Murray, Tsonga, Raonic, Zheng Add Week 1 Tennis Titles

by Staff | January 8th, 2012, 11:33 am

Murray Mauls Gimpy Dolgopolov for ATP Brisbane Crown

New coach Ivan Lendl looked on approvingly as Andy Murray rolled over Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-1, 6-3 to win his 22nd career title at the Brisbane International in Australia.
“I served pretty well again,” Murray said. “It got close in the second set and I stayed focused. He was just going for his shots, hit quite a few winners but I didn’t let it get to me. It’s good because I could easily have lost second round against [Gilles] Muller but I managed to fight my way through and played three very good matches.”

The 24-year-old Murray established his dominance early, not giving a point away in his first three service games, improving to 3-0 career against Dolgopolov who was treated for a leg injury in his semifinal match.

“I couldn’t move much on my right leg,” Dolgopolov said. “It was tough to go right and push from it. I just tried to do my best and still stay on the court because the stadium was full and you don’t want to pull out of something like that.”

Murray improved to a staunch 22-9 in career finals, a positive outlook for the Brit who will attempt to reach the Australian Open final for a third consecutive year in search of a first career Grand Slam title.

Tsonga Tops Monfils in All-French Final at ATP Doha

Former No. 1s Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal began the event as favorites, but in the end it was an all-French show at the Qatar Open, where Jo-Wilfried Tsonga defeated compatriot Gael Monfils 7-5, 6-3 in the Saturday final.

“It was difficult. The surface was very slippery especially on the ‘Qatar’ sign painted on the court,” Tsonga said of the misty conditions. “It was dangerous but they did enough to make it okay. This is a good win for me going into the Australian Open, it’s just amazing.”
In the semifinals Tsonga benefited from a retirement (back) by Federer, and Monfils upset Nadal in straight sets.

“At the beginning of the match, it was a bit difficult because he broke me very early. It was tough. But in my head, everything was right,” said the 26-year-old Tsonga who won his eighth career title. “I said, ‘Okay, I’m one break down, but I will continue to play my game. I will make him run a lot.’ So I hit a lot of shots to make him run. I think it was the good solution because then, after that, he was maybe a bit tired. After that, I was better than him. That’s why I maybe won today.”

Monfils led 5-3 in the first set in the match that was suspended roughly a half hour due to fog.

“I think I had some opportunities in the first set, and I was maybe a bit less aggressive tonight to finish this first set,” Monfils said. “And then I think he played better and better.”

Tsonga improved to 8-5 in finals, and Monfils slipped to 4-12.

Canuck Raonic Serves-up 2nd Career Title at Chennai

Canadian Milos Raonic won his second career title on Sunday at the Aircel Chennai Open, defeating top-seeded Janko Tipsarevic 6-7(4), 7-6(4), 7-6(4).

Raonic lost only four points on serve in the first set, but still found himself a set down after losing the tiebreak. The second set was much of the same, except this time Raonic took an early lead in the breaker to level the match at one set apiece.

In the third set the Canadian saved two break points in his first service game, then in the tiebreak raced out to a 5-0 lead before closing the deal for a second career win.

The 21-year-old delivered 35 aces during the contest, and saved all 14 break points he faced during the week.

Zheng Titles When Pennetta Retires in WTA Auckland Final

Injuries that have hit the WTA Tour hard during the first week of play also worked their way into a final on Sunday in Auckland, New Zealand when unseeded Zheng Jie of China captured the title at the ASB Classic when No. 4-seeded opponent Flavia Pennetta retired in the third set with a back injury 2-6, 6-3, 2-0 ret.

“I don’t know what it is yet,” Pennetta said. “I’m going to have an MRI done tomorrow, I think. At 4-2 in the first set was when I first felt it. I started to go down with my leg to be ready for the return and pain started coming out. When I was serving it was really painful. She started making some mistakes, which happens when you see your opponent injured, but it was not good for me to keep going on the court.”

