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Kerber and Azarenka Upset As Murray Survives At Roland Garros

Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber was upset on Tuesday at the French Open by Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, highlighting the biggest upset so far this year in Paris.

Kerber, the No. 3 seed in the event, had the unfortunate luck of drawing Bertens who was on a seven match win streak and had won 18 of her last 21 matches, dating back to March.

The Dutchwoman was able to continue her good run of form into Paris, as she got off to a hot start, breaking Kerber in just her second service game of the match. From there, Bertens, the No. 58 player in the world, only lost four points on her serve to close out the set, and broke the German again for a comfortable first set win.

Kerber looked to bounce back in the second set, as she fought through getting taken to deuce in her first two service games while Bertens cruised through hers. In the sixth game of the set, though, the tides appeared to turn as Bertens played one poor service game and Kerber jumped all over it, breaking at love for her first lead of the match. Bertens was able to break back in the next game, but Kerber kept her composure and broke once more before closing out the set comfortably, taking the match to a decider.

Bertens didn’t let the disappointment of dropping the second set get to her and, unlike most upset bids, was able to stave off the late fight of the more experienced player. Bertens broke in Kerber’s first service game of the third set, but Kerber certainly did not allow her to cruise to the win. While serving at 3-1, Bertens fought off two break points to hold before saving one more at 5-3, as she was able to close out the match and book her spot in the second round.

Berten’s opponent in the next round will be Camila Giorgi of Italy, who defeated Frenchwoman Alize Lim, 6-3, 6-2.

Another notable player to exit the French Open was No. 5 seed Victoria Azarenka, as she was forced to retire while losing in the third set against Karin Knapp with a knee injury.

On the men’s side, Andy Murray was able to fight back from two sets to love down in his match that was suspended from Monday against Radek Stepanek, 3-6, 3-6, 6-0, 6-3, 7-5. After dropping the first two sets to the experienced Czech, Murray fought back to win the third set and was up 4-2 when play had to be stopped for the night.

When play resumed on Tuesday, Murray was able to close out the fourth set, saving two break points along the way, and force a deciding fifth set that was much tougher than he would have hoped.

Murray had very few problems on his serve throughout the set, but Stepanek fought hard on his service games and gave the Brit very little to work with. That was the case until he served at 5-5 and Murray was finally able to break through, breaking at 30-40 for the chance to close out the match.

Murray, the No. 2 seed, was taken to deuce by Stepanek, but was able to close out the win in the end and force a matchup with French wild card Mathias Bourgue in the second round.

 

Defending Champ Wawrinka Evades First-Round Upset At Roland Garros

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

 

Defending champion Stan Wawrinka survived a major scare on Monday at the French Open as he withstood a tremendous effort from Lukas Rosol and won in five sets, 4-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Rosol, the No. 59 player in the world from the Czech Republic, got off to a quick start in the first set as he broke Wawrinka for a 3-2 lead, but Wawrinka continued to battle despite going down a break as he took Rosol to deuce in two of his last three service games. The Czech stood strong and was able to close out the set, though, as he reminded tennis fans around the world that he is able to take out major champions, bringing back memories of his upset win over Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon in 2012.

Rosol continued playing well early in the second set as his go-for-broke game plan was working out, but the two-time grand slam champion found something that clicked in the latter stages of the set and he forced Rosol into making a few more errors, earning himself two breaks and only losing two points in his last three service games to level the match at one set all.

After leveling the match, many would have thought Wawrinka would be able to cruise to victory, but Rosol did not go away and actually broke the No. 3 seed in his first service game of the third set. Just like in the first set, Rosol was able to keep his composure throughout and didn’t allow Wawrinka to earn a single break point as he regained a lead and was one set away from pulling off a major upset.

Despite dropping the third set, that is where Wawrinka believed the tides turned in his favor. “In the middle of the third set, I calmed down…I was trying to be really tough with him, and eventually that’s what made the difference,” said Wawrinka.

