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The Curious Case of Sam Querrey

by Bob Stockton

2017 seemed like it was going to be a transformative year in Sam Querrey’s career, marking the reinvention of an inconsistent outsider as a player with genuine designs on reaching a Grand Slam final. The American delivered career-best performances at three of the four Grand Slams. Admittedly, reaching the third round of the Australian Open for the fifth time but failing to progress further is nothing to write home about, but a first Slam semi-final at Wimbledon followed by a first quarter-final at the US Open made 2017 a very good year for Querrey.

Querrey has always had the potential to beat anyone when at his peak level. There are players in the top 20 who are more consistent but lack the ability to reach a higher plane on occasion, with the likes of Pablo Carreno Busta, David Goffin and Roberto Bautista Agut all distinguished players but the kind of performers who could feasibly play their best against the world number 1 and still lose. There are other players in the top 20 who have mercurial talent and can be unstoppable for sets and matches at a time, such as the maverick Fabio Fognini and the erratic Grigor Dimitrov.

Querrey fits into that category, with his form at Wimbledon an indictment of this. In 2016, Querrey stunned world number 1 Novak Djokovic in the third round, with the American considered a massive outsider but able to reach a new level. If that wasn’t enough, Querrey repeated this feat the following year by beating home favourite and world number 1 Andy Murray in the Wimbledon quarter-final. Admittedly, there were question marks over both Djokovic’s and Murray’s fitness, but often those players can use their intimidating aura to grind through and exploit opponents’ weakness. Querrey played like a man possessed, possessed by a better tennis player than usual.

There are two key elements to consider when analysing if a player can win a Grand Slam for the first time: can they beat the best, and do they have the resilience to deliver a good level for a fortnight? A look at the latest tennis odds with bet365 for the US Open sees Querrey priced at 80/1 to win the title, a price that reflects that his ability to beat the best is currently outweighed by question marks over his consistency. This is why John Isner is at a much shorter price of 40/1, with Querrey’s fellow big-serving American much more dependable.

For example, Isner is less likely to lose to a player ranked outside the top 300 when defending a title. This is what Querrey served up at Los Cabos, falling to rank outsider Egor Gerasimov in the round of sixteen in a tournament at which he arrived as reigning champion. Querrey has endured a tough 2018. After winning the first set at the French Open against Gilles Simon, Querrey promptly rolled over. He repeated this feat at Wimbledon against Gael Monfils, made all the more disappointing considering his form in London.

Querrey may have given the world one of the great tennis-related videos through his dancing skills, but he will be determined to discover if he can give the sport one of the great Grand Slam final performances. If he can bring his best to the US Open this year then he will strike fear into the tournament favourites. The signs don’t necessarily suggest that this is too likely at this stage, but that’s the thing with mercurial talents: there’s no telling when they’ll bring their best.

Springfield Lasers Win First Ever World TeamTennis Title

It took 23 seasons but the Springfield Lasers are finally the World TeamTennis champions.

Springfield overpowered the top-seeded Philadelphia Freedoms, 19-18, at Sunday’s World TeamTennis Finals presented by GEICO on the campus of Drexel University in Philadelphia. Miomir Kecmanovic was the standout for the Lasers, winning four consecutive games in the final set to defeat Kevin King in men’s singles 5-3 to bring Springfield back from a 3-game final set deficit. Kecmanovic was named WTT Finals Forevermark MVP and received a one carat Forevermark diamond for his performance.

Lasers coach John-Laffnie de Jager dedicated the win to team founder Harry Cooper who passed away earlier this year. “This is for the people of Springfield and Mr. Cooper. I talk about champion people in life and the people in this franchise are all champion people. To win for the people of Springfield means a lot. They have been so good to us and I’m so glad we can bring the King Trophy back to them.”

