Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships
Seeds: Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, David Ferrer, Mardy Fish, Viktor Troicki, Janko Tipsarevic, Radek Stepanek, Juan Monaco
Floaters: Milos Raonic, Dmitri Tursunov, (Q) Ryan Harrison, Ernests Gulbis, Bernard Tomic, David Nalbandian, Marcos Baghdatis
Seeds: Tough openers include (8) Tipsarevic vs. indoor upset specialist Tursunov, (4) Fish vs. (Q) Harrison in an all-American (winner to likely face Gulbis), (5) Troicki vs. Tomic, (2) Murray vs. last week’s runner-up Baghdatis, and potential (1) Nadal vs. Raonic 2nd rd.; returning champs in the field are Nadal (2010) and Ferrer (2007).
Men’s Seeds: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gael Monfils, Tomas Berdych, Nicolas Almagro, Gilles Simon, Andy Roddick, John Isner, Alexandr Dolgopolov
Men’s Floaters: Grigor Dmitrov, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Jurgen Melzer, Fernando Verdasco, Michael Llodra, Ivan Ljubicic, Feliciano Lopez, Mikhail Youzhny, Kevin Anderson, Nikolay Davydenko
Men’s Notes: Lots of floaters provide opening-round challenges, including (1) Tsonga vs. the young comer Dmitrov, (3) Berdych vs. Melzer, (8) Dolgopolov in the 2nd rd. likely facing the Verdasco-Llodra winner, (7) Isner vs. Ljubicic, (4) Almagro vs. Youzhny, and (6) Roddick vs. Anderson; Berdych, Monfils need results to stay in the year-end championships race; Roddick (2008) is the lone returning champ in the field after the pull of two-time defending champ Novak Djokovic; Federer also pulls citing need for rest, and Richard Gasquet and Robin Soderling with injury.
Women’s Seeds: Caroline Wozniacki, Victoria Azarenka, Vera Zvonareva, Li Na, Petra Kvitova, Samantha Stosur, Francesca Schiavone, Marion Bartoli, Andrea Petkovic, Jelena Jankovic, Agnieszka Radwanska, Peng Shuai, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Sabine Lisicki, Roberta Vinci, Svetlana Kuznetsova
Women’s Floaters: Flavia Pennetta, Nadia Petrova, Tamira Paszek, Julia Goerges, Maria Kirilenko
Women’s Notes: Tough openers are (12) Peng vs. Pennetta (winner to likely face Daniela Hantuchova), (3) Zvonareva after a bye to potentially face Nadia Petrova, (6) Stosur vs. Julia Goerges-Maria Kirilenko winner 2nd rd., and (10) Jankovic vs. Paszek; wildcards went to Gisela Dulko, Hu Yueyue, Zhang Shuai, Zheng Jie and Zheng Saisai; qualifying into the main draw were Eleni Daniilidou, Christina McHale, Monica Niculescu, Virginie Razzano, Laura Robson, Chanelle Scheepers, Carla Suarez Navarro and Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova; pulling from the event with injury were former No. 1s Maria Sharapova, Serena and Venus Williams; former champs in the field are Wozniacki (2010), Kuznetsova (2009,’06), Jankovic (2008) and Kirilenko (2005).
Murray Pounds Young for ATP Bangkok Title
World No. 4 Andy Murray rolled first-time ATP finalist Donald Young 6-2, 6-0 on Sunday in the PTT Thailand Open final.
Murray says his goal is to overtake world No. 3 Roger Federer in the year-end rankings. “Roger always plays very well on the European indoor courts, so I’m sure I’m going to have to win a lot more matches if I want to finish No. 3. That’s the goal and I’ll keep working hard to give myself a shot at doing that.”
It was the third title of the year for Murray. Young will crack the Top 50 after his runner-up effort, a far cry from the result when he defeated Murray at Indian Wells.
“He played well. I couldn’t do much and it showed in the score,” Young said. “It was great play from him. It was my first final on the ATP World Tour; I’ve had a semi and the fourth round of a Slam, but there’s nothing like your first final. It’s great. I beat some high calibre players and I played well.”
Tipsarevic Wins 1st Title in 5th Final at ATP Kuala Lumpur
Top 20-ranked Serb Janko Tipsarevic won his first ATP title at the fifth try on Sunday when he defeated Marcos Baghdatis 6-4, 7-5 for the Malaysian Open crown in Kuala Lumpur.