Pennetta and partner Julia Goerges had also lost in the doubles final the previous day in a third-set match tiebreak.

Zheng improved to 4-2 career in WTA finals, while Pennetta fell to 9-12. En route to the final Zheng upended No. 8 seed Monica Niculescu, No. 3 Svetlana Kuznetsova and the No. 4 Pennetta.

“It has been more than five years since my last title,” Zheng said. “I had two big injuries — my wrist and my ankle — but now I’m back. But I’m sorry for Flavia. I wish for her that it gets better for next week.”

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30 Comments for Murray, Tsonga, Raonic, Zheng Add Week 1 Tennis Titles

Humble Rafa Says:

Looks like all the chokers managed to win a title in the same week. Reality return at the Aus Open.

margot Says:

Congratulations to Andy he has regained the form he had b4 injury last year.
With Ivan in his camp and serving like a dream he is going to have a terrific 2012. Besides Jamie’s psychic says it’s so!

jane Says:

Congrats to all the winners. Kimmi, enjoyed your commentary on the Milos match on the other thread. I saw some of his match versus Almagro, and yeah, I agree that he is more that just a serve guy, although clearly that is his big weapon. Murray looked amazing his ast three matches. When his serve is firing he is sooooo dangerous, because he is also one of the best returners. He began all those matches fast too, rather than his sometimes slower starts. His serve percentage typically dropped from 70-80% firsts down to 60 or so, but that was it. He generally stayed pretty consistent. He and Lendl seem comfortable together too. There is video of them in practice and it’s looking good. Definitely I think this is the year Andy M will win a slam – which one(s)? ANy guesses? :)

carlo Says:

Congratulations to Andy and Milos!! also to Zheng Jie!

Thinking Rankings. Doesn’t Federer lose some points? Not much more than 500 points separates them after this weekend, I’m thinking.

Drake Says:

I don’t think murray is going to win a slam this year. His only chance is if he avoids the top 3, which could happen but is not very likely.

jane Says:

carlo, and Andy gains points too. Fed and Andy must be very close now.

carlo Says:

Well, Andy is defending more points for AO, Jane. But the good news is how confident and healthy Andy is right now. I can’t wait!

Drake, Federer has back issues and Nadal is always injured, which spells ‘luck’ for Andy! Just kidding – a little. Really it won’t be easy and luck falls in many forms and directions.

alison hodge Says:

just read on teletext kvitova will take over wozniacki as world number 1 going into the ao,if she wins the tournament next week,i hope she does go petra.

jane Says:

Kvitova “feels” like number one to me, I guess because of her bigs wins last year. Good luck to her!

carlo true about AO points. Which slam do you think is Andy’s best. It may very well be the AO? He’s already been in two finals there.

Jeanius Says:

Just as much as Lendl couldn’t win Wimbledon. Need I say more. Andy Churray [Choker plus Murray] wouldn’t win one.

A choker named Murray
Starts always in a hurry
An array of shots in a flurry
Signals the end for Churray.

Lol am I good or what

carlo Says:

Go Kvitova! Great for her, alison.

Maybe losing #1 will inspire Wozniaki just enough to get her to make some improvements and win a GS.

carlo Says:

I have been guessing Djokovic will defend his AO title and silence the skeptics.

FO and Wimbledon will be a battle between Nadal and Djokovic. That leaves US Open as my best guess for Murray, Jane. But AO isn’t out of the question, however with Djokovic starting the year strong…

alison hodge Says:

jeanius murray never has won a grand slam,certainly does not mean murray never will win a grand slam,sorry but some of us love him and have more faith in him than that,and in answer to the last line of your post,sorry not good,but rather sad to be quite honest.