Springfield got off to a strong start in a men’s doubles battle between Springfield’s Kecmanovic and Marcelo Demoliner and Philadelphia’s Fabrice Martin and 2018 Male Rookie of the Year Kevin King. The teams traded service holds until Kecmanovic hit a backhand winner down the line to break King’s serve and give the Lasers a 4-3 lead. Demoliner held serve as the Lasers won another critical 3-all point to close out the first set 5-3. Overall, the Lasers won six of nine 3-all points during the Finals.

Service holds were hard to come by in women’s doubles as Philadelphia’s Taylor Townsend double-faulted four times during the set and lost serve to hand Springfield’s duo of Vania King and Abigail Spears a 4-2 lead. King closed out the set on her serve to give the Lasers a 5-2 win over the League’s top-ranked doubles team of Townsend and Raquel Atawo.

With a 10-5 lead heading into the third set, Springfield looked to be in control going into mixed doubles. Martin started off with a strong service game and then raised his hands as he called for the crowd to get back into the match. The crowd roared and his Freedoms teammates also answered that call to action. Townsend held serve then Philadelphia won their first 3-all point of the afternoon to break Spears’ serve and go up 3-1 in the set. Townsend won her final service game for a 5-2 set win and closed the gap on Springfield’s lead to 12-10.

Townsend was undefeated during the regular season in women’s singles and she kept that record intact against Vania King. As this year’s Female MVP took the court, Freedoms owner Billie Jean King encouraged her from her seat in the second level by shouting “you can do it Taylor, you know what to do.” Townsend listened, breaking King’s serve in the opening game then held her serve to bring the overall match score even at 12-12. King and Townsend traded service holds until Townsend broke King to finish off the set at 5-2 and give the Freedoms their first lead since the opening set, 15-14, going into the final set of men’s singles.

The last set featured the league’s top two men’s singles players with Kecmanovic and King holding court with the 2018 title on the line. King saved three break points in the opening game and jumped out to a 3-1 lead but it was all Kecmanovic after that as the 18-year-old Serbian ran off four games in a row to win the match and set off a celebration as the Lasers bench rushed the court under a shower of confetti.

“It was a tough situation,” said Kecmanovic. “I tried to stay calm and I thought I could still do it. In the end I somehow managed to come through.”

OFF THE COURT: Prior to the first serve, both teams participated in the #HandshakeChallenge, a show of respect and sportsmanship which was started in South Africa by Lasers coach JL de Jager. The teams met at the net to shake hands with their opponents before the first serve.

WORLD TEAMTENNIS FINALS PRESENTED BY GEICO
Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pa.
Sunday, August 5, 2018

AGATE:
Springfield Lasers def. PHILADELPHIA FREEDOMS 19-18
Men’s Doubles – Miomir Kecmanovic\Marcelo Demoliner (Lasers) def. Kevin King\Fabrice Martin (Freedoms) 5-3
Women’s Doubles – Abigail Spears \Vania King (Lasers) def. Taylor Townsend\Raquel Atawo (Freedoms) 5-2
Mixed Doubles – Fabrice Martin\Taylor Townsend (Freedoms) def. Marcelo Demoliner\Abigail Spears (Lasers) 5-2
Women’s Singles – Taylor Townsend (Freedoms) def. Vania King (Lasers) 5-2
Men’s Singles – Miomir Kecmanovic (Lasers) def. Kevin King (Freedoms) 5-3

Colombia’s Juan Benitez Wins USTA Mardy Fish Vero Beach Futures In Florida

Juan Benitez of Colombia won the singles title at the $15,000 Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships U.S. Tennis Association Pro Circuit event Sunday defeating Ricardo Rodriguez of Venezuela in a gripping 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 final at Grand Harbor Golf & Beach Club.

The win for Benitez was the second on the “Futures” level of professional tennis, which is the equivalent of minor league baseball in tennis, after winning his first title in Morocco last year. He earned 18 ATP World Tour ranking points with the victory that will improve his current world ranking of No. 667.

“Amazing. Just every title, every week that you go undefeated is just amazing,” said Benitez. “I will always remember this week and this trophy. It’s been an unbelievable week for me here in Vero.”