That difference was clearly felt in the fourth set as Wawrinka forced Rosol to play one bad service game at 3-4 that allowed Wawrinka to break at love and go on to serve out the set to force a decider.

Wawrinka was all business in the fifth set as he broke Rosol for a 2-1 lead and only lost six points on serve as he had no problems closing out the match and earning his spot in the second round, where he will take on Taro Daniel of Japan.

Wawrinka was in danger of becoming the first French Open men’s defending champion to lose in the first round, but he was able to fight off one of Rosol’s better performances of his career.

Another major champion in action on Monday did not have the same luck that Wawrinka did, as Marin Cilic, the 2014 US Open champion, lost in the first round to the No. 166 player in the world, Marco Trungelliti, 7-6(4), 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Trungelliti, a 26-year old from Argentina, got into the main draw after winning three qualifying matches, and earned his second win at a major after he also won a match at the Australian Open this year.

Cilic, the No. 10 seed in the event, went down a break early in the first set but appeared to work his way back to the match as he broke Trungelliti when the Argentine served for the first set. The lesser-experienced Trungelliti was surpringly able to keep his composure and saved three set points at 5-6 to force a tiebreak, which he was able to win 7-4 and stun Cilic.

Cilic went down a break early in the second set as he was broken in his first service game, but came back to break Trungelliti three times and looked like he had finally killed off the spirited upset bid from the Argentine.

That was far from the case, though, as Trungelliti continued to fight. Cilic went up a break late in the third set for a 4-2 lead, but was unable to consolidate as Trungelliti broke right back and ended up winning four games in a row to close out the set at 6-4, putting himself just one set away from what would be the biggest win of his career, by far.

Roles were reversed in the fourth set as Trungelliti looked like the major champion, breaking Cilic twice and not allowing the Croatian to see a single break point in the set, as not a single sign of nerves was shown. The Argentine closed out the four-set win emphatically with an ace, and booked a spot in the second round where he has a great opportunity to continue his run and make the third round, as he will take on Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain.

Trungelliti, who has never won a title above the Futures level, increased his best win by ranking by 61 spots after beating the No. 11 player in the world in Cilic. His previous best win came over Leonardo Mayer when he was ranked No. 72 in the world.

Petra Kvitova, Benoit Paire Highlight Opening Day At Roland Garros

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

 

On a rain shortened day of play in Paris, Benoit Paire made the French faithful nervous, but was eventually able to pull out a five-set win over the No. 137 player in the world, Radu Albot, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, 1-6, 6-4.

Paire appeared to have an easy day at the office on his hands after jumping out to a set and a break lead over Albot at 6-2, 3-1. Albot, the first player from Moldova to play in the main draw of a major, looked to settle in halfway through the second set as he got back on serve and broke Paire as he served to stay in the set at 4-5 to level the match at one set all.

The third set looked promising for Paire early on as he broke Albot at love to take a 3-2 lead, but that break was the first of five in a row that eventually saw Paire end up with a 5-4 lead. The Frenchman had no problems serving out the set to take a two sets to one lead and looked like he would be able to cruise into the second round to the delight of the home crowd.

If you have followed tennis for the past 12 months or so, then you know that nothing Paire is ever as straightforward as it should be, and that was certainly the case on the opening day of play. Paire, after taking the two sets to one advantage, looked to be uninterested in the fourth set as Albot was able to break serve three times and take it 6-1 to force a decider.

Albot, who had to win three qualifying matches to get into the main draw of the French Open, continued his fight throughout the fifth set, holding a break lead twice. Both times, though, Paire was able to break back in the next game as the lesser-experienced Albot was unable to come up clutch on the big points. This trend continued as Paire held a 5-4 lead on serve and Albot attempted to serve to stay in the match. Albot, though, found himself down 15-40, and Paire took advantage of the first match point he had to clinch the win and his spot in the second round.