Jeanius Says:

Lighten up Alison really no malicious intent. Just good old fashioned humor. Sure AM will win a Slam

jane Says:

carlo, yeah, it’s tough to know where Nole is really at right now w.r.t. the AO and his form. I think he looked really good at the exo, but it was an exo and only a few matches. We’ll see. But definitely USO would be good for Murray and it’s his favourite slam. I have always thought Murray plays best at Wimbledon but I know margot likes his chances at the FO. So that covers all of them. :) Given that he’s been to the semis or deeper at all of them, he has chances at all – but his finals have all been hard courts.

alison hodge Says:

jeanius sorry no problem,im a british gal,so its in my nature to defend our guy,and to be honest yeah i did think your poem was funny,i have say ive waited months for humble rafa to say something as good as that.

Thangs Says:

How abt Isner and Raonic meeting in early rounds at AO??

alison hodge Says:

carlo and jane i would say that ao is a toss up between nole and andy,both seem to do really well there,i think the fo looks interesting as both rafa and nole will be out to make history for different reasons,rafa will want to beat borgs record of 7 slams there,and nole will be looking for a career grand slam,although murray did look good there too last year,personally i would like murray to make history on home soil at wimbledon,which leaves the uso like you say his favourite slam,and hes been to a final there too,put it this way he has the potential and the game to win any of them,watch this space sure makes for an open and interesting year,cant wait.

Jeanius Says:

Might I add that Federer will win another Slam.He unfortunately went literally off the BOIL. Damnnnn

Djokovic has destroyed himself to a point of no physical repairs\refurbishment\healing\egging. He will win some Challenger events though.

Listen to this to see if it makes any sense. Just as strange as NADAL himself. Nadal is the only psychic player who can predict when and where he will be injured. He “predicted“ in Abu Dhabi this year that he HAD a shoulder injury last year which came true in January ’12. I am seriously confused. It is LIKE BACK TO THE FUTURE

Dave B Says:

The Raonic/Tipsarivic match was the best of the day. Dogopolov continues to disappoint.

Humble Rafa Says:

I don’t think murray is going to win a slam this year. His only chance is if he avoids the top 3, which could happen but is not very likely.

Have you considered the possibility of Mr. Lady Forehand not meeting the top 3, then choking to lose? It has a high probability of happening.

skeezerweezer Says:


With all reverse humbleness hasn’t Murray with his “Lady Forehand” given you a beatdown on occasion? Including excuses?

Michael Says:

Humble Rafa, Why are you so confident that Murray will not win a major this year ? Ofcourse it is difficult but not impossible especially when you have a calibre player like Murray.His best bet is at the Australian OPen and then the US Open.

Michael Says:

Can anyone brief me about the latest fitness position of Soderling ? How soon will he be playing Tennis ? Not receiving much news from his end.

Drake Says:

Humble Rafa: That could happen also which is why I don’t see murray winning a slam.

margot Says:

Here’s one for all Andy’s detractors, and there seem to be a lot around at the mo.

and his fans too!

alison hodge Says:

it would be great if jamies dodgy pyschic were to correctly predict the slams,i each for nole,rafa,muzza,delpo,it would make for a fare and open year,and not just one player dominating,which can get boring imo,but call it a hunch or female intuition,i think roger will win one of the slams this year somewhere,i just dont buy that a player that good is done just yet.

alison hodge Says:

micheal ive just read on robins website that he is aiming for a return to playing tennis in february.

Michael Says:

Thanks for your information Alison. I am eager to see the return of Soderling which will make the top even more competitive. But I am not sure about his form especially after he is coming after a long lay off. We already have Del Potro struggling to regain his form and now Soderling has joined the ranks. Hope he turns a new leaf and comes out in flying colours. Let us hope so though I would say I am over optimistic in saying that.

Michael Says:

Alison, I agree with you on Roger. He is on his way to win a major this year probably the Wimbledon or US. But he needs a relatively easy draw and some luck to do that. How can anyone discount a man who has won 16 majors in his career. That is stupendous achievement measured by any yardstick.

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