The two hour and 28-minute battle between Benitez and Rodriguez saw 12 breaks throughout the match. Both players struggled to get a foothold early on in the match, as four of the 12 breaks in the match came in the first five games.

After the players settled in, break points came at a premium in the latter stages of the first set. Rodriguez had a look at one at with Benitez serving at 3-3, but the No. 5 seed held strong and won three points in a row to get the hold.

With Rodriguez serving at 5-6, he saved a break point at 30-40 to get the game to deuce, but Benitez fought hard to win the next two points to win the game and the set.

“Just one point at a time. He wasn’t giving many free points,” Benitez said of his strategy in the first set. “I had to work the point out, move him around, wait for him to miss pretty much.”

The second set was all Rodriguez as Benitez began to deal with soreness in his back. He was visited by the USTA trainer twice, and Rodriguez took advantage of the opportunity. He raced out to a 5-0 lead before Benitez showed signs of life to take two games late in the set. Rodriguez kept his nerve though and closed out the set 6-2.

“I had some physical issues that didn’t help me to move like I usually do,” said Benitez. “Sometimes I was being too passive and he was taking control of the point. I was either missing first, or he was making the winners.”
Benitez turned it back on in the third set though, jumping out to a 2-0 lead. Serving at 2-0 however, Rodriguez battled hard and capitalized on the second break point he saw in the game to get back on serve.

At 3-all, Benitez had a look at two break points to retake a lead, but Rodriguez continued to battle and won four points in a row to keep the match on serve. He turned the momentum from that game into two break points in the next game on Benitez’s serve, but the Colombian stayed resilient and eventually got the hold after a 10-point battle.
After a hold at love to go up 5-4, Benitez applied the pressure on Rodriguez’s serve and took advantage of the first and only match point he saw, forcing an error off the racquet of Rodriguez to claim the title.

“He’s been playing at a very high level throughout the week and I congratulate him,” Benitez said of Rodriguez. “It was a good battle.”

Benitez was especially proud of how he was able to fight through his struggles with injury throughout the match.
“You still gotta go out there and do everything in your power to win,” Benitez said. “I think I overcame those physical issues I had during the match and I’m very happy to get the win”

While Rodriguez didn’t get the win, he views his run in Vero Beach this week as a major positive for his career.
“I think it’s really good to be in a final again. It has been a little bit more than two years,” said Rodriguez, the all-time leading singles player on Venezuela’s Davis Cup team. “Finally I see a little bit of a light at the end of the tunnel. That gives me courage, that gives me strength, and even though I didn’t win today, I’ll try to build on it.”

Rodriguez, who is ranked No. 825 in the world, was once ranked as high as No. 282, but had to miss a significant amount of time from the tour with an ankle injury he suffered while playing paddle tennis in Spain.
His journey back to the highest levels of the tour has been a tough one, so tough that he almost gave up on trying to make a comeback.

“All my family, my team, my girlfriend, all the people who have been beside me in these dark times, whenever I step on court I just want them to feel proud of me. That’s my only objective,” Rodriguez said. “Without them, I would’ve quit a year and a half ago. They encourage me every day, they give me strength whenever I’m down.”

Rodriguez was not only complimentary of his team and family, but also of USTA Supervisor David Littlefield, tournament directors Randy Walker and Tom Fish, and the entire community of Grand Harbor.

“It makes one week for us easier than the rest,” Rodriguez said. “For us, the players, it’s great to feel appreciated and to feel welcomed, I think I’m talking on behalf of all the players.”

The doubles final was won by Junior Alexander Ore and Miles Seemann as they pulled off an impressive comeback from 6-4, 5-2 down to defeat Harrison Adams and Nick Chappell 4-6, 7-6(8), 10-6, saving three match points along the way.

The title for Ore and Seemann is their first in just their second tournament together. The pairing lost in the quarterfinals last week in Orange Park, and used that early exit to prepare for this event.

