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Juan Martin del Potro Makes Winning Return To Wimbledon

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

 

Juan Martin del Potro made a winning return to Wimbledon on Tuesday as he defeated Frenchman Stephane Robert, 6-1, 7-5, 6-0.

Del Potro was in complete control of the match from the get go, breaking Robert in four of his first five service games, and having a look at three break points in the one game that he did not break. That, combined with a few easy holds, allowed the Argentine to cakewalk to a first set win before having to battle in the second.

After splitting breaks in the first two games, there were almost no opportunities on return for either player until the 12th game in which del Potro, who lost just four points on his first serve throughout the match, was able to break and win the set.

That break was the first of four consecutive for the 27-year old as he only dropped one point on serve in the third set to bagel Robert and close out the match in comprehensive fashion.

“To be honest, I feel my forehands and serves are working well at the moment. But my confidence is not there yet,” said del Potro, who hit 20 forehand winners and zero on the backhand side.

While Robert may be ranked just No. 79 in the world, he has racked up impressive results in 2016, and the way that del Potro was able to dispatch the journeyman was a confidence boost for the former No. 4 player in the world, but he is still making sure to look at the bigger picture.

“This is my comeback after three years. I’m expecting to be better in the future, but for this year my challenge is to finish healthy and ready to make a good preparation for the next year.”

Del Potro, who last played at the All England Club in 2013 when he reached the semifinals of Wimbledon, has had to deal with a plethora of problems with his wrist that have required three separate operations, sidetracking what had the potential to be one of the greatest careers of all-time.

“I was close to quit tennis in the end of last year, but now…I’m enjoying tennis again. I’m starting to talk about tennis and no more about my wrist. That’s important,” said del Potro.

His appearance at Wimbledon this year is his first at a major since the 2014 Australian Open. Of course, his most notable result at a major is his US Open title in 2009 in which he beat Roger Federer in an epic five-setter, but he did have a great amount of success at the majors throughout his career before injuries hit, including two semifinal and five quarterfinal appearances, which allowed him to reach a career high ranking of No. 4 in 2010 and finish the season in the Top 5 twice.

Del Potro has already successfully come back from an issue with his wrist as he was sidelined in early 2010. He was unable to defend his US Open crown and fell to a year-end ranking of No. 257, before impressively climbing back to No. 11 in 2011, re-solidifying his position at the top of the game.

Unfortunately, injuries returned in early 2014, limiting del Potro’s play to just a few tournaments in recent years, and he is looking to make a second successful comeback.

“I’m working hard mentally because I have to deal with some pains and some frustrations,” said del Potro.

After playing just two tournaments in 2015, the Argentine has been able to play seven events coming into Wimbledon this year and has surprised himself with how much success he is having as he was able to reach the semifinals in Delray Beach and Stuttgart.

“This year is completely different for myself and I am enjoying tennis a lot,” said del Potro.

The 2009 US Open champ will take on the two-time major champ in Stan Wawrinka in his second round match in what is sure to be a blockbuster.

Novak Djokovic In Hunt For Calendar-Year Grand Slam

With the third Grand Slam of the tennis season getting underway in South West London this week, Wimbledon and the upcoming US Open provide Novak Djokovic with the opportunity to become the first man in the history of the men’s game to win a calendar Grand Slam. The Serbian world number one has achieved success at the Australian Open and French Open so far in 2016, and will be looking to write himself into the record books with further victories this summer.

Djokovic is seeded one for Wimbledon, and as he hunts for his fourth title on the grass in London, the Serbian still believes that there is room for improvement in his game. This will certainly be ominous news for his closest rivals, with bookmakers Coral offering Djokovic as the favourite over the next two weeks with tennis betting odds of 8/11 Of course, we cannot talk about Wimbledon without mentioning home favourite and 2013 winner Andy Murray. With another day, another Murray story makes the headlines, and the Scot heads to Wimbledon having achieved the perfect preparation with another title at Queens, under his new coach for the second time, Ivan Lendl. Murray is the 5/2 second favourite with Coral, with Roger Federer and Milos Raonic at 11/1 and 12/1 respectively to upset the world’s current top two.

