Karen Khachanov

Perhaps tired by his marathon match against Quentin Halys the day before, Rudy Coco could not do much to counter Karen Khachanov, who wins in straight sets, 6-1 6-4.

Aged 18, Khachanov trains at the 4Slam tennis academy in Barcelona, with former number 40, Galo Blanco.
He won 2 Futures tournaments last year, in Taipei and Mulhouse, and has 3 victories over top 100 players: Victor Hanescu (then ranked 63 in St Petersburg, 2013), Albert Ramos (72, Moscow 2013) and Janko Tipsarevic (27, Moscow 2013). He also represented his country in Davis Cup, and became Russia’s youngest ever Davis Cup player during Russia’s tie against South Africa in 2013.

After having seen him playing in Moscow in 2013, Yevgeny Kafelnikov predicted his young compatriot would be top 20 at the end of 2015.

Actually ranked 363, he should join the top 200 pretty soon. A player to follow in the years to come.

As for his opponent of the day, Rudy Coco, he’s quite a spectacular player by his playing style first but also by his attitude on court: he talks, and grunts, and talks and shouts, and talks. A charismatic player, he was really nice with the kids after the match.

Peut être fatigué par sa demie finale marathon de la veille, Rudy Coco n’a rien pu faire pour contrer la puissance de Karen Khachanov, qui s’impose en deux sets 6-1 6-4.

Agé de 18 ans, Khachanov s’entraîne à l’académie 4Slam à Barcelone, avec son coach l’ancien top 40, Galo Blanco. Il a remporté 2 Futures l’an dernier (Taipei et Mulhouse), et a déjà 3 victoires contre des joueurs du top 100: Victor Hanescu (alors classé 63è, à St Petersbourg en 2013), Albert Ramos (72, Moscou 2013) et Janko Tipsarevic (27, Moscou 2013). Il a aussi représenté son pays en Coupe davis et est d’ailleurs devenu le plus jeune joueur russe de Coupe Davis de l’histoire lors de la rencontre Russie-Afrique du Sud en 2013.

Après l’avoir vu jouer à Moscou en 2013, Yevgeny Kafelnikov a prédit que son jeune compatriote serait dans le top 20 fin 2015.

Classé 363è mondial, il devrait rapidement faire son entrée dans le top 200. Un joueur à suivre dans les années à venir.

En ce qui concerne son adversaire du jour, Rudy Coco, c’est un joueur spectaculaire tant par son style de jeu que par son attitude sur le court: il parle, il grogne, parle, crie, parle. Un joueur charismatique, très sympa avec ses jeunes fans après la finale.


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Joachim Gérard

The Open du Nord, in Lille, had the great idea to organize a wheelchair tennis exhibition before the singles final between Karen Khachanov and Rudy Coco: a mini-set (tie break at 4 games all) between the Belgian Joachim Gerard, world number 5 and the French player Nicolas Peifer world number 6.

Some spectacular points in a relaxed atmosphere. Enjoy some photos and videos.

L’Open du Nord à Lille a eu la très bonne idée d’organiser une exhibition de tennis en fauteuil en lever de rideau de la finale entre Karen Khachanov et Rudy Coco. Au programme: un mini-set (tie break à 4 jeux partout) entre le Belge Joachim Gérard, numéro 5 mondial et le Français Nicolas Peifer numéro 6 mondial.

Quelques points spectaculaires dans une ambiance décontractée. Ci-dessous quelques photos et vidéos.

Joachim Gérard and Nicolas Peifer

Joachim Gérard
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Open du Nord doubles trophy ceremony

Last match on Saturday: the final between number 1 seeds Yannick Mertens and Boy Westerhof and number 2 seeds Jonathan Eysseric and Constant Lestienne.
Lots of people left after the second semifinal. The match is not really exciting (by the way I really don’t like the no-ad rule) and the umpire was really bad, I couldn’t understand a word of what he was saying. Mertens and Westerhof win 6-4 6-4.

Dernier match programmé samedi: la finale du double opposant les têtes de série numéro un Yannick Mertens et Boy Westerhof aux têtes de série numéro deux les Français Jonathan Eysseric et Constant Lestienne.
Une bonne partie du public est partie après la deuxième demi-finale de simple. Le match n’est pas vraiment passionnant, et l’arbitrage est particulièrement mauvais, impossible de comprendre un traître mot de ce que dit le juge de chaise. Mertens et Westerhof l’emportent 6-4 6-4.

