Tsonga Wins; Strike Leader Murray Hammered; X-Notes
Toray Pan Pacific Open
Seeds: Caroline Wozniacki, Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka, Vera Zvonareva, Petra Kvitova, Sam Stosur, Marion Bartoli, Jelena Jankovic, Aggie Radwanska, Peng Shuai, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Ana Ivanovic, Julia Goerges, Dominika Cibulkova, Flavia Pennetta, Shahar Peer
Floaters: Kaia Kanepi, (Q) Anastasia Rodionova, Maggie Rybarikova
Notes: The Top 8 seeds receive opening-round byes; tough openers for (15) Pennetta vs. Kanepi, (12) Ivanovic vs. Rodionova, and (14) Cibulkova vs. last week’s Guangzhou finalist Rybarikova; pulling from the event were the laundry list of Li Na, Kim Clijsters, Andrea Petkovic, Yanina Wickmayer, Francesca Schiavone, Venus Williams, Roberta Vinci, and Serena Williams; returning champions in the field are Wozniacki (2010), Sharapova (2009, ’05), and Kimiko Date-Krumm (1995).
PTT Thailand Open
Seeds: Andy Murray, Gael Monfils, Gilles Simon, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, Ivan Dodig, Fabio Fognini, Robin Haase, Pablo Andujar
Floaters: Ernests Gulbis, Grigor Dimitrov, Jarkko Nieminen
Notes: The Top 4 seeds receive opening-round byes; tough openers include (5) Dodig vs. Dimitrov, and (7) Haase vs. Nieminen in the second round; the last four seeds all make their career debuts in Bangkok; can Gulbis stay out of jail in Bangkok?; the doubles team of Erlich-Ram like Bangkok, they are 12-3 career with two titles; Robin Soderling pulled from the event; returning champs are Garcia-Lopez (2010) and Simon (2009).
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Surface: indoor hard
Seeds: Nicolas Almagro, Viktor Troicki, Janko Tipsarevic, Jurgen Melzer, Nikolay Davydenko, Alex Bogomolov Jr., Dmitry Tursunov, Kei Nishikori
Floaters: Bernard Tomic, Ryan Harrison, (WC) Marcos Baghdatis
Notes: Top 4 seeds receive opening-round byes; (3) Tipsy looking at Tomic 2nd rd., and 1st rd. (5) Davydenko vs. Harrison and (6) Bogomolov vs. (WC) Baghdatis; six of the eight seeds making their debuts in Kuala Lumpur; Tomas Berdych and Mikhail Youzhny pulled from the event; Davydenko (2009) the lone returning champion.
Tsonga Stays in Year-end ATP Picture with Metz Title
Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga defeated Croatian Ivan Ljubicic 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-3 to capture the title at the Moselle Open in Metz, France.
“It was a long time since I lifted a trophy and I am happy I was able to do here in Metz, in front of the French public,” said Tsonga, who improved to 1-2 in finals this year. “I knew it was going to be difficult. That’s why I am not surprised about Ivan’s come back in the second set. Matches against him are always based on two or three crucial points…My goal for the season is to qualify for London, I was there two years ago and I didn’t play. I hope this time I will be able to play.”
Ljubicic was broken in the third and ninth games of the third set.
“For some reason the balls were a little slower and I felt my serve wasn’t as effective,” Ljubicic said. “It was becoming very physical. There was a lot of long rallies and with Jo being younger and stronger, it was not good for me. I didn’t have the weapons to beat him today. He was dominating in every aspect of the game.”
Mayer Wins 1st ATP Title in 5th Career Final
German Florian Mayer rolled over Pablo Andujar 6-3, 6-1 for his first career title in his fifth career final at the BDR Nastase Tiriac Trophy in Budapest, Romania.
“The beginning was not perfect, I was so nervous today,” Mayer said. “I wanted to win so badly. My legs were heavy. I was lucky at the beginning, he was 3-1, 40-15 up in the first set. Today he made some untypical mistakes and once I got a break in the second set I relaxed and played better.”
Andujar was the runner-up to Juan Ignacio Chela in last year’s final, and fell to 1-3 in career finals.
Martinez Sanchez Wins 1st Hardcourt Title at WTA Seoul
Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez defeated first-time finalist Galina Voskoboeva in the championship match of the Hansol Korea Open 7-6(0), 7-6(2), ending a 5-1/2 year WTA drought for Spaniards on hardcourts. She improves to 5-1 in career finals.
