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Angelique Kerber Rolls Into Australian Open Fourth Round

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

 

Angelique Kerber continued her roll at the Australian Open as she breezed past Kristyna Pliskova in the third round on Friday, 6-0, 6-4.

“It’s great to have another good match under my belt and to be in the fourth round again here,” Kerber said. “I think that I’m finding my rhythm in the tournament now.”

The German made her breakthrough in Melbourne last year winning her first major title inside Rod Laver Arena, and will be looking to grab her third overall this year after she also claimed the US Open in 2016. Kerber is well on her way to the final in the weaker top half of the draw, and she could possibly meet up with Serena Williams for a rematch in the final.

Pliskova is the sister of Karolina Pliskova, who reached the US Open final last year, but is left-handed and has struggled to have the same level of success as her twin. Kristyna has been known more for her doubles results, but had made a good run in Melbourne this year.

Kerber easily dispatched the lower-ranked Pliskova, hitting just 14 unforced errors to her 34. After needed three sets to win both of her first two matches, the No. 1 player in the world gained some much needed confidence as she continues her Australian Open title defence.

In the first set, Kerber raced out to a 5-0 lead after just 17 minutes and finished off the bagel easily thanks to three unforced errors in the final game from Pliskova.

Kerber continued her great form into the second set, going up an early break. Pliskova, though, was able to get back into the set by winning three straight games midway through to take a lead. Kerber didn’t let that mini-slump in the second set stop her, though, as she broke at 4-4 to take a lead before serving out the match with ease.

“It was not so easy today, she is a tough opponent,” said Kerber. “I tried to stay focused until the last point.”

Next up for Kerber is American Coco Vandeweghe, who defeated Genie Bouchard in the third round in three tight sets.

“I think it will be a little bit similar to today. Coco is a tough opponent,” Kerber said. “I know that she’s serving good, as well. I have to move good, be ready, bring a lot of balls back, but also be aggressive.”

If Kerber can get past Vandeweghe, she could most likely take on Garbine Muguruza in the quarterfinals, with Venus Williams and Svetlana Kuznetsova potentially awaiting her in the semifinals.

 

Denis Istomin Shocks Australian Open With Novak Djokovic Upset Win

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

Denis Istomin pulled off what will most likely be the biggest upset of 2017 as he dispatched the six-time champion Novak Djokovic in the second round of the Australian Open 7-6(8), 5-7, 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-4.

“It’s unreal. It was impossible to think that I can hold it five sets with Novak, physically and mentally. So I did well today,” Istomin said.

Istomin is currently ranked No. 117 in the world after reaching a career high ranking of No. 33 back in 2012. He only managed to get into the main draw at the Australian Open because he won a wild card playoff for players from Asia in December.

In the semifinal of that wild card playoff, Istomin actually faced multiple set points. But now, here he is in the third round of the Australian Open with an upset of Djokovic in his pocket.

In the first game, Djokovic had to play a 24-point game, fighting off six break points along the way. There was an exchange of breaks midway through the set, but the two eventually settled for a tiebreak. It was Djokovic who raced out to a 4-1 lead, but Istomin proved he was up for the fight, as he battled back to win it 10-8 and take the first set.

In set two, Istomin had to fight off one break point in his 2-2 service game, but nothing too exciting happened until the last three games of the set. With Djokovic serving at 4-5, Istomin got out to a 15-40 lead, meaning he had two set points. The No. 2 player in the world showed why he had 12 major titles under his belt, though, as he rattled off four points in a row to hold before breaking Istomin in the next game, eventually taking the second set 7-5.

The third got off to a hectic start, as there were three consecutive breaks early on, allowing Djokovic to get out to a break lead. In the end, Djokovic would break Istomin in three of his service games in a row, taking the set 6-2 and looking like he had finally killed off the fight from Istomin.

The top-ranked player from Uzbekistan didn’t go away easily, as he came right back in the fourth set and got out to an early break lead. Djokovic didn’t let him hold on to that lead for too long, though, and broke to get back on serve midway through the set. Once again, the two men needed a tiebreak to decide things, and once again it was Istomin coming out on top. This one was a little easier for the wild card as he raced out to a 5-1 lead and claimed the set on his third set point.

In the decider, Istomin had a little trouble in his first two service games while Djokovic was cruising. Seemingly out of nowhere, Istomin broke the Serb for a 3-2 lead with a screaming backhand down the line, and that was all he would need. In his last three service games, the wild card dropped just three points, sending Djokovic out of the tournament, and himself into the third round.

“Whenever he needed to, he came up with a big serve, a big play. All I can say is hats off,” said Djokovic, who actually won seven more points than Istomin did in the match. “He’s a well-deserved winner.”

Istomin is into the Australian Open third round for just the third time in his career, and he will get to take on Pablo Carreno Busta. Istomin will be looking to match his best result at a major against Carreno Busta, as Istomin reached the fourth round of Wimbledon in 2012 and the US Open in 2013.

Andreas Seppi Comes From Two Sets Down In Marathon Australian Open Upset of Nick Kyrgios

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

 

Andreas Seppi pulled off a massive upset on Wednesday in Melbourne as he battled back from two sets to love down to upset the home favorite Nick Kyrgios, 1-6, 6-7(1), 6-4, 6-2, 10-8.

