mentally. If Verdasco manages to beat Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin then his record against the No.1 looks almost certain to go to Won 0 Lost 6.

John Isner will be hoping to bounce back from a disappointing couple of months, where he most notably suffered early exits in both the French Open and Wimbledon. The American takes on Olivier Rochus, whom he has a 2-0 record over including victory in the final of North American grass tournament Newport last year in straight sets. Yen-hsun Lu would be his expected opponent in the second round. The Chinese Taipei player has fairly decent grass form over the years and is well known for his defeat of Andy Roddick in Wimbledon 2010 to reach the quarter finals and takes on Malek Jaziri in the first round. An intriguing tie will be that of Janko Tipsarevic vs David Nalbandian. Nalbandian has always been incredibly talented but never quite hit the heights expected of him after early promise. The pair have a 2-2 head to head but Janko Tipsarevic has got the better of the Argentinian twice this year, including at Wimbledon where the Serb won in straights. The winner of this match will take on Lukas Lacko or Philipp Petzschner in the second round.

My Quarter Final Prediction – Roger Federer defeats John Isner in 3 sets

Must Watch Match – Janko Tipsarevic vs David Nalbandian

Did You Know…?

Mikhail Youzhny’s woeful record against Roger Federer is as follows – Won 0 Lost 14, picking up just 3 sets in the process.#

There is a 16 inch height difference between John Isner and his Round 1 opponent Olivier Rochus – 6ft9 to 5ft5.

Quarter 2 (4) David Ferrer-Juan Martin Del Potro (8)

Without Nadal, David Ferrer is bumped up to a top 4 seeding and as such this seems the one quarter that perhaps is more expected to produce a surprise Semi Finalist. The section contains a fair amount of incredibly talented players but without the consistency that has saw Ferrer make the top 5 in the rankings. Wimbledon 2012 quarter-finalist Philipp Kohlschreiber is one such player, but the fact that he is currently still in Kitzbuhel, Austria as a type cannot be a great preparation for this tournament – especially since he is playing a clay court tournament! Nikolay Davydenko will do well to defeat Radek Stepanek in the first round, the Russian has only made the second week at Wimbledon once and generally struggles on grass. Kei Nishikori-Bernard Tomic is probably the pick of the ties in this section, two highly rated players who have the game to trouble the top 10. Nishikori showed this last year in his run in that took him into the top 25 while 19 year old Tomic memorably made the quarter finals at SW19 last year.

Since his controversial comments regarding equal pay, Gilles Simon seems to be suffer a bit of a dip in form. The Frenchman exited in the second round of each of his last three tournaments including Queens and Wimbledon in matches he would be expected to win. Mikhail Kukushkin shouldn’t pose enough to threaten him but in the second round awaits a potential meeting with Grigor Dimitrov. The Bulgarian has always been highly rated but like most young players failed to remain consistent enough. However recently, Dimitrov has kept his good form going for longer than usual – making the semi final in three of his last 4 tournaments and having to withdraw at Wimbledon due to injury. In this form, he is a darkhorse for a medal and in this section of the draw has a decent chance of making the medal match if all goes right for him. Andreas Seppi should progress easily against an incredibly out-of-form Donald Young and the same applies for Juan Martin Del Potro, who should have too much power for the Croatian Ivan Dodig.

My Quarter Final Prediction – David Ferrer defeats Grigor Dimitrov in 3 sets

Must Watch Match – Bernard Tomic vs Kei Nishikori

Did You Know…?

Donald Young is on a 13 match losing streak, having only picked up two wins this year and being defeated seventeen times.

David Ferrer does not have a losing head to head against anyone of his potential opponents from the first round to the third.

Quarter 3 (6) Tomas Berdych-Andy Murray(3)

After suffering an embarrassing first round straight sets defeat at Wimbledon to Ernests Gulbis, Tomas Berdych will be keen to redeem himself. The one time finalist is still a very good grass court player and should have no trouble with Steve Darcis. Ryan Harrison showed plenty of promise in his defeat at Wimbledon to Novak Djokovic, and really should have took a set if it wasn’t for disapponting play on break points. His match with Santiago Giraldo should be interesting, the Colombian is on decent form but was dispatched of by Milos Raonic at Wimbledon – finding it hard to break the Canadian’s big serve. Since his change of nationality to Russian Alex Bogomolov has been struggling a lot, trying to deal with the expectations of what seems to now have been a year of overachievement than progress in 2011. Carlos Berlocq is a clay courter for the most part but may feel he has a good chance to progress to the second round here against Bogomolov. Nicolas Almagro is another who prefers the clay, but has had good grass court results in his rare forays on to the surface including victories over John Isner and Olivier Rochus. He holds a 2-0 head to head record over Viktor Troicki, who has the better grass results but may still not have enough to beat the Spaniard. A potential third round meeting should be tasty between Almagro and Berdych – they had a falling out when Almagro played a shot to pass Berdych at the net by hitting it right in his direct and the Czech felt it was being aimed at him.