Constant Lestienne:
Constant Lestienne

Jonathan Eysseric, former junior world number one/Jonathan Eysseric, ancien numéro un mondial junior:
Jonathan Eysseric
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Karen Khachanov

Pro tennis was back in Lille last week, three months after the historic Davis Cup final. The Open du Nord, a $15,000 Futures tournament, is of course much less prestigious than the Davis Cup, but it is always fun to get to watch some live tennis. Lower tournaments are also a good opportunity to discover young players in the making like Karen Khachanov and Quentin Halys, or some charismatic veteran players like Rudy Coco.

This tournament was full of surprises: the number 1 seed, Boy Westerhof (No. 1) was upset in the first round by qualifier Corentin Denolly; in the quarterfinals the defending champion Yannick Mertens (No. 263) and Jonathan Eysseric (No. 278) were beaten by Constant Lestienne (No. 459) and Quentin Halys (No. 619).

Khachanov, Lestienne, or Halys Coco, who will join Ronald Agenor, Greg Rusedski and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga as winner of the Open du Nord?

Le tennis pro était de retour à Lille la semaine dernière, trois mois après la finale de Coupe Davis. Bien sûr, l’Open du Nord, un tournoi Futures 15 000$, est bien moins prestigieux que la Coupe Davis, mais c’est toujours agréable de regarder du tennis live, quelque soit le niveau, non? De plus les tournois Challengers et Futures permettent de découvrir de jeunes espoirs, comme Karen Khachanov et Quentin Halys, ou des vétérans charismatiques comme Rudy Coco.

Les surprises se sont enchaînées durant le tournoi: Boy Westerhof, tête de série numéro 1 et 252ème mondial a été battu par le qualifié Corentin Denolly, 17 ans et 1036ème mondial dès le 1er tour; en quarts de finale, le tenant du titre, Yannick Mertens (No. 263) et Jonathan Eysseric (No. 278) ont été battus respectivement par Constant Lestienne (No. 459) et Quentin Halys (No. 619).

Khachanov, Lestienne, Halys ou Coco, qui va rejoindre Ronald Agenor, Greg Rusedski et Jo-Wilfried Tsonga au palmarès de l’Open du Nord?

Karen Khachanov (No. 363) vs Constant Lestienne (No. 459)

The 18 yr old Russian takes the control of the match from the first point on, and wins easily 6-4 6-0. Khachanov, whose biggest weapons are his powerful forehand and serve, has already 3 victories over top 100 players (Hanescu, Ramos and Tipsarevic). I guess we’ll hear more from him in the years to come.

Le jeune Russe prend le contrôle du match dès le premier point, et l’emporte facilement 6-4 6-0. Khachanov, dont les points forts sont le coup droit et le service, a déjà 3 top 100 à son tableau de chasse (Hanescu, Ramos et Tipsarevic). Un joueur à suivre, qui pourrait faire parler de lui sur le circuit ATP dans les années à venir.


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Jennifer Capriati, Australian Open 2002

By Suzi Petkovski, Tennis Week, February 2002:

Rarely does the sequel beat the original. Jennifer Capriati was mindful of that as she returned to the Australian Open, site of her fairy-tale first Slam win 12 months before.

“It’s pretty tough to top last year,” Capriati conceded. “I mean, that’s the best I’ve ever played.”

But Capriati had cause to reconsider after her courageous 4-6 7-6(7) 6-2 comeback victory over Martina Hingis in a dramatic 2002 Australian Open final played in brutal heat.

“I don’t know which one was better, winning last year or this year,” beamed the 25-year-old after an arduously successful first Grand Slam defense. “I don’t know what there is to come. But definitely, this is the most unique victory.” Jen, we’re, like, really stoked for you and stuff.

Capriati recovered from a 6-4 4-0 deficit and stood a point from 5-1. She stared down four match points in two separate games, as well as the tiebreak, in the second set. For the first half of the match, the American’s play had been inhibited; a contrast to the blazing winners of last year. But on those critical match points, Capriati was a lion. Not for 40 years has a woman overcome match points in a Grand Slam final; no one has ever survived four.

