Martin Klizan, Rotterdam 2016

What a rollercoaster week for Martin Klizan! On Friday, he saved five match points against Roberto Bautista Agut before outlasting him 6-7 7-6 6-0 to spot a place in the semifinals. Bautista Agut had won 13 of his last 14 matches, winning in Auckland (d. Sock) and Sofia (d. Troicki).
On Saturday he saved three more before completing a 6-7 7-6 6-2 comeback against wild card Nicolas Mahut.
And on Sunday, he rallied from a set down to defeat fifth seed Gaël Monfils 6-7 6-3 6-1 and win the biggest title of his career so far, his fourth trophy after St. Petersburg 2012, Munich 2014 and Casablanca 2015. 

“Every day I was just fighting. Most of the time I had three-hour matches every day, so the only thing I could do was fight. In the end I saved so many match points. I still cannot believe it.”

Stan Wawrinka was the defending champion, but did not enter the tournament. Number one seed Richard Gasquet withdrew due to a groin injury.

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Playing only for the second time as a pair, Nicolas Mahut and Vasek Pospisil captured the doubles crown, defeating Philipp Petzschner and Alexander Peya 7-6 6-4.

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Photo credit: ABN AMRO

It’s over for Hewitt

Lleyton Hewitt, Australian Open 2016

Lleyton Hewitt‘s life as a pro player is over, as the former number one and his partner Sam Groth were knocked out of the Australian Open men’s doubles by Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock.

Hewitt will now focus on his role as Davis Cup captain, and Australia’s next tie against USA in March.

Lleyton Hewitt plays doubles with Sam Groth  at the Australian Open 2016

Lleyton Hewitt plays doubles with Sam Groth  at the Australian Open 2016

Lleyton Hewitt plays doubles with Sam Groth  at the Australian Open 2016
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British Davis Cup team

What a memorable Davis Cup weekend, with some massive performances by Andy Murray and Lleyton Hewitt.

Great Britain – France: 3-1

Gilles Simon defeats James Ward 6-4 6-4 6-1
Andy Murray defeats Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-5 7-6 6-2
Andy and Jamie Murray defeat Nicolas Mahut/Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 4-6 6-3 7-6 6-1
Andy Murray defeats Gilles Simon 4-6 7-6 6-3 6-0

One more disillusion for the French team after their defeat in the final last year. Despite 3 top 20 players in their team (Simon, Tsonga and Gasquet), they could not beat Team GB at Queen’s club this weekend. Andy Murray won three matches in as many days to propel Great Britain into the Davis Cup semifinals for the first time in 34 years.

Australia – Kazakhstan: 3-2

Mikhail Kukushkin defeats Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-4 6-3 6-3
Aleksander Nedovyesov defeats Nick Kyrgios 7-6 6-7 7-6 6-4
Sam Groth/Lleyton Hewitt defeat Andrey Golubev/Aleksander Nedovyesov 6-4 7-6 6-2
Sam Groth defeats Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3 7-6 4-6 7-6
Lleyton Hewitt defeats Aleksander Nedovyesov 7-6 6-2 6-3

Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios were respectively 3 and 4 when Lleyton Hewitt played his first Davis Cup match back in 1999. And this weekend the soon-to-retire showed them how the job has to be done. After the surprising defeats of the young guns, Groth and Hewitt won the doubles on Saturday, and on Sunday Sam Groth levelled the tie against Mikhail Kukushkin. Hewitt then defeated Nedovyesov in straight sets to complete Australia’s first 0-2 comeback since 1939.

The Emirates Arena in Glasgow is the favourite to host the much anticipated semi-final clash between Great Britain and Australia, that will meet for the 13th time, with the Aussies leading 8-4 and having won the last three.

Andy Murray and Lleyton Hewitt are ready to rumble:

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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

Sock and Pospisil

Before this tournament, the Canadian-American duo of Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock had never played a match together, they are now Wimbledon champions. They beat defending champions Bob and Mike Bryan in five sets 7-6(5) 6-7(3) 6-4 3-6 7-5.

Jack Sock

Vasek Pospisil

Mike Bryan
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