Thursday, March 23, 2017

Roger Federer ready for Miami Open

With age comes perspective and at 35, on the comeback from his longest stint on the sidelines, Roger Federer is playing with a renewed sense of freedom. A stunning run to the Australian Open title and then the BNP Paribas Open crown at the weekend are testament to him chanelling this ‘underdog’ confidence as he prepares a tilt at his first Miami Open title in 11 years.

The Swiss, who started the season at No. 17 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, has soared back to No. 6. A decade ago he was the reigning two-time Miami Open champion.

“At 25 I was winning 90 per cent of my matches and eventually you’re on this train where you keep rolling and expect yourself to win a lot,” Federer said. “You play many more tournaments.

“It was an incredible experience being able to play at such a high level for so long and beating so many of the guys, winning so many finals in a row. It’s definitely different, especially this year, it’s very different to any other that I’ve ever experienced, as was last year with the injury, with the age, with the comeback.

“This is very special for me. I definitely see things different today than I ever have.”

The fourth seed opens against either #NextGenATP player Frances Tiafoe or Russian Konstantin Kravchuk before a likely third-round clash with No. 29 seed Juan Martin del Potro, a player on a comeback trail of his own. Should that showdown eventuate, Federer will carry a 15-5 FedEx ATP Head2Head record, although the last time the pair played was the ATP Finals in 2013.

“I was very happy for him last year,” Federer said of del Potro’s return. “I was supposed to play him here and then I pulled out, which was a pity for both of us.

“The comeback was great for him. He finished top 40, won the Davis Cup, it was a dream come true for him as far as I know. I’m focused on one round earlier though.”

Sixth seed Dominic Thiem is his projected quarter-final opponent and should he live up to his seeding he could set his third clash of the season with compatriot and top seed Stan Wawrinka in the semi-finals.

For now, the lone former champion in the field is relieved to back to full health. A stomach virus ruled him out ahead of his first-round clash with del Potro last year. This is the first time he will have played in Miami since 2014.

“I’m coming in with more confidence, which I prefer, of course,” Federer said. “I’m happy to be healthy this time around. Last year, I postponed the press conference three or four times because I wasn’t feeling well and then at the end it ended up not possible at all so it’s nice to be back here healthy.”

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Roger Federer says winning so quickly was 'not part of the plan'

Only a brave pundit would have pencilled in Roger Federer as an early bolter atop the Emirates ATP Race to London just three months into the Swiss star’s comeback after a six-month lay-off. But after claiming the two biggest titles of the season to date, the 35 year old has already surpassed his own expectations for 2017.

Victory over compatriot Stan Wawrinka in Sunday’s BNP Paribas Open final marked his 25th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title – his fifth in the Californian desert – and comes on the back of his shock Australian Open triumph in January. It will require a welcome rethink on goals for the year ahead.

“For me, the dream run continues,” Federer said. “I'm not as surprised as I was in Australia, but still this comes as a big, big surprise to me, nevertheless, to win here again and beating the players that I did and the way I did. I couldn't be more happy.

“It's an absolutely huge start to the year for me. Last year I didn't win any titles. I don't think I was in any finals except Brisbane. The change is dramatic, and it feels great.”

The Swiss will climb back to No. 6 in the Emirates ATP Rankings as he heads to the Miami Open presented by Itau. He stands to make up ground having missed the ATP Masters 1000 event last year and given two of his greatest rivals, World No. 1 Andy Murray and No. 2 Novak Djokovic, have withdrawn citing right elbow injuries.

“In November, December, when I realised things were going well, and we had a meeting about what the goals are for the season in terms of rankings, it's really secondary, but we wanted to set some goals for the season, and the goal was to be Top 8 by after Wimbledon.

“So I'm there much, much faster … It’s great, but you definitely have to reassess your goals and see, where do you go from here? Because this was not part of the plan, to win Australia and Indian Wells, I can tell you that.”

The last time Federer won in Miami he defeated his coach Ivan Ljubicic in the 2006 final to defend his title from the year before. He completed the Indian Wells/Miami double in both years and is well aware the difficulty in achieving the feat, let alone 11 years later.

