The 2015 US Open is over…now it’s time to get excited about your own play!

Pennetta beat her but who cares?

Djokovic’s dominance, Federer’s rejuvenation and quest for another slam, the ongoing struggle of Nadal, and last, but certainly not least, the journey of Serena through tournament draw after tournament draw have all been storylines that garnered quite a bit of attention and rounded up 2015 into a great year for tennis. Altogether, it has helped the sport gain traction in the mainstream media more than it had in the recent past…and hopefully it will lead to more adults choosing tennis to learn and play, signing up their kids to learn and play, or to simply having some of their racquets dusted off in a triumphant return to the court.

I would also wager that it has additionally invigorated those of you who were already interested in the pro tour and playing on a semi-regular basis. I know that is the case for me and many people I speak to anyway.

Any time a Grand Slam comes and goes, I get more and more interested in getting out onto the court myself. The spirit of competition starts to flood back into my system and the intricate details and nuances of a high level match sparks my tennis intellect into hyper-drive. (It’s not until I suffer through a double fault or the absence of the ability to call for the Chase review that I then come back to reality)

Regardless of how good of a player you are, there are things you can assuredly pick up from watching the best of the best go at it. For instance…according to Roberta Vinci, the complex strategy of ‘running and getting the ball in’ was the decisive factor in beating one of the greatest players of all time. If that isn’t inspiring to you and your tennis game then I don’t know what is. Although…on second thought…John Isner has been a pro for 8 years and still can’t execute the former of the two part Vinci plan, so who knows?

All jokes aside, it is truly inspiring to see the great players playing great, the young guns making names for themselves and the seasoned veterans making a push for glory. One of the most beautiful aspects of the sport of tennis is that there is always something someone can relate to just by watching. Whether it is a coach, a player, a swing, a strategy or even just fashion…there is always something.

So when you walk back through the doors of the Newington Tennis Center, walk back in with the exuberance of a kid on their first day of school…or it’s equivalent, the exuberance of an unseeded veteran doubles player that just knocked off one of the greatest competitors in athletic history. Whether it was a smile or a crisply struck slice backhand that has you inspired, keep that inspiration in mind as you do your best and enjoy the wonderful sport that we, in one way or another, hold so dear to us.

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


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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


  • 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.


  • 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.


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.

Updated Junior Development Stuff and Saturday Monte Carlo Semi-Final Results (4/19/14)

Junior Development

If you have a child that would like to join a session, it is not too late. Just because the session is underway doesn’t mean that they cannot play. You can always pay the “drop-in” rate, which varies depending on the exact program and length thereof that they would be participating in.

Monte Carlo

  • Stan The Man defeated Ferrer in straights. It is quite the surprise to me, as Ferrer is a beast on clay while Stan isn’t all that consistent on it. Furthermore, Stan’s showing in doubles with Fed was borderline embarassing. He is bouncing back like a champion should and beat Ferrer 6-1; 7-6. One has to wonder that Ferrer wasn’t mentally sharp after riding the wave of beating Nadal, or was a bit physically beat up compared to Wawrinka who had advanced to his previous match through walkover.
  • In the other semi’s match, Federer faces off yet again against Djokovic. At the moment it is 4-4 and is anyone’s match. As I wrote in the analysis of their previous showdown, smart money is on a three set match or a match with at least one 7-5 or 7-6 set (or both).

Nishikori defeats Federer!

Geoff Burke- USA TODAY Sports

Boy oh boy, do I feel pretty good about my prognostication skills.

Kei Nishikori defeated Roger Federer last night, despite losing the first set and being down a break in the second. The final score was 3-6; 7-5; 6-4.

Okay, granted, I didn’t quite pick Nishikori, but I said it’d be far more likely for him to win than Murray, and that I wouldn’t necessarily be surprised if Nishikori won.

Federer ended up with 39 unforced errors and was surprisingly inefficient. Nishikori was able to hit the ball well and fight through rallies. The win actually improves Nishikori to 2-1 all time against Federer.

