Djokovic Easily Wins Paris Indoor Masters Title

Novak Djokovic improved his odds of ending the season as the number one player in the world by defeating big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic in the ATP Paris Masters final on Sunday, Nov. 2.

The tournament’s number one seed from Serbia, never lost a set in Bercy to claim his third title. He returned the serves of seventh-seeded Milos Raonic with perfection to prevail in a one-sided affair which was a surprise given the have had played a very tight three-set match in Roland Garros quarterfinals in 2014 which is a slower surface. The indoor carpet in Paris should have provided Raonic with the necessary speed to beat Novak. However, Novak showed he is also great on indoor courts too.
nole-paris-masters-2014

Djokovic became the first player to defend his Paris Masters title with a 6-2 6-3 win. It is his 600th career ATP victory and continued Djokovic’s indoor winning streak to 20 and brings him his 20th Masters title It’s Nole’s 4th consecutive season of winning 3 or more master titles. Meanwhile, Raonic lost his second final at a Masters final event but is making progress.

Raonic and Djokovic will be participating in the ATP World Tour Finals held on Nov. 9-16 in London, where Djokovic will also most most likely be seeded number one and tries to protect his number one ranking for 2014 over second-ranked Roger Federer of Switzerland.

Federer’s Greatness on Display at Shanghai Masters

In their first match since Wimbledon, where Djokovic defeated Federer by one break in the fifth set, the Swiss star looked sharp once more with a strong semifinal victory of the Shanghai Masters on Saturday Oct. 11th.

Federer broke Djokovic two times to beat the world No. 1 player 6-4, 6-4 and end Djokovic’s amazing streak since 2010. During that stretch, Djokovic was the champion at the China Open in Beijing three times and the Shanghai Masters two times. Djokovic went on to say after the loss,”Tonight is definitely one of the best matches he has played against me, that’s for sure.”

Three days before his victory Federer narrowly escaped defeat by Leonardo Mayer, however, he took advantage of his newer style of play and won his fourth title of the year with a 7-6 (6), 7-6 (2) victory over Gilles Simon of France in Sunday’s final.2014-federer-shanghaii-final

2014 has been a very good year for Federer even though he did not win a major.Federer is the leader of the men’s ATP tour this season with 61 match wins, 13 top-10 wins, and 9 final appearances. On Monday, he will move to No. 2 in the rankings passing Rafael Nadal for the first time in over a year.
Federer got his third win of the year against the No.1 ranked Serb in the semifinals, but Djokovic is far ahead in points to secure his spot. Federer’s play was very reminiscent of Edberg’s attacking style

Almost a year ago, there were murmurs that Federer should retire as he had no chance against the top players. last year his play was affected by back problems, and lost to a variety of lesser-ranked players while only winning one title.

”The biggest concern was to be healthy this year,” Federer said. ”That’s something I’m just so pleased about, to see that the hard work I put in last year is paying off. Not only is it paying off, but I’m feeling good, I’m waking up normal. I’m not half broken like I was last year

”I’m enjoying myself on the tennis court,” he added. ”I’m playing the way I was hoping I could play again.”
The 17-time grand slam major winner in the final has 36 unforced errors and 21 winners, although his play was more aggressive, frequently coming to he net after hitting brilliant approach shots and forcing Simon to pass him. Federer won 24 of 35 points when coming to the net.

Kvitova wins in Wuhan

Top Seeds Readying for Year End Finals

In a bid to secure spots in the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London, top seed Kei Nishikori won his third ATP World Tour title of the season on Sunday by defeating Julien Benneteau by a score of 7-6(4), 6-4 victory in the Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur final. Nishikori defeats Bennetau in Kuala Lumpur

Also in Asia, Andy Murray had to grind it out by saving five match points and came away with a 5-7, 7-6(9), 6-1 triumph against Tommy Robredo. Murray ended a bad streak of 15-months without a title in a very challenging match.

Eugenie Bouchard has played against Petra Kvitova a total of three times and was once again defeated in straight sets 6-3, 6-4 by the 3rd ranked WTA player of the Czech Republic in the final of the Wuhan Open, a WTA Premier 5 event in China. kivitova-wuhan-2014

It was Bouchard’s third final of 2014 and her second against Kvitova. The 20-year old Canadian played well in each set but was broken in her first service game of both sets and the crafty and comfortable left-handed Czech player simply held her serve and used some big shots to come away with the victory.

US OPEN 2014 Recap – Serena Wins and Cilic is the Men’s Champion

Serena Williams used the summer US Open series to hone her game more and not finish the season without a slam to her credit after experiencing early losses at the Australian, French Open, and Wimbledon. The extra work paid off as she was not really tested at the US Open and won the final by a score of 6-3, 6-3 over an improved Caroline Wozniacki.

On the men’s side after upsetting Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, Kei Nishikori and Marin Cilic respectively put on a great show of their skills and why they made it to the final. The victory was one-sided and went to Marin Cilic as his dominant serve and pounding groundstrokes were too much for Nishikori and he was beat soundly in straight sets 6-3,6-3, 6-3.

A French Victory in Toronto

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga continued his roll this week at the US$3.78-million men’s Rogers Cup with yet another upset victory in the final over second-seeded Roger Federer.
tsonga wins in toronto

Tsonga, 29, earned his second ATP Masters 1000 title of his career. On top of that, his successive string of wins against four straight top-10 players at a Masters 1000 tournament was the first such accomplishment since Guillermo Cañas achieved the rarity in 2002, which was also at the Rogers Cup.

The 13th-seeded Frenchman needed three sets to beat No. 8 Andy Murray of Britain 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-4 in their quarter-final match Friday at Rexall Centre, which he deserved following an important break which put him in the lead at 4-3 in the third set. Prior to that, Tsonga upset the number one seed from Serbia, Novak Djokovic 6-2, 6-2.