“After we lost early last week we just spent a lot of time learning each other’s games,” Ore said. “We worked on our chemistry, I think that was pretty big. I think that really helped out during this week.”

After coming out of the gates hot and holding a 3-0 double break lead, Ore and Seemann began to hit a rough patch as Adams and Chappell won 11 of the next 14 games.

“We knew it was just one break,” Seemann said of the 5-2 deficit in the second set. “We just kept fighting and we knew that if we keep fighting there might be a chance that we can comeback.”

After a comfortable hold to get it to 5-3, Ore and Seemann broke to get back on serve, but then had to fight off two match points while serving at 4-5 to get it back even. After leveling the set back up, the pairing’s confidence skyrocketed.
“Once we were at 5-all I knew we were going to win,” Ore said. “I just had a gut feeling.”

The duo got the second set to a tiebreak where they saved another match point en route to winning it 10-8.
In the match tiebreak, the Ore and Seemann raced out to a 5-0 lead and never looked back, eventually claiming the title with a decisive 10-6 scoreline.

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.

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 and most recently world No. 50 player and teen sensation Denis Shapovalov, who played in Vero Beach in 2016. 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.

Sponsors for the 2018 Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships are led by Presenting Sponsor PNC Bank and Grand Slam Sponsors Boston Barricade, George E. Warren Corporation, Jake Owen Foundation, Syde Hurdus Foundation / Fit For Life and Land Rover / Jaguar Treasure Coast, Backhand Sponsors Publix, Rossway Swan, Coastal Van Lines, White Orchid Spa, Foglia Contracting, Forehand Sponsors Steve and Karen Rubin, Willem and Marion de Vogel, Cravings, M&M Group – Keller / Williams Realty Vero Beach, Rosato Plastic Surgery, Riverside Café, Ocean Drive Elite Physiques, 14 Bones Barbeque, Gordon Food Service, Peter Bernholz, Swarovski, Soul Music, Minuteman Press and Elite Airways, Kit Fields Realtor / CharlotteTerry.com, Cabana Sponsors John’s Island, Gene Simonsen, Michael & Kathleen Pierce, William Barhorst CPA, Dan Holman, John Klein, Hadleigh Investments, TeamChristopher.com, Tom Collins, The Pitcher Family, Pene Chambers Group, Waldo and Candy Johnston, The Pappalardo Family, Mickey and Rob Stein, Lace and Bob Milligan and Drop Shot Sponsors Fresh Market, Brooklyn Bagel, Hutchinson’s Florist, Seaside Grill, A Pampered Life-Disney Spa, Avanzare, New Chapter Media, Smith & Company Landscaping, Center For Advanced Eye Care, Cast Electric, Citron of Vero Beach, Amerigas, Central Window of Vero Beach, Bill’s Audio and Video Innovations, ML Engineering, Capt. Bob’s Airboat Adventure, Busy Bee Lawn & Garden Center, Complete Restaurant Equipment, Wilco Construction, Nozzle Nolen, Southern Plumbing, Treasure Coast Sotheby’s, Jack’s Complete Tree Service, Complete Electric, Statewide Condominium Insurance, Abco Garage Door, O’Hair, Quinn, Casalino, Chartered, Rick’s Custom Care, Rich-Look Lawn Care, White Glove Moving & Storage, Coastal Comforts @ The Village Shops, Jimmy’s Tree Service, Thompsons Remodeling & Home Repairs, Summit Construction, Colton Williams & Reamy, Sunshine Furniture, Malesardi, Quackenbush, Swift, Aluma Tower Company, Alex MacWilliam, Inc., Charlotte Terry Real Estate, Ken’s Pool & Spa Repair, Vero Beach Orthopedics, Barker Air Conditioning & Heating, Treasure Coast Financial Planning, Engineered Services, Peter Bernholz, Deborah Benjamin, John & Faith Parker, Duke & Betty Foster, Paul & Linda Delaney, Timmy Wood Gary and Beth Williams, Don Moyle, Chuck Pollard, Stewart Dunn, Leslie London – LL Vinyl Designs, Dara, Hunter and Thom Morgan

New Daily Match Schedule Announced For The US Open

The USTA announced that the 2018 US Open will introduce a new daily match schedule for the tournament, made possible by the completion of the strategic transformation of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, and the opening of the new 14,000 seat Louis Armstrong Stadium.