“Yeah, it was second time to beat him,” a low-key Nishikori said afterward. “I was hitting balls deep and striking well. And I was fighting.”

Unfortunately for Kei, it was a finals matchup. He has Novak Djokovic to play next in the semi-finals.



Updates from the 2014 Sony Open in Miami (Sunday-Tuesday)

Here are results from Sunday, Monday and Tuesday as well as what is slated for today:



  • Perhaps the most interesting match result was Caroline Wozniacki defeating Sloane Stephens in the manner that she did. 6-1;6-0. Shocking really. I was expecting a tough battle resulting in a close Sloane victory, but that was far from the case. She was in her home territory but dropped to 6-4 on the season.
  • 2,3, and 10 seeds Na, Radwanska and Cibulkova all advanced in straight sets.
  • 29th seeded Venus Williams also won, albeit barely, in her match against the Australian Casey Dellacqua. The final score was 6-4;5-7;6-4. It was good to see Venus pull out the victory, but the close result shouldn’t necessarily be a surprise. Though she is a relatively unheralded player, Dellacqua took Venus to a second set tie-break in the 2010 Australian Open, when Venus was a far better player than she is now.


  • Jo-Willy ended up prevailing over Marcos Baghdatis in a wild 3 set match. He ended up winning 4-6; 7-6(8-6); 7-5. Definitely a gritty victory for Tsonga against a crafty veteran player.
  • Ferrer, Murray and Federer all advanced easily in straights.
  • “Little Fed”, Grigor Dimitrov lost 6-7, 5-7 to Kei Nishikori. Obviously a tough match. I plan on doing a write-up on Dimitrov in the future. I think it could be argued that he has the most potential of any young player on tour.



  • Na, Radwanska, Cibulkova and Wozniacki all advanced again. Cibulkova defeated Venus in 3 sets, with Venus winning the second set 7-5 after losing 6-1 in the first. She was vanquished 6-3 in the third.
  • Sharapova, Kvitova and Kerber all won in three set matches.
  • Sharapova lost the first set but won the next two against Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium.
  • Kvitova beat the famous Ana Ivanovic with a double bagel in sets 2 and 3 despite losing the first set 6-3. Needless to say, that is a bit of a weird score.
  • Kerber beat Makarova in an up and down match 6-4;1-6; 6-3.
  • Serena Williams won in an easy fashion, beating fellow American Coco Vandeweghe 6-3;6-1. Serena looked very strong.


  • 1st seeded Nadal and 3rd seeded Wawrinka won their matches in straights. While Nadal only lost one game against the Uzbeki Istomin, Wawrinka won a tight one 7-5;6-4.
  • The day went by “the chalk” as all players with the higher seed earned passage to the next round. The list included: Berdych, Becker, Isner, Raonic, Fognini and Dolgopolov. Dolgopolov had the toughest match, winning 7-5 in a third set tiebreak.



  • Maria Sharapova defeated Petra Kvitova 7-5; 6-1 and Serena Williams beat Kerber 6-2; 6-2. Serena has been playing some of her best tennis in recent history this tournament.


This was, perhaps, one of the best days of tennis in a long time. Marquee match-ups across the board. I wish I could’ve attended.

  • The Ukrainian Dolgopolov upset Stan Wawrinka in three sets, winning the third 6-1. As mentioned in an article earlier, it seems as if Dolgopolov is playing some of his most motivated tennis ever and is successfully riding the wave of emotion and keeping the momentum going. His decisive victory over Stan definitely looks good on his resume.
  • Milos Raonic beat Benjamin Becker 6-3; 6-4. Although Raonic was seeded 12th to Becker’s 8th, I wouldn’t go as far as to say that it was an upset.
  • Tomas Berdych defeated John Isner 6-3; 7-5. More of the same for Isner. He has a tough time against a player with a consistent serve and a good return game, particularly veterans who don’t get down on themselves if they don’t have success early against him.
  • Kei Nishikori eliminated David Ferrer in one of the closest matches possible. He won 7-6 (9-7); 3-6; 7-6 (11-9). Wow. I feel a bit bad for Ferrer, who actually won more game than Nishikori and lost in tight tiebreaks..but I am also impressed with Nishikori to earn a victory in this manner against one of the toughest players on tour.
  • Nadal, Federer and Djokovic all won in straight sets. Nadal and Federer both had an easy time Fognini and Gasquet, but Djokovic beat Tommy Robredo in a fairly well contested 6-3; 7-5 victory.
  • Maybe the biggest surprise outside of the Dolgopolov upset was the way Murray dispatched Tsonga. 6-4; 6-1. The Frenchman played terribly in the second set.