“I think now it's really important for me to rest up, maximum,” he said. “I hope I can play as late as possible going to Miami. Then I will make the plan for the remainder of the season – especially for the clay – after Miami, and then see also what the goals are, because the goals are clearly changing after this dream start.

“I know how hard it is to win back-to-back Indian Wells and Miami titles. That's why again I sort of go to Miami knowing it's going to be really difficult.”

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Martina Hingis & new doubles partner Chan Yung-Jan win first title together at BNP Paribas Open!

Martina Hingis Official Facebook

INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA - No.6 seeds Martina Hingis and Chan Yung-Jan powered their way the BNP Paribas Open doubles title with a straight sets win over Lucie Hradecka and Katerina Siniakova.

Playing in just their third tournament as a team, Chan and Hingis needed an hour and thirty minutes to seal the victory 7-6(4), 6-2 and claim their first title.

The pair proved more decisive in the big moments, converting each of the seven break point chances they created, and allowing the Czechs just five of their eight.

"A huge thanks to my partner Latisha (Yung-Jan), we're playing in our third tournament together and she helped me in the previous two to just believe in myself again," Hingis acknowledged in the trophy presentation. "I won here a couple of years ago with Sania, so to be back here on this court again and playing the final is amazing."

The unseeded Czech duo Hradecka and Siniakova are also a new pairing in 2017 - they were through to their second final in their third tournament together. Both were making their Indian Wells doubles final debut, while across the net Hingis is a two-time champion (1999 and 2015), and Chan is a former runner-up (2007).

The Czechs got off to a strong start in the opening set, taking advantage of a few slips from the No.6 seeds to open up a double break lead for 3-1 before Chan hit back from the baseline to erase one of the breaks.

Smart poaching at the net from Hradecka put the Czechs in the position to serve for the opening set, but Chan and Hingis broke straight back, holding firm to force a tiebreak. Hingis came away the victor in a lengthy baseline battle against Siniakova, who targeted her with the backhand before Hingis finally drew the error - and the decisive minibreak.

It all went the way of the No.6 seeds in the second set - Chan was broken early in the set but the pair were able to get it back straight away, as well as deal another two breaks of serve to reel off four straight games and serve for the match.

A trio of scrappy rallies went Chan and Hingis' way, bringing the No.6 seeds to championship point before Chan smashed a volley away to give them the victory - and their first doubles title as a pair.

"It felt like we got better each match and start to trust each other and know what to do on big points," Hingis said. "I mean, today, even in the first set we were sometimes back, but we came back because we knew we could come out of difficult situations."

Chan added, "For [our] first two tournaments in Middle East, we were trying. We know each other as opponent. We didn't know how to work together, and we spent a lot of time on court, off court, try to know each other and try to build up the trust between each other.

"I think those two tournaments, even though we didn't win the title or didn't get into the final, but still help us a lot. I think that's actually key. As a partner, you can't expect, once you play together, you can win the titles all the time. You still need time. Those two tournaments help us a lot here."

It's doubles title #56 for Martina Hingis, how about that!. 

Third time proved to be the charm for the pair well done ladies!. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Roger Federer 5-time BNP Paribas Open Champion!

Roger Federer Tumblr Tag

Roger Federer captured a record-tying fifth BNP Paribas Open title on Sunday, defeating close friend Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 7-5 on a sunny afternoon in Indian Wells. Federer extended his overall lead in their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry by a 20-3 margin.

Federer clinched his 90th tour-level crown and 25th in ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments. He also tied Novak Djokovic for the most titles in the California desert with five. Wawrinka, meanwhile, was looking to lift his second title at the Masters 1000 level following his win over Federer in Monte-Carlo three years ago.

FIRST SET - Federer 6-4 

There are no secrets in this final, as the Swiss compatriots do battle on a glistening Sunday afternoon in the Coachella Valley. Having never lost to Wawrinka in 14 hard-court encounters, Federer knew exactly what was required of him to lift the trophy. Looking to remain aggressive and attack his countryman's second serve from inside the baseline, Federer was on the front foot from the start.