In 2018, both Arthur Ashe Stadium and the new Louis Armstrong Stadium will hold dedicated day and night sessions. This marks the first time that a second stadium will feature a night session at the US Open. With the new Louis Armstrong Stadium also being equipped with a retractable roof, making it the second court at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center to utilize this technology in addition to Arthur Ashe Stadium, there will be a larger number of matches played on schedule, regardless of weather conditions.

In Louis Armstrong Stadium the day session will begin at 11:00 a.m. for the first nine days of the tournament and will include three matches, with the night session beginning at 7:00 p.m. and showcasing two matches for the first six days of the event. Approximately 7,000 of the seats in Armstrong will be open to all US Open ticket holders for both the day and night sessions, while the remaining seats will be reserved for those with a dedicated Louis Armstrong Stadium ticket for the respective session.

In Arthur Ashe Stadium, the day session will now begin at 12:00 p.m. and include two matches. The night session will continue to be comprised of two matches, and will begin at 7:00 p.m.

The move to two matches during the day session in Arthur Ashe Stadium helps to establish a greater certainty of start time for the night session, with a lesser chance of a delayed start time, a benefit to players, broadcasters, and fans both attending the US Open and those viewing from home. The possibility for congestion on the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center during the changeover between the day and night sessions should also be alleviated, due to more time for egress and ingress.

“We are incredibly excited to shine a light on the new Louis Armstrong Stadium at the 2018 US Open, featuring a night session in a second stadium for the first time in the tournament’s history,” said Katrina Adams, Chairman of the Board and President, USTA. “Night tennis and the US Open are synonymous; truly some of our most memorable matches have been under the bright lights at night.”

U.S. Fed Cup Team To Host Netherlands, U.S. Davis Cuppers To Travel To Serbia In 2018

The U.S. Davis Cup Team was drawn against Serbia this morning and will travel to Serbia for a Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group First Round tie February 2-4. The U.S. Fed Cup Team was drawn against the Netherlands for its First Round tie February 10-11, and by nature of the U.S. reaching the Fed Cup Final this year, the USTA has the choice to host the tie in the United States, with the decision to come by October 4 or earlier.

The U.S. Fed Cup Team, seeded No. 2 for 2018, last played, and defeated, the Netherlands, 5-0, in a 1998 World Group Quarterfinal tie in Kiawah Island, S.C., meaning the Dutch would traditionally host their next tie with the Americans. The provision that gives Davis Cup and Fed Cup finalists the choice to host their first round ties in the following year’s competitions was passed and went into effect in August, however, giving the United States — which will play Belarus in Minsk in the Fed Cup Final November 10-11 — the option to host, with a deadline of October 4 to make the decision.

The U.S. Davis Cup Team, which was eliminted by Australia in April’s Quarterfinals, last faced Novak Djokovic and Serbia in Boise, Idaho, in 2013. Serbia is seeded seventh in 2018, while the U.S. is unseeded.

Andy Roddick Highlights PowerShares Series Tennis Return To Lincoln, Nebraska

The PowerShares Series, the North American tennis circuit for champion tennis players over the age of 30 announced the dates and full players fields for events in Lincoln, Nebraska and in Los Angeles. Native Nebraskan Andy Roddick headlines the event in Lincoln on October 6 at the Pinnacle Bank Arena where he will be joined by John McEnroe, James Blake and Jim Courier. Roddick and Blake will also compete in Los Angeles at the Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Calif., on October 22 along with Michael Chang and Mardy Fish.