Paire’s win see him go on to face Teymuraz Gabashvili of Russia, who beat Donald Young in straight sets, 7-6(1), 6-2, 6-3.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova also had difficulty in her first round match, but was able to overcome Danka Kovinic of Montenegro on Court Philippe Chartrier, 6-2, 4-6, 7-5.

Kvitova, like Paire, was also up a set and a break and looked like she would cruise into the second round. Kovinic, 21-years old and the No. 59 player in the world, was able to break Kvitova three consecutive times in the second set to force a deciding third set.

Kovinic was able to utilize her firepower to force Kvitova out of her comfort zone. “I think she just came back and tried to play more aggressive…I was just trying to put the ball in, but it’s not really my game,” said Kvitova

Kovinic continued to play well throughout the decider and looked very comfortable on serve. That was the case until she broke Kvitova to take a 5-4 lead and served for the upset win. Kovinic got to within two points of the match at 30-30, but never held a match point as Kvitova was able to break and get back on serve.

After holding at love to take a 6-5 lead, Kvitova was able to break Kovinic one more time and close out the win, earning herself a spot in the second round against Su-Wei Hsieh, who defeated  Lara Arruabarrena, 7-6(6), 6-3.

Kvitova was happy to get the win, but knows she will have to play better if she has plans to advance to the later round of the tournament. “I think that the end of the match was kind of sorry from my side. It was a big fight again. I’m happy that I won it,” said Kvitova.

Djokovic, Nadal or Murray – Who Will Win The 2016 French Open?

The second Grand Slam of the year has started – and there‘s a big buzz about the victor-to-be already. Will we continue to see the same legendary players snatching their consecutive titles, or could we hope for a bit of fresh air in terms of a new star? Let‘s take a look at who‘s the most likely to win French Open.

 

A Debut Title for Djokovic?

While it may sound hardly likely that any title could be a first for a player like this, all tennis fans know that the only Grand Slam that Djokovic is yet to win is Roland Garros.  He managed to go to the finals thrice – and was defeated by Rafael Nadal in 2012 and 2014 and by Stan Wawrinka in 2015. Could this finally be his year?

According to the UK-licensed bookie TonyBet, it absolutely can: the odds for his outright win are 1.80, which is way ahead of anyone else. It’s only fair, too, as the world’s #1 has double the points that #2 Murray managed to collect, and he’s been in incredible form for a ridiculously long time.

Djokovic started off his season with a sixth Australian Open title, and while he did have a blip in his performance when he lost to Jiri Vesely in Monte Carlo, it seems to have gone away. He won Madrid Masters against Murray and even though the Scot managed to then stop him in Rome finals, the Serb remains a powerful contender.

Could Rafael Nadal Make a Phoenix Comeback?

If Djokovic seems to have disproportional amounts of trouble at French Open, Nadal is the exact opposite. He’s got nine titles, of which four and then five were consecutive, although Rafa did struggle last year and only went through to the QF. If there’s a Grand Slam he can rule though, it’s this one: can we expect the old Nadal back?

The TonyBet bookies think that he’s got a fair shot at this as they’ve given him the odds of 4.75 at winning his tenth Roland Garros. The world’s #5 has been having struggles with his form since 2014 when he suffered an injury, and his first Grand Slam of 2016 ended in the first round.

However, since then he’s managed to win Monte Carlo and Barcelona, although he did lose to Murray in Madrid Master’s SF and to Djokovic in Rome’s QF. Nadal seems to have gained at least some of his form back, and the upcoming tournament will really be a good show of that. And who knows – maybe he’ll finally win another Grand Slam title!

Andy Murray to Keep Climbing?

The Scottish player had a pretty good season last year – even though he didn’t bring home any Grand Slam titles, his form was pretty good and he managed to push Britain’s national team to the first Davis Cup trophy in 79 years. Could Murray go on to win his first French Open?

