Dokic, Pavlyuchenkova Win Titles; Davis Cup Winners
The first round of the Davis Cup was played this weekend, with World Group winners advancing into the quarterfinals, to be held July 8-10, 2011. Here are the World group winners:
Serbia d. India 4-1
Indian U.S. college player Somdev Devvarman kept India in it on Day One with a singles win, but the injury absence of doubles wizards Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes doomed this one before it started. Serb Viktor Troicki sealed the deal in the first singles on Sunday, beating Devvarman in straights.
Sweden d. Russia 3-2
Don’t let the final scoreline fool you after Russia won two dead rubbers. Without Mikhail Youzhny and Nikolay Davydenko, Russians Igor Andreev and Taymuraz Gabashvili could provide no resistance in the face of Swedes Robin Soderling and comeback kid Joachim Johansson, failing to win a set. Swedish doubles specialists Simon Aspelin and Robert Lindstedt sealed the deal for the Swedes on Saturday.
Kazakhstan d. Czech Republic 3-2
Czech Tomas Berdych failed to put away Andrey Golubev in the first singles on Sunday, and Kazak Mikhail Kukushkin made the Czechs pay in the fifth and deciding singles, sending Kazakhstan into the quarterfinals with a four-set win over Czech Jan Hajek. Kazakhstan advances into the quarterfinals in their first World Group appearance.
Argentina d. Romania 4-1
The Argentine doubles pair of Juan Ignacio Chela and Eduardo Schwank clinched a sweep over Romania and their doubles representatives Victor Hanescu and Horia Tecau on Saturday. Hanescu and Challenger-level singles teammate Adrian Unger were no match for David Nalbandian and Juan Monaco. Argentina will face Kazakhstan in the quarterfinals at home in July.
U.S. d. Chile 4-1
Andy “The Closer” Roddick clinches for the U.S. in the first match on Sunday, beating Paul Capdeville in four sets. Chile got its only live point on Day One when Capdeville turned his match against John Isner into a fitness contest, beating Big John from two sets down. Roddick opened with a win over Nicolas Massu on Day One, and the Bryan brothers won the Saturday doubles point for the U.S., which will next host Spain.
Spain d. Belgium 4-1
Spain visits the Belgian hardcourts and comes away with a 3-0 sweep. Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco beats Xavier “X-Man” Malisse, and Rafael Nadal defeats Ruben Bemelmans, each without dropping a set. Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez sealed the deal with a doubles win over Belgians Steve Darcis and Olivier Rochus. Spain will next travel to the U.S. for the quarterfinals.
Germany d. Croatia 3-2
Philipp Petzschner was the hero for Germany, defeating Croat “Dr.” Ivo Karlovic in straight sets in the fifth and deciding match. Croat Marin Cilic forced the decider, beating Philipp Kohlschreiber in straight sets in the first match on Sunday.
France d. Austria 3-2
France looked like it would run away with the tie after jumping out to a 2-0 lead on Friday, but the Austrians fought back to force a fifth and deciding singles match on Sunday. Austria’s Jurgen Melzer came back from 1-2 sets down in the first singles on Sunday, defeating Gilles Simon 6-0 in the fifth. France’s Jeremy Chardy then stepped up to become the hero, beating unseasoned Austrian Martin Fischer in the decider after losing the first set.
Davis Cup Group I Results
Canada d. Mexico 4-1 (to play at Ecuador in July)
Uruguay d. Colombia 3-1 (to play at Brazil in July)
China d. Chinese Taipei 3-2 (to host Australia in July)
Japan d. Philippines 3-1 (to host Uzbekistan in July)
Uzbekistan d. New Zealand 3-2 (to play at Japan in July)
Slovenia d. Finland 3-2 (to visit Italy in July)
Netherlands d. Ukraine 3-2 (to visit South Africa in July)
Portugal d. Slovak Republic 4-1 (to visit Switzerland in July)
Dokic Ends Almost 9 Year WTA Title Drought at Malaysian Open
Unseeded Jelena Dokic ended an almost nine year title drought on Sunday at the BMW Malaysian Open, coming from a set down and fighting off two match points to defeat No. 5 seed Lucie Safarova 2-6, 7-6(9), 6-4.
