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.

Draw

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.

Cilic/Melzer
Hewitt/Stakhovsky

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!

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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.

Draw

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: This Week’s Challenger/ITF Winners

ATP Challenger Tour

Bogota

In an all-Colombian final Alejandro Falla took the title from Santiago Giraldo in straight sets 7-5 6-3 while Victor Estrella and Marcelo Demoliner took the Doubles Final with similar ease, taking down Thomas Fabbiano and Riccardo Ghedin 6-4 6-2.

Scheveningen

No.1 seed Jerzy Janowicz justified his position with a convincing 6-2 6-2 victory over the local wildcard Matwe Middlekoop. An incredibly dominant serving display saw the Pole drop just 2 points on serve while knocking down 12 aces. Janowicz broke his opponent twice in both sets to seal the victory and his place in the top 100. The Dutch representatives fared much in the doubles as Antel Van der Duim and Boy Westerhof defeated the second seeds Simon Stadler and Rameez Junaid 6-4 5-7 10-7.

San Benedetto

Gianluca Naso earned a straight sets victory over Andreas Haider-Maurer 6-4 7-5.  Naso broke the Austrian’s serve five times altogether and his attacking of the second serve was key to this, picking up 21 of 28 (75%) points on return when facing Haider-Maurer’s second serve. Aussie pair Brydan Klein and Dane Propoggia picked up the Doubles title with  a 6-3 4-6 12-10 title over the Italian pairing of Stefano Ianni and Gianluca Naso.

Timisoara

Victor Hanescu improved on his showing from last week’s final in Arad by picking up the title this week in his home country. He fought off a late second set come back from Guillaume Rufin to win 6-0 6-3. Rufin came back from 4-0 to make it 4-3 in the second set but was unable to get any further, ending up being broken serving to stay in the match. The Romanian pairing didn’t fare so well in the Doubles as Andrei Daescu and Florin Margea lost in straight sets 2-6 5-7 to Goran Tosic and Denis Zivkovic.

ITF Mens Pro Circuit

Belgium F3 Futures Germain GIGOUNON (BEL) [1]     6-4 7-6(1)     Juan Carlos SAEZ (CHI) [5]

Armenia F2 Futures Oleksandr NEDOVYESOV (UKR) [2]     4-6 6-4 7-5     Stanislav VOVK (RUS) [3]

Austria F1 Futures Marc RATH (AUT) [1]     2-6 6-3 6-2     Blaz ROLA (SLO)

Argentina F17 Futures Leandro MIGANI (ARG) [2]     6-1 6-3     Andres MOLTENI (ARG) [1]

Serbia F5 Futures Marko DJOKOVIC (SRB)     4-1 Retired    Carlos GOMEZ-HERRERA (ESP) [3]

Great Britain F10 Futures Josh GOODALL (GBR) [1]     6-4 6-1     Edward CORRIE (GBR) [8]

Italy F7 Futures Jose CHECA-CALVO (ESP) [3]     6-2 6-4     Guillermo OLASO (ESP) [1]

Germany F9 Futures Sebastian FANSELOW (GER)     6-2 6-4     Maximilian DINSLAKEN (GER)

Romania F6 Futures  Petru-Alexandru LUNCANU (ROU) [3]   6-1 1-6 7-6 Roberto MARCORA (ITA) [6]

France F13 Futures Nicolas RENAVAND (FRA) [7]     6-4 7-6(5)     Jonathan EYSSERIC (FRA) [8]

Czech Republic F4 Futures Jiri VESELY (CZE) [8]     6-4 6-4     Dominic THIEM (AUT) [6]

Turkey F27 Futures Miljan ZEKIC (SRB) [1]     7-5 6-1     Romain ARNEODO (FRA)

Canada F4 Futures Daniel KING-TURNER (NZL) [6]    6-3 6-3 Matt REID (AUS) [3]

USA F19 Futures Alex BOGDANOVIC (GBR) [1]     6-3 6-4     Chase BUCHANAN (USA) [7]

Kazakhstan F6 Futures Illya MARCHENKO (UKR) [2]     6-4 6-2     Egor GERASIMOV (BLR) [8]

ITF Womens Pro Circuit

100k Biarritz Romina OPRANDI (SUI) [5]     7-5 7-5     Mandy MINELLA (LUX) [4]

50k Yakima Shelby ROGERS (USA)     6-4 6-7(3) 6-3     Samantha CRAWFORD (USA)

50k Waterloo Sharon FICHMAN (CAN) [1]     6-3 6-2     Julia GLUSHKO (ISR) [2]

25k Aschaffenburg Anna-Lena FRIEDSAM (GER)     6-4 2-6 6-4     Kathrin WOERLE (GER)

25k Zwevegem Anastasija SEVASTOVA (LAT)     6-0 6-3     Cagla BUYUKAKCAY (TUR) [6]

15k Huzhu Xin WEN (CHN)     3-6 6-2 6-1     Hongrui SUN (CHN)

10k Istanbul Estelle GUISARD (FRA) [1]     6-4 6-4     Angelica MORATELLI (ITA)

