Updates from Roland Garros (5/29/14): Serena And Venus Disappoint Everyone But Their Opponents…Plus Much More


Serena after the loss. Credit: NY Daily News

Its been a little while since my previous post. Let’s get caught up to date:

First of all, the interesting and anticipated matchups of Isner vs. Mahut and Venus vs. Serena both failed to happen. Mahut lost, and, somehow, both Venus and Serena lost. I said that Venus’ opponent is young and could be tricky, but Serena losing is a complete shocker. Venus won the first set 6-2 then faltered, while Serena just never had it…she lost easily (2 and 2).

Other notable results:

  • Stan the Man was ousted in the first round, losing the 4th set 6-0. Second biggest shocker thus far behind Serena losing.
  • The crafty veteran Ivo Karlovic beat one of my favorites, Grigor, in straights. 6-4; 7-5; 7-6. Tough loss and very disappointing as an optimistic supporter of the next generation of tennis players.
  • Caroline Wozniacki lost in the first round in three sets. Looks like the breakup was better for Rory than her so far.
  • Tommy Haas had to retire mid-match again. He needs to just give it up and stop taking the spots of young players who can actually play a full match. Almagro was another seeded player who had to retire mid-match..at least Jack Sock was up 5-0 anyway.
  • Lleyton Hewitt lost in the first round. Can never quite count him out at this point, but it looks like his late-career resurgence may be losing some momentum. I am going to wait and see what happens at the U.S. Open before drawing too many conclusions though.
  • Sabine Lisicki also had to retire mid-match. I wonder what’s in the water in Germany.
  • Ironically enough, Isner had another marathon match even without Mahut involved. 6-7 (6-8); 7-6 (7-4); 6-3; 7-6 (7-4). The poor guy just can’t make things easy for himself.
  • Dolgopolov lost in 5 sets. He won the first two and got blown in the last three…he only won 5 games total during those sets.
  • Donald Young and Jack Sock both advanced to the third round, with Young beating a solid Feliciano Lopez. I saw Feliciano in New Haven and was really impressed, but he hasn’t really put all the pieces together. Good for American tennis though. Let’s see how far they can go.

Pretty much all of the other big names and top seeds are still alive in the tournament. It will undoubtedly be exciting to see what happens next, particularly because the significant amount of big seeds left mean that they will start facing each other in high pressure matches. It will also be cool to keep an eye on Schmiedlova to see if she can take advantage of Serena losing, as well as Sock and Young. If Sock wins his next match, he is slated to face Nadal afterwards. Young has a bit of an easier go of it.

Oh, and call me cynical, but my money is on Robredo taking out Isner.

Full results and draw can be seen here: http://espn.go.com/tennis/courtcast

The French Open Is Underway…Mahut vs. Isner in Round 2 and Venus vs. Serena in Round 3?


The tournament at Roland Garros has officially started up!

All of the seeds in the Men’s draw have won thus far, so no real surprises. While it has been fairly ho-hum early on, there is an interesting development brewing.

John Isner, in only a way that John Isner can, won his first round match against a nobody 7-6; 7-6; 7-5. Typical. In any event, if Nicolas Mahut wins his match against Kukushkin, it will set up a second round match-up between the two. As you may or may not remember, they had that ridiculously long match at Wimbledon a few years back (2010).

On the Women’s side, the only seed to lose was the 25th seeded Kaia Kanepi, who lost in 3 sets to Monica Niculescu of Romania. She is currently ranked 60th, but has reached 28th in singles and 24th in doubles at her peak.

Both Williams sisters advanced, and should they win their second round matches, will face off in the third round. That match would certainly be a spectacle…and even though Serena would be the overwhelming favorite at this stage in their careers… one would think that of any of the low seeded players, Venus would have the best shot at beating her due to familiarity. It is a double edged sword though because obviously Serena is very familiar with her as well.