Much like Philipp Kohlschreiber, Robin Haase is another currently in Kitzbuhel as he gears up for the final of the clay court tournament. Again, this won’t be ideal for the Dutchman though winning and added confidence can’t be a problem! He faces a tough first round tie against Richard Gasquet who will have his eyes set on a third round tie and revenge against Andy Murray in France last month. Gasquet controlled large parts of the match early only to buckle under the pressure of Murray’s injury doubts to lose in four sets. Murray probably has the hardest tie of the lot, drawing Stanislas Wawrinka in the first round. Murray’s most famous matches with the Swiss No.2 are his five set epic under the roof at Wimbledon where he prevailed, and his disappointing defeat in the US Open third round. If Murray makes it past the Swiss he should be fairly confident of making it to the rematch with the Frenchman, potential opponents are either a returning from injury Somdev Devvarman 0r Jarkko Niemenen – who also didn’t deal well with the pressure the possible Murray injury put him under. Marcos Baghdatis could give Gasquet or Haase problems if he makes the second round, the Cypriot loves the big occasion and has taken sets from Murray and Djokovic in recent Wimbledons.

My Quarter Final Prediction – Andy Murray defeats Nicolas Almagro in 2 sets

Must Watch Match – Andy Murray vs Stanislas Wawrinka

Did You Know…?

Tomas Berdych sealed his arrival to the tennis world in the 2004 Olympics defeating the World No.1 Roger Federer in three sets 4-6 7-5 7-5

Berdych does not have a losing head to head against the three seeds in his quarter

Quarter 4 (5) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga-Novak Djokovic (2)

Another of the in-form clay courters around at the moment is Thomaz Bellucci, who just took the title in Gstaad, he faces Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the first round. Bellucci only played once and lost in straight sets to Rafael Nadal, but really should have took at least one set considering he held a double break in the first! Milos Raonic is the likely Round 2 opponent for the winner, the Canadian’s big serve should be enough to see off Japan’s Tatsuma Ito but against more experienced players his movement has been found a little wanting and needs to improve if he wants to go deep here. Expect tiebreaks in the Feliciano Lopez/Dmitry Tursunov match – both are traditional grass courters with big serves. The winner will face either David Goffin or Juan Monaco in what promises to be an intriguing tie. Monaco has always preferred the clay courts too, but will be high on confidence after breaking into the top 10 this month. Goffin showed a lot of promise at Wimbledon, defeating Bernard Tomic amongst others and is definitely one to watch.

Novak Djokovic opens his account with a tie against Italy’s Fabio Fognini. Some believe that the Serb’s momentum was killed slightly when Fognini withdrew from their quarter final match at the French Open and left Djokovic without a match for longer than he really wanted to. Djokovic should deal with him fairly easily. A potential second round with a revitalised Andy Roddick could make for a cracker in the three set format. Roddick has won two titles in the past 2 months (Eastbourne, Atlanta) and dominated David Ferrer for a set and a half before running out of steam. His opponent, Martin Klizan, comes off a decent run in Kitzbuhel but shouldn’t trouble Roddick too much here even if he plays poorly. Another former Wimbledon champion in Lleyton Hewitt has been handed a wildcard to the tournament and showed good form in Newport to make the final where he lost to John Isner. He takes on Sergei Stakhovsky who appears to be dealing with a number of injuries having retired twice over the grass court season. Another in-form player in Marin Cilic heads this part of the draw, the Croatian picked up the Umag title this month and looked impressive at Wimbledon including taking a 5 set 5 hour epic against the American Sam Querrey. He faces Jurgen Melzer who departed disappointingly to Lukas Lacko in Round 2 at Wimbledon.