Wednesday Matches

  • Radwanska and Cibulkova are currently battling it out early in the third set. Radwanska won the first set 6-3 and lost the second 7-5.
  • Li Na vs. Wozniacki is also on the docket. I’d be shocked if Na lost, but, on the other hand, Wozniacki has been playing very well in Miami.
  • Andy Murray is to face Novak Djokovic and Kei Nishikori is going up against Roger Federer. I’d expect Djokovic and Federer to advance obviously…but for some reason, if I had to pick an upset, I’d take Nishikori instead of Murray to win. Nishikori is coming off of two very tough matches, but is only 24 and has the legs to bounce back quick. He is having a great year, with one tournament victory and a sparkling overall record. One of the few blemishes is a loss to Nadal at the Australian, but it took everything it could out of Nadal. The final score of that match was 7-6 (7-3); 7-5; 6-5 (ret).

Sony Open Tournament in Miami 2014

Although this tournament is a bit less heralded than Indian Wells, it is yet and still another big one with prize money totaling near $5,000,000 while being a part of the Masters Series.

Pretty much all of the top guys are playing in the tournament. Nadal, Djokovic, Federer, Murray, Ferrer, Berdych, Isner and Wawrinka (as well as others).

In the “others” category, Jo Willy Tsonga is battling on the court with Marcos Baghdatis. Baghdatis won the first set 6-4. The second went to a tiebreaker in which Tsonga double faulted at 6-5 and set point, but pulled it out 8-6. Tsonga is 4-0 career against Marcos, so the loss would be disappointing, especially with Marcos being ranked in the mid 100’s.

Robredo vs Benneteau is also slated to play soon. They are currently in warm-ups. Should be a nice, quality match to watch. Benneteau has momentum, but it is always entertaining to watch a Spaniard and Frenchmen to go at it on the tennis court.

Federer, Ferrer and Murray are also scheduled to play today (Sunday).

Yesterday, Nadal beat Hewitt, Raonic beat Sock (4 and 6), Wawrinka won in 3 tough sets, Isner beat Donald Young after losing a first set tiebreak to him and Dolgopolov advanced by beating the ancient Jarkko Nieminen. Jarkko is 32 but it seems like he has been around forever. Monfils and Cilic were eliminated.

On the women’s side, Serena survived a tough match against Caroline Garcia of France (6-4;4-6;6-4). Sam Stosur lost (7-5;5-7;5-7) to 22 year old American Coco Vendeweghe. Sharapova and Ivanovic advanced while Sabine Lisicki had to default.

I’ll update the results later tonight or tomorrow.

Familiar Foes…Djokovic And Federer To Meet In Finals At Indian Wells

Back at it for the 33rd time..

To the surprise of few, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer both advanced through their semifinal matches to set up the 33rd meeting between the two.

As of now, Federer has won 17 times while Djokovic has won 15 times, in one of the more even head to head match-ups between elite players in the history of pro tennis.

Roger defeated Novak in their only match thus far in 2014 3-6; 6-3; 6-2. This was in the tournament in Dubai which was played on hard court, the surface in which the upcoming finals showdown will be held on.

Going back since 2012, Djokovic is 5-3 vs. Federer with his previous 3 victories all being on hard court. Despite this, and the fact that Djokovic is 26 years old, compared to Federer’s 32, recent history indicates that the ongoing rivalry is as close as ever.