Venus’ next opponent is Anna Karolina Schmiedlova of Slovakia. Schmiedlova is 132-59 career, but mostly in low level tournaments. She doesn’t have many big wins in her career and has never gotten to the third round of a Grand Slam, but she is only 19 and you never really know what could happen. It would be great for a new star to be born, and if she was to beat both Venus and Serena back to back, that would be a great way to be put in the spotlight…but for selfish reasons, let’s just hope her stardom is postponed until after the French Open so we can see Serena vs. Venus (perhaps for the last time). In fact, I wouldn’t be all that surprised if Venus announces her retirement (at least from singles competition) after the match if she loses. It would be fitting and a graceful way for her to go out.

Season Update: Summer Rates and Doubles Tournament Results


The Season Is Over (But Not Really)

Time has flown by

Junior development programs will be continuing into the second week of June, but most other programs are pretty much done at this point. Despite this however, we will remain open with staff on hand from at least 10AM-2PM to take possible reservations in the case of rain.

Summer rates will be $26 an hour. Please try to call in or otherwise contact us if you want to reserve a court at a certain time. On Tuesdays for example, there is a JDP class from 4-5:30. If told in advance, staff would be willing to stay open for court reservations afterwards.

Again, please call in between 10AM and 2PM, contact us through Facebook or e-mail us at ntcstaff@sbcglobal.net or at newingtontennismarketing@gmail.com.

Doubles Tournament

We had a great time during the Newington Tennis Center Doubles Open last Saturday.

This first round of matches was best of 7 games, the second round of matches was a full set and the third round of matches was two out of three sets.

It was set-up to ensure that every team played exactly three matches. The finals consisted of Joel Magsayo and Dennis Gan facing off against Ben Doolittle and John Augsback. In a tightly contested match, the team of Doolittle and Augsback prevailed after winning a second set tiebreak.

Congratulations to both teams for excellent performances and to all other participants for great competitive sportsmanship. You guys left behind too many slices of pizza though.

2014 Italian Open Final Results


The Champs (Credit to SI)

The 2014 Italian Open is now complete and two familiar names finished on top: Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic. The next big tournament up on the docket is the French Open at Roland Garros (May 25th).

ATP Results

Quarterfinals

  • Grigor Dimitrov defeated Tommy Haas 6-2 (ret.) Good win for Grigor as it was inevitable after the first set…and a tough break for Tommy who was playing some good tennis.
  • All of the other matches in the Quarterfinals went three sets. Nadal beat Murray 1-6; 6-3; 7-5, Djokovic beat Ferrer 7-5; 4-6; 6-3 and Raonic beat Chardy 6-3; 7-5; 6-2. Typical of Novak and Rafa to pull out tough matches against great competitors.

Semifinals

  • Novak won again in 3 sets, this time against Milos Raonic, 6-7; 7-6; 6-3. Tough break for Milos, especially seeing that he had a legitimate shot to knock off Novak in the second round. This victory is the epitome of what makes Novak so great though…no matter how bleak a match seems, or how close he may be to losing, he cannot be counted out until the absolute last point.
  • Nadal beat Baby Fed 6-2; 6-2. Good run for Grigor, but not a surprising result here. Nadal on clay is just too much for him.

Finals

  • Novak beat Rafa in three, 4-6; 6-3; 6-3. Another let-down for Rafa, but you can’t really blame anyone for losing to Novak at this point in time. He is just on another planet and is completely relentless, especially in big matches. His last four matches went three sets..two of which he lost the first set. An absolutely marvelous run for him.

WTA Results

Quarterfinals

  • Serena Williams defeated Zhang Shuai 6-1; 6-3, Jelena Jankovic defeated Radwanska 6-4; 6-4, Sara Errani defeated Li Na 6-3; 4-6; 6-2, and Ana Ivanovic defeated Carla Suarez-Navarro 6-4; 3-6; 6-4. Tough day for the Chinese with Shuai failing to upset Serena and Na falling in an upset to the Italian Errani.