Meanwhile, August sees the return to action of the US Open at Flushing Meadows, with the world’s best players battling it out under the lights in New York. Djokovic will be looking to defend his title from last year, and with it possibly achieve the calendar Grand Slam. As a result, Coral offer Djokovic tennis betting odds of 10/11, with Murray once again the second favourite at 4/1. With Rafa Nadal missing Wimbledon due to injury, the Spaniard will be hoping to recover in time to take part in New York, where he is currently 16/1 with Coral to win his third US Open title.

Having failed to win a Grand Slam title since 2012, Federer will be looking to hit back in the best way possible at critics who have written off the 34-year-old over recent years. The Swiss maestro certainly loves the grass of Wimbledon, and it will take a brave man to bet against the seven-time champion reaching the latter stages once again this year.

John Isner, James Blake, Stevie Johnson, Michael Russell Among Partners In New Gluten-Free Energy Bar “ArrowBar”

Top American tennis stars John Isner and Stevie Johnson, as well as former ATP Pros James Blake and Michael Russell, are among the partners in a newly-launched gluten free energy bar called “ArrowBar.”

The ArrowBar is a new gluten-free, all-natural, high performance energy bar, developed by athletes for athletes and active people, that provides a filling, 200-calorie boost of quick and long-lasting energy. The ArrowBar is now offered in two flavors – Chocolate Chip and Cinnamon Honey Oat – and are available for purchase online at www.ArrowBar.com. Bars are available in boxes of 12 for $20.99.

Isner and Johnson are eating the ArrowBar while training and competing at Wimbledon this week. Isner is the top-ranked American player on the ATP World Tour, a member of the U.S. Davis Cup team since 2010, a member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team and a Top 20 player since 2010. Johnson was a member of the 2015 U.S. Davis Cup team, a two-time NCAA singles champion and is expected to be nominated for the U.S. Olympic Team that will compete in Rio this summer.

“Many people know me as a pro tennis player but most don’t know that I am an avid golfer, basketball player and fisherman who loves to be active,” said Isner. “No matter what my days calls for, there’s one thing I always lean on to keep my energy level high – ArrowBar. I truly believe that anyone who is active and cares about what they put in their body will love the long lasting energy and great taste of ArrowBars.”

“The ArrowBar gives me the nutrients I need without comprising taste,” said Johnson. “There’s nothing better on the market than ArrowBar. When I am looking for the competitive edge I need, there is only one thing I reach for.”

Blake and Russell, who combined to play 31 years on the ATP World Tour, were instrumental in the initial creation of the bar. Russell, who played on the ATP World Tour until age 37, was known for his fitness and diet and personally provided consultation about the nutritional composition of the product, testing the bars in practice and competition at the end of his ATP career. Blake, the former U.S. Davis Cup star and former world No. 4, was also involved in the early testing of ArrowBar, also using the product while training and competing in the New York City Marathon in 2015.

“ArrowBar is the only nutrition bar designed for athletes by athletes – it tastes great, has all natural ingredients and is easy to digest, since it is Gluten-free,” said Russell, who said he tried every nutrition bar imaginable during his 17-year professional tennis career. “Whether I am deep in the fifth set, crushing a gym workout, or just looking for a nutritious, great tasting snack, ArrowBar provides the energy and nutrients my body needs.”