Even though the furthest that world’s #2 has managed to go in this tournament before is semi-finals, TonyBet bookies seem to have a reasonable amount of faith in him. The odds for Murray winning Roland Garros are at 4.90 which is just a smidge behind what Nadal got. Obviously, Djokovic remains a force to be reckoned with, but even he can fall.

The Serb has already been a big hurdle for Murray this year, beating him at the finals of Australian Open and Madrid Masters. However, the Scot managed to win against Djokovic at Rome finals, which is definitely a very good sign – although it remains clear that this is one of the scariest opponents he could face.

Still, we never know what surprises may strike us. A dark horse win is always a possibility, and we have seen that plenty of times in the past. While Djokovic, for example, absolutely dominates the ATP ratings, that doesn‘t mean he‘ll get every title. In any case, there‘s a lot to look forward to in the French Open, so make sure to not miss it!

Juan Carlos Ferrero Academy In Spain Adds “PlaySight” Technology

Juan Carlos Ferrero’s – Equelite Sport Academy joins an elite group of pioneers in Europe to introduce Playsight to their tennis courts and is the first academy in Spain of its kind to debut the smart video-analysis technology.

Playsight, a technological system developed by Israeli engineers, allows tennis players to monitor and analyze their on-court activity. Equipped with a similar technology akin to the revolutionizing Hawk-Eye, this innovative technology can generate the ability to perform a number of various, timed on-court exercies. As a feature of technology already largely affixed on tennis courts throughout the United States, Playsight is readily becoming more diffused throughout the world. It stands to mention that all Grand Slam training courts are equipped with Playsight technologies.

Juan Carlos Ferrero and Antonio M. Cascales (Ferrero’s career-long coach) have opted to install this smart court technology on their courts at their high performance academy in Villena. On Thursday, May 12th the academy hosted an official presentation to unveil Spain’s first Smart-Academy with the leading edge techonology, Playsight, in place. On hand for the event were Ferrero accompanied by leading academy players, Pablo Carreño-Busta (Currently ranked No. 43 in the ATP and No. 5 in the National Spanish rankings respectively) and Nicola Kuhn, a rising junior star with much awaited promise of a professional future who exhibited a live-demo of the Playsight system technolgies.

“This leading technology allows a player to improve their strokes more quickly thanks to instantaneous, personalized information made readily available at one’s fingertips. We’ve installed these smart courts with a clear objective in mind; to foster continuous player development mediated through an elite, game-changing technology used by the professionals.” Commented Cascales.

Ferrero highlighted a renewed sense of motivation that Playsight has generated among tplayers: “The target objectives of the exercises are defined much more visually. The machine tells you when you have successfully met your obectives, it even commends you with applause. Moreover, it makes players more aware of how they play, they can see their mistakes and learn how to improve along with their coaches.” Which in his day, the former world No. 1 noted that, “It would have been much better to have this technology available.”

“With this technology, we can now present to whatever class of player whether it be a child, adult, or professional the opportunity to go home with a new and unique experience. An analysis of their game can be readily accessed 24/7 at the touch of a button through their mobile phones,” concluded representatives of the academy. With its implementation of smart court technologies, JCFerrero-Equelite Sport Academy has asserted itself as a clear front-runner in Spain serving as a model to incite a revolutionizing wave of smart courts around the country.

Ferrero’s academy is featured in the book “The Secrets of Spanish Tennis” by Chris Lewit for sale and download here via Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1937559491/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_-9Gpxb0EANP9A

 

Germany’s Jonas Luetjen Wins Singles, Doubles Titles At Mardy Fish Tennis Event In Vero Beach

Jonas Luetjen, a 25-year old German three years removed from playing college tennis at the University of Mississippi, won both the singles and doubles titles at the $10,000 Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships Sunday at The Boulevard Tennis Club.