My Quarter Final Prediction – Novak Djokovic defeats Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 3 sets

Must Watch Match – Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs Thomaz Bellucci

Did You Know…? 

The Second and Third Round’s in this quarter could see a match between two former world No.1’s – Novak Djokovic, Lleyton Hewitt and Andy Roddick all lie in this section.

In defeating Roger Federer last year at Wimbledon from two sets down, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga managed to end an 178-0 streak the Swiss held when leading 2-0 in a match.

Medal Predictions

Gold Roger Federer

Silver Andy Murray 

Bronze Novak Djokovic

Who do you think will go well in the Mens side of the draw? Who can cause a shock? Let me know in the comments below!

Olympics Preview – Women’s Singles

After a 64 year break, Tennis returned to the Olympics in 1988 as a medal sport (returned in 1984 as a ‘demonstration sport’) and the list of female singles winners makes for some impressive reading. The likes of Steffi Graf, Venus Williams and Justine Henin have won since the sport’s revival in the Olympics and only 2008 winner Elena Dementieva is not a multiple grand slam winner.


Quarter 1  (1) Victoria Azarenka – Angelique Kerber (7) 

The new World No.1 Victoria Azarenka should have no issues on her way to making the quarter final, facing first Irina-Camelia Begu. The Romanian is far more comfortable on clay and has very little experience on the grass, most recently exiting Wimbledon in the 1st round and throwing away a 6-0 lead in a final set tie break against Francesca Schiavone in their match in S’hertogenbosch. A second round tie will be with another clay courter, be it Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez or the in-form Polona Hercog who took the title in Bastad last week. Potential third round opponents Jie Zheng or Nadia Petrova both have had impressive runs at Wimbledon in the past and have decent grass court credentials – Zheng pushing eventual winner Serena Williams at Wimbledon this year to 3 sets stands out, along with her Semi Final appearance a while back. Petrova took the S’hertogenbosch title this year but appeared to be carrying an injury in her defeat to Dominika Cibulkova in Carlsbad last week.

Perhaps the most appealing seeded player to draw for the unseeded is Sara Errani, the French Open finalist is far less comfortable on the grass and even suffered the humiliation of the golden set in her defeat to Yaroslava Shvedova last month. Errani has drawn five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams. Although she was incredibly disappointing at Wimbledon this year, winning only four games against Elena Vesnina, I don’t think you can write her off completely. She may feel her medal chances are much better in the doubles with sister Serena where they are favourites for the gold medal. Timea Babos has shown great potential this year, winning the title in Monterrey and earning a surprise victory over Birmingham champion Melanie Oudin. Angelique Kerber should be the favourite to come through the other side of this quarter, and potentially has the chance to exert revenge over Errani who defeated her in the French Open. She faces Petra Cetkovska in the first round.

My Quarter Final Prediction –  Victoria Azarenka defeats Angelique Kerber in 3 sets

Must Watch Match – Venus Williams vs Sara Errani

Did You Know…?

Nadia Petrova owns a 7-1 head to head record over first round opponent Jie Zheng

Venus Williams is the only female tennis player to win three gold medals (1x Singles, 2x Doubles)

Quarter 2 (4) Serena Williams-Caroline Wozniacki (8)

Serena Williams will be very happy with her section of the draw. The Wimbledon champion is on an 11-match winning streak after taking the title in Stanford. She looked ominous at Wimbledon and her serve is one of the best of all time, meaning that she is almost unbreakable if it is working. Her first round tie will be a battle of the former World No.1’s as she takes on Jelena Jankovic. The Serb has been on a very bad run of form of late with a string of first round exits to her name, although she did make the final in Birmingham (though perhaps more due to a favourable draw). Jankovic appears to be lacking motivation at times but if there is an opponent that can inspire her to play well, it has to be Serena. Young hopefuls Mona Barthel and Urszula Radwanska will battle for the presumed second round match-up with Serena, both can cause a lot of trouble but inconsistency is likely to be their downfall. Klara Zakapolova will be looking to improve on her 0-3 head to head against Francesca Schiavone, and was mostly recently defeated by the Italian this year at Wimbledon. 2010 Wimbledon finalist Vera Zvonareva still looks to be suffering slightly from a number of injuries but she has potential to be a surprise medalist if she can recover sufficiently.