Semifinals

  • In an odd result, Serena defeated Ivanovic 6-1; 3-6; 6-1. Serena utterly dominated the first set, was nearly completely reversed in the second and then dominated the third set. It shows that Serena is the type of sports legend that has an on/off switch where she can all of a sudden just ramp up her skills to another level when needed.
  • With the home crowd behind her, Errani defeated Jankovic 6-3; 7-5. As the last Italian standing, she was playing with a lot of pride and came through in straights.

Finals

A tearful Errani after losing to Serena in Italy.

  • Unfortunately for Errani, her run at the Italian Open came to a screeching halt against Serena in the finals. Serena looked nearly unbeatable in what amounted to a 6-3; 6-0 victory. Good for the 10th seeded Errani to make a run in Italy, but she simply ran into a Serena playing great tennis.

Newington Tennis Center Doubles Tournament is Today!


We have the draw and format set, and other players/teams will be coming in to hit on open courts and fill in if necessary. Feel free to come by and check it out.

Start time is 3:00 PM.

2014 ATP and WTA Internazionali BNL d’Italia Second and Third Round Results (Italian Open)


Tommy Haas is actually doing something!

There are two big stories that have developed, one on Wednesday and one today.

On Wednesday, Roger Federer lost to Jeremy Chardy in 3 sets and today, Tommy Haas defeated Stan the Man in 3 sets. My opinion of Tommy Haas has been made clear on the site through some tournament reviews, but I have to say the win over Stan is impressive. Chardy’s win was probably a bit more impressive since it was against Fed, and the fact that he won in the next round easily was good to see.

All the results are listed below:

Tuesday Results

ATP

  • (2) Djokovic d. Stepanek 6-4; 7-5.
  • (3) Wawrinka d. Pire Riba 6-0; 6-3.
  • (5) Ferrer d. Kukushkin 6-1; 6-2.
  • (8) Raonic d. (Italian) Simone Bolleli 6-3; 7-5.
  • Ernests Gulbis d. (10) Falla 6-1; 0-0 (Ret.)
  • (15) Haas d. (Italian) Andreas Seppi 6-1; 4-6; 6-3.
  • Kohlschreiber d. (16) Robredo 6-2; 6-4.
  • Anderson, Cilic, Golubev, Tursunov and Sijsling also advanced in unseeded matches.
  • All 3 Italians playing on Tuesday lost.

WTA

  • (2) Li Na d. Dellacqua 6-1; 6-4.
  • Zhang Shuai d. (5) Kvitova 7-6; 5-7; 6-3.
  • Petra Cetkovska d. (7) Angelique Kerber 4-6; 6-3; 6-4.
  • Camila Giorgi d. (9) Dominika Cibulkova 6-4; 7-6.
  • (10) Sara Errani d. Chanelle Scheepers 7-5; 6-3.
  • (13) Carla Suarez-Navarro d. Mona Barthel 6-2; 6-2.
  • Puig, Makarova, Bencic, Blanco, McHale all advanced in unseeded matches.
  • 2/4 Italian women playing advanced.

Wednesday Results

ATP

  • (1) Nadal d. Gilles Simon 7-6; 6-7; 6-2. Tough match for Rafa.
  • Jeremy Chardy d. (4) Roger Federer 1-6; 6-3; 7-6 (8-6). Yikes. Chardy is tough but ouch. Tough break for Fed. Would have been quite the day for French Tennis if Simon knocked off Rafa.
  • (6) Berdych d. Tursunov 6-4; 6-3.
  • (7) Murray d. Granollers 6-2; 7-5.
  • (11) Tsonga d. Anderson 7-6 (16-14!); 7-6 (7-5). Could this have been any closer? Wow.
  • (12) Dimitrov d. Karlovic 7-6; 6-4.
  • (14) Youzhny d. Golubev 7-5; 4-1. (Ret.)
  • (15) Haas d. Sijsling 7-6; 6-1.
  • Gulbis, Melzer and Dodig advanced in unseeded matches.