“It feels great. I think I deserved it,” Tipsarevic said. “Marcos Baghdatis has played in 11 finals and was a former Top 10 player, a Grand Slam finalist. So I feel happy that I won against a great player in a final that I hope kept the fans on the edge of their seats until the very end. I could not be happier.”
The 27-year-old had previously finished runner-up at the 2009 Kremlin Cup in Moscow (l. to Mikhail Youzhny), the 2010 UNICEF Open in ‘s-Hertogenbosch (l. to Sergiy Stakhovsky), and at the 2011 Delray Beach International Tennis Championships (l. to Juan Martin del Potro) and the 2011 AEGON International in Eastbourne (l. to Andreas Seppi).
Baghdatis dropped to 4-7 in career finals. “It wasn’t my day today,” Baghdatis said. “Janko played great. He deserved to win, he was more aggressive. You just have to say ‘well done’ to Janko for a great week and a great year overall.”
Radwanska Tops Zvonareva for WTA Tokyo Crown
Aggie Radwanska defeated Vera Zvonareva 6-3, 6-2 for the third straight time in their head-to-head to capture the Toray Pan Pacific Open title in Tokyo.
“I was a little bit nervous at the start, but I woke up after those first two games,” said Radwanska, who was a point from going down 0-3 in the opening set. “I had some tough matches this week, and I was playing without a bye, so I had a lot of matches in a row, but I just kept trying my best. It was the finals so I tried not to think about it and fight until the end.”
Radwanska improved to 6-2 in career finals. Zvonareva dropped to 12-18 in career finals.
“I started well and broke her, but after that I don’t know what happened to me,” Zvonareva said. “I’ve played with Agnieszka a lot and know how she plays, and if I played to my usual standard I could have won, but I just couldn’t today. It happens. I’ll take my lessons from this match then hope to forget it as soon as possible.”
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
Melanie Oudin has canned her longtime coach Brian DeVilliers, who at one time was in a relationship with her mother, and is now being coached by the USTA’s Tom Gullikson on a tentative basis. Oudin reportedly approached the USTA during the US Open, and as of late her ranking has dropped to the point where she is playing challenger-level events…Jelena Dokic has reunited with her crazy father, who is still banned from being credentialed for WTA events, after eight years: “I initiated the meeting as I want to reunite my family and allow us all to get on with our lives and be happy. This has gone on too long,” Dokic told the Sydney Daily Telegraph. “I am in a very positive and confident frame of mind in my life and I really wanted to do this because I believe it is the right thing to do both for me and for all of my family. My father was very receptive and I believe he has changed greatly. He understands that I am my own person who makes my own decisions.” A year and a half ago Damir Dokic was released from a year in prison for threatening to blow up the Australian Embassy in Belgrade and illegal possession of weapons in his home…Maria Sharapova pulled from the quarters of Tokyo after twisting her ankle against Petra Kvitova in a rematch of the Wimbledon final…The ATP Shanghai Masters event has fallen through after Roger Federer pulls to rest and Novak Djokovic pulls with injury…Michael Chang talking to the Seattle Times on the troubles between legends Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras: “If you’re asking me that question, you must not have seen their exhibition doubles match when they played Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. To refresh your memory, Pete almost took Andre’s head off on a serve — on the fly, not on the bounce. They’re having some issues.”…From Filip Bondy of the New York Daily News, who is usually on the mark but not this time, on the Serena Williams incident in the US Open final: “This seemed an extreme, unnecessary call, considering Stosur didn’t really have a play on the ball. Afterward, the Aussie copped out, claimed she couldn’t remember the point. Asderaki might have ignored the scream or, at her discretion, declared a let. The chair umpire picked a fight, chose to make this a point of law.” — Ignored the scream? Picked a fight? Uh, it’s called “applying the rules,” what umpires are supposed to do, not look the other way…The put-down of the year has to be “You’re unattractive inside,” that is going to blow up…Michael Chang on playing John McEnroe: “I played John McEnroe for the first time at the French Open in ’88, which was the year before I won in ’89. The press conference the day before, John was saying, ‘I’m going to play this 16-year-old kid and I’m going to kill him.’ It’s kind of tough not shaking in your shoes at that. My first mistake was that I let him walk out on the court first. The Parisians love John, and he raised his hands like he was royalty, and I walked out after him feeling like the little ball boy who was going to carry his stuff.”…Russian Anna Chakvetadze is reportedly entering Russian politics, and has been named as a candidate for Russia’s Right Cause party, focusing on women’s rights and children’s sports…No. 659-ranked David Savic, a 26-year-old Serbian, has received a lifetime ban for attempting to fix matches in addition to a $100K fine.
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