Toronto

Star tennis quartet face-off in Toronto

TORONTO (November 17, 2012) — Agnieszka Radwanska, Milos Raonic, Andy Roddick and Serena Williams didn’t disappoint the fans who went through the turnstiles on Friday night at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto to watch the second edition of the Sportchek Face-Off.

The exhibition event began with a fun celebrity doubles match pitting Team Canada – Raonic and Radwanska – against Team USA’s Roddick and Williams. The superstar quartet were joined on court by Canadian TV personality George Stroumboulopoulos, Bachelor Canada’s Brad Smith, CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon, and Adrian Grenier of Entourage fame. The recently retired Roddick joked about finally getting the chance to play alongside his compatriot after many years of campaigning.

“I couldn’t convince Serena (Williams) to play with me when I was actually good, but now that I suck she’s all about it,” Roddick said.

Next up was a rematch of this year’s Wimbledon women’s final between Radwanska and Williams. The Pole, who referred to Williams as a “grass tennis killer”, was able to impose her crafty game on the Canadian indoor hard court, en route to a 6-4, 6-4 win. This was a rare defeat for Williams, who has lost just one Tour match since falling in the opening round at Roland-Garros this spring. Despite winning Wimbledon, an Olympic gold medal, the U.S. Open and the WTA Championships in Istanbul, the 31-year-old is focused on looking forward instead of back.

“I’m not a big reflector,” said Williams. “I always feel like I want to do more, I want to improve. Once you start reflecting … you can become really satisfied. For me, I’m always trying to do a bit better. I’ll have more time to reflect after my career.”

The evening concluded with the main event, a confrontation between two of the game’s biggest servers in Raonic and Roddick, who was making his first visit north of the border since 2009.  The former World No. 1 put his trademark humor and candor on full display in his return to Canada. He gave the crowd fits of laughter in the second set with his imitations of Maria Sharapova, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and John McEnroe. In addition to his talents as an entertainer, Roddick, who played his last professional match at the U.S. Open, showed that his tennis skills are still very much in tact defeating Raonic 6-4, 4-6, 10-7. The two players met once on the ATP World Tour, in the final at Memphis in 2011 which Roddick won in three tough sets. The American was full of praise for Canada’s highest-ranked singles player of all time.

“I like his (Raonic) game and I equally like the way he goes about his business,” complimented Roddick. “He’s very diligent and he has the hunger to get better and not be satisfied, which will serve him well.”

For Raonic, being able to host tennis royalty in his hometown for an event like the Face-off is an opportunity to grow tennis in Canada.

“There’s a lot of support, a lot of appreciation and interest in Canadian players, especially during Davis Cup,” Raonic said. “I think the kind of support we’re getting there is really amazing. It’s something we want to keep building up.”

In the first edition of the Face-Off held last November in Toronto, Raonic took on his tennis hero Pete Sampras.

Inaugural Raonic Race for Kids tees up Face-off weekend in Toronto

By Melissa Boyd

TORONTO (November 16, 2012) — Two days after launching his foundation to support disadvantaged children, Milos Raonic hosted his first fundraising event, the Raonic Race for Kids, at the Toronto Lawn and Tennis Club with the help of a few Toronto celebrities and tennis stars.

A total of ten teams raised money to participate in the inaugural race and each drafted an honorary celebrity captain to join their squad, choosing from the likes of Raonic, junior Wimbledon champion Eugenie Bouchard, Daniel Nestor, former NHL player Brad Marsh, and Canadian Football League legend Damon Allen. “Romano’s Racers” raised the most  money through their fundraising efforts and were rewarded by having Raonic as their captain.

Teams competed in eleven three-minute challenges that tested both their physical and intellectual abilities including mini-putt, ping-pong, and making a puzzle. Creative costumes, a theme song, and an original name characterized each team.

The highlight of the evening came when Andy Roddick and Serena Williams made a surprise appearance to present prizes and a trophy to the highest scoring team. The winning team was “The Aces” captained by Toronto television personality Carson Arthur. The American super duo also joined Raonic for a Q and A session which covered topics like the trio’s big serves, trash-talking, and what Roddick has been up to since retiring from the game at the U.S. Open this year.

The first edition of the Raonic Race for Kids raised just over $160,000 which will be put towards the Milos Raonic Foundation and Tennis Canada’s “Let’s Make Tennis Matter for Kids” campaign. The Raonic foundation will create and support initiatives to reduce economic, physical, and other barriers that may prevent disadvantaged children from becoming healthy, productive members of society.

“Tennis has had a profound impact on my life in so many positive ways,” Raonic said. “Opportunities that were available to me as I grew up are not always as accessible to other children and youth and in many cases this is often due to circumstances that are completely beyond their control.”

Raonic, Roddick, Williams, and Agnieszka Radwanska will take part in the Sport Chek Face-off tonight at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

 

Rogers Cup presented by National Bank to welcome 59 of the top 60 players in the world

By Melissa Boyd

Tennis Canada has unveiled the official player acceptance lists for the 2012 Rogers Cup presented by National Bank in Montreal and Toronto. This year, 59 of the Top 60 players in the world will be descending upon Canada, including both current world No. 1s Maria Sharapova and defending Rogers Cup champion Novak Djokovic. The Top 35 men of the ATP World Tour will play at Rexall Centre in Toronto from August 4-12, while 24 of the Top 25 women of the WTA will compete August 4-13 at Uniprix Stadium in Montreal.

“We are thrilled to welcome back all the best male players in the world to Toronto,” said Toronto Rogers Cup tournament director Karl Hale. “The depth in the men’s game makes for riveting storylines and unparalleled rivalries and we look forward to watching all the action up-close and personal when the players hit the courts in Toronto.”

