Fish Win Snaps Isner Streak:
John Isner’s loss to Mardy Fish in last week’s Atlanta Tennis Championships final, a repeat of the 2010 championship match, was his first in nine matches after his title win previously at Newport. Isner led 6-4 in the second-set tie-breake, but Fish put together a four-point streak to force a decider in which he would ultimately take the title. “In hindsight, I should have served and volleyed on the second serve,” Isner admitted afterwards. “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 was understandably delighted with the turnaround. “When you’re in that position, it’s almost over,” he said. “I was lucky to get out of it. I stuck some returns and put some balls in play. I played some good points from then on.”
Serena Back on Form:
Serena Williams played her first match on American soil since 2009 yesterday at the Bank of West Classic in California, which resulted in a 6-0, 6-0 double bagel over Anastasia Rodionova. “I’ve always said if I play my best no one can beat me,” she said. “Hopefully I can get back to that level.” She fell as low as 175 in the world rankings during her year out of the sport but now looks set to rise back towards the pinnacle. She dominated from start to finish, losing just five points in six service games and not letting Rodionova convert any of her five game points in the match. She also won all 17 of her 17 first serve points. “I’ve only played about seven matches since coming back – it’s still early on and I’m taking it one day at a time, one match at a time,” Williams continued in her post-match press conference. “I wanted to be more consistent, and I think I did that tonight. I feel good. I don’t think of the match as being easy – I think it was just me being focused. I was out there just trying to do my best.”
Ivanovic Blames Nerves for Morita Loss:
Former world No.1 Ana Ivanovic has said that her shock 3-6, 5-7 first-round loss to Japan’s Ayumi Morita at Stanford was because she was nervous playing in front of new coach Nigel Sears. The pair only began working together last week and Ivanovic said she kept dwelling on the need to impress as she went down. “I just started with a new team and [it] takes time for things to come into place and nerves played a part to impress the new coach, but that’s normal,” she said. “We spoke a lot about things we were working on, but [Nigel said] when you go out there I want you to trust your instincts, but I still thought too much about technical stuff. It’s [a] matter of practicing and doing it over and over until it becomes automatic. A few times I was not aggressive enough and was thinking too much [about] what I had to do.” Meanwhile, Agnieszka Radwanska has admitted she isn’t sure if she will continue with her father Robert as her coach this summer. Robert has coached both Agnieszka and her younger sister Ursula since they started playing, but recently fractions and arguments have become commonplace. “Sometimes it’s good to have a break, especially from someone you’ve been working with for 17 years already and sometimes it’s just too much,” Agnieszka told Tennis.com. “We are going to go with one coach here and then we will see. It’s hard to separate the [roles]. On court he’s still dad and coach and then sometimes he brings tennis off the court and it’s too much. That’s why we are trying to have a break.”
Azarenka Explains Herself:
In an interview with Matt Cronin recently Victoria Azarenka gave some insight in to what makes her tick and what is behind her various behavioural patterns. Talking about her good rapport with the tour, she said: “For me it’s not about having friends, it’s about being civilized and a good person. It’s a matter of being respectful. It’s difficult to deal with other people sometimes because you are in your zone and trying to focus and someone keeps asking you a question and you don’t mean [to respond] in a bad way, it’s just the wrong time.” And talking about the constant interest in her on-court shrieking as she plays, she quipped: “[It’s] just sometimes it gets to such a ridiculous point, that I have no comments about that. It’s funny to me that people spend all this money to measure how loud [the grunting is]. Go give your money to someone else. C’mon.” She also outlined her intention to challenge for the upcoming US Open title in New York, saying: “One of my goals is to go there and win the title, but there a lot of things that have to come together and I have to be really focused on improving my game to get all things together for the big events.”
Ferrer May Miss Rogers Cup:
World No.6 David Ferrer has revealed via his official website that he has suffered a hairline fracture in his left hand, sidelining him for around two-three weeks. This makes him “very doubtful” for the Canadian Masters, which begins August 9 in Montreal. Meanwhile, defending champion Svetlana Kuznetsova joins Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova and Kim Clijsters as withdrawals from the San Diego Open next week. “Sorry guys, I have to say I won’t defend my title in San Diego and very sad about it,” the Russian announced on Twitter.
Qureshi Donates Grant to Pakistan Flood Victims:
Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi has donated the $10,000 his foundation received from the ATP Aces for Charity grant program to victims of the flood which ravished his country last year. The district of Thatta in southern Pakistan was almost completely destroyed by the floods and has slowly been rebuilding itself since. The grant will go towards the construction of new housing and other facilities communities need to survive. “I am deeply impressed by the resilience and self-help spirit of the community,” he said on a recent visit to the region.
Dementieva Ties the Knot:
Former Russian tennis beauty Elena Dementieva last week tied the knot with ice hockey star fiancé Maxim Afinogenov. Much of the top Russian talent was on show, including Maria Kirilenko who was in attendance with her long-time partner Igor Andreev. Vera Zvonereva, Dinara Safina, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Elena Vesnina and Vera Dushevina, among others, were also at the star-studded bash. Kirilenko even went as far as saying that it was the greatest wedding she had ever attended. “Elena and her husband were always with the guests,” Kirilenko told Tennis.com. “They were sitting with us, talking on the microphone, they were dancing together. It was unbelievable. Normally when you go to [a] wedding, you are sitting and watching and it’s kind of boring.” Kirilenko also admitted that she had lost out when attempting to catch the bouquet during the customary toss. “All the girls were trying to catch it and then suddenly from somewhere Dushevina came and sprinted and stole it from me,” she joked.
With the big male seeds putting their feet up somewhat since Wimbledon concluded the rest of the tennis world has had a chance to shine over the past few weeks. Spain’s Nicolas Almagro has re-entered the Top 10 of the South African Airways ATP World Rankings following his finals appearance in Hamburg last week. France’s Gilles Simon, his conqueror in that match, climbs seven to No.11. Fernando Verdasco re-enters the Top 20, while Kei Nishikori of Japan and France’s Adrian Mannarino are in to the Top 50. America’s Ryan Harrison leaps 26 places to No.94 in the world, and he is joined in the Top 100 by Thiemo de Bakker (No.99) and Stephane Robert (No.98). The big movers in the Sony Ericsson WTA World Rankings this week were also title winners in the previous seven days. Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez was the victor at Bad Gastein and as a result she climbs from No.54 in the world to No.39. Anabel Medina Garrigues also climbed after winning Palermo, up to No.34 from No.39. Petra Cetkovska matched her career-best No.49 after reaching the Palermo semis, while Patricia Mayr-Achleitner leapt from No.109 to No.76 after reaching the Bad Gastein final.