The 35 year old had faced just one break point the entire tournament entering the final and had been just as ruthless on return, converting 11 of 17 opportunities. The trend would continue on Sunday. With the set closing in on the business end, Federer pounced on his opponent's serve, rifling an inside-out forehand winner at 5-4 30/15. He would steal the opener two points later after a pulsating extended rally resulted in a Wawrinka unforced error. Federer claimed all six net points in the first set behind an aggressive, attacking formula. His bid to become the oldest ATP World Tour Masters 1000 champion moved to within one set.

90-Titles Club (Open Era)

Player Tour-Level Titles



SECOND SET - Federer 7-5

When Wawrinka unloads on his world-class one-handed backhand, momentum can turn in an instant. That's exactly what happened to open the second set. The Swiss used his preferred stroke to open the court and he caught his countryman in an uncharacteristic passive stretch, breaking immediately. Two obliterated forehands were followed by a scintillating backhand and Wawrinka took command.

The shot of the match came off Federer's racquet in the third game of the second set, with the former World No. 1 sprinting into a tricky backhand slice volley that died immediately after crossing the net...

With tournament owner Larry Ellison joined by Rod Laver, Bill Gates and actors Jon Hamm and Charlize Theron in The Champions' Box, Federer would not fall behind for long. A scorched forehand down-the-line drew proceedings level at 2-all and Federer would consolidate a game later.

Winners flowed more freely from both players' racquets as the second set progressed. Federer and Wawrinka painted the lines with gripping backhand-to-backhand exchanges. A blasted backhand winner gave Wawrinka a 30/0 lead when serving to stay in the match at 5-4. He would hold, but Federer would not be denied two games later.

The 35-year-old's first championship point came with Wawrinka serving at 6-5 and he would secure the title with a volley winner after one hour and 20 minutes. Federer becomes the oldest player to lift a trophy at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 level, continuing his hot start to the 2017 season.

I actually felt a little sorry for Stan.  But there's not a whole lot he could do, he had his chances. It's hard to beat the Fed express when it's on a roll. 

It was a great final nonetheless.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Roger Federer reaches BNP Paribas Open final to make it an all-Swiss affair at Indian Wells

Roger Federer will face Stan Wawrinka in an all-Swiss final at the BNP Paribas Open after defeating Jack Sock 6-1, 7-6(4) in Saturday’s second semi-final in Indian Wells.

The 35-year-old Federer is through to his seventh final at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden and is looking to win the title for the fifth time, adding to his victories in 2004 (d. Henman), 2005 (d. Hewitt), 2006 (d. Blake) and 2012 (d. Isner).

Federer will bid to win his 25th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown and 90th tour-level title overall. He takes a 19-3 FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry lead over Wawrinka into the final and has won their past three meetings, including a five-set battle in the Australian Open semi-finals in January.

Federer’s backhand was telling as he raced past long-time rival Rafael Nadal in the fourth round earlier in the week, and Federer dominated from the baseline again against Sock, rolling back the years to claim victory in 74 minutes.

A rifling backhand winner from Federer did lasting damage in the fourth game, as Sock then netted a smash and double faulted to lose serve to love and trail 1-3. A potent forehand winner from Federer gave the Basel native a double break lead at 5-1 as he cruised to a one-set lead.

A bathroom break for Sock at the end of the first set settled the American, and he fended off a break point in the seventh game to stay close on serve with Federer, ultimately forcing a tie-break. Sock sparked hope for his fans as he hit a backhand winner for a 3-1 lead. But Federer immediately pegged him back and went on to win six of the next seven points to triumph for the third time in three FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings with Sock.

Federer has yet to lose serve during the tournament, saving the only break point he has faced against Nadal. He was granted a walkover through the quarter-finals, when Nick Kyrgios withdrew on Friday due to illness, and had spent just three hours and 33 minutes on court coming into the semi-finals, compared to Sock’s eight hours and 32 minutes.

Sock saved four match points in a third-round victory over Grigor Dimitrov and was two points from defeat in a tense fourth-round round battle with Malek Jaziri. He advanced to his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semi-final by claiming his first Top 5 win over Kei Nishikori in another three-set contest on Friday.