“It was a very tough match. I didn’t start well but I started to play better and better. Last time (against Kyrgios) I was two sets to love up and lost and I thought I would try to do the same to him,” Seppi said.

This isn’t the first time the Italian has pulled off a major upset at the Australian Open, as he took out Roger Federer in the third round of the 2015 event.

Kyrgios, the 21-year old seeded No. 14 in this year’s Australian Open, has been pegged as one of the brightest upcoming stars for Australian tennis for the past couple years now, but has often raised eyebrows due to his temperament and demeanor on court.

He’s been seen noticeably tanking during matches, showing a lack of effort or care for the game, and another early, disappointing loss for Kyrgios will have his fans questioning his dedication to tennis once again.

“It’s obviously disappointing, but it was ultimately a pretty fun match,” said Kyrgios, who heard a few boos while walking off the court after the loss. “Obviously it’s not the greatest thing to hear. I didn’t have the best preparation coming into the Australian Open. But getting booed off, definitely not the best feeling.”

The match between Kyrgios and Seppi started how many would have expected it to, with Kyrgios rolling through the first set, including a break at love in Seppi’s first service game of the match. No breaks, or even any break points, were seen in the second set, but Kyrgios was still able to win it with ease as he opened up a 4-0 lead in the tiebreak and didn’t look back, taking it 7-1.

Seppi was able to make his presence felt in the second set, but you would have expected his fight to die down after missing out on the opportunity to even up the match. That was far from what happened, though, as the Italian veteran, now ranked No. 89 after being as high as No. 18 in 2013, roared back in the next two sets.

The young Australian just had no answer for Seppi, as he was once again unable to get a look at even a single break point in the third set, allowing the Italian to break at 4-4 to go up 5-4, and then comfortably hold to take the set.

“I was more concentrating on my game, not looking too much at what he is doing. I was focusing on my game and it worked out good for me,” Seppi said, as Kyrgios received two code violations and a point penalty in the third set.

In the fourth, Seppi had zero trouble. He broke in Kyrgios’ first service game of the set before breaking four games later for a double break lead. Once again, Seppi faced zero break points.

Seppi continued his roll in the decider, going up a break at 6-5 and serving for the match. Kyrgios finally woke up and saw his first break chances since the first set, as he broke back with ease to prolong the match. Just a couple games later, with Kyrgios up 8-7, he had a look at one more break point, a match point at this time, but Seppi was able to fight it off with a forehand winner.

That would prove to be the climax of the match as Seppi would go on to win 10 of the next 13 points after saving match point, breaking Kyrgios for a 9-8 lead before holding at 15 for the win, 10-8 in the fifth.

Andreas Seppi will take on Steve Darcis for a spot in the fourth round in the Australian Open.

Ivo Karlovic Makes Another Mark In Tennis History With Australian Open Match Victory

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

 

Court 19 at the Australian Open typically wouldn’t be the site of the story of the day, but it was the center of attention on Tuesday as Ivo Karlovic and Horacio Zeballos battled for five sets and five hours. It was Karlovic, who hit an Australian Open record 75 aces in the match, who would come out on top, but not having to battle back from two sets to love down for the 6-7(8), 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 22-20 win.

“This match is what I will, after my career, remember,” Karlovic, 37 years old, said. “This one definitely I will remember forever.”

Zeballos is known for his clay-court style of play, defending the baseline well and getting a lot of balls back in play, so this was always going to be a difficult matchup for Karlovic. The No. 20 seed in this year’s Australian Open, Karlovic is known for his big serve, big forehand, and great volleys that all come as part of him being 6’11”.

Neither man saw a break point in the first set, and the returner only won more than one point in a game twice out of 12 games. So a tiebreak was needed to separate the two, and it was the Argentinian who struck first, racing out to a 3-0 lead before eventually taking it 8-6.

In the second set, it took seven games for a break point to come for either man, and once again it was Zeballos striking first. Up 4-3, Zeballos broke for a 5-3 lead before easily holding to take the set and give himself a two sets lead, appearing to be just one set away from what would be a routine win.

“It was difficult mentally because I was down 2-0. I had to also fight against him and against my own head. So it was definitely really difficult,” said Karlovic, who hit 141 winners in the match.

Zeballos applied some pressure early on Karlovic, as he won four points in the Croat’s first two service games, but couldn’t get the early break. That allowed some room for Karlovic to settle down and find his rhythm, and he would finally get his first break of the match at 6-5 in the third set to win it and take the match into a fourth set.

After having a look at two break points in the first game of the fourth set, Zeballos crumpled when he was unable to convert. It would be the easiest set of the match from that point as Karlovic would break twice to win the set 6-2, holding three of his four service games at love.

The fifth set was historic. It was the longest fifth set in the history of the Australian Open at two hours and 57 minutes, and the match was the longest when it comes to games since the inception of the tiebreak.

Karlovic had the advantage of serving first and saw break chances at 3-2, while Zeballos had a break point at 11-11. Those were the only two games that saw break points, though, until Karlovic was up 21-20 and opened up a 15-40 lead on the Zeballos serve. The first chance wasn’t converted, but the Croat didn’t miss out on the second one, as he placed a beautiful lob over Zeballos’ head who retreated for hit but shanked the return, giving Karlovic the win.