Said Blake, “I wish the ArrowBar had been developed sooner because I trust the process with which it is made. The ingredients are natural and beneficial to any athlete or anyone looking for nutrients to help get them through the day. It helps me still when I work out, play tennis, play golf, or just run around with my kids. It’s not a bar that I feel like I’m forcing down either. The taste makes it so easy to eat the bars on a daily basis.”
The ArrowBar name comes from founding partner Mark Arrowsmith, a former University of Miami tennis player who is now the Director of Tennis at the Eagle Landing Country Club in Orange Park, Florida just outside of Jacksonville where he also runs an annual $10,000 USTA Pro Circuit men’s Futures-level professional tennis tournament. Arrowsmith and two other University of Miami varsity athletes – tennis player Andrew Golub and baseball player Rob Goldberg – are the founding partners of the company. Golub was a four-year varsity tennis player for the Hurricanes – and voted captain of the team on two occasions – and now runs Golub Tennis, one of the most successful tennis academies in Florida, helping more than 120 players earn college scholarships. Goldberg, a varsity baseball player at Miami received both his Bachelor’s Degree and Law Degree in Coral Gables. He has worked in numerous projects in commercial real estate and advertising.

Said Arrowsmith, “As a former player and coach, I was always aware of the lack of options for athletes who wanted long lasting energy without chalky aftertastes or having to choke down something that didn’t taste good. While playing college tennis our options were very limited, and it seemed like the options hadn’t improved much since. That is why we set out to create an energy bar that simply does what it says; provide sustained energy while tasting great. I believe that anyone who demands results from their active lifestyle will love ArrowBars.

Said Golub, “From playing at a high collegiate level myself to talking to high level professional tennis players, I knew there was a need for a clean energy source during competition. The goal was to create a product that was easy to eat, that wouldn’t fall apart or melt in your bag and that wouldn’t be tough to digest and sticky on your hands. We accomplished all of those things with ArrowBar and kept the label extremely clean. As a team, we are all very proud to bring this bar to the market and we know this is a need for all active people”

Said Goldberg, “While I do not play competitive sports any longer, my health and staying active are both very important to me. I had always felt that I did not have a good option when it came to the nutrition bars on the market, whether it be prior to a workout or to just get through a long night at the office. When my friends told me five years ago that they noticed the same problem with the people they coach we all agreed that there must be a way to provide a better option, and with that ArrowBar was born. It has been a long road, but it is because we did not want to go to the public with anything less than what we believe to be the best that we can provide. We are very happy with the product that we have created and we know that everyone else will be as well. We couldn’t be happier to launch ArrowBar to the world.”

ArrowBars

Marcus Willis, Ranked No. 772, Is British Cinderella Out Of Hollywood Screenplay With Wimbledon Win

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

 

Marcus Willis, the No. 772-ranked player in the world, put on an astounding performance on Monday at Wimbledon, continuing his improbable run that began even before the qualifying event last week.

Willis beat Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania in straight sets by a score line of 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 thanks, in large part, to the massive crowd support he had on Court 17.

Berankis, a player who has shown spurts of great talent on the ATP World Tour level, was simply unable to crack through the spirited performance from Willis, winning only one of 20 break points that he saw and was simply unable to ever get a foothold in the match.

Early breaks in each set allowed the Brit to play confidently throughout the match as he put on display his great touch around the net and his “unorthodox” game that has the ability to frustrate any opponent.

The confident display never wavered from Willis, and an unreturned serve on match point gave him the biggest win of his career over the 53rd ranked Berankis and a spot in the second round.

The 25-year old had absolutely no intentions of playing in Wimbledon this year, and was close to even calling quits on his professional tennis career. Having only played one event since September of 2015, Willis found himself looking for tennis teaching jobs around the world. After an inspiring conversation with his girlfriend and a bit of luck, though, Willis found himself back on court looking to fulfill one of his biggest dreams.

Willis, in order to fulfill that dream, had to play in a pre-qualifying event just to earn his spot in the main qualifying event for Wimbledon, and his entry into the pre-qualifying event only came when a player had travel issues and was unable to make it to the tournament site in time.

Some impressive performances in the pre-qualifying earned Willis a wild card into the qualifying event, where he was able to dispatch three very talented players, one of which is currently inside the Top 100, to continue his magical run into the main draw of Wimbledon.

“I’ve always wanted to play at Wimbledon. I just never thought it would happen,” said Willis.

He is getting his opportunity to play at Wimbledon now and is taking full advantage of it. His prize for reaching the second round? £50,000 and a match against seven-time Wimbledon champ Roger Federer.