WTA

  • (1) S. Williams d. Petkovic 6-2; 6-2.
  • (3) Radwanska d. Ormaechea 6-3; 6-2.
  • (4) Halep d. Keys 5-7; 6-0; 6-1.
  • (6) Jankovic d. Kuznetsova 6-2; 4-0 (Ret.)
  • (8) Sharapova d. Puig 6-3; 7-5.
  • (10) Errani d. Makarova 6-2; 6-3.
  • (11) Ivanovic d. Cornet 7-6; 7-5.
  • (12) Pennetta d. Bencic 6-2; 2-6; 6-3.
  • (13) Suarez-Navarro d. V. Williams 6-4; 6-2.
  • Lepchenko d. (16) Stephens 6-2.
  • Stosur, McHale, Schiavone advanced in unseeded matches.

Thursday Results (So Far)

ATP

  • (7) Murray d. Melzer 7-6; 6-4.
  • (8) Raonic d. (11) Tsonga 7-6; 6-4.
  • (15) Haas d. (3) Wawrinka 5-7; 6-2; 6-3. Unbelievable.
  • Chardy d. Dodig 6-3; 6-2.
  • (1) Nadal is currently losing to (14) Youzhny 5-6.
  • (6) Berdych is beating (12) Dimitrov 5-3.
  • Ferrer and Djokovic will be playing later.

WTA

  • (2) Li Na d. Stosur 6-3; 6-1.
  • (3) Radwanska d. Schiavone 6-4; 6-1.
  • (13) Suarez-Navarro d. (4) Halep in a Walkover.
  • (11) Ivanovic d. (8) Sharapova 6-1; 6-4.
  • (10) Errani d. Cetkovska 6-4; 7-6.
  • (6) Jankovic is leading (12) Pennetta 3-1.
  • Serena has yet to play and Zhang Shuai d. McHale 6-2; 4-6; 6-2.

2014 ATP and WTA Internazionali BNL d’Italia First Round Results (Italian Open)


Credit : ESPN

So the clay court season continues onto Rome where the Italian Open is held. Many top quality players are in the tournament for both men and women. Unfortunately, Kei Nishikori is not in the draw stemming from the back spasms suffered in Madrid which cost him the title over Rafael Nadal. Pretty much all of the other big names are in the draw.

Notable Results

  • In what was probably the most intriguing match of the first round, Jo Wily beat Dolgopolov 6-3; 7-6 (7-5).
  • Jurgen Melzer defeated John Isner in straight sets.
  • Grigor Dimitrov barely scraped by in three sets, after losing the first two.
  • 4 Italians have already lost, including Fabio Fognini, who was seeded 13th. He lost to Lukas Rosol.
  • Tommy Haas and Radek Stepanek defeated John Isner and Scott Lipsky in the first round of doubles. I guess Johnny boy didn’t really care much for winning in Rome this year.
  • Italians Marco Checchinato and Andrea Seppi lost to Jurgen Melzer and Kevin Anderson. Fognini and another Italian, Simone Bolelli, are also playing doubles and have not competed yet. Rosol and Dimitrov are also in the doubles draw, which is an interesting team to watch.

WTA

  • 12th seeded Flavia Pennetta and Francesca Schiavone won their matches (with Schiavone beating the 14th seed). Romina Oprandi and Karin Knapp (also Italian) lost.
  • In a battle of Russians, Svetlana Kuznetsova defeated fan favorite Maria Kirilenko.
  • In a battle of Americans, Madison Keys defeated Alison Riske. Keys is only 19 years old and has a lot of potential.
  • Speaking of which, Sloane Stephens won in a tough three set match. She is only 10-9 on the season so far.
  • Unseeded (yes) Venus Williams advanced easily. She is quietly 13-5 on the season.
  • The best match on the ladies side was probably Lisicki vs. Stosur, with Stosur coming in unseeded. Sabine is still only 24 and has all the potential in the world, but just isn’t consistently where she needs to be to get into the Top 10 or 5. When she is at her best, she can beat anyone, but when she isn’t, she is likely to lose..especially to a veteran like Stosur.