Serena’s potential quarter-final opponent could be Caroline Wozniacki, whom she has a 4-1 head to head record over. The Dane faces British hopeful Anne Keothavong first up – who was embarrassed by college star Mallory Burdette at Stanford a few weeks back. Many more eyes will be on Daniela Hantuchova, who is enjoying new found fame after posing for the ESPN Body Issue. The Slovakian has been disappointing in the middle part of this year, not helped by a foot injury that left her out for almost two months.  She suffered a poor straight sets defeat to Jamie Hampton at Wimbledon this year and will have a big job on her hands here, facing Na Li. Li has not quite hit the heights of last year, but is still a very dangerous player on all surfaces. Tamira Paszek will be confident with her position in the draw here, possessing recent grass court wins over Hantuchova and more famously under the roof against Wozniacki this year.

My Quarter Final Prediction – Serena Williams defeats Tamira Paszek in 2 sets

Must Watch Match – Serena Williams vs Jelena Jankovic

Did You Know…?

With victory here, Serena can equal her sisters gold medal haul of three.

This quarter of the draw contains five former, or current top 5 players.

Quarter 3 (5) Samantha Stosur-Maria Sharapova (3)

While Samantha Stosur is notoriously poor on grass, she will be happy with her first round draw against a clay specialist in Carla Suarez Navarro who she beat fairly comfortable in Wimbledon this year. The second round is much more likely to be where she departs – Roberta Vinci can be a threat and only made the fourth round of Wimbledon while Kim Clijsters is still a class act even if recent form has been sketchy. The Belgian will want to finish off in style at her last visit to SW19 before she retires. She holds a 2-0 head to head over Vinci, but both are a long time ago so not much should be made of that. Agnes Szavay makes her return after a long time out with injury and has a winnable match against Great Britain’s Elena Baltacha, but her fitness is a huge question mark after so much time out. Ana Ivanovic is the other stand out name in this section, she takes on the highly rated Christina Mchale. This is a wide-open quarter where someone has the potential to make a name for themselves.

Whoever takes the previous section is more than likely just waiting for a quarter final with Maria Sharapova. The Russian disappointed at Wimbledon, losing to Sabine Lisicki and has the chance for revenge here in the third round. A first round tie with a slumping Shahar Pe’er should pose no issues at all. Lefties Laura Robson and Lucie Safarova could trouble her in the second round but Sharapova should progress with little trouble. Yaroslava Shvedova could disturb the balance in this section here, two good Grand Slam runs have seen her ranking improve greatly over the past two months and she has begun to show the potential of a few years ago again. She takes on Simona Halep in an interesting first round tie for the chance to take on Lisicki, who should dispatch of youngster Ons Jabeur with ease. Although losing the most recent meeting, Sharapova has a 3-1 head to head over Lisicki including the previous two slam meetings between the pair – Australian Open 12, Wimbledon 11.

My Quarter Final Prediction – Maria Sharapova defeats Ana Ivanovic in 2 sets

Must Watch Match – Ana Ivanovic vs Christina Mchale

Did You Know…?

Samantha Stosur is a three times semi-finalist at Eastbourne but has never got past the fourth round at Wimbledon.

Against the 3 seeds in her section she has faced, Kim Clijsters has a 17-3 record (6-3 Sharapova, 5-0 Stosur, 6-0 Ivanovic)

Quarter 4 (6) Petra Kvitova-Agnieszka Radwanska (2)

2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova opens her account against Kateryna Bondarenko – the Ukrainian will have full attention on the Singles event now after he sister withdrew from the doubles but it is unlikely she can trouble the Czech here while Shuai Peng or Su-Wei Hsieh will ensure an Asian presence in the next round. Bulgarian grass specialist Tsvetana Pironkova is probably the biggest danger to Kvitova here, she excels on grass and is a former semi-finalist at Wimbledon – where she was defeated by Vera Zvonareva in 2010. She also reached the quarters in 2009, losing to potential opponent Kvitova. Pironkova takes on the in-from Dominika Cibulkova, who recently took the Carlsbad title.

When talking about Agnieszka Radwanska, she is always accused of having the easy draws in tournaments and it is hard to argue with people on this showing. She faces an out-form Julia Gorges in the first round with a potential second round tie against either a very poor wildcard choice in Veronica Cepede Royg or an inferior version of herself in Varvara Lepchenko. A third round tie is likely to be against Maria Kirilenko. Radwanska has proved recently she can beat her, even if the weather conditions were not suitable the Pole’s playing style. Heather Watson was dispatched off with ease at Wimbledon while Silvia Soler-Espinosa and Mariana Duque Marino are both most at home on the clay and will pose little threat.