“I think it’s one of the best stories in a long time in our sport,” said Federer of Willis’ run.

“I’m not sure he can play on grass, that’s good,” said Willis jokingly. “I get to play on a stadium court. This is what I dreamed of when I was younger.”

When Willis was younger, he was one of the highly touted juniors coming up through Great Britain with a lot of promise.

“When I was a junior, yeah, I was talented…Then I got dropped in the real world,” said Willis. “I lost a lot of confidence, made some bad decisions, went out too much, lifestyle wasn’t good…I didn’t have the drive.”

Thankfully, though, for Willis, he has regained that drive and will now get to play on arguably the biggest stage in tennis on Wednesday; Center Court at Wimbledon.

“Two, three, four years ago, [playing at Wimbledon] was looking very unlikely. Now I’m here. I’m going to enjoy every minute,” said Willis.

Sherwood Country Club In California To Host PowerShares Series Tennis Event Leading Into PGA Champions Tour Tournament

The Sherwood Country Club in Los Angeles will host a new PowerShares Series tennis event Thursday, October 27, the day before the club hosts The PowerShares QQQ Championship, the opening event on the new PGA TOUR’s Champions Tour finale playoff series in the Charles Schwab Cup points race.

Former world No. 1-ranked tennis players Andy Roddick and Jim Courier will join former U.S. Davis Cup standouts James Blake and Mardy Fish in the four-player, one-day tennis event, the SoCal Honda Dealers Helpful Cup Presented by PowerShares QQQ. The Los Angeles event will replace the event originally scheduled to be played in Denver.

The PowerShares QQQ Championship, will start the day after the tennis event at the club’s Jack Nicklaus signature course, where the top 72 players in the Champions Tour standings will compete.

“This is a great marriage between champions tennis and champions golf and will provide for a memorable week of competition and entertainment at Sherwood Country Club,” said Jon Venison, President of InsideOut Sports & Entertainment which owns and operates the PowerShares Series.

The PowerShares Series, the North American circuit for champion tennis players over the age of 30, features 12 events on its 2016 year-long schedule, the Sherwood Country Club event being the 10th event on the Series. 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.

Through five events so far on the 2016 PowerShares Series, Roddick leads the points rankings with 1,000 points based on victories in Charleston, S.C., and St. Louis, Mo., earning him 400 points for each event victory. Mark Philippoussis holds the No. 2 position with 800 points based on tournament wins in Memphis, Tenn., and Tulsa, Okla. James Blake, the winner of the opening event of 2016 in Chicago, and John McEnroe, the runner-up in Chicago and St. Louis, are tied for third in the current rankings with 600 points.

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, Mark Philippoussis

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

October 27        Los Angeles (Sherwood Tennis Club) – Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake, Mardy Fish

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

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 (ETFs), which seek to outperform traditional benchmark indexes while providing advisors and investors access to an innovative array of focused investment opportunities. With US franchise assets of approximately $94 billion as of March 31, 2016, PowerShares ETFs trade on both US stock exchanges. For more information, please visit us atinvescopowershares.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.

Shelby Rogers Is New American Tennis Cinderella

by Ashley Brownstein

 

With the clay season complete and another French Open in the books we get that rare time to reflect on the two weeks in Paris before we start up again with a new major. We now know the obvious headlines, Serena Williams falling short again of slam twenty-two and Novak Djokovic completing his career grand slam. But for American tennis it was especially exciting as one of our own, whose name wasn’t Williams, made it to the quarterfinals. Shelby Rogers, 23, was the American that cemented herself as the one making a lasting impression.  Rogers entered the French Open ranked 108 in the world but took out three seeded players before falling to Garbine Muguruza who became the eventual champion.

Now we turn our attention to grass as we prepare for the road to Wimbledon. Shelby is looking to expand on her success from Paris while in Mallorca, Spain as she tunes up on grass. With the change of scenery (not just sunny skies rather than consistent rain) comes the switch to a new surface. But that doesn’t seem to faze Shelby; rather she finds that grass is better suited to her game. With a big serve and powerful groundstrokes she feels she can carry the success from clay to grass.