In the matches from 2012 on, 4 of their 8 matches have been decided in straight sets but all 4 have also featured set victories of 7-5 or a tiebreaker at 7-6, with one of those matches having both (Djokovic’s 2012 victory at the Barclays 7-6 (8-6); 7-5. Needless to say, it is fair to expect another tight one in Sunday’s final.

Djokovic had a bit of a tougher Semi’s match by beating John Isner 7-5; 6-7 (2-7); 6-1, while Federer dispatched the motivated Alexandr Dolgopolov in a relative breeze, winning 6-3; 6-1.

It has to be disappointing for Isner to fight so hard in the first two sets, especially after claiming a tiebreak victory in the second, to go down 1-6 in the third. What would have been a great victory for him turned into a disappointing outing in just a set. While I’m sure he feels fairly content with his performance, it still has to be tough to go into a third set against a guy like Djokovic in a Semi just to get beat 6-1. Sometimes that is how the cookie crumbles in tennis.

Dolgopolov also must be disappointed but for a different reason. He had such a great run this tournament and ended up losing pretty badly. Sure, it was against one of the all time greats and he has nothing to be ashamed about, but you’d have to imagine that Dolgopolov came into the match truly believing a victory may have been in store. It almost seemed destined that this was his tournament to win, even with all the odds stacked against him. For him to go out 3 and 1 must be heart wrenching for him, but at least he earned himself some confidence for the rest of 2014, and hopefully he continues to ride that wave of overall solid play.

Indian Wells Results and the Upcoming Matches

A great  set of matches await tennis fans

Thursday and Friday Results

  • Alexandr Dolgopolov kept his momentum rolling by earning a huge victory over Milos Raonic by winning 6-3;6-4. His run at Indian Wells has been quite impressive, and though it may still be a longshot, I wouldn’t put it past him to win the whole thing.
  • Roger Federer also kept his tournament hopes alive by beating Kevin Anderson. Anderson also had some good momentum and put up a good fight in the first set losing 7-5, but he went down in the second 6-1.
  • On Friday, Djokovic defeated Benneteau easily, 6-1;6-3.
  • Isner, in his regular fashion, barely squeaked by in two break sets against Gulbis.

Upcoming Matches

  • Novak Djokovic is set to face John Isner in the first semifinals match. Isner defeated Novak in the semis in 2012 at Indian Wells. I wouldn’t bet that history will repeat itself, but at least the precedent has been set for a potential Isner victory.
  • In the other semifinal, Federer is going up against Dolgopolov. Should be a quite interesting matchup, particularly with both playing so well at the moment. If Alexandr is to win, he is going to need all he has in his repertoire to win. Federer could win in straights easily, while if Dolgopolov is to win, it will, in all likelihood, take three sets or at least a tiebreak.

Wednesday’s Results at Indian Wells: Joker Needs 3, Federer beats Haas, Wawrinka and Murray Eliminated

What an interesting day at Indian Wells.

