Worm Turns on Monfils as Stepanek Captures ATP Washington
32-year-old Radek “The Worm” Stepanek upset No. 1 seed Gael Monfils 6-4, 6-4 in the final of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic on Sunday in Washington D.C. Afterwards the Czech did his patented worm dance upon capturing his fifth career title.
“It’s my biggest win in my career so far and it’s coming in the later stage of my career, so it means so much to me that I’m capable even in this age to play such great tennis, beating the guys from the Top 10 and winning the title,” said the former Top 10er, who dictated play over a flustered and game-planless Monfils.
“I wanted to be in control of the match, be the boss on the court, the one who is deciding what’s going on,” Stepanek said. “I was trying to come to the net because that was my game plan to be aggressive…my game plan was working perfectly, and I was aggressive from the first point to the last one.” Monfils looked sluggish after a three-set win over American John Isner the previous night.
Dutchman Haase Wins 1st Career Title at ATP Kitzbuhel
The last of the European claycourt events during the run-up to the US Open ended Saturday when No. 53-ranked Dutchman Robin Haase outlasted Spaniard Al Montanes 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 for the Bet-At-Home Cup Kitzbuhel title.
The 24-year-old Dutchman was appearing in his first ATP final. During the week he recorded upsets over No. 2 seed Feliciano Lopez and No. 6 Andreas Seppi.
Haase raced to a 5-0 lead in the third before closing it out. “Today, actually, in the second set I served bad, but that was the only time and the rest of the tournament I served really, really well,” Haase said. “Then I attacked with my forehand and I was defending really, really good this week, so I didn’t make a lot of unforced errors.” Montanes dropped to 5-5 in career finals.
Radwanska Ousts Zvonareva for WTA Carlsbad Crown
Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska defeated top seed Vera Zvonareva 6-3, 6-4 for her fifth career title on Sunday at the Marcury Insurance Open in Carlsbad, Calif.
“Everything was working,” Radwanska said. “Even though I had two really tough matches in the quarters and semifinals, I played very well today. I really wanted to win this tournament so I was really focused from the beginning. Winning a tournament with a lot of great matches against top players is always very special.”
It was the first title for the 22-year-old Radwanska since Eastbourne in 2008. Zvonareva fell to 12-17 in career finals, and snapped a nine-match winning streak after winning the Baku title two weeks ago.
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
IT’S THE U.S. SUMMER HARDCOURT SEASON, WHICH MEANS IT’S CHECK-IN-ON-DONALD SEASON — From the Washington Times on American Donald Young soldiering on at the ATP Washington event: “But Young’s career has been tumultuous at best, including unrealized potential and a controversial rant that got him in trouble with the same U.S. Tennis Association that poured years of resources into the child prodigy. This week, continuing with his second-round match Wednesday against Jurgen Melzer, is yet another opportunity for Young to show that he’s still on the right track and hasn’t joined a long list of players who never lived up to expectations…Considered one of the rising stars in tennis as far back as 2004 when he was the only athlete featured in Newsweek’s “Who’s Next?” issue, he’s the 128th-ranked player in the world and a bit behind schedule.” — Young lost in the semifinal round to Radek “The Worm” Stepanek. Young gave up on the USTA earlier this year before apologizing, maybe it’s the USTA’s turn to give up on Young and put the cash into another player showing promise who doesn’t have overbearing parents holding him back? The Times also reported that James Blake has talked to Young’s agent about taking him under his wing for some training: “I’m a little older and little more experienced than Donald,” Blake said. “But I do think I have something to offer in terms of showing him how I work, how hard I train, what I do to take care of my body, what I do to rest and stretch and all that kind of stuff that gets you ready to play on tour.” Between his parents and lack of training sense and entitled attitude, Young and his family have always been at odds with the USTA in one way or another over the years, but Young’s agent Carlos Fleming spins it positive. “The relationship between Donald and the USTA has never been bad. Along with different relationships you can always have frustration,” Flemming said. “While it was unfortunate some of the things happened in April, I think that was a public display of some things that happen in relationship.” The Donald also tried to spin his current relationship with the USTA until honesty crept in: “It’s back to the way it was; I don’t think it ever really changed-changed. It’s a touchy situation…”