“I served especially well in Paris so that’s definitely a positive,” she said. “It gives me pretty high confidence to take from the French that I can carry over here.”

Confidence she has but what about pressure?

“No I don’t really feel any right now,” she said. “Especially being in Europe it’s not as big of a deal. Maybe if I was in the states I’d feel it more but I’m really enjoying being here. You see different players and feel a different dynamic with the grass but I’m just trying to push myself and also be realistic. My goal at the beginning of the year was to make it into the slams this summer, which I’ve already achieved so I’m proud of that. I want to finish the year definitely in the top seventy-five so again realistic but there are always things I can improve on.”

Shelby seems to possess the type of realistic stamina that will keep her in the game for some time. And while she “of course” wants to reach number one in the world one day she does find this time for women’s tennis very exciting. Who wouldn’t? The past three slam winners have all been first time champions. Add to that the support coming from the locker room itself. As Shelby describes “it’s really an amazing thing to be a part of American tennis. We’re all cordial, all friends and give each other friendly competition. We genuinely want each other to do well, I’m so happy to be a part of that.”

Of course it is too soon to tell and no one really knows what will happen in the future. But if I had to guess Shelby Rogers is going to do everything she can to make sure that she is a part of the future of American tennis. Even though we were gifted with one “Cinderella story” perhaps we can get a second at Wimbledon. Shelby even said “on any given day it could be your time in women’s tennis” so why not hers?

Rod Laver To Coach at “Tennis Fantasies” in New Braunfels, Texas October 16-21

Rod Laver, often considered the greatest tennis player of all-time, has committed to coaching at the 2016 edition of Tennis Fantasies with John Newcombe and the Legends.

The 2016 Tennis Fantasies with John Newcombe takes place from Sunday, October 16 to Friday, October 21 at the John Newcombe Tennis Ranch in New Braunfels, Texas.  The ranch is located 30 miles from San Antonio.

Tennis Fantasies is the longest-running, most comprehensive fantasy tennis camp in the world.  Started in 1988, this male-only event takes place only one week a year.  Approximately 80 campers play on teams under the eyes of Grand Slam champions.  In addition to coaching during singles and doubles matches, campers receive tactical and technical instruction and spend time with the legends virtually round-the-clock, including all meals and ample time at the ranch’s Waltzing Matilda Room.

Laver made his Tennis Fantasies debut in 2014 and is primed to return for a second time.

“Competition, camaraderie and community were the cornerstones of my career,” said Laver, “so the chance to replicate that with dozens of recreational players and my lifelong mates was a real treat.  I’m looking forward to having that experience once again.”

Laver is the only player in tennis history to have won all four major singles titles in a calendar year on two occasions (1962 and 1969).  All told, Laver won 11 major singles titles, including four at Wimbledon.  His brilliant, shotmaking game has inspired such notables as John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova and Pete Sampras.

In addition to Laver, there will be 13 coaches at Tennis Fantasies in 2016, including six Hall of Famers: John Newcombe, Roy Emerson, Fred Stolle, Mark Woodforde, Owen Davidson and Charlie Pasarell.  Rounding out the staff are seven legends: Marty Riessen, Rick Leach, Brian Gottfried, Dick Stockton, Luke Jensen, Murphy Jensen and Ross Case.  All told, the Tennis Fantasies coaching staff has won more than 150 Grand Slam titles.

“We first started this event nearly 30 years ago and have built a very special community,” said Newcombe. “It’s fantastic, for example, that we have a repeat rate in the 70 percent range.  In a way, the mix of match play and friendship among campers and legends has helped all of us create the atmosphere of the days when we were all traveling the world.  People leave blood on the court trying to beat one another – and then sit down and eat their meals together.”

For more information about Tennis Fantasies, contact Steve Contardi at 1-800-874-7788 or email him at [email protected]

Djokovic Completes “Novak Slam” With Roland Garros Victory

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

 

Novak Djokovic was able to complete the “Novak Slam” on Sunday as he defeated Andy Murray for his first French Open title after four runs to the final, and he now has won all four major titles consecutively.