  • Novak Djokovic needed 3 sets to beat Marin Cilic. Cilic actually won the first set 6-1, but then lost 2 and 3 in the 2nd and 3rd sets. Joker decided to stop joking around apparently (cheesy pun). Cilic is still fairly young at 26 and had a sparkling 18-4 2014 record with 2 titles coming into Indian Wells, but he needs to truly take it to the next level and win a grand slam. He beat Tsonga and Murray in consecutive matches at a tournament in the Netherlands, but lost quite easily to Berdych in the finals. To win a grand slam, you’re often going to need 3 quality victories like that to hoist up the title. On the other hand, Djokovic cannot be counted out until he literally loses the last point of the match. Even if he looks terrible in a set, he has the ability to quickly turn it around and get a victory. All the credit in the world should go to his mental toughness and craftiness, not just his skills and conditioning.
  • In an interesting match-up of veterans, Roger Federer beat Tommy Haas 6-4, 6-4. Haas is 3 years older than Roger at 35, and somehow is ranked 12th in the world despite being only 8-7 this year, with 0 victories being against a seeded opponent in a tournament. He has been one of the biggest disappointments in recent tennis history. Granted, he has had a lot of injuries, but there was so much hype in his early career that his strokes were lauded as picture perfect with tennis coaches across the country using him as an example and trying to teach his strokes to young players. Bolletieri took him in for free at age 11 and touted his ability for years. He ended up only been an above average/pretty good tennis professional throughout his career and is near the end of the road. On the other hand, Federer’s demise may have been greatly overstated as he improved to 16-2 in the new year and already has earned about a third of his 2013 prize money. He has had a specially designed racquet added to his repertoire and has been working with slightly different grips at times, and it seems to be paying off.
  • Kevin Anderson and Milos Raonic upended Stan “The Man” Wawrinka and Andy Murray, each in tough, 3 set matches. The 17th seeded South African Anderson beat Stan 7-6 (7-1), 4-6, 6-1. Anderson is barely above .500 in win-loss throughout his career, but is 11-4 this year. The ever-talented Raonic, who turned pro in 2008 yet is only 23 years old, came back after losing the first season 4-6 to Murray by winning the 2nd and 3rd sets 7-5 and 6-3. Raonic has a huge game and is ranked 11th in the world. The only other tournament he has played in this year was the Australian, in which he ended up losing to another up and coming potential star Grigor Dimitrov 10-12 in a 4th set tiebreak. Raonic is now 4-1 this year, and could be on the verge of breaking through and winning a few big tournaments if he plays up to his potential (unlike Haas).

Other Results

  • John Isner advanced by beating Verdasco in 3.
  • Previously featured Alexandr Dolgopolov didn’t have the let-down match after beating Rafa by taking out 13th seeded Fabio Fognini in 2 fairly smooth sets. He will have to beat Raonic in order to advance, and is the lowest seeded player left in the tournament aside from Julien Benneteau.

Alexandr Dolgopolov defeats Rafa Nadal at Indian Wells

Alexandr celebrates after knocking out #1 seed Nadal

Despite losing in February in a tournament final to Rafa Nadal, Alexandr Dolgopolov prevailed in Indian Wells against Nadal after winning a third set tiebreak 7-5.

The 25 year old Ukrainian went into the meeting 0-5 against Nadal but played extremely well this time around, particularly in big moments, and earned one of his most impressive victories of his career.

Dolgopolov won the first set 6-3 and lost 3-6 in the second. He got up 5-2 in the third but it seemed as if Nadal was going to end up pulling it out after he rattled off 3 straight games to tie it up at 5-5. The 31st ranked player in the world responded to the pressure and fought off Nadal’s momentum to get to and win the third set tiebreaker 7-5.

His previous match against Nadal clearly helped his confidence going into this match. Dolgopolov played Nadal close, losing in straights, but after a 2nd set tiebreak. In addition, that match was Nadal’s to lose the whole time with it being on clay.

Dolgopolov historically is better on hard courts than clay and is also undefeated this season after winning the first set. It’s important for a young player like him to get confidence early in a match against a proven veteran and to not waver when things start to get away from him.

It is also important to prepare at an elite level, something Dolgopolov is improving at doing. He has switched back to being coached by his father, who knows his semi-unorthodox game best and practiced against a lefty thoroughly before this match with Nadal.

The dynamic of the volatile situation in his home country is also interesting to take note of. Dolgopolov put out a video with other pros Djokovic, Nadal, Monfils and Murray addressing the situation while calling for peace there. It’s speculative of course, and professional athletes are generally so focused in the moment, but it’s hard to imagine that it didn’t weigh on his mind at some point and perhaps provide a bit of extra energy and motivation. He has been playing very well in the past few tournaments he has played in.

Hopefully he can use this victory to propel himself to a very successful season. He needs to make sure that he doesn’t get too happy about this victory or he may falter against the 13th seeded Fabio Fognini, who is himself coming off a three set victory against Gael Monfils. He may also have to get through a combination of Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka and Roger Federer just to get to the finals where Novak Djokovic may be awaiting him.