Tickets for Lincoln go on sale on July 31 at 10 am EST at www.PowerSharesSeries.com. Tickets for Los Angeles go on sale August 7 at 10am EST at PowerSharesSeries.com.

Roddick, born in Omaha, Nebraska, won the PowerShares Series title in Lincoln in 2015, also held at the Pinnacle Bank Arena, defeating Blake in the final 6-1.

“I was really excited when I heard PowerShares Series was returning to my home state of Nebraska. I can’t wait to play once again in front of all my Cornhusker fans,” said Roddick, a life-long Nebraska Cornhuskers fan.

During his playing days on the ATP Tour, Roddick was never shy of his allegiance to the University of Nebraska and its football team, often being seen wearing Nebraska hats or shirts. Roddick often talks about playing all of his tennis matches in a Nebraska hat from age 8 to 12 (“That smelled fantastic at the end of it,” he quipped.) and growing up, having Nebraska wall-papering in his bathroom.

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

The remaining PowerShares Series for this season schedule with player fields are listed below and ticket, schedule and player information can be found at www.PowerSharesSeries.com;
August 20 – Winston-Salem, N.C. – Andy Roddick, James Blake, Michael Chang, Mardy Fish

August 24-25 – New Haven, Conn. – John McEnroe, James Blake, Michael Chang, Mark Philippoussis

October 6 – Lincoln, Neb. – Andy Roddick, John McEnroe, Jim Courier, James Blake

October 22 – Los Angeles, Calif. – Andy Roddick, James Blake, Michael Chang, Mardy Fish

In 2016, Mark Philippoussis won the PowerShares Series points title with 1600 points and tournament titles in Memphis, Tulsa, Newport, Winston-Salem and New Haven. Roddick finished in second place, also earning 1600 points but losing the head-to-head tiebreaker with Philippoussis 5-2, while winning titles in Charleston, St. Louis, Los Angeles and Orlando. James Blake finished in third place with 1100 points and tournament titles in Chicago,
Portland and Brooklyn.

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 RevolutionR 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 QQQT, an exchange-traded fund (ETF) based on the NASDAQ-100 IndexR, 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.

Mardy Fish Beats Andy Roddick To Win First Career PowerShares Series Title In Newport

Mardy Fish won his first career title on the PowerShares Series Sunday, spoiling Andy Roddick’s day after his International Tennis Hall of Fame induction with a 7-5 victory in the one-set championship match.

Playing in his first career final on the North American tennis circuit for champion tennis players over the age of 30, Fish broke Roddick at 5-5 on the grass courts at the Newport Casino with crafty backhand slices that neutralized the forehand of the 2003 U.S. Open champion. The move caused uncharacteristic unforced errors from Roddick, Fish’s good friend and former U.S. Davis Cup and Olympic teammate.

“It was a blast,” said Fish of his first PowerShares Series title. “What a special weekend it has been for all the Hall of Fame inductees, especially my buddy.”

Fish, playing for the second year on the PowerShares Series, won one of his six ATP World Tour singles titles in Newport in 2010 while also winning the Newport doubles title in 2008 with John Isner.

To advance into the final earlier in the day, Fish beat Jim Courier 6-3 in the first semifinal, while Roddick defeated James Blake 6-2 in the second semifinal.

Fish earned 400 PowerShares ranking points with the tournament win to move into a third-place tie with John McEnroe in the PowerShares Series rankings. Roddick leads the PowerShares Series rankings with 1300 points, picking up 200 points for the runner-up showing. Mark Philippoussis, who won in Newport last year, sits in second place with 700 points. Roddick won events earlier this year in Chicago in May and Birmingham in April.