“Actually I was thinking about that other match, Isner versus Mahut. I was hoping, a little bit, it could go that long so I could also have that record,” said Karlovic, who now holds the record for aces at the Australian Open and the US Open.

Next up for Karlovic will be an Australian home crowd favorite, Andrew Whittington, who defeated Adam Pavlasek in four sets in the first round.

 

Vero Beach “King of the Hill” Event Winner, Runner-Up To Earn Mardy Fish USTA Futures Doubles Wild Card

The Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships announced today that the winner and runner-up of the 22nd annual “King of the Hill” tennis tournament that starts Tuesday, January 17 at The Moorings Club in Vero Beach, Fla., will receive a main draw doubles wild card into its annual U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) Pro Circuit “Futures” event to be held April 21-30 at Grand Harbor Golf & Beach Club.

“The King of Hill” (KOTH) is the annual doubles competition featuring tennis professionals from the Vero Beach area who compete in round-robin competitions on Tuesday nights to the determine the “king” of the local tennis professional. Proceeds from “King of the Hill” benefit the Youth Guidance Mentoring & Activities Program.

The Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships is the USTA’s $15,000 Futures-level tournament played in Vero Beach since 1995 and regarded as one of the best entry-level professional tennis tournaments in the world. Proceeds from the event benefit the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation, the non-profit tennis foundation benefiting children, named for Vero Beach native son Mardy Fish, the former top 10 tennis star and a U.S. Davis Cup standout.

“We are happy to award a main draw doubles wild card to the winner and runner-up of the annual ‘King of the Hill’ competition that showcases the top tennis talent in the Vero Beach area,” said Tom Fish, Chairman of the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation. “We are happy to work and partner with King of the Hill founder and organizer Gigi Casapu to work together to promote our respective events that are contested and promoted to raise funds to help the youth of our area.”

Many former KOTH champions and competitors have played in the Vero Beach USTA Futures, including four-time champion Robert Kowalczyk, the former USTA National Boy’s 18 Hard Court Champion, four-time champion Aldo Burga, now of The Legacy club, two-time champion Kriegler Brink, a singles semifinalist at the Vero Beach Futures in 2011, and defending KOTH champion Mike Alford, a former standout at the University of Florida, among others.

KOTH matches run every Tuesday starting at 6 pm from January 17 through February 21 at The Moorings club. Admission is $8.

Advance tickets for the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships are available at www.VeroBeachTennisTickets.com. Admission for children 18 and under is free. Approximately 3,000 fans annually attend the event, which is seen as one of the best-attended events in the world on the “Futures” level of professional tennis tournaments. The 2016 event featured 13 players who played Davis Cup for their country and was won by Jonas Luetjen of Germany, who defeated Latvian Davis Cupper Martins Podzus in the final.

Some of the past competitors at the USTA Vero Beach Futures have gone on to succeed at the highest levels of professional tennis, winning major singles and doubles titles, Olympic medals and Davis Cup championships and earning No. 1 world rankings. Andy Roddick, the 2003 U.S. Open champion who attained the world No. 1 ranking and helped the United States win the Davis Cup in 2007, competed in Vero Beach in 1999. Thomas Johansson of Sweden, who reached the second round of the Vero Beach Futures in 1995, won the Australian Open seven years later in 2002. Nicolas Massu, the 1998 singles runner-up in Vero Beach, won the singles and doubles gold medals at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, beating Fish in the gold medal singles match. Kyle Edmund, the 2013 champion in Vero Beach, helped Great Britain to the Davis Cup title in 2015. Other notable former competitors in Vero Beach include former world No. 2 Magnus Norman, former world No. 4 Tim Henman, 2016 Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic among others. Former Vero Beach competitors have combined to win 19 titles in singles, doubles and mixed doubles at Grand Slam tournaments. Six former Vero Beach players have gone on to play Davis Cup for the United States – Roddick, Fish, Taylor Dent, Jared Palmer, Donald Young and Ryan Harrison.

In Return To Tournament Play, Roger Federer Wins Australian Open Opener

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

Roger Federer returned to professional tennis on Monday in Melbourne as he defeated qualifier Jurgen Melzer in four sets, 7-5, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.

The 17-time major champion played the last match on Rod Laver Arena on day one and gave the fans a little scare in the first two sets, but was able to settle down and find his rhythm in the end to get the win.

“I’m happy I was made to work today. It was great to be out there. I really enjoyed myself, even though it wasn’t so simple, Federer said.

Federer, who last played at Wimbledon in July of 2016, was forced to miss the second half of the season due to a back injury. The Suisse wanted to take the rest of the year to rehab and regroup in an attempt to make a run at another major in 2017, and possibly even getting back into the Top 3 or 4 spots of the ATP rankings.

“It was a long road but I’ve made it. I’m in the draw and it’s a beautiful thing. Any match is a good match. Even if I’d lost today, because I’m back on the court,” Federer said.

Melzer is no easy opponent, despite his current ranking of No. 300. The Austrian reached the semifinals of the French Open in 2010 and reached a career high ranking of No. 8 in April of 2011. After a bout with injuries over the last couple years, though, he had seen his ranking drop to outside the Top 500 just last summer.

