Mikhail Youzhny kept the title in the family Sunday is Moscow, becoming the sixth straight Russian to win the Kremlin Cup. Russians have won in 14 of the tournament’s 20 years. He topped Sebia’s Janko Tipsarevic 6-7(5), 6-0, 6-4, improving his 2009 record in finals to 1-2. “I had never played well here, I was always too nervous,” Youzhny said. “If I can play well now and win under this pressure, it is very important for me…Twenty years ago, for the first Kremlin Cup, I was here watching the matches with my father and I was also a ball kid here. It means so much to finally win here.” Tipsarevic was seeking his first ATP title.
In the women’s final, Italy’s Francesca Schiavone, the No. 8 seed, beat unseeded Belarussian Olga Govortsova 6-3, 6-0 to improve to 2-10 in career finals. “At the start it was a fight. We had a big game, the sixth game of the first set, that lasted about 15 minutes. I won it to go up 4-2, then I won the first set,” Schiavone said. “In the second set I was very solid. When I got to 4-0 in the second set I looked at the trophy and said to myself, ‘I’m coming to get you!'”
If Stockholm Open
Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis benefited from top-seeded Robin Soderling pulling out lame in the semifinals, and in the final topping Belgian Olivier Rochus 6-1, 7-5 to win his first title in almost three years at the If Stockholm Open on Sunday. “I played really well in the first set,” said the unseeded Baghdatis. “It was important to get a good start, but then in the second set Olivier stepped it up. I was a bit lucky to win in two sets in the end. I wanted to win this so badly.” Last week Baghdatis was on the Challenger circuit, winning the Tashkent title. “I’m going to rest for a few days before playing my last tournament, a Challenger in South Korea,” said the former world No. 8. Rochus dropped to 3-4 career in ATP finals.
BGL Luxembourg Open
Swiss Timea Bacsinszky won her first WTA title in her first final on Sunday at Luxembourg, beating Sabine Lisicki 6-2, 7-5 for the BGL Luxembourg Open crown. “I played in a smart way and just went for it. I wasn’t nervous at all,” Bacsinszky said. “It’s great to win my first title. I don’t think I’ve realized what it means for me yet.” Lisicki complained of a leg injury after the final. Top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki retired in her first-round match with a left hamstring strain, while Kim Clijsters was upset by Patty Schnyder in the second round.
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
WOZ’S LOOSE LIPS — So who is more to blame: Caroline Wozniacki and her on-court coach/dad for telling her to tank the match (in Polish) where Polish-speaking fans hear it on TV then place on-line bets, or the WTA Tour’s dumb-ass on-court coaching experiment? Careful WTA as you might get what you wish for — on-court coaching is popular! (with on-line betters)!
WILANDER QUITS SWEDISH DAVIS CUP — Mats Wilander has quit as Sweden’s Davis Cup coach, along with assistant coach Joakim Nystrom. “I will not continue. It’s private reasons behind the decision. I want to be home more, spend more time with the kids,” Wilander told Swedish daily Aftonbladet. “It was a difficult decision. I made up my mind three days ago.” The underpowered Swedes lost in the first round this year to Israel, then kept their place in the World Group by beating Romania in the World Group Playoffs. Wilander will be replaced as captain by Thomas Enqvist.
GOLOVIN DONE? — France’s Tatiana Golovin speaking to L’Equipe on her potentially career-ending ailment, spondylitis of the back: “Learning my condition was a big shock, but now I know what I have and what I have, you can’t cure. Do I have any chance to play again? It’s not advised, but I’m still young. The pain may suddenly disappear.”
PETE VS ANDRE AGAIN; TENNIS PLAYERS BEST ATHLETES? — Pete Sampras on playing Andre Agassi in the exhibition Sunday in Macau, China: “As much as it’s an exhibition, there’s still a lot of pride. Our egos are pretty big. Once the first point starts, I’m going to want to beat him. Whenever I stepped out against Andre when we were playing, it was like a heavyweight fight. That’s one thing I miss.” Sampras adds that pro tennis requires the top athletic skills of all sports: “People don’t talk about it. I mean, in tennis, these athletes are incredible. What these guys do on the run…the guys that aren’t maybe playing well and they come back — they’re down two sets to love and they have the resolve to come back and can go on and on. You look at the NBA and you look at some of these guys and they’re doing all these things and I think ‘that’s the best athlete’. But I think tennis players are the best athletes, in my opinion. I’m not being biased. I know what it takes. I know hand-eye co-ordination.”
KIM-POSSIBLE LIKES TENNIS AGAIN — Kim Clijsters on quitting tennis in 2007, speaking to the Wall Street Journal: “I had the feeling that I was not happy playing. I knew I wasn’t doing everything I could to be the best player, but I couldn’t force myself. I met Brian, now my husband, and I just wanted to have that normal life that I never really had. I remember playing those last few tournaments, and my reaction after a loss or a win was the same. I even remember crying after some matches I won, and I thought, “This is just not right.”
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