Grosjean Lone French Winner at Lyon, Slams Discuss ATP Advances

Posted on October 24, 2006

Grosjean Wins but French Disappoint at ATP Lyon

All three seeds in action on Day One in Lyon advanced in fine style, but the local Frenchmen were not as fortunate. Sixth seed Sebastien Grosjean was the only winner among four Frenchmen in action as he took out countryman Paul-Henri Mathieu 7-6(3), 6-3 in first-round play.

"The surface proved faster than in Vienna and in Madrid and it suited me," Grosjean told reporters.

Mathieu who recently parted with his coach seems content to ride out the season on the sidelines.

"Since I dropped my coach, I feel better but the results are not that good anymore," Mathieu said. "I hope I'll get a wildcard for the Paris Masters Series (next week) because I don't feel like going through the qualifiers."

Earlier in the day, French wildcard Thierry Ascione fell to fifth seed Robin Soderling 6-3, 6-1 and Frenchman Nicolas Mahut suffered a 7-6(5), 6-3 loss to German Florian Mayer.

Meanwhile, eighth seed Nicolas Almagro rallied from a set down to defeat France's Oliver Marach 2-6, 7-5, 6-1 to claim his first win of the indoor season.

Top seed Marcos Baghdatis, No. 2 Gaston Gaudio, No. 3 Dominik Hrbaty and No. 4 Richard Gasquet, who faces Marat Safin, are all in action Tuesday.

Nieminen, Moodie Among Winners at ATP St. Petersburg

It's never to late to go to St. Petersburg for some tennis during the next-to-last week of the ATP season. Jarrko Nieminen did just that and got rewarded, posting a 7-5, 6-2 win over Serb Janko Tipsarevic in the first round on Monday in Russia.

The fifth-seeded Finn broke Tips four times to earn his 53rd win of the season and a second-round meeting with Potito Starace, who defeated fellow Italian Daniele Bracciali 6-3, 6-3.

Czech Lukas Dlouhy won his first tour match since July, defeating No. 8 seed Jurgen "Tuna" Melzer 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. Dlouhy will now face 18-year-old Ernest Gulbis, a Latvian wildcard who defeating Robin Vik 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(4) for a first win on the ATP circuit.

South African net-rusher Wesley Moodie overcame a set and 3-5 deficit to disappoint Russian wildcard Teimuraz Gabashvili 2-6, 7-5, 6-3. Moodie will await the winner between top-seeded Nikolay Davydenko and Fabrice "The Magician" Santoro.

Peer, Stosur Win, Kirilenko Injured Monday at Linz

LINZ, Austria -- Shahar Peer faced a familiar foe Monday, as first round action kicked off at the Generali Ladies Linz presented by Raiffeisenlandesbank Oberosterreich. The Israeli teen took on doubles partner, Marion Bartoli, whom she defeated four times over the last two years. Peer also prevailed this time, 63 76(4), to set up a second round meeting with defending champion Nadia Petrova.

"It was a good match, but also tough because she's my doubles partner," Peer said. "But I played well, especially in the first set, and I'm happy I was able to win this one."

Bartoli had huge opportunities in the second set but didn't take advantage. The Frenchwoman gave away a 3-0 lead and allowed Peer to even the set at 3. Both players held serve the next three games to force a tie-break. It seemed as if Bartoli was going to push the match into a third set, as she jumped to a quick 3-0 lead. But the 22-year-old lost focus and six consecutive points.

Peer will face Petrova for the second time in her career. The Russian, who beat Peer in straight sets last year at Roland Garros, just returned to top form this month, winning Stuttgart and making the Moscow final.

"I am looking forward to playing her," Peer said. "She's been playing great and is having a great season. I'm excited about the match."

The other main draw winner was Samantha Stosur, who advanced when Maria Kirilenko retired due to a right hip strain. Stosur next faces either No.7 seed Anna Chakvetadze or Katarina Srebotnik.

Other Monday winners were Alona Bondarenko, Agnieszka Radwanska, Elena Vesnina and Eleni Daniilidou, who qualified for the main draw. On Tuesday, 1999 champion Mary Pierce takes on 2003 winner Ai Sugiyama before Vera Zvonareva plays No.8 seed Francesca Schiavone.
-- WTA