“To play Jurgen was cool. We know each other since we were 16. We go way back,” Federer said. The two are now both 35-years old.

In Melbourne, Melzer had looked solid as he won three qualifying matches comfortably to earn his spot in the main draw, but was unlucky in getting matched up with Federer, the player who many will say is the greatest of all time.

It was a good battle for two sets as Melzer was actually the first player to make a move, breaking Federer for a 4-2 lead in the first set. The Suisse would break right back for 4-3, though, before going on to break again four games later to go up 6-5 and serve out the set at love.

Despite the disappointment of dropping the first set after being up a break, Melzer refused to go away in the second set. He was even broken in the first game of the second set, but he battled back to break Federer in his last two service games of the set to steal it and level up the match at one set each.

“I thought my serve was on and off in the beginning, which surprised me a little bit, because in practice it’s been going pretty well,” Federer said.

After dropping the second set in shocking fashion, Federer, who hit 19 aces in the match, went back to work and gave Melzer little hope of taking another set. He would break Melzer four times in the last two sets without being broken to ease his way to the four set win and into the second round.

Federer will now take on another qualifier in the second round, and this time it will be young American Noah Rubin. He’s made the second round of the Australian Open for the second year in a row. In 2016, he received a wild card and defeated Benoit Paire in straight sets. This year, he made it through qualifying and then knocked out fellow American qualifier Bjorn Fratangelo to reach the second round.

Federer, who hit 46 winners in the match and converted on seven of his nine break points against Melzer, admitted he knows little of his next opponent, but did state that the match will be on his racquet. He’ll take on Rubin on Wednesday in Melbourne.

Arraya Tennis In Key Biscayne To Host Wild Card Event For Mardy Fish Vero Beach USTA Futures

The Arraya Tennis Academy in Key Biscayne, Fla., will be the host of the first of two wild card singles events for the 2017 Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships, a $15,000 men’s USTA Futures event played in Vero Beach, Florida.

Arraya Tennis will host the event – The Arraya Tennis / Hightof Open Wild Card Tennis Championship – Tuesday, Jan. 17 through Thursday, Jan. 19 at The Links at Crandon Park on Key Biscayne, located adjacent to the site of the annual Miami Open. The winner of the event will be awarded a main draw singles wild card into the 2017 Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships to be played April 25-30 at Grand Harbor Golf & Beach Club in Vero Beach.

Entry fees, that benefit the non-profit Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation, are $70. Credit card entries are now being accepted at www.VeroBeachTennisTickets.com and cash/check entries can be facilitated by emailing [email protected] Matches, played on clay courts, will be best-of-two sets with a 10-point super tiebreaker played in lieu of a third set. Arthur Surreaux will serve as the event’s tournament director and can be reached at 305-775-8020.

The Arraya Tennis Academy is run by former standout ATP professional Pablo Arraya, the former world No. 29-ranked player who represented his native Peru in Davis Cup, the Olympic Games and at all four Grand Slam tournaments. The Arraya Tennis Academy has helped over 100 players earn college tennis scholarships and has worked with several professional players, including Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli and U.S. Olympic gold medalist Monica Puig.

The Hightof Maat, the co-sponsor of the event, is a revolutionary ball machine, benefiting from a cutting-edge technology that enables it to realistically simulate a game of tennis. Players can program their training session either on their website or directly using the extremely user-friendly built-in touch pad.

Surreaux is a former standout player from New Mexico State and a former top 500-ranked ATP professional. He is now a tennis coach and administrator.

The second singles wild card event for the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships will be announced at a later date.

Founded in 2007, the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation (www.MardyFishFoundation.com and @MardyFishFound on Twitter) is a non-profit tennis foundation benefiting children, named for Vero Beach native son Mardy Fish, a former top 10 tennis star, U.S. Davis Cup hero and silver medalist at the 2004 Olympic Games. The foundation currently supports over 2,100 children in 15 elementary schools and six middle schools in Indian River County, Florida by providing after-school exercise, nutritional and enrichment programs in a safe environment to prepare them for healthy, productive and successful lives. The Foundation introduced the “Six Healthy Habits” in 2012 which are Get Sleep; Drink Water; Exercise Daily, Eat Healthy; Brush and Floss; Make Friends.

Some of the past competitors at the USTA Vero Beach Futures have gone on to succeed at the highest levels of professional tennis, winning major singles and doubles titles, Olympic medals and Davis Cup championships and earning No. 1 world rankings. Andy Roddick, the 2003 U.S. Open champion who attained the world No. 1 ranking and helped the United States win the Davis Cup in 2007, competed in Vero Beach in 1999. Thomas Johansson of Sweden, who reached the second round of the Vero Beach Futures in 1995, won the Australian Open seven years later in 2002. Nicolas Massu, the 1998 singles runner-up in Vero Beach, won the singles and doubles gold medals at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, beating Fish in the gold medal singles match. Kyle Edmund, the 2013 champion in Vero Beach, helped Great Britain to the Davis Cup title in 2015. Other notable former competitors in Vero Beach include former world No. 2 Magnus Norman, former world No. 4 Tim Henman, 2016 Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic among others. Former Vero Beach competitors have combined to win 19 titles in singles, doubles and mixed doubles at Grand Slam tournaments. Six former Vero Beach players have gone on to play Davis Cup for the United States – Roddick, Fish, Taylor Dent, Jared Palmer, Donald Young and Ryan Harrison.