Luetjen won the first pro singles title of his career defeating 21-year old Martins Podzus of Latvia’s Davis Cup team 7-6(4), 6-3 in front of a crowd of over 300 enthusiastic and appreciative fans. After 45 minutes of rest, he then partnered 16-year old Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic to win the doubles title over the No. 1 seeds Deiton Baughman of Carson, Calif., and Anderson Reed of Daphne, Ala., a 10-point tiebreaker deciding the 6-1, 5-7, {10-8} decision.

“It’s obviously a great feeling…it’s a very special day for me,” said Luetjen, ranked No. 912 in the ATP World Tour singles rankings and the last player directly accepted into the main draw of the tournament.

A resident of Schessel, Germany, Luetjen became only third player in the 21-year history of the Vero Beach event to win the singles and doubles titles in the same year, joining Australian John-Patrick Smith in 2012 and American Doug Flach of the United States in 1996.

The singles final started off very tight as the first two games lasted 26 points.

“I got actually really lucky in the first set to stay in it. He started so well,” said Luetjen, who had to fight off five break points in his first service game.

The rest of the set was mostly straightforward from there as only two more games went to deuce, and the set had to be decided by a tiebreak.

Luetjen raced out to a 3-0 lead in the tie-breaker and didn’t look back. He would go up 6-2 before Podzus made a mini-comeback to get the score back to 6-4, but that would not be enough as the German won the next point to take the set.

Podzus, ranked No. 632 in the ATP World Tour rankings, showed some more fight early in the second set as he earned a break to go up 2-1. Luetjen, though, was able to break at love in the next game to get back on serve and everything went his way from that point on. Another break at love in Podzus’ next service game gave Luetjen a 4-2 lead and he would eventually go on to serve out the match at 5-3 for the win.

Luetjen essentially called his shot this week, as he told a German-born Vero Beach resident Henry Doehla after his first-round win that he felt like he could go all the way and win the title.
“I came here and first day I practiced on clay I had a great feeling,” said Luetjen.“I always have a positive mindset.”

That positive mindset earned Luetjen his first professional singles title and will see his amount of ATP ranking points more than double as he earned 18 ranking points for the title and he came into the week with only 17.
“It also gives me a great confident boost,” said Luetjen, who will be playing in another USTA Pro Circuit Futures level tournament in Tampa next week.

“First set, maybe I could beat him, but in the second, no chance. He played so good,” said Podzus, who was looking to extract revenge on Luetjen who beat him in the doubles tournament in Vero Beach, as well as in a Futures level qualifying match back in 2011.

“Unbelievable shots everywhere,” said Podzus of Luetjen’s performance. “I’m very tired now.”

In the post-match presentation ceremony after the singles final, Tom Fish, the co-tournament director and the chairman of the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation, the new organizers of the event, unveiled the Mike Rahaley Cup trophy, named for the event’s founder, who retired from running the event last year. The trophy features all the singles champions at the event since its first year in 1995 and will be soon be fitted with Luetjen’s name.
The doubles final was also an exciting affair decided by a margin of only two points.

“I enjoyed a little sandwich and just carried the momentum,” said Luetjen, of his break between the singles and doubles final.

After an easy first set for the Europeans, the Americans fought back in the second set and won three deciding points in a row late in the set (a sudden-death point played a deuce, which is a feature now in professional doubles matches) to force a deciding 10-point tie-breaker played in lieu of a third set to determine the championship.

In that third set tiebreak, everything went the way of the server in the beginning before Baughman and Reed won a return point to get a mini-break. Kecmanovic and Luetjen quickly answered right back with a mini-break of their own to get back on serve at 5-5, and would later win three points in a row to open up an 8-6 lead. The Americans could not fight their way back from that deficit, as Kecmanovic and Luetjen won the tiebreaker 10-8.

Luetjen was happy with the doubles title, but was happier for his partner Kecmanovic as it was his first professional title, earning him his first ATP doubles points.

“I’m so happy for him to get his first title, he’s so young,” said Luetjen of Kecmanovic, who won the prestigious Orange Bowl junior title late last year. “I’m sure he’ll have many of those through his career.”