“I felt very calm in the tiebreaks. That was the key for me,” Martinez Sanchez said. “I felt I played well the whole match. I like coming to net and I think it also makes my opponents uncomfortable, so it works well.”
Before this week Voskoboeva had only reached one WTA semifinal in her career, at Baku in July of this year.
Scheepers Sweeps to 1st WTA Title at Guangzhou
South African Chanelle Scheepers won every match en route to the final in three sets, but took care of opponent Maggie Rybarikova 6-2, 6-2 to win her first career title on Sunday at the WANLIMA Guangzhou International Women’s Open in Guangzhou, China.
“All of my other matches were tough, but today was the day it all clicked,” said Scheepers, who also toppled top seed Maria Kirilenko en route to the final. “I thought I was hitting my groundstrokes well. I was really consistent and tried to move her around. I didn’t give her a lot of mistakes.”
She became the first South African to win a WTA title since Amanda Coetzer won in Acapulco in 2003, and had never been beyond the quarterfinals of a WTA event. Rybarikova dropped to 2-1 in career finals.
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
STRIKE UP THE BAND – Andy Murray and fellow top players Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have been bandying about the “S” word on the ATP circuit, but boy do these guys need some PR help. As opposed to framing it to look like they’re helping all the rank-and-file file players with a strike, they are making it look like a cash grab for the top players alone, and are getting HAMMERED from all angles by the tennis media. “Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that but I’m sure the players will consider it,” said the strike “leader” Murray. “If we come up with a list of things we want changed — and everyone is in agreement but they don’t happen — then we need to have some say in what goes on in our sport. At the moment we don’t.”
Former women’s No. 1 Martina Navratilova has stoked the coals, supporting Murray.
“I don’t know why Andy Murray should be criticized for taking charge of his life,” Navratilova said. “If that’s the only way they can get to that point, then that’s what they have to do if they can unify themselves enough and that’s the last resort.”
India’s Somdev Devvarman meanwhile has been crunching the numbers.
“We get only 12 percent of the revenue while it is we who generate the revenue. The players should have a good say in such matters. [A] lot of players like Rafa, [Andy] Roddick, Murray have spoken about it. Tennis is one major sport which has no players’ union but with the recent happening the game is about to see a change.”
Meanwhile, former players such as David Lloyd and Michael Stich have essentially said, ‘Get on with it you overpaid whusses.’
“I find it an incredible statement,” Lloyd said. “They are making absolute fortunes. Normally you strike because you are not getting enough money or your place of work is not good enough. They play all the best places in the world, they get picked up by Rolls Royces at the airport, they stay at 10-star hotels and get paid a fortune. So I am not sure what part of the normal reasons to strike are there. To say we are going to get round the table to try to sort out the calendar is different. I think it is a scandalous thing to say. I have no sympathy for the players. They can play 19 weeks and make 10 million or play 20 weeks and make 20 million. An extra 10 million, I don’t really think that is a big problem to be honest.”
Former No. 1 Thomas Muster is retiring from tennis — again — at least from ATP events. “You should not drag it along forever,” said Muster, who turns 44 in October, speaking to the AP. “I wanted to relive competitive tennis again and I’ve really enjoyed it. Vienna will definitely be my last appearance in an ATP event. Maybe I play a few Challengers next year, but that will be it.”…Argentina, who will meet Spain in the Davis Cup final, have never raised the trophy…Roger Federer pulled from the Shanghai Masters to “rest and recuperate” after the US Open and leading the Swiss back into the Davis Cup World Group, defeating the Lleyton Hewitt-lead Australians: “After consultation with my team, I’ve unfortunately decided to pull out of the Shanghai Masters in order to take some necessary time to rest and recuperate after a long summer. I have some nagging injuries that I need to address and I look forward to returning to the ATP World Tour as soon as possible.”…French Open champion Li Na has canned Danish coach Michael Mortensen, saying he was too “mild and gentle.” Mortensen is rumored to be possibly joining the team of world No 1 Caroline Wozniacki…Kim Clijsters, who will not play again until 2012, has canned coach Wim Fissette, signing on new coach Carl Maes, the former Belgian Fed Cup captain.
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Murray Wins Two, Del Potro v Hewitt Friday At Queen’s; Federer Stars In Halle