Tickets for fans for the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships are available for advanced sale at www.VeroBeachTennisTickets.com. Admission for children 18 and under is free. Fans can follow news and developments on the tournament on Facebook and on Twitter at @VeroFutures. Approximately 3,000 fans annually attend the event, which is seen as one of the best-attended events in the world on the “Futures” level of professional tennis tournaments. The 2016 event featured 13 players who played Davis Cup for their country and was won by Jonas Luetjen of Germany, who defeated Latvian Davis Cupper Martins Podzus in the final.

Blake Beats McEnroe To Win 2016 PowerShares Season Finale In Brooklyn

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — James Blake defeated John McEnroe 6-4 to win the PowerShares QQQ Cup at the Barclays Center, the 12th and final event on the 2016 PowerShares Series, the North American tennis circuit for champion tennis players over the age of 30.

The tournament title was Blake’s third on the PowerShares Series for the 2016 season, also winning the opening event in Chicago in April and in Portland, Oregon in November. The PowerShares QQQ Cup was the first tennis event ever at the Barclays Center, the home of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets and NHL’s New York Islanders. The event was also the first pro tennis event in Brooklyn since Bill Tilden won the 1935 U.S. Open Pro Championships at the Terrace Club in the Flatbush area of the borough.

The final had a hard New York feel as McEnroe has lived in New York City his entire life and Blake being a local favorite having been born in nearby Yonkers and grew up in the tri-state area in nearby Fairfield, Connecticut.

“I don’t think I have ever played more of a New Yorker in New York than myself since I was born here,” said Blake of playing against McEnroe, who had the majority of the crowd behind him, including his students from the nearby John McEnroe Tennis Academy on Randall’s Island and his wife Patty and brother Mark among other family members. “It makes sense to cheer for John McEnroe. He has done so much for this city and so much for this sport. If I’m not playing against him, I’m in the stands cheering for him too.”

The turning point in the match came at the third deuce point at 4-4 when the 37-year-old Blake ripped a backhand up the line passing shot off a McEnroe half volley to set up break point. He then hit another down-the-line backhand return-of-serve that forced a McEnroe half-volley error to break serve. Blake then benefited from two missed backhands from the 57-year-old McEnroe while connecting on two forehand winners to close out the win.

“I was just praying that he would miss a few first serves at the end,” said Blake, who was born four months after McEnroe won his first major singles title at the 1979 U.S. Open. “I was trying to get chances early on, but he erased them all with good serves. I pray that I can serve that well at 57 years old, or moving or anything he is doing this well at 57. I am just happy to get through it. I got a little lucky at the end and took advantage of my one chance on his serve.”

To reach the final, Blake defeated former U.S. Davis Cup teammate Andy Roddick 6-4 in the first semifinal, while McEnroe defeated Jim Courier 6-3.

Blake earned 400 PowerShares ranking points with the win to finish the season in third place with 1100 ranking points. Both Roddick and Mark Philippoussis finished the 2016 PowerShares Series season with 1600 ranking point totals, using their best four tournament results. However, Philippoussis is declared the season champion winning the tiebreaker with the better head-to-head record between the two, beating Roddick five times during the season, with Roddick only able to beat Philippoussis in the final of Thousand Oaks, California in October.

Each PowerShares Series event features two one-set semifinal matches and a one-set championship match and, for the second straight year, players make their own line calls with assistance of electronic line-calling.

The full 2016 PowerShares Series list of events and final-round results are as follows;

 

Chicago – James Blake def. John McEnroe 6-4

Charleston, SC – Andy Roddick def. Andre Agassi 6-1

St. Louis – Andy Roddick def. John McEnroe 6-3

Memphis – Mark Philippoussis def. Jim Courier 6-3

Tulsa – Mark Philippoussis def. Jim Courier 6-3

Newport, RI – Mark Philippoussis def. Marat Safin 6-4

Winston-Salem – Mark Philippoussis def. Andy Roddick 6-3

New Haven, CT – Mark Philippoussis def. James Blake 6-2

Portland, OR – James Blake def. Andy Roddick 7-5

Los Angeles – Andy Roddick def. Mark Philippoussis 6-2

Orlando – Andy Roddick def. Jim Courier 6-4

Brooklyn – James Blake def. John McEnroe 6-4

 

The following are pre-event quotes from all four competitors.

 

Jim Courier

Thoughts on professional tennis coming back to Brooklyn for the first time since 1935:

“I think it’s great to have tennis back here. I’ve never had a chance to play a tournament in Brooklyn. I’ve obviously played quite a bit in Queens – all of us have. We get a chance also to be the first in the building, which is really cool. We had that same opportunity two nights ago in Orlando at the Amway Center and I think it’s special to be part of something when you’re introducing it to a venue like this.”

 

John McEnroe

Thoughts on how the players still try to stay competitive in the PowerShares Series:

“Change the format – you know, make it one set so at least I have a prayer. It pushes me. I like to compete, but we obviously want to entertain – you know these guys (Roddick, Blake) are the next guys trying to take over this tour and keep it going, and I think there’s a place in tennis for a champions seniors’ tour – it could work out real well hopefully for the sport. That’s really what it boils down to.”