All this was achieved in horrific heat that turned the Australian Open final into the Australian Open furnace. Temperatures in the stands hit 90°F, but on court the mercury was a brain-frying 107°F.

“It was just really hard to breathe; the air was just so thick and so hot,”

said Capriati of the toughest on-court conditions she’d ever endured. A big call coming from a Floridian.

For all the 130 minutes of the final, the capacity 15,000 crowd wasn’t watching a sporting contest so much as wincing at a form of cruel and unusual punishment. In between long, searching points both players sought relief by taking the seats of line judges, slumping exhausted over the courtside slock, leaving the court several times, and in the case of Hingis, donning an ice vest. During the 10-minute break at the end of the 66-minute second set, both women were packed in ice in the locker room – “quite a sight,” Martina related.

As a Hingis backhand floated wide to give Capriati the tumultuous second set, the Swiss Miss hurled her racquet from baseline to coutside seat. She sensed she’d thrown away her last chance for victory. And so it proved. Hingis dreaded the thought of going back into the inferno. “I didn’t really believe in it anymore.” When they returned, the 21-year old was running on fumes. She’d been on court for a three-set doubles final victory the previous day, also in scorching heat, and fooled no one when she made the first break of the decider to go ahead 2-1.

“My head was all over the place,” recalled Martina. “I knew I probably wouldn’t last if I really needed to.”

Hingis’ physical collapse was as painful as it was inevitable. On her penultimate service game, the spring gone from her step, she foot-faulted to hand the break to Capriati. Finally, on the Hingis serve, Capriati clinched consecutive Aussie crowns with a forehand return winner on her first match point. Having won just four of the first 14 games, Capriati hammered out 13 of the next 17.

Physical strength and staying power, so impressive a feature of Capriati’s triumph in 2001, again proved decisive. This year, a new face joined Capriati’s travelling troupe: trainer Chantal Menard, a Milan-based, former world kickboxing champion. But even more impessive was Capriati’s mental steel. “The whole time, even though I was coming from behind, I thought I could still win this,” Jennifer revealed. “I never really thought of myself as being defeated out there.”

Indeed, Capriati was indomitable in the face of many mental battles: the strain of defending a Slam for the first time, the jolting loss to Alexandra Stevenson in her first match at Sydney, and she strained hip flexors that she carried into the tournament. She came back from a break down in the third set against Greek newcomer Eleni Daniilidou and staved off a set point against Rita Grande in the fourth round. Agasint the erratic Amelie Mauresmo in the quarters, Capriati was ruthless, winning 6-2 6-2, and in a semifinal of fierce, primal hitting against Kim Clijsters, she broke free 6-1 in the third.

But the most perilous test came in the final against Hingis. “I had a lot to deal with out thee,” Capriati reflected.

“Just being the defending champion, trying to keep the No.1 status, dealing with the conditions, and I didn’t feel like I was playing my best tennis in the beginning. So it means a lot to me that, as long as you just stay in there and try your hardest and fight, it can win you matches and that’s exactly what I did today.”

Monica Seles and Anke Huber, Australian Open 1996

By Claude England, Maryland Match Point

At first I thought it must have been the strong capuccino I had enjoyed after ou last dinner in Melbourne that was keeping me so wide awake, but as the minutes continued to tick by, I came to realize it as the sheer excitement of the past five days at the Australian Open that was still tingling through my body.
So many talented players, great matches, and the magnificent state-of-the-art Australian Open facility. Where to begin?

Mark Philippoussis opened up the center court action with a straight victory over Nicolas Kiefer, who would have, at that time, thought he would go on to upset Pete Sampras in straight sets, only to be thrashed in the following round by fellow Australian Mark Woodforde.
Next it was defending champion Andre Agassi who basically limped onto center court after having the misfortune of hurting a tendon in his knee during a fall on his apartment steps. Andre, wearing a pathetic bandage, somehow won this match against Argentine qualifier Gaston Etlis, who at one point was serving for the match, and at another time was within two points of perhaps the upset of the decade. It was a sad sight from both ends of the court. Etlis played brilliant tennis, showing no mercy for Andre’s inability to move around the court, hitting precision drop shots that the defending champion, instead of racing towards, could only stand and watch. But when it came to winning those final points, Etlis became even more creative in finding ways not to win, and Andre hobbled to a 6-3 in the fifth victory.
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