The Serb was able to withstand an early onslaught from the Brit, who many believed to be the favorite in the match, and eventually won in four sets by a score of 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4, giving Djokovic his 12th major title and making him the first player to simultaneously own all four major titles since Rod Laver in 1969.

“It was flawless tennis. I really felt like I played on a high quality,” said Djokovic.

The Serb, so excited to win that one major title that had remained out of his grasp throughout his career, called it “a thrilling moment. One of the most beautiful I have had in my career.”

Djokovic, who had beaten Murray in 12 of their past 14 matches, attacked first, breaking at love to open up the match before Murray turned the tables. Two breaks in a row with a hold at love in between gave Murray a 3-1 lead, and he didn’t look back from there as not much went against serve from that moment on. Three holds later and Murray was two sets away from his third major title.

“Nerves kicked in. I needed a little bit of time to really find the right rhythm and start to play the way I intended,” said Djokovic.

The No. 1 player in the world wasn’t going to go down that easy, though, and the second set was all his as he was able to find that right rhythm. After saving a break point in the first game of the set, Djokovic completely dominated. Murray was broken in two of his three service games, and the one in which he was not broken he fought off a break point and was taken to deuce. The Serb also only lost three points total in his last three service games, completing the recipe of how to win a set 6-1.

The third set was more of the same as Djokovic broke Murray twice. There was more difficulty on serve in the set for the Serb as he lost at least two points in each of his service games, while being taken to deuce twice. In one of those deuce games, Djokovic staved off four break points, making the statement that he would not be missing out on another opportunity to win his first French Open.

With a break to open up the fourth set, Djokovic had all but finished off the No. 2 player in the world. After losing only one point on serve total in his next three service games and taking Murray to deuce twice, Djokovic earned a 0-40 lead at 4-2 and capitalized on his first opportunity to break and set up a chance to serve for the title.

The Brit was able to show some signs of life as he broke Djokovic and consolidated his serve to extend the match, but it just delayed the inevitable. In the next game, Djokovic was able to hold to close out the match, finally earning the right to call himself a French Open champion.

“In the last point, I don’t even remember what happened…it’s like my spirit left my body” said Djokovic.

With this title, the 29-year old has become just the eighth man in history to complete the career grand slam, solidifying his right to be in the conversation of the greatest tennis players of all time.

Garbine Muguruza Claims Maiden Major Beating Serena Williams For French Open Title

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

Garbine Muguruza of Spain won her first major title Saturday defeating defending champion and world No. 1 Serena Williams 7-5, 6-4 in the French Open women’s singles final.

The Spaniard, who was the No. 4 seed in the tournament, gave Williams a taste of her own medicine as she was able to completely outhit the 21-time major champion, blasting winner after winner.

Muguruza came into the match on a roll, having won 10 sets in a row and nine of her last 10 matches. The 22-year old, after dropping her first set of her French Open, was able to grow in confidence throughout her run in Paris, beating the 2009 French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova and the 2010 French Open runner up Sam Stosur along the way, while also losing more than three games only three times in 10 sets, as well as winning two sets at 6-0.

Not only was her recent run of form a reason to feel confident heading into this match, but so was the fact that she had already defeated Williams at the French Open, coming in the second round of the 2014 edition of the tournament.

The confidence of Muguruza carried over into the final and never wavered throughout the match despite how many opportunities she had to crumble under the pressure of playing in just her second major final, the previous coming in 2015 at Wimbledon where she lost to her opponent on Saturday.

Williams, who was the defending French Open champion, started off well, dropping just one point in her first two service games and forcing Muguruza to save two break points in just her second service game of the match. Saving those break points proved to be a turning point for the Spaniard, though, as she was able to break in the next game, eventually holding a 4-2 lead.