Said Kecmanovic, “I played really good. We both played really good in tough points and I’m just happy to get the win today.”

Baughman, the 20-year old American who played in the main draw doubles tournament at the U.S. Open in 2015, gave a lot of praise to Kecmanovic and Luetjen.

“Credit to them today,” he said. “Obviously Jonas was playing well all week. He came up clutch when he needed to and Miomir was playing insane. They made us work and it was a great doubles match.”

Many of the players praised the organization of the event and the facility at The Boulevard Village and Tennis Club as the tournament came to a close.

“This week is very awesome, awesome crowd, very nice tournament,” said Podzus. Added Luetjen, “It’s a very nice facility, I love it here.”

Philippoussis Wins Tulsa Championships On PowerShares Series

Mark Philippoussis won his second PowerShares Series title in as many nights Saturday, defeating both Andy Roddick and Jim Courier for a second straight night to win the Tulsa Championships at the BOK Center in Tulsa.

Philippoussis, who won in Memphis in his 2016 PowerShares Series debut the previous night, beat Courier 6-3 in the one-set championship match to earn his sixth career title on the North American circuit for champion tennis players over the age of 30.  To advance to the final, Philippoussis beat Roddick 6-3, one night after beating him 7-5 in the semifinal match in Memphis.

Philippoussis broke Courier in the second game of the set and was never threatened on serve in the match. Against Roddick, he dug himself out of a 0-40 hole in his first service game and broke serve in the eight game to forge his way to victory.

Courier advanced to the championship match with a 7-5 win over John McEnroe.

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 remaining 2016 PowerShares Series schedule with player fields are listed below and ticket, schedule and player information can be found at www.PowerSharesSeries.com;

 

July 17                  Newport, R.I. (International Tennis Hall of Fame) – Andy Roddick, James Blake, Marat Safin, + 1 TBA

August 21             Winston-Salem, N.C. (Wake Forest University) – Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake, Mardy Fish

August 25, 26       New Haven (Yale University) – Andre Agassi, John McEnroe, James Blake, Mardy Fish

November 4          Portland, Oregon (Moda Center) –  Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, Mardy Fish and TBA

November 5         Denver (1stBank Center) – Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake and TBA

December 1          Orlando (Amway Arena) – Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake

December 3          New York (Barclays Center) – Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake

 

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.

 

Philippoussis Kicks Off 2016 PowerShares Series With A Bang With Memphis Win

Mark Philippoussis made his 2016 PowerShares Series debut Friday night beating Andy Roddick and Jim Courier back-to-back to win the Champions Showdown Memphis title at the Landers Center in Southaven, Miss.

Philippoussis upset Roddick 7-5 in the opening one-set semifinal match, becoming only the second player to ever beat Roddick on the PowerShares Series. He then beat Courier 6-3 in the one-set championship match to win his fifth career title on the North American tennis circuit for champion tennis players.

“I had good rhythm,” said Phillippoussis of his winning evening. “I was connecting on my groundstrokes and the serve was there. I had a lot of fun out there.”

Philippoussis won the first and final PowerShares Series titles in 2015, beating Andre Agassi in the final of Salt Lake City in the opening event of the Series, then capped the season in Vancouver in the Series finale, defeating Pete Sampras in the final. He also won titles in 2010 in Boston and Surprise, Arizona.

His semifinal upset of Roddick was described by some observers as the best on the Series in a long time, maybe ever, as two of the fastest servers in the history of tennis exchanged blistering serves and rocket forehands in a display of tennis reminiscent of their ATP World Tour days. Roddick took an early 3-1 lead but Philippoussis was able rally back from 3-3. Philippoussis saved two break points at 4-4 with a service winner and an ace before holding and eventually breaking Roddick’s serve to close out the upset victory.

Philippoussis joins James Blake as the only players to defeating Roddick on the PowerShares Series, Blake beating Roddick in the semifinals of Houston in 2014 and last year in the semifinals of Boston and Cincinnati.