 

Andy Roddick

Thoughts on what’s been surprising about the PowerShares Series experience:

“For me it’s a lot of fun. John (McEnroe) and Jim (Courier) have put blood, sweat and tears into this tour for a long time, so for James and I to come along and be able to jump in these past couple of seasons has been great. I think it’s great for fans. James (Blake) and I can play as peers, Jim and John as peers, but there’s also that cross-generational match-ups, which are awesome. For me, it’s fun playing against friends of mine, heroes of mine; for me it’s a mix between reality and the surreal every night we play. It’s a lot of fun to be part of.”

 

James Blake

Thoughts on what’s been surprising about the PowerShares Series experience:

“Andy and I have played so many times and we continue that competitive spirit. We obviously don’t train exactly the same as we used to on tour, but we still get competitive when we get out there and it’s a lot of fun to still have that competitive outlet. I just love the opportunity – like he (Andy Roddick) said, John (McEnroe) and Jim (Courier) have put in so much work to make this tour possible. We’re really just piggy backing off of them and getting to enjoy it, and to still enjoy the sport. I’m pleasantly surprised how much I enjoy it and it makes it a lot of fun to go out and compete every day.”

 

John McEnroe

Thoughts on competing with younger players in the PowerShares Series:

“I love to work out – I feel better doing that, for starters, so just the fact that I can get out there and try to conjure up that I can actually do something is nice but I think that’s one of the great things about tennis – it’s a sport you can really play a lot later than the other sports. So that’s hopefully something people will see and appreciate – I certainly do.”

 

In 2015, Andy Roddick won the PowerShares Series points title in his second year of competing on the series with 1,600 points. Roddick won a record eight events Los Angeles, Lincoln, Chicago, Austin, Little Rock, Dallas, Richmond and Minneapolis. Blake finished second in the points rankings with 1,200 points, winning events in Boston and Cincinnati. Mark Philippoussis finished in third with 1,100 points, winning titles in Salt Lake City and Vancouver. The year before in 2014, McEnroe won the points title for the first time in the nine-year history of Champions Series tennis by winning events in Kansas City, Indianapolis, Nashville and Charlotte.

 

ABOUT INSIDEOUT SPORTS + ENTERTAINMENT

InsideOut Sports + Entertainment is a Los Angeles based producer of proprietary events and promotions founded in 2004 by former world No. 1 and Hall of Fame tennis player Jim Courier and former SFX and Clear Channel executive Jon Venison. In 2005, InsideOut launched its signature property, the Champions Series, a collection of tournaments featuring the greatest names in tennis over the age of 30. In addition, InsideOut produces many other successful events including “Legendary Night” exhibitions, The World Series of Beach Volleyball and numerous corporate outings. Since inception, InsideOut Sports + Entertainment has raised over $4 million for charity. In 2014, InsideOut Sports + Entertainment merged with Horizon Media, the largest privately held media services agency in the world.  For more information, please log on to www.InsideOutSE.com or www.powersharesseries.com or follow on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

 

ABOUT HORIZON MEDIA

Horizon Media, Inc. is the largest and fastest growing privately held media services agency in the world. The company was founded in 1989, is headquartered in New York and has offices in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Chicago. Horizon Media was chosen as 2011 Independent Media Agency of the Year by Mediapost, 2010 U.S. Media Agency of the Year by Adweek, Brandweek, and Mediaweek as well as by Ad Age and as one of the world’s ten most innovative marketing and advertising companies by Fast Company in 2011. In 2012, Bill Koenigsberg, President, CEO and Founder, was honored by Advertising Age as Industry Executive of the Year. Most recently, in 2014, Bill Koenigsberg was named 4As Chair of the Board and is the first person from a media agency to hold this prestigious position in the 100 year history of the 4As, the marketing industry’s leading trade association. The company’s mission is “To create the most meaningful brand connections within the lives of people everywhere.” By delivering on this mission through a holistic approach to brand marketing, Horizon Media has become one of the largest and fastest-growing media agencies in the industry, with estimated billings of over $5.3 billion and over 1,200 employees. The company is also a founding member of Columbus Media International, a multi-national partnership of independent media agencies. For more information, please visit horizonmedia.com.

 

ABOUT INVESCO POWERSHARES

Invesco PowerShares Capital Management LLC is leading the Intelligent ETF Revolution® through its lineup of more than 140 domestic and international exchange-traded funds, which seek to outperform traditional benchmark indexes while providing advisors and investors access to an innovative array of focused investment opportunities. With franchise assets of nearly $100 billion as of October 2, 2015, PowerShares ETFs trade on both US stock exchanges. For more information, please visit us at invescopowershares.com or follow us on Twitter @PowerShares.

 

ABOUT POWERSHARES QQQ

PowerShares QQQ™, an exchange-traded fund (ETF) based on the NASDAQ-100 Index®, is one of the largest and most traded ETFs in the world. Under most circumstances, QQQ will consist of all of the stocks in the index which includes 100 of the largest domestic and international nonfinancial companies listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market based on market capitalization.