My Quarter Final Prediction – Agnieszka Radwanska defeats Petra Kvitova  in 3 sets

Must Watch Match – Tsvetana Pironkova vs Dominika Cibulkova

Did You Know…?

South Americans Mariana Duque Marino and Veronica Cepede Royg have not won a main draw match on Grass courts between them. Mariano has one in Wimbledon qualifying 2008.

Tsvetana Pironkova’s difference in results off and on a grass court are staggering – other than her Wimbledon QF and SF’s in 2009 and 2010, she has never made the 3rd round in a slam.

Medal Predictions

Gold Serena Williams 

Silver Maria Sharapova

Bronze Victoria Azarenka

Who are your medal predictions for the tourney? Who do you think can spring a surprise here? Feel free to leave your comments below!

Weekly Roundup: Challenger/ITF

ATP Challenger Tour

An Ning (Clay)

The seedings went to plan in this Challenger event in China as Aljaz Bedene (1) took on Grega Zemjla (2). Bedene looked in control when he took the first set 6-1 but it all went downhill from there as his Slovenian compatriot took the next two sets for a 1-6 7-5 6-3 victory to add this title to the Nottingham challenger title he earned just before Wimbledon. Thai twin brothers Sonchat/Sanchai Ratiwatana took the doubles title in an epic encounter with Ruan Roelofse and Kittipong Wachiramanowong 4-6 7-6(1) 13-11.

Bercuit (Clay)

Dutchman Thiemo de Bakker continued his resurgence up the ranks taking the Bercuit title as an unseeded player. He defeated Victor Hanescu in a three set encounter, making a recovery after losing the second set to earn 6-4 3-6 7-5 victory over the Romanian. South Americans Andre Ghem and Marco Trungelliti strolled through the doubles draw, not dropping one set in their way to winning the final, where they beat Facundo Bagnis and Pablo Galdon 6-1 6-2.

Binghamton (Hard)

Michael Yani took advantage of an incredibly open draw in Binghamton (only three seeds made it past the first round) to take his second Challenger title (Yuba City 2008) with a 6-4 7-6(11) win over the South Africa Fritz Wolmarans. Yani did not drop one set on his way to the title. The Doubles title was taken by Israeli pairing Dudi Sela and Harel Srugo, the pair recovered from dropping the second set to win it in a close super tie-breaker, the final score being 6-2 3-6 10-8.

Granby (Hard)

As with An-Ning, the seedings also went to plan in Canada with No.1 seed Vasek Pospisil taking on No.2 seed Igor Sisjling. The Canadian had dropped sets in each match leading up to the final but did no such thing in the final, defeating the Dutchman in two close sets 7-6(2) 6-4. Pospisil completed the double with Philip Bester for an easy victory in the final, as the pair completed an 8-0 sets run in the tournament, defeating  Japanese pair Yuichi Ito and Takuto Niki 6-1 6-2.

Penza (Hard)

Former World No.67 Illya Marchenko took the title here as he continues to recover from injury, hoping to hit the form that saw him a top 100 player in the past. The Ukranian defeated Russian No.2 seed Evgeny Donskoy in straight sets to add to the list of Russian scalps he took in this tournament (Kravchuk, Kumantsov). Konstantin Kravchuk and Nikolaus Moser lost just one set on the way to taking the doubles title, again in the final, as they defeated Indian pairing and No.1 seeds Yuki Bhambri and Divij Sharan in three sets 6-3 (5)6-7 10-8

Poznan (Clay)

Jerzy Janowicz made it two No.1 seeds to earn titles this week (Vasek Pospisil the other) with a great performance in his home country. Janowicz dropped just one set (SF, vs Haider-Maurer) on his way to winning the trophy where he defeated Jonathan Dasnieres de Viegy in straight sets 6-3 6-3. To follow up the dominant performances shown by Doubles winners this week, Rameez Junaid and Simon Stadler made it three teams to win the title without dropping a set, dispatching of Aussie pairing Adam Hubble and Nima Roshan 6-3 6-4.