Williams, who was seeking her fourth French Open title, was able to break back later in the set, but Muguruza continued to go for her shots and asserted herself on the court, allowing her to break in the 11th game of the first set before fighting off two more break points in the next game to take the one set lead.

That run continued for Muguruza as she was able to break Williams in her first two service games of the second set, allowing the American to win just two points on serve, but those two breaks bookended a run of three consecutive breaks overall, meaning Muguruza only had a one-break advantage to work with.

With Muguruza holding a break lead at 2-1, it was a test of nerves for the rest of the match as the whole tennis world waited to see how long it would be before she would falter. That moment never came, though, as Muguruza only lost a total of four points on serve in her final four service games.

When Williams served to stay in the match at 3-5, Muguruza looked poised to take the title in that game as she had a look at four championship points in a 16-point game, but Williams showed her tenacious spirit that she has become known for, fighting them all off and extending the match.

The feeling was present that Williams would be able to apply pressure on Muguruza as she served for the title, especially after saving those four championship points, but the Spaniard was having none of that as she held at love to win her first major title, sealing the deal with a lob winner that landed on the baseline.

Muguruza, who will now reach a new career high ranking and become the No. 2 player in the world, has proven to the tennis world that she will be a major threat on the WTA Tour for a long time.

This title makes her the third consecutive first time major champion as Flavia Pennetta won the US Open last year and Angelique Kerber won the Australian Open earlier this year, both being first time winners.

Muguruza also tied the record for fewest titles owned when winning her first major title, as she had only won two titles on the WTA Tour coming into this event.

Andy Murray Ends Stan Wawrinka’s Roland Garros Reign

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

 

Andy Murray dethroned the defending French Open champion Stan Wawrinka on Friday with a 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 win.

Murray, who became the first player from Great Britain to reach the French Open in 79 years after Bunny Austin did so in 1937, played an almost perfect match as he reached his first French Open final and his 10th major final overall.

“I played one of my best matches here today,” said Murray in his post-match interview on court.

The No. 2 seed Murray, who had to battle from a two sets to love deficit in the first round against Radek Stepanek and a two sets to one deficit to a French wild card in the second round, has been able to gain confidence throughout his run to the final and return to the form that saw him win the title in Rome just before the French Open began.

That form from Murray was at peak levels on Friday against a player who reached his own peak levels of form in the French Open final in 2015 as Wawrinka put on a masterclass performance to snatch the title and the calendar grand slam from Novak Djokovic last year.

When Wawrinka, who was on a 12-match win streak at Roland Garros, held at love and forced Murray to take 11 minutes to hold his first service game, it looked like things may very well be in the favor of the Suisse in the early stages. This may not have been surprising at all to fans of Wawrinka as he had won his last three matches against Murray and had never lost a set to him on clay.

That feeling quickly changed though as Murray was able to save a break point before breaking Wawrinka in the next game, eventually leading 3-1.

The rest of the set was pretty straight forward until Murray served to close out the set as he was forced to fend off three break points before taking the one set lead.

It was all Murray in the second set as he broke Wawrinka at love for a 2-1 lead before breaking again two games later, eventually closing out the set 6-2, losing just three points on serve in the set that lasted only 27 minutes.

Murray continued to roll on serve in the third set, holding at love in his first three service games. The problem for the Brit was he was unable to convert the one break point he saw in the set, and Wawrinka was able to take advantage of the first poor service game Murray played since the beginning of the match, fighting back from 40-15 and winning four points in a row to break and win the set.

Wawrinka stealing the third set just delayed the inevitable as Murray’s roll went right over that minor speed bump as he was able to break in the first game of the fourth set. Murray had zero trouble on serve in the fourth set, losing just four points in four games, including a hold at love to close out the match and clinch his spot in the final.

“Stan has been unbelievable the last two years. I’ve played one of my best matches today…I’m just really proud. I never expected to reach the final here…Hopefully I can put up a good match in the final,” said Murray.

Murray’s impressive fitness level and ability to hit effective groundstrokes from anywhere on the court were on full display, as he looks like he can pose a very dangerous threat to Djokovic in this year’s final.

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