Yoshihito Nishioka, Memphis Open 2016

Enjoy a few pictures of Sam Querrey‘s quarterfinal win over Yoshihito Nishioka. Check out the recap here.

Querrey d. Nishioka QF

Querrey d. Nishioka QF
Read More

Taylor Fritz, Memphis Open 2016

Enjoy a few pictures of Taylor Fritz hard fought 6-4 5-7 7-6 win over Benjamin Becker in the quarterfinals of the Memphis Open on Friday. Read full recap here.

Fritz d. Becker

Fritz d. Becker

Fritz d. Becker
Read More

Taylor Fritz, Memphis Open 2016

The main court (aka Stadium) at the Racquet Club of Memphis can be simultaneously intimate yet spacious. Even the uppermost rows of the bleachers aren’t that far from the court — in fact, a couple of fans told me they didn’t get around to sitting in their assigned spots because they felt they could see more of the court from further up.

That said, during the marquee matches, fans were encouraged to compete for courtside seats by demonstrating how much noise they could make during the changeover between games three and four. The winners were then reseated in the Stash Home Furnishings box, which was right behind the player(s) seated to the chair umpire’s left, with leather armchairs, champagne, and snacks. This couple had previously been sitting high above the baseline to the right of the main entrance; they are now behind Mikhail Kukushkin’s chair.

winners of courtside seats

This isn’t to say things don’t get crowded or congested — just ask folks trying to leave right after a match. But to date, the stands are rarely filled to capacity (there’s been only one match where I couldn’t find a seat, and that was Maria Sharapova vs. Bethanie Mattek-Sands in 2010), and it’s usually OK to discreetly move down a few rows or find a more congenial spot if, for example, a nearby stranger literally cannot hold their liquor (an incident I heard about from an Arkansas fan — after the third spilled glass, she opted to move, stating that while she herself liked wine, she wasn’t interested in wearing it).

At any rate, no matter where you end up sitting in Stadium, you get to hear and see quite a bit. The crowds this year were supportive of both American and foreign players, applauding great points no matter who played them. While the majority of players aren’t household names, they are still among the best 200 in the world; while the disparity in skills and experience is often notable (2010 champion Sam Querrey is in a different league than qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka, Kei Nishikori likewise significantly better than Kukushkin, and Challenger circuit habitues Wesley Koolhof and Matwe Middelkoop no real threat to Querrey paired with Steve Johnson), the lower-ranked players are still capable of powerful rallies, astonishing volleys, and wicked serves that kick into the stands, which means that even the straightforward straight-set not-really-in-doubt matches can be fun to watch, rewarding spectators with fantastic points to ooh and aah over.

The Friday afternoon session started at 3:00 p.m. I was able to catch the final set of the Benjamin Becker vs. Taylor Fritz quarterfinal on Stadium. It was chaired by Australian silver badge umpire Simon Cannavan, who has a deep, resonant voice (shown here following a ball as it hit the ceiling):

Simon Cannavan
Read More

Ricardas Berankis, Memphis Open 2016

Ricardas Berankis defeated Donald Young 7-6(3) 6-1 to reach the Memphis Open semifinals. Enjoy a few pictures and check out the recap here.

Donald Young on Grandstand

Donald Young on Grandstand

Berankis d. Young
Read More

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.

ABN AMRO WTT 2016 Centre Court-170.jpg

ABN AMRO WTT 2016 Centre Court-175.jpg

ABN AMRO WTT 2016 Centre Court-202.jpg

ABN AMRO WTT 2016 Centre Court-207.jpg

ABN AMRO WTT 2016 Centre Court-212.jpg

ABN AMRO WTT 2016 Centre Court-253.jpg

ABN AMRO WTT 2016 Centre Court-282.jpg

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.

ABN AMRO WTT 2016 Centre Court-118.jpg

ABN AMRO WTT 2016 Centre Court-115.jpg

Photo credit: ABN AMRO