Dokic also upset reigning French Open champ and No. 1 seed Francesca Schiavone in the first round.
Safarova led 6-2, 5-3, then in the second set tiebreak held two match points, but unforced errors let Dokic back into the match. Dokic also came back from a break down in the third set.
“I don’t know how I came back against her today,” Dokic said. “This is my second time in Malaysia — I was here 10 years ago for the first time so it has been a while.”
Dokic’s last appearance in a WTA final was Zurich in 2003. It was her sixth WTA title after Rome, Tokyo and Moscow in 2001, and Sarasota and Birmingham in 2002. She improved to 6-7 in career finals.
“Thanks to everyone who made this event possible, it was a pleasure to play here,” the 27-year-old Dokic said to the crowd. “I have to especially thank the two people who were here with me, my boyfriend and my brother. I love you guys. Without you I wouldn’t have been able to do this.”
Safarova fell to 4-5 in career finals.
Pavlyuchenko Successfully Defends WTA Monterrey Title
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova successfully defended her WTA Monterrey title Sunday, defeating former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic 2-6, 6-2, 6-3.
After dropping the first set, the Russian broke to begin the second and was unstoppable from then on.
“Last year I said it was very special for me, but this one was also very special, maybe even more,” Pavlyuchenkova said in an on-court interview. “The crowd made it possible for me last year and they made it possible for me this year too. They pulled me through each match. It’s always tough to defend a title so it means a lot.”
Pavlyuchenkova improved to a perfect 10-0 in Monterrey and a perfect 3-0 in career finals. Jankovic dropped to 12-13 in career finals.
“Congratulations to Anastasia, she played so well tonight,” Jankovic said “She was the better player. Well done.”
The doubles champs were also a repeat winner at Iveta Benesova and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova beat Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Vania King in the final for the second year in a row 6-7(8), 6-2, 10-6.
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
Here’s a funny sentence from Gaming Today: “With tennis great Serena Williams having had emergency surgery to remove a blood clot from her lungs Monday in Los Angeles, it shows again how even the most fit athletes are vulnerable to sudden attacks.”…Indian Wells wildcards have gone to Canadian Milos Raonic, Japan’s Kei Nishikori, American Ryan Harrison, Aussie Bernard Tomic, and Americans Coco Vandeweghe, Christina McHale, James Blake, Vania King, Jill Craybas, and India’s Sania Mirza…Caroline Wozniacki loves her some John Isner, as evidenced in the tweet: “Caroline Wozniacki: @JohnIsnerTennis Hey big-timer, how are you? Long time no see, dont be a stranger ;)”…Props to tennis writer Matt Cronin for suggesting that the WTA Tour needs to institute bonus points in their rankings, so that in this era of injuries to all the top players, a player like Caroline Wozniacki can’t sneak up to the No. 1 ranking without beating any of the Williams sisters, Henins, Clijsters, etc…University of Southern California players Maria Sanchez and Steve Johnson have been awarded wildcards into the qualifying for the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells…During the BNP Paribas Showdown in Madison Square Garden, John McEnroe was wearing a t-shirt with a picture of himself on it. Enough said…The tennis phenomenon that is Milos Raonic had Canadian television broadcasting the Davis Cup this past weekend for the first time in eight years when the Canadian team took on Mexico…The New York Buzz World TeamTennis franchise has merged with the New York Sportimes, taking the Sportimes name…Maria Sharapova has withdrawn from Paris, Dubai and Doha due to her throat infection/virus…Ryan Harrison is reportedly looking for another traveling coach after splitting with Martin Damm…Ana Ivanovic says she is in no need of an immediate new coach…Players in this year’s World TeamTennis “marquis player” draft include: Pete Sampras, Kim Clijsters, John McEnroe, Martina Hingis, Serena and Venus Williams, Sam Querrey, Lindsay Davenport, Anna Kournikova, Mark Philippoussis, Bob and Mike Bryan, James Blake, John Isner, and Melanie Oudin. M-A-R-Q-U-E-E…First Niagara Bank has signed on to be the presenting sponsor of the New Haven Open at Yale for the next three years, replacing the long-time Pilot Pen sponsorship.
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