10k Torino Basak ERAYDIN (TUR) [3]     5-7 6-4 6-1     Tatiana BUA (ARG) [7]

10k Iasi Patricia Maria TIG (ROU) [3]     6-2 3-6 6-4     Raluca Elena PLATON (ROU) [2]

10k Pattaya Nungnadda WANNASUK (THA) [2]     6-4 4-6 6-4     Su Jeong JANG (KOR) [5]

Weekly Roundup: The Week’s Winners

A quick look at the week’s winners…

ATP Challenger Tour

Thomas Bellucci picked up the Braunschweig singles title with a 7-6(4) 6-3 win over Tobias Kamke while Polish pairing Tomasz Bednarek and Mateusz Kowalczyk picked up the Doubles trophy winning 7-5 6-7 10-8 for their second victory as a pairing this year.

Unseeded Guido Andreozzi notched another shock in the Lima final over Facundo Arguello, making it three seeds he has defeated on his way to becoming the champion, this time with a 6-3 6-7(6-8) 6-2 victory for his first Challenger title. Arguello wasn’t so unlucky in the doubles though, as he and partner Agustin Velotti defeated Italian pair Luca Vanni and Claudio Grassi in two tiebreak sets 7-6(4) 7-6(5).

John Patrick-Smith  is another first time winner on the Challenger tour, defeating Richard Berankis 3-6 6-3 7-6(3) to take the Winnetka title. He wasn’t so fortunate in the doubles though, being on the losing side of a three set encounter with Devin Britton and Jeff Dadamo who took the title 1-6 6-2 10-6.

Unlike his young compatriots at Wimbledon Peter Polansky had a weekend to forget in Panama City. He was beaten convincingly by Rogerio Dutra da Silva 3 and 0 in the Singles final and didn’t fare much better with his parter Daniel Kosakowski in the Doubles against Júlio César Campozano and Alejandro González who took the final 6-4 7-5.

In Arad, Victor Hanescu was unable to hold on to a 1st set lead, losing 5 games in a row from 4-1 up to Facundo Bagnis who gained his 2nd Challenger title with a 6-4 6-4 victory. It was an all Croatian affair in the final as Nikola Mektic and Antonio Veic took the Doubles title with a 7-6(5) 4-6 10-3 win over Marin Draganja and Dino Marcan.

ITF Men’s Pro Circuit Results

Romania F5 Futures Jordi SAMPER-MONTANA (ESP) [1]     6-3 3-6(6) 7-6(5)     Theodoros ANGELINOS (GRE)

Netherlands F4 Futures Matwe MIDDELKOOP (NED) [5]     4-6 6-2 6-3     Niels DESEIN (BEL) [8]

Italy F16 Futures Nicolas PASTOR (ARG) [1]     6-4 6-3     Sandro EHRAT (SUI) [8]

Great Britain F9 Futures Albano OLIVETTI (FRA) [2]    7-5 6-1    Josh GOODALL (GBR) [1]

Serbia F4 Futures Ivan BJELICA (SRB) [1]     7-6(3) 6-4     Vladimir OBRADOVIC (SRB) [4]

Argentina F16 Futures Leandro MIGANI (ARG) [1]    6-1 6-1 Hernan CASANOVA (ARG)

Indonesia F2 Futures Yuichi SUGITA (JPN) [1]     6-2 7-5     Ti CHEN (TPE) [2]

Brazil F16 Futures Nicolas Gustavo KAUER (CHI)     6-2 6-1     Daniel DUTRA DA SILVA (BRA) [8]

Armenia F1 Futures Arthur DE GREEF (BEL) [5]     6-0 6-1     Nikoloz BASILASHVILI (RUS) [6]

Belgium F2 Futures Yannik REUTER (BEL) [5]     5-7 7-6(8) 7-6(1)     Juan Carlos SAEZ (CHI) [7]

USA F18 Futures Alex BOGDANOVIC (GBR) [1]     6-2 6-4     Matheson KLEIN (AUS)

Canada F3 Futures Nikita KRYVONOS (USA)     6-3 4-6 6-4 Nicolas MEISTER (USA) [4]  

Turkey F26 Futures Sergio GUTIERREZ-FERROL (ESP) [1] 6-1 6-4 Miljan ZEKIC (SRB) [2]

Spain F19 Futures Brydan KLEIN (AUS) [2]     6-2 6-2     Jules MARIE (FRA) [3]

France F12 Futures Pierre-Hugues HERBERT (FRA) [3]     7-6(8) 7-5     David GUEZ (FRA) [5]

Germany F8 Futures Uladzimir IGNATIK (BLR) [2]     6-4 7-6(3)     Jan MINAR (CZE) [6]

ITF Women’s Pro Circuit Results

100k Biella Johanna LARSSON (SWE) [7]     6-3 6-4     Anna TATISHVILI (GEO) [3]

50k Denver Nicole GIBBS (USA)        6-2 3-6 6-4      Julie COIN (FRA)

50k Versmold Annika BECK (GER)     6-3 6-1     Anastasija SEVASTOVA (LAT)