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

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

August 20 – Winston-Salem, N.C. – Andy Roddick, James Blake, Michael Chang, Mardy Fish

August 24-25 – New Haven, Conn. – John McEnroe, James Blake, Michael Chang, Mark Philippoussis

TBD – Lincoln, Neb. – TBD

TBD – Los Angeles, Calif. – TBD

In 2016, Mark Philippoussis won the PowerShares Series points title with 1600 points and tournament titles in Memphis, Tulsa, Newport, Winston-Salem and New Haven. Roddick finished in second place, also earning 1600 points but losing the head-to-head tiebreaker with Philippoussis 5-2, while winning titles in Charleston, St. Louis, Los Angeles and Orlando. James Blake finished in third place with 1100 points and tournament titles in Chicago, Portland and Brooklyn.

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 orwww.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.

Will Novak Djokovic Get Back To His Best Or Will His Decline Continue?

Things have not been going well for Novak Djokovic and even changing coach to legendary tennis player Andre Agassi performances have declined. One of the lowest points of his career in recent year was the humiliating defeat against Dominic Thiem who he has won 12 matches against to one in previous meetings. Before the tournament started he was in most experts tennis predictions and tips to make the final. No one expected such a decline in his performance and it has led to many questions being asked about the player’s desire for competing.

The French Open is a competition that Djokovic normally dominates which made the loss to Thiem even more shocking. He started the match well but quickly declined and seems to give up which is not the player that once was. What got him to the top was his determination and ability when things got tough to raise his game. This seems to be missing from his game and unless he can find that fire it will quickly fall down the ATP tennis rankings.

One of the main problems with Djokovic is he is making too many unforced errors. This must be due to the mental side of the game and he needs to regain his focus if he wants to regain the throne of being the number one men’s tennis player.

Andy Murray rise to the top is down to his pure determination, he wants it more than Djokovic. The best players in the world find a way to get through matches when they are not playing at their best and Djokovic is struggling to do this.

Djokovic can still turn things around but if he is going to he will need to do it fast. The other players have stopped fearing the once unbeatable star and if his performance level does not improve he may as well call an end to his lustrous career. It will be better than putting in the type of humiliating performances that he did at the French Open and will protect his legacy in the sport.

When asked about his performances of late Djokovic sounds like a player that is ready to retire. Any player at the top of the game when they consider this should retire. It is impossible to be world number one with this type of mindset. Many pundits are making tennis predictions 2017 that this will be the last year that we see Djokovic play so let’s hope that he can put on a show for the fans and enjoy his last playing days.

It is amazing just how fast the decline of Djokovic has happened. It is going to be a tough task for to player to get back to his best but even slightly below his top-level, he is still with a chance of winning another Grand Slam. For the latest betting tips for tennis and news make sure you subscribe and leave a comment below on your thoughts on Novak Djokovic.

 

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Calvin Hemery of France Wins 2017 Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Futures Event In Vero Beach, Florida

Calvin Hemery, the energetic, outgoing shotmaker from France, reigned supreme at the 2017 Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships ending the 10-day run of qualifier Sam Riffice in Sunday’s singles final by a 6-3, 6-1 scoreline in front of over 400 fans at Grand Harbor Golf & Beach Club.

Hemery came into the singles tournament as the No. 1 seed and accomplished the only goal he had in mind; winning the title. The Frenchman had lost in the final of the previous week’s tournament on the USTA Pro Circuit in Orange Park, just outside of Jacksonville, last week, and had no intentions of doing that two weeks in a row.

“It was a perfect week for me,” said Hemery, ranked No. 298 in the ATP World Tour rankings.

Riffice, an 18-year-old from Roseville, Calif., entered the match having won nine straight matches over the last 10 days – four in the qualifying tournament and five in the main draw. Sunday marked his first appearance in professional singles final and he appeared poised early on to notch his first title when he took an early 3-1 lead in the first set, breaking Hemery’s serve in the first game of the match.

“He got off to a very hot start. I didn’t play well and he pushed me,” the 22-year-old Hemery said.

The wear and tear of the previous 10 days finally began to show as Hemery then proceeded to win 11 of the next 12 games to claim the title and the 18 ATP World Tour ranking points that will push up to be in reach of potentially being included in the French Open qualifying tournament in late May.

