For the first time in years, all the big stars (minus Murray who had back surgery) played the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris. Nadal and Djokovic were fighting for the number 1 ranking whereas Federer, Wawrinka, Tsonga and co were all fighting for a qualification to the ATP Finals in London.
For the first time in the tournament history, the eight quarter-finalists were qualified for the ATP Finals in London. Djokovic defeated the defending champion David Ferrer in the final, and clinched his 40th career title.

Kei Nishikori

Second five-sets marathon in three days for Kei Nishikori who defeated Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka 3-6 7-5 7-6 6-7 6-4 to become the first Japanese man in 81 years to make a Grand slam semi-final.

Kei Nishikori

Kei Nishikori

Kei Nishikori
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Stan Wawrinka

Some pictures of Stan Wawrinka practicing with Tomas Berdych on Wednesday:

Stan Wawrinka

Stan Wawrinka

Stan Wawrinka

Stan Wawrinka
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Djokovic and Wawrinka

Thanks to Peg, who covered the Cincinnati Masters for Tennis Buzz, a few pictures of players practicing:

Sam Stosur:

cincytennis day 3 batch 1 633

Svetlana Kuznetsova:

cincytennis day 3 batch 1 598

Lucie Safarova:

Lucie Safarova

Jelena Jankovic:

Jelena Jankovic

Jelena Jankovic
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Steve Johnson

At the Western and Southern Open, the “mixed zone” is an area to the left of the entrance to the players’ lounge. The windows are similar to the backdrop in the main interview room, so that the logos of the tours and the sponsors appear in the photos and broadcasts of interviews conducted there. This doesn’t always go accordingly to plan, however — such as, for instance, when Benoit Paire plays what I’m told was a stinker of a match and just wants to go home. He had been scheduled for a “win or lose” interview in the mixed zone, however, so the French journalist I had been waiting with followed Paire to the parking lot and asked his questions while Paire changed his shirt:

Benoit Paire

Steve Johnson, the winner of the match, arrived in the mixed zone a few minutes later. He discussed baseball with an ATP staff member while waiting for the session to begin. Nick McCarvel then conducted a “Tennis Moments” interview, and there was time for me to add questions about conditions (like others, Steve said the ball was “light” and “flying” out there, and that the “pretty fast” surface suited him well) and the recent change in D-1 college tennis scoring (he’d heard about it from his coach only two hours earlier, and thinks it will be interesting — it will create excitement, and it will be good to see guys learning how to play pressure points).

Steve Johnson

Like Johnson, Safarova had not appeared on the preliminary interview schedule, but I’m guessing some requests had been filed by the time she and Venus began the decider:

Lucie Safarova

I’d peeked in on the end of Julien Benneteau‘s match on Court 9, and I barely beat him to the mixed zone.

Julien Benneteau

His interview was entirely in French. Wawrinka‘s was mostly in French:

Stan Wawrinka

Vasek Pospisil drew a half-dozen of us, and we were instructed to limit ourselves to one or two questions each.

Vasek Pospisil

There were often cries for autographs from nearby fans after the interviews. Some players ignored the clamoring and head straight inside, and others answered the pleas:

Lucie Safarova

More reports from Cincinnati:
On the way to the Western & Southern Open
The Western & Southern Open main draw party
Friday evening at Lindner Family Tennis Center
Seeking relief from the heat
Proximity
Interviews and Press Conferences