To advance to the final, Courier defeated John McEnroe 6-4.

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 remaining 2016 PowerShares Series schedule with player fields are listed below and ticket, schedule and player information can be found at www.PowerSharesSeries.com;

 

April 23                Tulsa (BOK Center) – John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, Mark Philippoussis

July 17                  Newport, R.I. (International Tennis Hall of Fame) – Andy Roddick, James Blake, Marat Safin, + 1 TBA

August 21             Winston-Salem, N.C. (Wake Forest University) – Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake, Mardy Fish

August 25, 26       New Haven (Yale University) – Andre Agassi, John McEnroe, James Blake, Mardy Fish

November 4          Portland, Oregon (Moda Center) –  Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, Mardy Fish and TBA

November 5         Denver (1stBank Center) – Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake and TBA

December 1          Orlando (Amway Arena) – Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake

December 3          New York (Barclays Center) – Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake

 

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.

Rafael Nadal A Bigger Threat To Win Roland Garros After Monte Carlo Win

It is the ninth time that Rafael Nadal has won the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. The win has increased Nadal’s French Open odds. He was crowned champion last Sunday after he won 7-5, 5-7, 6-0 against Gael Monfils in the final. He is now the second favorite to win the championship in Paris. It was an extra special day as Prince Albert II along with Princess Charlene watched from the royal box to see Nadal win a 28th trophy on the ATP tour.

It was the first win for Nadal in nearly two years. The 29-year-old went on a record winning streak of 46 matches unbeaten at the Monte-Carlo Country Club between 2005 – 2012. His run came to an end when Novak Djokovic beat him in the final in 2013.

The win puts Nadal back in the frame for the French Open. His form has suffered in recent years due to injuries and age taking its toll. He showed though at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters that he is back to his best. Many experts are making French Open tennis predictions that he will make the final.

The last time that Nadal won a competition on the APT World Tour was in August 2015. He won in Hamburg beating Fognini in the final.

The final between Nadal and Monfils lasted two-hours and 45 minutes. It was an epic battle and to begin with it looked like Monfils would be victorious. He made great shot selections when it mattered most, and his defensive side of the game was exceptional. Nadal hit his stride though and to pull the victory out of the bag.

Nadal proved he is back to full fitness at long last, and it was his energy that won it for him. Monfils was worn out having to return all of Nadal’s powerful baseline shots. After winning match point, Nadal was extremely emotional falling to his knees. You could tell exactly how much it meant to the player from Spain.

Monfils was graceful after the game saying the better man won on the day. He left Nadal played unbelievably well, and there was nothing he could do to counter it.

It was a staggering 100th final at tour-level that Nadal has competed he. The Spaniard has managed to win 68 of them.  It is the sixth time that a player has reached 100 finals in Open Era on the ATP Tour. He is just a single trophy away from beating the record of most titles on clay-court. The record for the Open era is set by Guillermo Vilas and stands at 49. With the event in Paris on clay-court Nadal’s French Open odds of beating the record have tumbled. It could be a magical tournament for Nadal if he can carry on his form from Monaco.

It is going to be interesting in Paris to see if Nadal or Djokovic will make it to the final and claim the crown. It is hard seeing past them both when making French Open tennis predictions. If Nadal wins, he will beat the record and if Djokovic wins he will claim the only trophy missing from his cabinet. Hopefully the effects of Nadal’s recent loss in Australia won’t be affecting him, and both players bring their best game

Five Vero Beach Juniors, Koralev and Vinck Highlight Mardy Fish Tennis Qualifying Tournament

Five Vero Beach junior tennis players and two players who have reached the third round of Grand Slam tournaments highlight a tournament record 133 entries in to the qualifying tournament for the $10,000 USTA Vero Beach Futures event, the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships.