25k Denain Kristina KUCOVA (SVK) [5]     6-2 1-6 6-2     Michaela HONCOVA (SVK)

25k Torun Danka KOVINIC (MNE)     6-3 4-6 6-3     Paula KANIA (POL)

25k Middleburg Kirsten FLIPKENS (BEL) [2]     6-1 6-0     Aravane REZAI (FRA) [1]

15k Huzhu Chang LIU (CHN) [8]     6-3 6-4     Kai-Lin ZHANG (CHN) [5]

15k Rovereto Timea BACSINSZKY (SUI) [7]     6-0 6-2     Anne SCHAEFER (GER) [2]

10k Brussels Natalia RYZHONKOVA (RUS)     6-2 Retired    Karolina WLODARCZAK (AUS) [2]

10k Istanbul Melis SEZER (TUR) [1]     7-6(5) 6-4     Sandra ROMA (SWE)

10k New Delhi Miyabi INOUE (JPN) [3]     6-2 6-2     Ankita RAINA (IND) [8]

10k Pattaya Luksika KUMKHUM (THA) [1]     6-2 6-2     Nungnadda WANNASUK (THA) [4]

10k Prokuplje Victoria KAN (RUS) [5]     6-1 6-2     Maria MOKH (RUS)

10k Sharm-el Sheikh Anna MORGINA (RUS) [8]     6-3 6-1     Kamila KERIMBAYEVA (KAZ) [3]

 

Not to forget these two…

(Photo: Getty Images)

52nd Trofeo Bonfiglio 2011 – Girls’ Singles Final

Irina Khromacheva (RUS) Irina Khromacheva won the girls’ singles title in Milan after beating her doubles partner Danka Kovinic 6-4, 6-2 in the final.

She joins previous winners such as Gabriela Sabatini, Anna Kournikova and Dominika Cibulkova in taking the crown whilst extending her unbeaten run to 26 matches.

It’s not quite to the same level as Novak Djokovic’s run but it’s brought Khromacheva victories in two Grade 1 junior tournaments and two $10,000 ITF events as well as this Grade A success (equivalent to a junior Slam).

Now her coach is already planning the 16-year-old’s future and has said the Russian will play mostly ITF tournaments next year to improve her WTA world ranking, which currently stands at 518.

Montenegro’s Kovinic can take heart from her display and tournament performance as a whole. After being 4-0 down at the start of the match she battled back to 4-4 before losing the first set of her 2011 Trofeo Bonfiglio campaign.

In the second, she had to deal with an injury to her arm but after failing to convert seven game points at *2-4 it left Khromacheva with a simple hold to win in front of 1,500 people.

This may not be the last we see of Kovinic though. At #16 on the junior circuit before the tournament, which will rise next week, she may notice that 2004 beaten finalist Victoria Azarenka is now ranked the WTA’s fourth best player.

It should be mentioned that Khromacheva was the only top five player in the junior rankings to feature at Tennis Club Milano Alberto Bonacossa but having only just turned 16 on May 12th, she’s the youngest and a hot prospect at that.

As with the boys’ singles, highlights of the girls’ final and surreal Rocky-style music can be found at La Gazzetta dello Sport website.

Kvitova Controversy

Petra Kvitova at Brisbane International 2011 After beating Victoria Azarenka in the third WTA Premier Mandatory event of the year, Petra Kvitova will next be seen on the clay at Prague’s $100,000 ITF tournament.

Instead of facing opposition such as Vera Zvonareva or Australian Open finalist Li Na, the Czech will play a first round tie against Anne Keothavong and come across several players around the brink of the top 100.

Is this really going to aid the new member of the world’s top ten? Yes it’s her home tournament, but you can expect fellow Czechs Klara Zakopalova (world #34) and Lucie Hradecka (#45) to partake as these ranking points mean more to them.

If Kvitova is going to progress then surely she must continue playing high-class opposition whilst on her best form since the semi-final run at last year’s Wimbledon. That would be at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome where Francesca Schiavone, Sam Stosur and other high-quality clay court specialists will be present.

Plus the expectation of her to easily win the tournament in Prague could be off-putting. Should she somehow lose, it could affect her confidence.

But there are some advantages for her however. She gets to enjoy the warmth of her home crowd who probably knew very little of her this time last year. It should be a gentle experience for her going into the French Open which could aid her performance in Paris.

On the other side of the court in the Mutua Madrid Open, Azarenka lost but will find herself at number four in the world after three wins and a final appearance from her last four tournaments.

With both currently being 21, they have a great chance at winning a Grand Slam in the future. The worrying thing is the lack of a crowd at the final.

I watched it on Eurosport and it took something out of the occasion. It felt like a first round tie against two mid-50 ranked players rather than two of the WTA’s best athletes.

One can only hope the crowds pick up for the rest of the tournaments no matter who is playing the final but particularly so as these two could be in a lot more finals to come.

The lack of atmosphere did allow us to hear Kvitova’s trademark celebratory scream; just another part of the Mutua Madrid Open final highlights.

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