Andy Roddick Beats Jim Courier To Win PowerShares Series Title In Orlando

Andy Roddick fought off the inspired play from hometown favorite Jim Courier to win the Champions Showdown Orlando Thursday night with a 6-4 decision in the one-set championship match.

In the first ever tennis event at the Amway Center, the home of the NBA’s Orlando Magic, Roddick won his fourth PowerShares Series title of the year and his 14th since he joined the North American tennis circuit for champion tennis players over the age of 30 in 2014.

Courier, playing in front of family and friends in his hometown, was looking to beat Roddick for the first time in his career, losing all four previous matches against his former Davis Cup pupil. He broke Roddick’s serve in the third game of the match and led 4-2 and seemed in control to win his first PowerShares Series title since Oklahoma City in 2014. However, Roddick broke back in the eighth game of the set, capped by hitting a skidding, acutely-angled cross-court slice backhand passing shot, just out of Courier’s reach. With some spectacular serves and forehands, Roddick held for 5-4, then benefitted from three Courier unforced errors in the next game to break serve and close out the match.

“He came out really well, I wasn’t ready for it. I think he’s been doing push-ups or something,” quipped Roddick of Courier’s fast start.

“He came out strong tonight,” continued Roddick. “I was expecting to get in a rhythm early, put some balls in the court, but he was having none of that. He took the ball on the rise and came in strong early and I had to adjust at the end. I was fortunate.”

While Roddick relied on his big serve and heavy rocket forehand to win points, he also remained steady and won many points with numerous knifed backhand slices.

“When you can’t get the ball any more, you slice more often,” said Roddick of his backhand slice. “It’s probably improved since I stopped playing (on the ATP World Tour). It’s a virtue of me being slow now.”

Roddick advanced into the final with a 6-3 win over James Blake in the semifinals while Courier beat John McEnroe 7-5 in the other semifinal. Earlier this year, Roddick won titles in Thousand Oaks, Calif., St. Louis and Charleston, S.C.

In between the two singles semifinals, top pro golfer Henrik Stenson, the winner of the 2016 Open Championship, participated in the PowerShares “Target Challenge” along with fellow golf pro Steve Stricker and former ATP pro Robert Kendrick, a resident of Orlando.

Each PowerShares Series event features two one-set semifinal matches and a one-set championship match and, for the second straight year, players make their own line calls with assistance of electronic line-calling.

The final event for the 2016 PowerShares Series season will be played Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn featuring McEnroe, Courier, Roddick and Blake. Ticket and schedule information can be found at www.PowerSharesSeries.com

In 2015, Andy Roddick won the PowerShares Series points title in his second year of competing on the series with 1,600 points. Roddick won a record eight events Los Angeles, Lincoln, Chicago, Austin, Little Rock, Dallas, Richmond and Minneapolis. Blake finished second in the points rankings with 1,200 points, winning events in Boston and Cincinnati. Mark Philippoussis finished in third with 1,100 points, winning titles in Salt Lake City and Vancouver. The year before in 2014, McEnroe won the points title for the first time in the nine-year history of Champions Series tennis by winning events in Kansas City, Indianapolis, Nashville and Charlotte.

roddickorlandoslice

ABOUT INSIDEOUT SPORTS + ENTERTAINMENT

InsideOut Sports + Entertainment is a Los Angeles based producer of proprietary events and promotions founded in 2004 by former world No. 1 and Hall of Fame tennis player Jim Courier and former SFX and Clear Channel executive Jon Venison. In 2005, InsideOut launched its signature property, the Champions Series, a collection of tournaments featuring the greatest names in tennis over the age of 30. In addition, InsideOut produces many other successful events including “Legendary Night” exhibitions, The World Series of Beach Volleyball and numerous corporate outings. Since inception, InsideOut Sports + Entertainment has raised over $4 million for charity. In 2014, InsideOut Sports + Entertainment merged with Horizon Media, the largest privately held media services agency in the world.  For more information, please log on to www.InsideOutSE.com or www.powersharesseries.com or follow on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

ABOUT HORIZON MEDIA

Horizon Media, Inc. is the largest and fastest growing privately held media services agency in the world. The company was founded in 1989, is headquartered in New York and has offices in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Chicago. Horizon Media was chosen as 2011 Independent Media Agency of the Year by Mediapost, 2010 U.S. Media Agency of the Year by Adweek, Brandweek, and Mediaweek as well as by Ad Age and as one of the world’s ten most innovative marketing and advertising companies by Fast Company in 2011. In 2012, Bill Koenigsberg, President, CEO and Founder, was honored by Advertising Age as Industry Executive of the Year. Most recently, in 2014, Bill Koenigsberg was named 4As Chair of the Board and is the first person from a media agency to hold this prestigious position in the 100 year history of the 4As, the marketing industry’s leading trade association. The company’s mission is “To create the most meaningful brand connections within the lives of people everywhere.” By delivering on this mission through a holistic approach to brand marketing, Horizon Media has become one of the largest and fastest-growing media agencies in the industry, with estimated billings of over $5.3 billion and over 1,200 employees. The company is also a founding member of Columbus Media International, a multi-national partnership of independent media agencies. For more information, please visit horizonmedia.com.