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From Neil Harman of The Times: "What would have enticed the chief executives of the four grand-slam tournaments to a Surrey hotel last week unless it was to put the final touches to their road map for a sport that requires bold and imaginative leadership to make the most of the riches at its disposal?...Given that they meet again as a matter of course at the Masters Cup in Shanghai next month -- the grand-slam events are joint-owners of the event with the ATP -- the fact that the four felt it necessary to get their heads together for a brainstorming session indicates a consuming desire to drive changes through from the the Grand Slam Committee, they are committed to establishing ground rules that suit them, harbouring the desire to maintain their positions of strength, compose a credible calendar and not allow new measures being contemplated by Etienne de Villiers, the chief executive of the ATP, and Larry Scott, chairman and chief executive of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, to undermine them...De Villiers has announced that the men's and women's tours -- liaising more closely than for years, which may be unnerving the grand-slam events -- have agreed in principle to share four combined events by 2009...A number of the top 20 male players have already made plain their disquiet at having to play in next year's [Davis Cup] first-round ties two weeks after the Australian Open. Indeed, it is probable that neither Roger Federer nor Rafael Nadal will appear in the tie between Switzerland and Spain in February, which only harms the event's reputation...As the sport's plans for the future are redrawn on an almost weekly basis, the grand-slam tournaments are preparing to say how they believe it should be done. The repercussions will be mighty."...From Eurosport: "A rolled ankle was not Roger Federer's only injury scare at his Madrid Masters win on Sunday, as he almost succumbed to a congratulatory champagne attack by beaten rival Fernando Gonzalez. The World No. 1 hit the deck after the surprise toast, but laughed it off in a post-match press conference. "It's dangerous for my eye. I thought I lost it," Federer said. "I was looking for it on the ground. It was just rolling away. He got me good, Fernando. Good fun. It's fun. In five seconds it was okay."...From Tom Perrotta of the New York Sun on the Masters Series-Madrid: "If the final of this event lacked drama, the rest of the week did not. Several top players, including Nadal, Ivan Ljubicic, Blake, and Andy Roddick, were upset. Nadal told the Spanish press that Berdych was "stupid" for asking the partisan crowd to quiet down (that's what home fans are for, Nadal said). More entertaining still, Nalbandian fought off two near upsets against Marat Safin and Tim Henman and continued his recent habit of running his mouth. The match against Henman included several questionable calls (it was not played on a court with instant replay). On one, a Nalbandian first serve that was called out, Nalbandian asked Henman if he thought the ball was good (yes) and if he would agree to replay the point (no). The score was 5-5,15-30, in the third set, and an angry Nalbandian rose to the occasion and won, saving two break points in that game. But he stooped low after the match, saying that Henman's reputation as an honorable sportsman was bogus, and calling the Brit "the worst rubbish." Please. Professional tennis is played by the calls made on court, and no player should be expected to overturn a bad call on his own...It wasn't unsporting for Henman to say no; it was unsporting for Nalbandian to ask for a favor in the heat of a close match...Many believed the Argentine would at last blossom this season after he won the Masters Cup last year in five sets over Federer. Instead, he failed to deliver in the semifinals of two Grand Slams this year (he lost in the second and third rounds of the other two) and he remains out of shape (observe his potbelly)."...From The Age: "Mark Philippoussis is returning to Las Vegas to resume his fledgling partnership with Andre Agassi's former coach Darren Cahill and trainer Gil Reyes, having edged closer to his year-end goal of a return to the top 100 through his victory in a $65,000 Challenger event in Calabasas, California. Philippoussis defeated Amer Delic of the US 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 in Sunday's final, and again cited Agassi as the inspiration for his continuing climb from the rankings abyss. His relationship with Cahill and Reyes has not been formalised, but is apparently continuing, and another stint of rigorous desert training -- the previous visit included dinner with Agassi -- will provide the sequel to the previous fortnight's preparation for the pair of minor league tournaments that brought such contrasting results."...Roger Federer's 12th career Masters Series title at Madrid puts him ahead of Pete Sampras, and now only behind Andre Agassi's 17...Why does Maria Sharapova continue to receive illegal coaching from the stands during matches, as illustrated by the warning she received during the Zurich final? Isn't it time to go to the next step besides a slap on the wrist?...From "Today, Gameloft announced that they signed Lleyton Hewitt to cover their first tennis game. The mobile title will be appropriately named Tennis Open 2007 featuring Lleyton Hewitt. Gameloft claims Tennis Open 2007 featuring Lleyton Hewitt is the "most realistic and fun tennis simulation on mobile."...From "David Felgate, sacked by Roger Draper as the Lawn Tennis Association's Performance Director earlier this year, re-emerged at this week's Masters Series event in Madrid as coach to Belgium's Xavier Malisse. Felgate coached former Bollettieri Academy graduate Malisse on a permanent basis in 2002 before undergoing something of a career change and becoming an agent with IMG."...From the International Herald Tribune: "Tjerk Bogtstra is no longer the Netherlands' Davis Cup captain. Royal Netherlands Tennis Association spokesman Casper van Duuren said Monday that Bogtstra's contract -- which expired on Sept. 30 -- will not be renewed. The Dutch team lost 4-1 to the Czech Republic last month and was relegated to the Euro-Africa zone for the first time in 15 years. Van Duuren added that the new captain will be appointed before Jan. 1."...James Blake will write a book according to Tennis Week: "The former Harvard all American will spend some of his offseason writing his first book for Regan Books, a division of Harper Collins. Described as "an inspirational story" rather than an autobiography, the book will detail Blake's comeback from adversity during a physically and emotionally debilitating 2004 season in which Blake's father, Tom, passed away just weeks after the former Harvard all American sustained the most serious injury of his career when he suffered a fractured vertebrae in his neck in a frightening collision with the net post on the red clay of Rome and was later stricken with a virus which diminished his sense of sight, taste and hearing and left his face partially paralyzed."...The WTA Linz event is sponsored by Raiffeisenlandesbank Oberosterreich. Fit that on a shoulder patch...The Bryan brothers have won five of their last seven tournaments.

Also see:
Courting a New British Game

Year-End Races Heat Up, Blake Cooled by Illness