Recanati (Hard)

Simone Bolelli earned the Recanati title here in his home country of Italy.  The No.4 seed took on the big serving Frenchman in the final neutralising it for the most part as he won in straight sets 6-3 6-2. The title gives Bolelli, who had been falling down the rankings in recent months, some much needed points. The Australian team of Dane Propoggia and Brydan Klein made it three 2-1 victories in a row to take the doubles title, finishing off with a 26-point super tiebreaker in the final which they took 7-5 2-6 14-12 against Croatians Dino Marcan and Marin Draganja.


ITF Mens Pro Circuit 

India F10 Futures Suk-Young JEONG (KOR) [3]     6-2 7-5     N. Vijay Sundar PRASHANTH (IND) [4]

Estonia F1 Futures Marin BRADARIC (CRO) [4]     6-4 7-6(8)     Laurent MALOULI (FRA)

France F14 Futures Nicolas RENAVAND (FRA) [4]     4-6 7-6(1) 6-4     Gregoire BURQUIER (FRA) [1]

Austria F2 Futures Nicolas REISSIG (AUT)     6-3 6-0     Tristan-Samuel WEISSBORN (AUT)

Belgium F4 Futures Elie ROUSSET (FRA) [3]     7-6(6) 1-6 6-3     Sherif SABRY (EGY) [5]

Kazakhstan F7 Futures Dzmitry ZHYRMONT (BLR) [3]     6-1 6-4     Ti CHEN (TPE) [1]

USA F20 Futures Sebastien BOLTZ (FRA) [3]     6-3 6-3     Darian KING (BAR) [4]

Turkey F28 Futures Julien DEMOIS (FRA)     6-3 6-7(15) 6-4     Alexander LAZOV (BUL)

Czech Republic F5 Futures Jiri VESELY (CZE) [8]     6-4 6-0     Norbert GOMBOS (SVK) [1]

Spain F20 Futures Taro DANIEL (JPN) [1]     6-3 6-4     Marc GINER (ESP) [2]

Germany F10 Futures George VON MASSOW (GER) [8]     7-6(4) 7-6(7)     Tim NEKIC (GER)

Italy F18 Futures Viktor GALOVIC (ITA) [6]     4-6 6-4 7-6(4)     Enrico FIORAVANTE (ITA)

Argentina F18 Futures Federico GAIO (ITA) [4]     7-5 7-5     Renzo OLIVO (ARG) [1]

Great Britain F11 Futures Alexander SLABINSKY (GBR)     7-5 5-7 6-4     Tom BURN (GBR)

ITF Womens Pro Circuit

100k Bucharest Maria-Teresa TORRO-FLOR (ESP)     6-3 4-6 6-4     Garbine MUGURUZA (ESP) [8]

50k Contrexeville Aravane REZAI (FRA) [2]     6-3 2-6 6-3     Yvonne MEUSBURGER (AUT) [1]

50k Donetsk Vesna DOLONC (SRB)     6-2 6-3     Maria Joao KOEHLER (POR) [5]

25k Granby Eugenie BOUCHARD (CAN)     6-2 5-2 Retired    Stephanie DUBOIS (CAN) [1]

25k Campos Do Jordao Maria IRIGOYEN (ARG) [4]     7-5 6-0     Donna VEKIC (CRO) [2]

25k Astana Luksika KUMKHUM (THA)     3-6 6-3 6-3     Nudnida LUANGNAM (THA) [8]

25k Woking-Foxhills Sarah GRONERT (GER) [1]     6-2 6-3     Diana MARCINKEVICA (LAT) [8]

25k Imola Federica DI SARRA (ITA)     6-4 6-2     Julia MAYR (ITA)

25k Darmstadt Laura SIEGEMUND (GER)     7-6(7) 6-3     Anna Karolina SCHMIEDLOVA (SVK)

10k Cochabamba Patricia KU FLORES (PER) [1]     6-0 6-4     Victoria LOZANO (MEX)

10k Evansville Mallory BURDETTE (USA)     6-1 6-2     Ying-Ying DUAN (CHN) [1]

10k Istanbul Jessica MOORE (AUS)     6-1 7-6(4)     Ysaline BONAVENTURE (BEL) [5]

10k Knokke Basak ERAYDIN (TUR) [2]     6-3 6-0     Yuliya KALABINA (RUS) [5]