ABOUT INVESCO POWERSHARES

Invesco PowerShares Capital Management LLC is leading the Intelligent ETF Revolution® through its lineup of more than 140 domestic and international exchange-traded funds, which seek to outperform traditional benchmark indexes while providing advisors and investors access to an innovative array of focused investment opportunities. With franchise assets of nearly $100 billion as of October 2, 2015, PowerShares ETFs trade on both US stock exchanges. For more information, please visit us at invescopowershares.com or follow us on Twitter @PowerShares.

ABOUT POWERSHARES QQQ

PowerShares QQQ™, an exchange-traded fund (ETF) based on the NASDAQ-100 Index®, is one of the largest and most traded ETFs in the world. Under most circumstances, QQQ will consist of all of the stocks in the index which includes 100 of the largest domestic and international nonfinancial companies listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market based on market capitalization.

 

“Bud Collins History of Tennis” Third Edition Now Available For Sale

The legacy of Bud Collins will continue in his encyclopedic compilation “The Bud Collins History of Tennis,” which is now available in a third edition.

Collins, the most influential and famous journalist in the history of tennis, died on March 6 of this year after 86 colorful, enthusiastic and kind-hearted years of life. Throughout his 59 years of covering tennis from all corners of the world, Collins became the sport’s premier story-teller and historian. Starting in 1980, Collins encyclopedic knowledge was first documented in his “Encyclopedia of Tennis” which has endured through different incarnations from different publishing houses. The current version published by New Chapter Press is titled “The Bud Collins History of Tennis” and is now available in a third edition with information updated through the 2016 U.S. Open. The 796-page book is available where books are sold for $39.95 including on Amazon.com here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1937559386/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_x_oYEvybKBFJHW8

For the first time ever, the book will also be available in electronic formats including Kindle starting in early 2017.

“I am so pleased that Bud’s life-long work in ‘The Bud Collins History of Tennis’ will continue to endure for more generations to enjoy and treasure,” said Anita Ruthling Klaussen, the wife of Bud Collins. “Under (Publisher) Randy Walker’s wonderful and enthusiastic guidance, we intend to keep Bud’s book going and going and going. It is a wonderful way to honor him!”
“The Bud Collins History of Tennis” is the ultimate compilation of historical tennis information, including year-by-year recaps of every tennis season, biographical sketches of every major tennis personality, as well as stats, records, and championship rolls for all the major events. Through his life in tennis, Collins offers insights into the world of professional tennis found from his countless experiences and relationships.

Arthur Worth “Bud” Collins, Jr. was born June 17, 1929, in Lima, Ohio and grew up in Berea (outside of Cleveland) about 50 yards from the dirt tennis courts of Baldwin-Wallace College, from which he graduated in 1951, and where his father had been head coach of football, basketball, baseball and track, as well as athletic director. He moved to Boston in 1954 where he soon joined the sports staff at the Boston Herald, moving to the Boston Globe in 1963. He first covered tennis at the 1956 U.S. Championships, covering the event every year until 2015 when the U.S. Tennis Association officially named the media center at Arthur Ashe Stadium in his honor. In 1963, the year began working for the Boston Globe, Collins first did television commentary, covering the U.S. Doubles at Longwood Cricket Club for Boston’s PBS outlet, WGBH, a station that for the next 20 years would pioneer American coverage of the sport. He worked the U.S. Open for CBS from 1968 to 1972, before signing on with NBC in 1972 where he began, perhaps, his signature association as the American voice of Wimbledon until 2007. He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1994.

Founded in 1987, New Chapter Press (www.NewChapterMedia.com) is also the publisher of “The Greatest Tennis Matches of All-Time” by Steve Flink, “The Secrets of Spanish Tennis” by Chris Lewit, “The Wimbledon Final That Never Was” by Sidney Wood, “The Education of a Tennis Player” by Rod Laver with Bud Collins, “Macci Magic: Extracting Greatness From Yourself And Others” by Rick Macci with Jim Martz,  “The Greatest Jewish Tennis Players of All Time” by Sandy Harwitt, “Roger Federer: Quest for Perfection” by Rene Stauffer, “The Days of Roger Federer” by Randy Walker, “Andy Murray, Wimbledon Champion: The Full Extraordinary Story” by Mark Hodgkinson, “Acing Depression: A Tennis Champion’s Toughest Match” by Cliff Richey and Hilaire Richey Kallendorf, “Titanic: The Tennis Story” by Lindsay Gibbs, “Jan Kodes: A Journey To Glory From Behind The Iron Curtain” by Jan Kodes with Peter Kolar, “Tennis Made Easy” by Kelly Gunterman, “On This Day In Tennis History” by Randy Walker (www.TennisHistoryApp.com), “A Player’s Guide To USTA League Tennis” by Tony Serksnis, “Court Confidential: Inside The World Of Tennis” by Neil Harman, “A Backhanded Gift” by Marshall Jon Fisher, “Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games” by Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli (www.Boycott1980.com,) “Internet Dating 101: It’s Complicated, But It Doesn’t Have To Be” by Laura Schreffler, “How to Permanently Erase Negative Self-Talk: So You Can Be Extraordinary” by Emily Filloramo, “How To Sell Your Screenplay” by Carl Sautter, “Bone Appetit: Gourmet Cooking For Your Dog” by Suzan Anson, “The Rules of Neighborhood Poker According to Hoyle” by Stewart Wolpin among others.