The Season is Winding Down


Unfortunately, the tennis season at the center is nearing its finale. Technically speaking, next week is the last week for our season courts. Many have make-ups from snow over the winter or other reasons, so they will be coming in afterwards, but it is still a sad time for the workers here.

We sincerely enjoy your company and see everyone as friends. Perhaps some of us will run into others elsewhere over the summer, but the experience at the center will be sorely missed.

In any event, the JDP sessions are mostly running through the beginning of June. Because of this, if there is a rainy day and you would like to come in, you may be able to. Try to give us a bit of notice though so we can accommodate you.

I know for sure that I will be able to work the desk Tuesdays because I will be working JDP there from 4-5:30..but I would still like to know in advance if I should stay afterwards or not. If it is already raining or is forecasted to rain, I will probably hang out awhile just to see if people call in.

Also, I am looking into running something every once in a while during the night, maybe some sort of open hitting session where people can just figure out what they want to do when they come in, or an occasional mini-tournament. I’d like some feedback on what would be best for the most amount of people..but I am leaning towards something on Friday nights. It would be very cheap.

Tennis Tips Volume IV: Be Confident but not Over-Confident and Diagnosing your Opponent


In terms of confidence, there are two terrible things you could do going into a match. The first thing is to go into it thinking you are going to lose and the second is to take your opponent for granted by thinking he/she is not any good.

I wouldn’t quite recommend adhering to the Middle Way of the Buddha Sidhartha Gautama in terms of confidence, but it is definitely best to avoid being at either extreme before a match. I think it is better to come into a match with unwavering confidence that you are able to win the match instead of being directly in the middle and not having any idea or thinking that you have no chance of winning or losing.

If you enter a match believing that you have no chance of losing, chances are you are going to find yourself surprised at some point in the match. Either the other player is going to get off to a hot start and you will find yourself down a break or you will be up early and allow them to sneak back into the match. In any event, it will cause you to perhaps play erratically and lose sense of any semblance of a strategy you have and force you to gather yourself and get your act together…otherwise you will be in a big hole and drop a set or even worse, lose the match.

It is imperative to feel confident in your abilities and also take note of your opponent’s skills and tendencies during the warm-up period if you haven’t yet seen them play.

Regardless of what you see in this period, your confidence shouldn’t change but your preparation and strategy might…as you pick up on things in the other player’s game that you should take advantage of. Warming-up is just as much for your own skills as it is diagnosing your opponent’s skills. Maybe they seem to have a weak backhand, have shotty volleying technique or have trouble with slice. No matter what you see, you should remain confident that you have the ability to expose the player(s) on the other side of the court and be able to play the best match you can against them.

In terms of your own skills during the warm-up…do not get rattled. It shouldn’t matter if you think that you aren’t hitting or serving well before the match. Furthermore, do not find yourself in awe of the other player. They could look like Pete Sampras in warm-ups and end up being more like Tommy Haas (that might be an on-going joke for my writings). Some people simply are practice warriors that look and play unbelievable until the first serve is hit. Just as you shouldn’t worry about your failures in warm-ups, you shouldn’t let the success of your opponent get to you either. It takes two to tango and you should be confident that you can lead the dance regardless of how the warm-ups go.

In conclusion, the only thing that should really change before or during your match should be your strategy. You should always consider different approaches and remain pragmatic and be able to improvise based on what you see…just do not change how you feel. All that can do is put a self-imposed handicap on the match and start an up-hill battle or a slide down a slippery slope. Stay unwavering on the plateau.

Look ahead physically, stay consistent mentally.