The 128-players will compete in the qualifying tournament that begins at 9 am Friday morning at The Boulevard Tennis Club with the day’s play expected to go for approximately12 hours for the 64 first round matches. The 128-player qualifying draw will be played to determine eight qualifiers who will be placed into the 32-player main draw that begins Tuesday.

Vero Beach High School seniors Eric Zwemer and Erik Olliges received wild card entries into the qualifying tournament along with Vero Beach residents Alexander Hepburn and Drew Bochte. Vero Beach’s Trevor Quenan was a direct entry into the field. Bochte lives in The Boulevard real estate complex, just yards from where the tournament is staged.

Evgeny Koralev from Russia, who was ranked at one time No. 46, is also in the 128-player qualifying field He reached the third round of the 2000 Australian Open where he beat current top 10 player Tomas Berdych before losing in five sets to 2008 Olympic silver medalist Fernando Gonzalez. Koralev reached one ATP singles final in his career in Delray Beach, Fla., in 2009 where he lost to …. Mardy Fish. Also in the qualifying tournament is Christian Vinck of Germany, who qualified for Wimbledon in 2000 and defeated future Olympic gold medalist Nicolas Massu in the first round, Harel Levy of Israel in the second round before falling to No. 9 seed Thomas Enqvist of Sweden in the third round in five sets. Vinck, now age 40, has a distinct story in the history of tennis as he defeated Andre Agassi in the final of the 1997 Las Vegas Challenger, the event that started Agassi’s comeback from being ranked No. 144 in the world to eventually rank No. 1 again in 1999.

The full qualifying draw can be seen here: https://assets-ssl.usta.com/assets/1/15/qualifying_draw515.PDF

The order of play for Friday can be seen here: https://assets-ssl.usta.com/assets/1/15/schedule520.PDF

Tickets for the qualifying rounds of the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships from April 22 – April 25 will cost $10 and are available for sale at the club entrance. Tickets for the main draw of singles and doubles from April 26 – May 1 will be $20. Season tickets that include both the qualifying and main draw events cost $100. Advance tickets can be purchased 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 and by going to the website www.TennisVeroBeach.com.

 

Tournament match start times are as follows:

9 am Friday, April 22 (Qualifying Rounds Starting)

9 am Saturday, April 23 (Qualifying Rounds)

10 am Sunday, April 24 (Qualifying Rounds

11 am Monday, April 25 (Qualifying Rounds End)

10 am Tuesday, April 26 Not before 6 pm Night Match (Main Draw Starts)

10 am Wednesday, April 27, Not before 6 pm Night Match (Main Draw)

10 am Thursday, April 28, Not before 6 pm Night Match (Main Draw)

10 am Friday, April 29 Not before 6 pm Night Match (2nd Doubles Semifinal)

1 pm, 3 pm Saturday, April 30, Singles semifinals

11 am Sunday, May 1 (likely doubles championship match first, followed by singles championship match at 1 pm, depending on if a player is competing in both finals)

Starting in 2016, the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation is the new operator of the $10,000 “Futures” tennis tournament in Vero Beach, one of the longest-running and best attended events on the U.S. Tennis Association Pro Circuit. The tournament, now called The Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships, benefits the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation, the 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 event was managed for 20 years by Vero Beach tennis teaching professional Mike Rahaley, who made the annual Vero Beach stop one of the crown jewels on the USTA Pro Circuit. The 2016 tournament will be held April 22 through May 1 at The Boulevard Tennis Club.

Founded in 2007, the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation (www.MardyFishFoundation.com and @MardyFishFound on Twitter) 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.” Mardy Fish recently completed his ATP professional tennis career at the 2015 U.S. Open, highlighted by a career-high ranking of No. 7, six ATP singles titles, eight ATP doubles titles and an Olympic silver medal in singles at the 2004 Olympics. He reached the quarterfinals at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open and was a mainstay on the U.S. Davis Cup team from 2002 to 2012.

Some of the past competitors in Vero Beach 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 Australian Open semifinalist 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.