In regards to French achievements, Tsonga is the first Frenchman to be crowned champion since I. F. Hellmuth was the victor in 1881.

In the women’s event held earlier in Montreal, Quebec, Agnieszka Radwanska beat Venus Williams 6-4, 6-2 to become the first Polish player to win the Rogers Cup. She received prize money of $441,000 as the winner and Venus 34 years old, earned $220,000 who beat her sister Serena in the semifinals.
Radwanska victory

muguruza

French Open 2014: 1st Week Upsets But Life is Still Good

The first week at Roland Garros during the 2014 French Open surely had a lot of top seeds lose which included, No.1 seed Serena Williams, and Li Na #2 seed, #3 seed Agnieszka Radwanska. Men’s high seeds out and saying “au revoir” are #3 Stan Wawrinka, #4 Roger Federer, #9 Kei Nishikori, and #11 Grigor Dimitrov.

federer-gulbis-foTalented Ernests Gulbis beat Federer in a hard fought match by the score of 6-7 (5), 7-6 (3), 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 to move into his first Grand Slam quarterfinal since the 2008 French Open. Their 3 matches were always close but Federer had a chance in the second set to go up two-sets-to-none but a missed volley on set point gave new life to Gulbis. And that was all she wrote. A composed Federer took to the post-match conference and understood how he lost the match. However, life is still good for Mr. Federer as he gets to spend more time with his little twins (two-set of twins) and Mirka.

Earlier in the week in a second round match on Court Chatrier, #1 Serena Williams was stunned by Spain’s Garbine Muguruza 6-2, 6-2 in her worst defeat at a grand slam ever. Perhaps age is catching up as she had no excuses for the loss other than just coming out flat. Serena congratulated her at the net and told her if she continues playing like that she could win the tournament. Muguruza did not stop there and took advantage of her surprise win and moved into the quarterfinals with a win over Frenchwoman Pauline Parmentier on Sunday.

Serena Williams took advantage of the early loss and partied with tennis girl pal Caroline Wozniacki in Miami who was also upset early in the tournament. Serena & Woz went to game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals. A day later, Serena was seen crashing a beach wedding and all smiles. serena-2014-crash-wedding

So, the moral is life is still good even when you lose. There are opportunities to do other things when tennis doesn’t go your way. Sure we love this game to death but outside fun is part of life, isn’t it? I must confess something and say Serena, you are good people. Tough as nails on the court but obviously a ball of fun off the court.

GOAT Men and Women

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 Player must have won 10 or more slams to be eligible as a GOAT. I like McEnroe, Connors, Lendl, Agassi, Edberg, Dojokovic, but a line has to be drawn.

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Venus Williams into the Dubai Final

Venus wins in DubaiDUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The Dubai Championships will not have an all-Williams final as Alize Cornet of France defeated Serena Williams convincingly in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 on Friday.  It was her first career victory against any No. 1 player.

This event was the first for Serena Williams, after her defeat by Ana Ivanovic in the fourth round of the Australian Open.

In Serena’s post-match news conference she said her back was fine but also said, “She played really well. I just didn’t play today.

I don’t think I have made that many errors in a match in I think at least three years, maybe four years.”

Her half-hearted congratulatory comments and excuses does not sit well with the tennis community in general especially as 17-time grand slam winner (and counting).  With that being said,  Venus Williams, now ranked 44th in the WTA, continues to play excellent tennis during the whole tournament and will be int the final after she downed Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 6-2.

Venus said, “I feel like I’ve just gotten so much better since my first round to now, just feeling comfortable on the court, feeling comfortable when I’m behind, feeling comfortable when I’m in the lead,”.

Venus does hold a 3-0 edge over Cornet so she should feel comfortable about that too.  If she continues to play as she has all week she will be a 3-time champion having won in 2009 and 2010.

Wawrinka Achieves the Unthinkable in Melbourne

For those who saw the Australian Open Men’s final, they witnessed  domination over the World No. 1  player Rafael Nadal by Stan Wawrinka.  The No. 8 player accomplished his lead 6-3, 2-0  around strategic primary patterns (used 7 or 8 times out of 10) when the score was close and then employ secondary patterns (2 or 3 times out of 10) when he was ahead and the scoreboard didn’t apply extra pressure to the riskier tactic. The key was making Nadal unsure what was coming by getting the mix right to disguise the master plan.

As mentioned in this post, Wawrinka wanted to keep Nadal away from hitting those forehand winners by running around his backhand. Stan was successful by immediately going to Nadal’s forehand wide so he had to more or less guess where Stan was going to hit. Stan’s groundies had more pace on them than Federer which is why he was able to keep his winning strategy intact.

Similary,  Wawrinka repeatedly put pressure on Nadal by hitting his forehand out wide to his backhand in cross-court deuce exchanges, which gave Wawrinka three key positives: it made it difficult to:

1.) hit his popular run-around forehand from the deuce court as it now became high risk,

2.) to hit a shot down the line to Wawrinka’s backhand with the larger angle. This is a great strategy for righties to employ against lefties if you don’t already do that. I know I do :)  and it works marvelously.

Wawrinka’s shots simply had more pace and were more flat than Federer who seems to wilt each time the two legends play. Nadal was simply late getting to many balls because they wee hit so well and with confidence. Although Nadal’s back was an issue after being down a set and a break this was Stans; tournament. He beat world #2 Novak Djokovic in the quarters and Berdych in the semifinals. After all, Rafa and Stan played in the master a few months ago and Nadal won 7-6,-7-6, a very close match. With Stan’s new strategy, that close set became easier once he figured out how to play his opponent whom he lost to 12 straight times, although they were close scores.