Federer, Azarenka Win Titles; Tennis-X Notes
Federer Collects First ATP Stockholm Title
World No. 2 Roger Federer defeated Germany’s Florian Mayer 6-4, 6-3 on Sunday, adding the If Stockholm Open title to his collection. The 29-year-old Federer won his third title of the year following the Australian Open and Cincinnati.
“It means the world to me to win this title,” Federer said. “It’s always nice winning in a place like this with a tennis heritage and a lot of history.” The Stockholm Open was formerly a Masters-level event before being demoted.
During the week Federer needed to come from a set down to beat Swiss compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka in the quarterfinals, and in the final was down a break to Mayer in the first set. The 27-year-old Mayer fell to 0-3 in career finals.
Federer’s Stockholm win ties him with Pete Sampras’ total of 64 career titles. Only Jimmy Connors (109), Ivan Lendl (94) and John McEnroe (77) have won more singles tournaments than Federer and Sampras. “It’s amazing that I’m there where Pete’s ended his career on,” Federer said. “You never know when it’s your last one. That’s why you want to savor every tournament victory.”
Troicki Breaks Through for 1st Title
For No. 43-ranked Viktor Troicki the third time was the charm as the Serb won his first career title in his third final on Sunday in Moscow, coming from a set down to defeat Marcos Baghdatis 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the final of the Kremlin Cup.
“There are no words to describe what is going through my mind,” said Troicki. “I would say it is the biggest day of my career. I had been waiting a long time for this. It is special it happened in Moscow as my father is Russian.”
The 24-year-old previously finished runner-up at events in Washington in 2008 (l. to Juan Martin del Potro) and Bangkok in 2009 (l. to Gilles Simon). “Marcos played a great first set and a half, but then I was able to get into the match,” Troicki said. “I was nervous serving out for the title but I tried not to think too much about it. The mistakes I made against Rafa (Nadal in the Tokyo semifinals) when I served for the match but lost helped me.”
Baghdatis fell to 1-3 in finals this year. “I lost a lot of matches in my career, but it is frustrating to lose in a final like this,” Baghdatis said. “I thought I was in control of the first two sets. I still had a great week, played great tennis.”
Azarenka Tops WTA Championships Qualification with Moscow Title
Victoria Azarenka qualified for the year-end Top 8 this week, then for good measure denied a Russian winning the Moscow title, defeating Maria Kirilenko 6-3, 6-4 for the Kremlin Cup crown.
“I’m happy to win another title,” Azarenka said of her second title of the year. “It brings me extra confidence for Doha. I have a flight there tonight so I’m excited to arrive on a high.”
Kirilenko lost just nine games en route to the final, but failed in her attempt to overpower the big-hitting Azarenka, dropping to 5-4 in career finals. “I really wanted to win this tournament but Vika was better than me today,” Kirilenko said. “It’s nice to finish the year with a great final. It gives me a desire to work harder and get better…I’m happy that from tomorrow I can put my racquets and tennis clothes away for a couple of weeks!”
Unseeded Vinci Captures Luxembourg Open
Unseeded Italian Roberta Vinci topped No. 8 seed Julia “Gorgeous” Goerges of Germany 6-3, 6-4 on Sunday to win the third title of her career at the BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open. She also won titles in 2007 at Bogota and in 2009 at Barcelona.
The 27-year-old improved to 3-1 in career finals, losing in the championship match this year at Barcelona. Goerges, who won her first career title at Bad Gastein in July, fell to 1-1 in finals.
“Julia is a very good player, but I don’t think today was her best day,” said Vinci, who kept her opponent off balance with her all-court game. “The turning point for me this week was my second round match, when I won 7-6 in the third set. After that I knew I could go far, maybe the semis. Today I tried to stay focused on every point, especially on my serve games, and it worked. Now I’m going to go home for a week and then to the Fed Cup final.”
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
Rafa v2.0 — Remember the name Gianluigi Quinzi. Earlier this month the 14-year-old Italian lefty won his fourth consecutive U-18 ITF title in four weeks in the final of the Curacao Juniors Open. He has also now won 37 consecutive singles matches dating to July.
IMG CEO BET ON FED — An IMG vice-president admitted that the media company’s CEO bet on the 2007 French Open final between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. “And you wrote that (IMG CEO Theodore Forstmann) bet against Roger Federer,” the VP told an AOL Fanhouse columnist. “That isn’t true. He bet on Federer to beat Rafael Nadal (in the 2007 French Open final). He lost $40,000 on that match.” Ouch. Federer says he is uninvolved. “Because it involves my name somewhere out there, I know it’s 100% not true,” he said last week in Shanghai. “Pretty relaxed about this because I’m for complete honesty for the sport. “[I'll] leave the game better off then when I arrived to the sport, even though it was already a great platform I had. The last thing I would do is harm the sport…I would never do such a thing.”
NEW HAVEN SURVIVES, AS WOMEN’S ONLY — The pro tennis event at New Haven announced it will not fold after losing Pilot Pen as its sponsor, but it will become a women’s-only event, with Yale and several companies replacing a single title sponsor. The tournament will be called the New Haven Open at Yale in 2011, and additional sponsors will include Aetna and American Express. Pilot Pen was the title sponsor for 15 years.
TENNIS CHANNEL vs. COMCAST — Comcast Corp. and the Tennis Channel have agreed to let a mediator play settle their dispute over the Tennis Channel being put on a sports pay-tier rather than their basic line-up. Comcast puts the sports channel it owns, including the Golf Channel and Versus, on their basic line-up which charging Tennis Channel subscribers extra for a sports-tier package.
Victoria Azarenka snuck into the year-end WTA Championship field after the injury withdrawal of Serena Williams, with Shahar Peer as the tournament alternate (her chance of seeing some court time on the all-injured all the time WTA Tour? 100%)…Los Angeles Lakers crybaby guard Sasha Vujacic and Maria Sharapova are engaged to be married, according to Vujacic, with Sharapova’s agent confirming. The couple met a year ago…Robin Soderling has become the fifth qualifier at the year-end ATP championship behind Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray…The WTA Tour unveiled a new ugly-ass plain logo this weekend that looks like a discount Asian airline…Juan Martin del Potro, 0-2 since his attempted comeback from wrist surgery, says he will put the racquets in the bag until January 2011. “This year was very bad, very bad. I suffered a lot. People must know that for a long time I will be lacking in pace, away from my best tennis,” said the South American in a television interview. “I began the Australia Open as one of the favorites with chances to be No. 1. Suddenly, everything collapsed. I went several months without getting a proper diagnosis.”…Almost half the field is missing from the year-end WTA Championships due to injury — Justine Henin, Serena Williams and Venus Williams all sidelined with injury…Lleyton Hewitt and wife Bec announced the birth of a baby daughter, their third little lawnmower…Caroline Wozniacki says she is well rested for the WTA Championships: “After I got back from Asia, I took five days off from tennis. I think I really needed a break so I just did some fitness work, mostly boxing with my trainer. Last year I had a great showing there, but had to retire in the semifinal due to a lingering injury. I’m 100 percent healthy now, so I’m looking forward to improving my result from last year.”…Maria Kirilenko is projected to return to the Top 20 after her runner-up effort at Moscow…Kim Clijsters comes into Doha coming off a foot infection, the result of complications after the removal of a wart.
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