Saturday, February 25, 2017

Roger Federer to face another tough draw this time in Dubai

Roger Federer could face World No. 1 Andy Murray and countryman Stan Wawrinka if he plans on taking his eighth title at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships this week in the United Arab Emirates.

The 35-year-old Swiss returns to tour-level action for the first time since winning his 18th Grand Slam crown last month at the Australian Open. Down Under, Federer knocked out three Top 10 opponents, including Wawrinka in the semi-finals.

In Dubai, a similarly difficult path awaits the all-time great, who will go for his 90th career tour-level crown. The third-seeded Federer opens against former Top 20 Frenchman Benoit Paire and could play Russian veteran Mikhail Youzhny in the second round.

Seventh seed Lucas Pouille is the highest seed Federer could face in the quarter-finals, and the top-seeded Murray might await in an enticing semi-final. The last-four battle would mark the 26th time they've faced off during their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry.

Federer leads the series 14-11 and has won their past five meetings, but the two haven't played since the 2015 Western & Southern Open semi-final.

Federer and Wawrinka went five gruelling sets during their Australian Open semi-final, and the second seed would surely appreciate the opportunity to get back at his countryman in the Dubai final. Federer leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 19-3.

Murray opens against Tunisia's Malek Jaziri and eighth seed Gilles Muller is the highest-seeded player who could await in the quarter-finals. The Scot will be trying for his first Dubai crown. He fell in the 2012 final to Federer.

Wawrinka, the defending champion, meets Bosnian Damir Dzumhur in the first round and might face fifth seed and two-time runner-up Tomas Berdych in the quarter-finals. The 31-year-old Swiss leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 11-5 and has taken their past six meetings. Fourth seed Gael Monfils could await in the semi-finals.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Roger Federer commits to playing in his home town of Basel for 2 more years

Roger Federer has committed to playing his hometown tournament until 2019.

Retirement plans appear to be far away from Roger Federer’s mind after he committed to playing in his hometown tournament of Basel until 2019.

The 35-year-old has signed a new three-year deal with the Swiss Indoors event, which he has won seven times since making his debut in 1998.

There were serious question marks about Federer’s future when he returned in January from six months on the sidelines with knee problems.

But he defied the doubters in spectacular fashion by beating Rafael Nadal to win his 18th grand slam title at the Australian Open.

Federer, who will be 38 when the Swiss Indoors is played in 2019, was forced to miss the event last year and is looking forward to returning in October.

“I cannot wait to return to my home country in the autumn. Playing in Basel is always a highlight of the year,” Federer said in a statement.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Roger Federer says Laver Cup is designed to be tough

PRAGUE (AP) — The new Laver Cup team tennis tournament is supposed to be a "tough" contest, not an exhibition, according to Roger Federer.

The competition will pit a team of the best six European players against the top six from the rest of the world. The inaugural edition is scheduled for Sept. 22-24 at the O2 Arena in Prague. The following year, it moves to the United States.

"The idea is to absolutely have a tough tournament, tough matches, the better man wins, that's the idea of the Laver Cup," Federer said Monday.

To promote the competition, Federer played some rallies against Tomas Berdych on a boat cruising the Vltava river to a crowd watching from the famed Charles Bridge.

Bjorn Bjorg will captain Europe while John McEnroe will do the same for the opponents. The tournament is to honor Rod Laver, an 11-time major champion who won two calendar-year Grand Slams.

No ATP rankings points will be awarded, but Federer insisted that an exhibition "is not how the captains see it, that's not how Rod Laver sees it. He wants us to represent our part of the world with pride and try our very best and also win for our teammates."

The teams won't be named until after the U.S. Open, but it's not clear yet if all players who will formally qualify via the rankings will be available.

What is for certain, organizers said, is that Federer and Rafael Nadal, the finalists at this year's Australian Open, will be on the European team.

With Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka possibly on the team, Europe seems to be the one to beat.

"On paper, we look as the big favorites," Federer said. "We have more depth in Team Europe that we can choose from."

The tournament will include three singles and one doubles match every day. Federer was clear about his choice of his possible partner for the doubles.

"I guess I would love to play with Rafa just because of our rivalry has been so special," Federer said.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Martina Hingis and new doubles partner fall in the semis of Qatar Open

Top seeds Chan Yung-jan and Martina Hingis were ousted in the semi-finals of the doubles at the Qatar Ladies Open on Friday, as Olga Savchuk and Yaroslava Shvedova rallied from a set down to win their second match of the day and advance to the final in Doha.

The Taiwanese-Swiss duo, playing their first tournament together, won the first set before the unseeded Ukrainian-Kazakh pairing rallied to complete a 3-6, 6-2, 10-6 victory in 67 minutes in the rain-hit Qatari capital.

Savchuk and Shvedova, who had earlier ousted third seeds Andrea Hlavackova of the Czech Republic and Peng Shuai of China 6-3, 1-6, 10-7, saved three of six break points and converted four of nine, winning 59 of the 110 points contested to advance to the final.

In the final they were due to face fourth seeds Abigail Spears of the US and Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia, who ousted second seeds Sania Mirza of India and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 1-6, 10-8 in Friday’s other semi-final.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Martina Hingis reaches Qatar Open semis with new doubles partner

Martian Hingis Facebook

It was a tale of the top seeds at the rain-hit Qatar Ladies Open on Thursday, as Chan Yung-jan and Martina Hingis advanced to the semi-finals in the doubles, while Angelique Kerber crashed out to a Russian teenager in the second round of the singles in Doha.

Chan and Hingis faced a tougher test than their first-round match in their quarter-final against Andreja Klepac of Slovenia and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez of Spain, but they came through with flying colors, posting a 6-3, 6-3 victory in 67 minutes.

The Taiwanese-Swiss duo saved six of eight break points and converted five of 13, winning 59 of the 105 points contested to advance to a semi-final against either third seeds Andrea Hlavackova of the Czech Republic and Peng Shuai of China or Olga Savchuk of Ukraine and Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan, who were scheduled to play their rain-delayed quarter-final yesterday.

That should give the top seeds an advantage in the semi-finals, with their opponents having to play two matches yesterday in their bid to make today’s final.