The 35-year-old Federer has returned to the tour in remarkable fashion in 2017, having missed the second half of last season due to injury. He beat Wawrinka and Nadal in back-to-back five-set contests to win his 18th Grand Slam championship at the Australian Open and has stormed through to the final in Indian Wells without dropping a set. The only blemish on his 2017 record was a second-round loss to World No. 116 Evgeny Donskoy in the Dubai second round two weeks ago.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Roger Federer moves into semi-finals at BNP Paribas Open after Nick Kyrgios withdraws due to illness

Nick Kyrgios announced his withdrawal ahead of his quarter-final match against Roger Federer on Friday at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

“Unfortunately I am unable to play today due to sickness,” the 21-year-old Australian shared in a statement. “At this stage we think it’s food poisoning, and I’m praying it’s nothing more. After a restless night of being sick I have nothing left and to play a great champion like Roger, I need to be at my best to have a chance. I don’t take this decision lightly, these are the matches we train for but I’m in no fit state to take to the court.

“I’m sorry to the fans that I’m unable to take to the court but I have to put my health first and I hope you understand. I want to wish Roger the best of luck for the rest of the tournament and thank everyone for their support so far here at the BNP Paribas Open. I will definitely be back. Thank you.”

Kyrgios had ousted defending champion Novak Djokovic in the fourth round, while Federer had dismissed Rafael Nadal in straight sets. Federer, a four-time champion at this ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament, awaits the winner between Japan’s Kei Nishikori and American Jack Sock.

“Hope you feel better @NickKyrgios,” Federer tweeted.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Martina Hingis and new doubles partner enter 2nd final together at BNP Paribas Open Indian Wells

INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA - No.6 seed Martina Hingis and Chan Yung-Jan are becoming one of the new teams to beat in 2017, roaring into their second final in just three events since pairing up in the Middle East, outlasting top seeds Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova, 7-6(7), 7-5 at the BNP Paribas Open.

"This is a big win for us at a huge event," Chan said after the match. "I'm happy we're in the final because it was a really close match against the best team in the tournament. It's good for our confidence to win this match. The key was our ability to put everything together when we had to. We stayed strong together as a team, even in the tie-break and on deciding points."

Hingis and Chan, who often goes by her English name, Latisha, reached their first final at the Qatar Total Open, and have been equally impressive in the California desert, ousting No.4 seed Sania Mirza and Barbora Strycova en route to the final four.

"Lucie and Bethanie are the No.1 team, and not for no reason," Hingis said. "They've had a great couple of years and know each other so well. I played them twice a couple years ago and was unsuccessful, so it was nice to go out there with Latisha and see how we'd end up. It's only our third tournament, so I'm definitely pleased with this win."

Mattek-Sands and Safarova had been forced to a match tie-break against another new team in Kristina Mladenovic and Svetlana Kuznetsova, but the Australian Open champions couldn't find the extra magic on Thursday as their eight-match winning streak came to a close in the searing heat.

"It was hot all week! We tried not to have a dip, but at a set and 4-1, we were in the middle of an emotional mindgame with the nerves. Everything was involved, but it was great for the crowd to see a match like that; it was doubles at a very high level, and even if it had gone the other way, we couldn't have been disappointed losing to one of the best teams out there."

Once rivals, now partners, Hingis and Chan feel they've grown by leaps and bounds since their first tournament together, and are pleasantly surprised with how quickly their bond has grown in the last four weeks.

"At the beginning, we were both excited when we decided to play together, but we didn't know each other that well beyond playing against each other," Chan said. "We had to build the trust between us. After the tournaments in the Middle East, we built up a greater relationship between the two of us."

Standing between them and their first title as a team will be the winner of the second semfinal between Czech stars Lucie Hradecka and Katerina Siniakova and No.2 seeds, Olympic Gold medalists Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina.

"I played Siniakova and Hradecka at the Taiwan Open with [my sister] Angel in the final. We know Lucie very well, and Siniakova is a young gun playing well. Whoever wins, we'll have to step in and be aggressive"

"Vesnina and Makarova are another top team; I've played them a lot as well, and always great matches like the finals of Wimbledon and the Olympics," Hingis added. "These are the matches you look forward to because the last couple matches have shown where women's doubles is at and I'm proud to say I'm part of it.

"Either way we're trying to go for the title!"