Weekly Roundup: WTA Winners


Marion Bartoli suffered disappointment once more as she was defeated by Dominika Cibulkova in straight sets 6-1 7-5. The Frenchwoman could not get going to start with and was swept off the court, winning just one game in the first set as Cibulkova just had too much power. After a long service game early in the second Bartoli finally broke and it looked like a third set was certain when Bartoli stormed into a *4-1 lead. However, Bartoli faltered losing the next 4 games meaning she had to serve to stay in the match. At the first time of asking, she managed to do so. When Cibulkova posed the question the second time by taking a 6-5* lead, Bartoli was unable to hold and dropped her serve to love to give Cibulkova just her second WTA Tour Title. Also of note was at one stage, Cibulkova was called for a hindrance after her trademark “Pome!” was shouted too early in a point – she thought it had hit the net but a “lucky” netcord meant it stayed in play but the point was lost anyway.

American pairing Abigail Spears and Raquel Kops-Jones took the Doubles final in surprisingly easy fashion, defeating Vania King and Nadia Petrova 6-2 6-4 for their third title as a team. It is likely that Petrova was still feeling the ill effects she had been showing in the Singles semi-final that eventual winner Dominika Cibulkova had beat her in.

Source: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images


Polona Hercog defended her 2011 title with a three set victory over the Swedish-born Mathilde Johansson 0-6 6-4 7-5. Johansson stormed through the first set and looked ominous as she didn’t drop one game on her way to winning the set. Unfortunately, nerves kicked in and the double faults begin to rack up for Johansson. The match looked all but over when Hercog took a 5-1 lead in the third set and had a match point, Johansson saved this and tied the game up at 5-all only to drop her serve once more and there was no slip up from the Slovenian who served it out with little trouble the second time round.

The doubles title was taken by Colombians Catalina Castano and new Olympic hopeful Mariana Duque-Marino, the pair dropped just one set on their way to victory in Sweden – the first in this match. The pair came back from losing the first 4-6 to take the match into a third set tiebreaker which they won fairly easily for a 4-6 7-5 10-5 victory and their first doubles title.

Source: Bjorn Larsson Rosvall/AFP/Getty Images

Weekly Roundup: ATP Winners


Andy Roddick recovered from a dreadful first set to take the Atlanta title against Gilles Muller. Roddick took a mini-break in the first point of Muller’s serve in the tiebreak and never looked back, breaking the Luxembourger twice in the third set to earn the victory 1-6 7-6(2) 6-2 for his second title of the year. Roddick and Muller both served huge, with the pair hitting 18 and 20 aces respectively. Meanwhile the doubles title was won by Matthew Ebden and Ryan Harrison, the duo earned their second doubles title as a team (Newport ’11 first) by defeating Xavier Malisse and Michael Russell in three sets 6-3 3-6 10-6.

Source: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images


Thomaz Bellucci gained revenge for his defeat against Janko Tipsarevic a week ago in Stuttgart by defeating this Serb in this week’s final in Switzerland. After an incredible double fault to gift away the first set, it looked like Bellucci may falter once more but this was not to be the case as Bellucci took control of the match, breaking to love at 5-4* up in the second set to take it. Bellucci started the third set fast, and broke in the first service game of Tipsarevic’s and never looked back as he earned his second title of the year (Braunschweig Challenger) with a (6)6-7 6-4 6-2 victory. The doubles were taken by the Spanish pairing of Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez who didn’t drop a set through out the whole tournament. Granollers and Lopez beat Robert Farah and Santiago Giraldo 6-4 7-6 to add the Gstaad title to the Rome title they earned a few months back.

Source: @opengstaad


Another to recover from being defeated by Janko Tipsarevic last week is the losing finalist Juan Monaco who took the Hamburg title with victory over Tommy Haas.  Monaco had a slow start, going down a break to the German early on, but made an excellent comeback to win the set 7-5. The second set was fairly similar as the pair traded breaks, including in the seventh and eighth games of the set before Monaco finally served it out, winning the last two games of the match for a 7-5 6-4 victory. Fernando Verdasco and David Marrero earned their fourth title of the year (Buenos Aires, Acapulco, Umag) as a duo with a 6-4 6-3 over the pair who only made it into the draw as alternates Rogerio Dutra Silva and Daniel Munoz-De La Nava.

