Fish Steals ATP Atlanta Title From Isner in Final
Atlanta is not a seaside metropolis, but it remains a great city for Fish.
Mardy Fish hadn’t captured a title since the 2010 edition of the Atlanta Tennis Championships, but on Sunday he defended a title for the first time in his career, defeating fellow American John Isner 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-2 in a rematch of last year’s championship.
Isner held two match points in the second set tiebreak, but Fish kept chipping away at the enormous serve of the 6-foot-9 Isner, who on numerous instances bounced kick serves out of Fish’s reach and almost over his head. An exhausted Isner, apparently also suffering abdominal cramps, served in the tiebreak at 6-4 before Fish won four straight points to force the third set. In the third the withering Isner, broken early on serve and out of gas, had no chance.
“In hindsight, I should have served and volleyed on the second serve,” Isner said of the 6-4 point in the tiebreak. “He got it in play and I went for too big of a backhand and missed it by a lot. He played the point well and the next two points, he served two really good serves.”
Fish improved to 6-12 in career finals, and 3-1 against Isner. Isner, who had an eight-match winning streak snapped after capturing the Newport grasscourt title, fell to 2-5 in career finals. The No. 1-ranked American Fish says he is trying to play as much as he can to stay in the Top 10, and is also the top seed again next week in L.A.
“This year, it was a bit different coming in as the top-seeded guy,” Fish said. “You’re sort of in the position where everyone is looking for you, knows where you are, so it feels great to come through today and all week.”
Simon Wins 2nd 2010 Title at ATP Hamburg
Frenchman Gilles Simon took a step toward reclaiming a Top 10 ranking Sunday, capturing his second title of the year after a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 win over Spaniard Nicolas Almagro for the bet-at-home Open German Tennis Championships 2011 in Hamburg.
“I feel very, very good,” Simon said. “I had to win so many tough matches this week. Today, the final was really hard to win. I had to play my best tennis to win and I’m proud to win this tournament.”
The 26-year-old Simon started the year with a bang, claiming the Sydney title on hardcourt in January, and has now won nine career titles. In the third set he broke serve straight away and held through the finish line.
“I think the first game of the third set, I didn’t play my best tennis. That game, I made three mistakes in the important moments,” said Almagro, who will move back into the Top 10 on the ATP Rankings after his effort.
Zvonareva Tops Pervak in All-Russian WTA Baku Final
Top-seeded Vera Zvonareva defeated fellow Russian Ksenia Pervak 6-1, 6-4 to capture the title at the inaugural Baku Cup, the lone WTA event during the week prior to the women joining the US Open Series in Stanford, Calif., and Washington, DC.
It was the second title of 2011 for Zvonareva, while Pervak drops to 0-1 in career finals.
“Vera is a really good player and has a lot of experience,” Pervak said of losing the hardcourt event. “It was tough to play against her. I don’t think I showed my best game, but I didn’t play that badly in the second set.”
Zvonareva improved to 12-16 in career finals, and 2-0 this year.
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
DJOKER AND RAFA BRING IN TITLES, FED BRINGS IN CASH — Roger Federer is No. 1…in branding. The Swiss world No. 3, who has won only one ATP title this year, was in a UK survey rated as the best tennis ambassador for brands, ahead of Andy Murray and the rest of the ATP star field. The poll was conducted by Marketing Magazine and ‘One’ poll online research agency in the United Kingdom. Tiger Woods came in at No. 1 among all sports figures, while Federer was No. 2 overall, pulling in $62 million according to Sports Illustrated’s list of 2010. Among Federer’s truckload of brands are Credit Suisse, Lindt, Rolex, Mercedes-Benz, Nike, and Gillette.
Former No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero won the Stuttgart title last week coming off a knee injury and little to no preparation: “It’s been a dream for me this week. This first tournament playing here [after] a very long year at home, practicing zero, so I came here with no goals. Now I am the winner of the tournament. I’m very happy. I take a lot of confidence in myself again. I can believe that I can win tournaments again after the injury. That is the most important thing. The knee responds very well, so everything’s perfect.”…Roger Federer is still waiting on an answer from retired fellow Swiss Martina Hingis after asking her to play mixed doubles at the 2012 Olympics…Mardy Fish will lead Wilson’s attempt to set the Guinness Book of World Records record for the “Most people to bounce a tennis ball on their racquet in one location” on Aug. 26, 2011 at the Billie Jean King Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, NY. The first 500 kids to participate in the record attempt will receive a free Wilson jr. racquet and a can of tennis balls…The 34-year-old San Diego-based Mark Philippoussis has given up on an earlier-voiced desire to make an ATP comeback: “In San Diego, my passion is surfing,” he told the Boston Herald. “I don’t really have any interest in returning to ATP. I’m having a lot of fun. It’s a great group of guys. It’s laid-back. It’s got a great vibe and I’m just really enjoying doing that. I’m not really into the travelling. I’ve done so much of it over the years. I’m not really happy travelling.”…Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova averaged more than two double faults a game in beating Valeria Solovieva 7-5 6-4 at the WTA event in Baku…Serena Williams on her excellent doubles ability and possibly playing doubles at the US Open with sister Venus: “Playing team tennis, I feel like I’m back in my old doubles game, which is an excellent one. So we’ll see.” — Don’t keep us in suspense too long, your excellency!…19-year-old American Ryan Harrison cracked the Top 100 for the first time by reaching the semis at Atlanta before getting worked by Mardy Fish is an exhibition of aggressive veteran play over rookie ball spraying nervousness: “I’m extremely excited to break the Top 100 of the ATP World Tour Rankings for the first time in my career. It’s always been a goal of mine and this is the first accomplished goal of many of my dreams. I’m looking forward to keeping it going.”…The Atlanta semifinal effort by Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller was his first ATP-level semifinal in six years…Maria Sharapova in a conference call last week chided reporters for delaying her fitness preparation, and talked about how she likes to have her own car at tournaments rather than be driven around: “Do you understand my fitness coach is giving me a dirty look because I am sitting by the fence on the court in between my fitness workout? I’m serious. No, I have all these cones lined up by my, and I’m feeling sick because I know in five minutes I’m going to be jumping over those things…[On driving next week at the WTA Stanford event] I have a home in Manhattan Beach, so it’s quite close for me, and I like a place where you can actually drive to your matches instead of having a driver. You can have your own car and drive around. Yeah, just feels a little bit more normal.”
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