Hemery, a resident of the east Paris suburb of Les Lilas, France, said he believed fitness was a factor in the match.

“I was a little bit more fresh, so I moved a little better,” he said.

Riffice had an opening to potentially get back into the match when Hemery served for the first set at 5-3 holding double-break point at 15-40. However, Hemery stepped up his game and won the next four points to close out the set, hammering an ace down the T as an exclamination point.

“I knew I had to come out big and I executed well,” Riffice said of his fast start. “I just couldn’t keep it up. I felt like I played my game the whole time, but I was a little tired and he definitely picked up his game. I was happy with the way I played. He just outplayed me today.”

Despite the loss, the week marked a break-through for Riffice, who earned 10 ATP World Tour ranking points to move into the top 1,000 in the professional rankings. As the No. 30-ranked junior player in the world, he will compete in junior Grand Slam tournaments at the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. He will also continue to work with Vero Beach resident Ivan Lendl, the tennis legend who works with Riffice as part of the USTA’s Player Development program. In the grand picture of his career, the loss was only a minor roadblock in what is looking to be a promising career for the American.

“I know that when I play my game, I have a chance against the top players,” Riffice said. “I take a lot of positives from this.”

For Hemery, it was his second professional singles title, also winning at this “Futures” level of professional events at an event in Italy in 2015. Immediately after the singles final, Hemery and Julien Cagnina of Belgium played in the doubles final, but were defeated by the Brazilian tandem of Alex Blumenberg and Thales Turini 6-4, 2-6, (10-7).

Blumenberg and Turini raced out to a fast start in the first set, gaining a 5-0 lead. Cagnina and Hemery fought back winning the next four games before the Brazilians finally closed out the first set, despite saving break points in the set’s final game.

The second set was won with relative ease by Cagnina and Hemery, before the Brazilians were able to regroup in the third-set match-tiebreak and close out the victory.

For Blumenberg, it was his first professional title of any kind, coming in a tournament in which he didn’t even intend to play doubles.

“He surprised me during the week and convinced me to play,” Blumenberg said about Turini. “Now, I am a champion for the first time after a lot of injuries and tough moments. So I am very happy.”

The Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships has been played in Vero Beach since 1995 and is 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 (www.MardyFishFoundation.com), 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.

Advance tickets for the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships are available at www.VeroBeachTennisTickets.com. Season tickets for all 10 days of the competition are available for $100. Daily buy-one-get-one free tickets for the qualifying rounds April 21-24 are for sale for $10, with daily tickets for the main draw sessions April 25-30 for sale for $20. A special “Happy Hour” ticket is available for $10 after 5 pm for night sessions on Tuesday, April 25 – Friday, April 28 that includes a featured 7 pm night match. Admission for children 18 and under is free. Tickets are also sold at the front gate. 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.

Corporate sponsors and donors for the 2017 tournament include PNC Bank, Boston Barricade, George E. Warren Corporation, Indian River Medical Center, Jake Owen Foundation, Syde Hurdus Foundation, Indian River Oxygen, Citrus Grillhouse, Coastal Van Lines, Rossway Swan, Publix, Ryan A. Jones and Associates, Tom Collins Insurance Agency, Vocap Partners, Riverside Café, Center Court Outfitters, David Walsh and Associates Real Estate, Peter Bernholz Family, John’s Island Real Estate, Gene Simonsen, Michael & Kathleen Pierce, Steve and Karen Rubin, Rob and Mickey Stein, William Barhorst, Dan Holman, John Klein, Mello Financial Services, Ocean Drive Elite Physiques, Rosato Plastic Surgery, Captain Hiram’s Resort, Absolute Protection Team, Minuteman Press, Technifibre, TeamChristopher.com, Fit for Life Strength, Diamond Resorts International, Wilson, Don Herrema and Lori Ford.

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

 

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.