Source: AAP

ATP Los Angeles Preview


Los Angeles 250

Again, with the Olympics ongoing, a fairly weak draw appears in Los Angeles headed by a surprising No.1 seed in Benoit Paire. Finalists from last year Mardy Fish and Ernest Gulbis do not appear, with Fish skipping this week (also picked up an injury in Atlanta) and playing Washington next week while Gulbis has chosen to play in Kitzbuhel instead. Sam Querrey heads the list of Americans hoping to pick up a title.

Favourite – Were in not for the injuries he had suffered in the past year doing damage to his ranking, I think Sam Querrey would have been No.1 seed here. Most likely though, an fully fit Querrey would have been highly ranked enough to be at the Olympics rather than here! The American is a two times champion here (2009, 2010) but was unable to compete last year. With a serve like Querrey’s fast hard courts will suit him and he can take advantage of a weak draw.

Outsider –  James Blake is another who has been suffering from injuries recently, only gaining one victory on the tour in seven attempts. However, this victory was in his most recent outing in Atlanta, shocking the No.6 seed Ryan Harrison in three sets. He still possesses the monster forehand that brought him so much success in earlier years, but is perhaps a little more inconsistent with it. If it gets going again here, he can dictate many of the rallies as he did in the later stages against Harrison. The only issue may be is a potential shoulder injury which affected his serving at times in Atlanta.

One To Watch – Igor Sijsling is yet to make any impact on the ATP World Tour with only 17 matches in three years but the Dutchman has come off a good run of form that includes a third round appearance at S’hertogenbosch where he defeated Jarkko Niemenen and Olivier Rochus before being sent crashing down to earth with a battering from eventual champ David Ferrer. More recently, Sijsling showed good hard court form in Granby Challenger where he lost in the final to Vasek Pospisil.

Did You Know..?

Los Angeles Open is one of the oldest tournaments on the tour, having been held every year since 1927.

Only two seeds (Querrey, Malisse) have a ATP World Tour title in their careers.

Only Bjorn Phau of the seeds has defeated Sam Querrey in their career.

Finals Prediction – Querrey defeats Mahut in 2 sets



ATP Kitzbuhel Preview

Kitzbuhel 250

The clay court season ends on the main tour here in Kitzbuhel, Austria. Again, with the Olympics the draw is much weaker than usual but is headed by two top 25 Germans in Philip Kohlschreiber and Florian Mayer and two capable Spaniards in Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and Albert Ramos.

Favourite – No.1 seed Philip Kohlschreiber possesses an 8-5 record on the year, and more importantly has already picked up a title in Munich, where he defeated Marin Cilic in the final. While it is clear that the German’s game suits faster surfaces, he is clearly a competent clay player against the standard of players in this draw and is coming off a good run of form having made the quarter finals at Wimbledon. Much like many other players, the thought of the Olympics may be in the back of his mind and so an early exit is possible.

Outsider – This will not be an issue for Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, who has dropped in the rankings recently after a poor 2011. The Spaniard took the Kitzbuhel title in 2009 defeating Julien Benneteau but has not played here in the past two years. Most recently, Garcia-Lopez had a good run in Stuttgart where he made the Semi Final, only to be defeated by Juan Monaco in a thrilling three set encounter – having came back from 5-0 down in the third to tie it up, only to drop the set 7-5. He has a good chance of going far if he can keep up the level he showed in Stuttgart.

One To Watch – A four times Hungarian National champion, Attila Balazs made quite a splash in his first tour event of the year in Bucharest, making the semi final as qualifier where he was defeated by Fabio Fognini. However on the way, he recorded impressive victories over Xavier Malisse, Lukas Lacko and Potito Starace. At the lower level, he has picked up numerous clay titles but is yet to make the step up so much on the Challenger circuit. However, as his Bucharest run showed, he appears to be a momentum play and having gone into the tournament on a three match winning streak to make the first round, he has potential to do damage again and could draw worse than wildcard Martin Fischer.

Did You Know…?

Kitzbuhel was a ATP 500 event until 2008, an ATP 250 event in 2009 and 2011, but a Challenger Tour event in 2010 where it was won by Andreas Seppi.

Ernest Gulbis is the only seed not to have won a title on clay, be it ATP World Tour or ATP Challenger Tour.

Martin Klizan against Dominic Thiem is a battle of two former French Open junior finalists. Thiem was a loser in 2011 while Klizan picked up the trophy in 2006.

Finals Prediction – Garcia-Lopez defeats Ramos in 2 sets

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