19-year-old Serbian Bojana Jovanovski flew into Carlsbad, New Mexico, rather than Carlsbad, Calif., for the WTA event near San Diego. “They said they were at the airport and looking for me,” she told AFP about landing at the near-empty airport then calling WTA tour officials. “I said I was the only person here.”…At the ATP event in Kitzbuhel last week, former world No. 1 and 43-year-old Thomas Muster took a wildcard, getting bageled 6-3, 6-0 by No. 5 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber. “I don’t plan to keep on playing forever, but I am still very much enjoying it,” said Muster, who with a tour-level win would eclipse Jimmy Connors’ record as the oldest player to win an ATP match (Halle 1995) at age 42. “To lose the second set 6-0 is fine with me. It just shows that Philipp did not give away any points.”…Former world No. 2 Dinara Safina says she is out until at least the end of the year due to chronic back issues: “I’m sorry to report that my back is still acting up and I will not be able to play until at least the end of the year,” the 25-year-old said on her website. “I don’t know how long my time out is going to last because I don’t want to torture myself and my body anymore.”…For the seventh straight year, Maria Sharapova tops the annual list by Forbes magazine of the highest-paid women athletes. At $25 million, she is followed by Caroline Wozniacki, $12.5 million; 3. Danica Patrick, $12 million; 4. Venus Williams, $11.5 million; 5. Kim Clijsters, $11 million; 6, Serena Williams, $10.5 million; 7. Kim Yuna, $10 million (South Korea, figure skating); 8. Li Na, $8 million; 9. Ana Ivanovic, $6 million; and 10. Paula Creamer, $5.5 million (U.S., golf)…Playing in Carlsbad last week was Kimiko Date-Krumm, at the tournament she won 15 years ago, beating Gabriela Sabatini, Conchita Martinez and Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario to win the title in 1996. In Sept. of ’96 she retired for 11 years before returning to the game. “I enjoyed my life with my friends,” Date-Krumm said, “but my husband kept saying, ‘You are too young not be playing. You are at your peak.’ He kept pushing me very hard. He said, ‘Why not? You should go.'”…Andy Roddick has committed to play in the inaugural Winston-Salem Open at Wake Forest the week before the US Open. “It’s hard to really frame how big of a deal it is to get Andy Roddick to play this event,” Tournament Director Bill Oakes told the Winston-Salem Journal. “In his 11 years on the professional tour, he has never played the week before the US Open. He has a variety of commitments related to sponsors and media and other things the week before the US Open in New York, so for him to forgo those to play in the Winston-Salem Open is extremely significant. One of our biggest ambassadors is Mardy Fish, Andy Roddick’s best friend, and at Davis Cup a couple of weeks ago, Andy asked Mardy why he was playing a week before the US Open in Winston-Salem. And Mardy said, ‘Look, it’s a no-brainer. If I play in the finals in Winston-Salem, they’re going to fly me up by private jet to New York for the U.S. Open, and I don’t have to play until Tuesday in New York.’ It’s a nice scenario.”…Robert Kendrick’s lawyer says he will appeal to the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) to shorten his 12-month suspension for doping. The International Tennis Federation (ITF) suspended the 31-year-old American last week after he returned a positive test result for methylhexaneamine (MHA) at the French Open. Kendrick wants his suspension reduced to three months, which would allow him to compete at the US Open. Kendrick says the positive test came from a pill to combat jet lag. The ITF said Kendrick took “an inappropriately relaxed approach to his doping responsibilities.”…Andy Roddick (oblique injury), Robin Soderling (wrist), Jurgen Melzer (quad), Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (appendicitis) and Xavier Malisse (personal) pulled out of the Rogers Cup in Montreal. Roddick says he hopes to be ready for Cincinnati…What is the hold-up of Martina Hingis saying yes to playing mixed doubles with Roger Federer at the 2012 Olympics? If she is no longer on the coke it shouldn’t be an issue…From Andrew Bockner, designer of the player’s lounge at the Rogers Cup: “I can’t believe how much [the players] play ping-pong. They’re competitors at heart, it’s amazing. When the men were here, you’d have [Roger] Federer and [Rafael] Nadal playing against each other and the whole tour just watching them. Four year ago, it rained almost all tournament and it basically turned into a ping-pong round robin that they organized themselves.”
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