“We are very pleased to announce that 24 of the Top 25 players in the world will be in Montreal this year,” said Rogers Cup Montreal tournament director Eugène Lapierre. “Our list shows that the Rogers Cup continues to be one of the most important and appreciated tournaments on the tennis calendar, one that the ladies don’t want to miss.”

Other past champions expected at the tournaments include seven-time French Open winner Rafael Nadal, 16-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer, two-time Rogers Cup titlist Andy Murray, and former world No. 1 players Caroline Wozniacki and Ana Ivanovic. Joining them will be last year’s Rogers Cup finalist and US Open champion Sam Stosur, Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka and home-grown Canadian hero Milos Raonic.

“I think that Rogers Cup in both Montreal and Toronto do a tremendous job in organizing the event and it’s one of the best [Masters] 1000 events that we have in the world of tennis,” said Djokovic. “Every player enjoys playing there. I’m really looking forward to coming there and playing my best tennis.”

For the second year, the two internationally-recognized Rogers Cup events will be staged during the same week making them “virtually combined”. As with last year, all necessary elements will be in place to ensure that spectators, journalists and players are able to interact across venues.

New for 2012, both draws will consist of 48 players with the Top 16 seeds receiving first-round byes. Main draw action in Montreal will begin one day later than usual on Tuesday, August 7 with the women’s final taking place in the evening on Monday, August 13. An evening final is also scheduled in Toronto for the first time ever on Sunday, August 12 with doubles starting at 5 p.m. and singles at 7 p.m.

The draws in each city will be completed with the addition of qualifiers, tournament wildcards and Tour special exemptions. These entrants will be announced at a later date.

With the smaller draw size, qualifying weekend at both tournaments will be extremely competitive with fan favourites such as Tommy Haas, David Nalbandian, Marcos Baghdatis and Shahar Peer all possibilities based on their ranking to be part of the group fighting for a spot into the main draw. Entry to the grounds during qualifying is free for spectators both in Montreal and Toronto.

Tickets for Rogers Cup presented by National Bank start as low as $20. Session seats, group offers, packages and executive suite opportunities are still available. Inventory for championship weekend is limited. For more information and to purchase tickets visit rogerscup.com or call 1-877-2TENNIS (Toronto) or 1-855-TENNIS-0 (Montreal).

Milos Raonic beats Pete Sampras in the Face-Off in Toronto

The prodigy beat his hero on Thursday night in Toronto as Canada’s top player Milos Raonic defeated Pete Sampras 7-6, 6-1 in an exhibition match in front of his hometown fans at the Air Canada Centre.

The Canadian rising star and the American legend were greeted with a standing ovation as they arrived on court sporting Toronto Maple Leafs jerseys embroidered with their name and the last two numbers of their date of birth.

The much anticipated ‘Face-off’ between Missile Milos and Pistol Pete featured blistering serves, impressive net play, deft touch and a lot of smiles on both sides of the net. Raonic was philosophical when describing what it meant to have the opportunity to play his childhood idol.

“It’s a moment that’s going to be tattooed in my mind,” Raonic said. “It’s never going to leave. There is a lot that comes with this moment. For myself to learn and grow, but also for Canadian tennis to promote the sport and that’s what the end goal is.”

Sampras, who met Raonic for the first time earlier this year at the SAP Open in San Jose, a tournament which Raonic won to capture his first ATP title, had some high praise for the 20-year-old Canadian.

“Milos is a great kid,” Sampras said. “He seems really driven and has a great future ahead of him. When I look at young players, I look at a weapon. And he has a big one with his serve.”

The evening’s main event was preceded by a set of women’s tennis between Wimbledon junior doubles champion Eugenie Bouchard and former world no. 21 Aleksandra Wozniak. Both ladies hit their fair share of winners in a 6-4 victory for Wozniak over her compatriot.

The festivities kicked off with some celebrity doubles as the four players took to the court with actor Hayden Christensen, former NHL player Brad May as well as Toronto television personalities Rick Campanelli and Gord Stellick. Christensen, famous for playing the role of Anakin Skywalker in the Star Wars movies, played junior tennis and acquitted himself well against the pros.

This was the first time tennis has been played at the Air Canada Centre, a venue that seats 19,000 for Maple Leafs hockey games.

The event was a special treat for Canadian tennis fans, who not only watched one of the game’s all-time greats, but also saw Milos Raonic’s first match in his home country since the summer of 2010, an encounter he won’t soon forget.

US Open Begins in Wake of Irene – Early Day One Matches

Despite a hurricane travelling through the area just over 24 hours previously the US Open got underway on Monday with just a two-hour delay disrupting schedules as cleanup teams tried to restore the grounds as best they could before the gates opened.

Anybody who may have feared a subdued day one, understandably, due to disruptions to preparations quickly had their worries allayed.

Just days after admitting she was worried about her recent form, the new Wimbledon Champion Petra Kvitova crashed out in round one to world No.49 Alexandra Dulgheru of Romania.

“Still I have bad timing for the hard court and I didn’t have some small steps before the shots,” she had said after early round exits from Cincinnati and Toronto. “Sometimes my serve is like up and down. It’s also right before the US Open, so I have a week off now. Hopefully it’ll be better. Of course I won a Grand Slam so it’s going to be more [pressure], but it’s not in my head.”

And certainly she seemed ready for a fight during the first set as her and Dulgheru traded blows before entering a tie-breaker on Louis Armstrong Court.

But she dropped it, and could never quite get herself firing in the second. A surprised Dulgheru rushed to take it 6-3 and complete an unlikely victory. She will now face her compatriot Monica Niculescu in round two who defeated Austria’s Patricia Mayr-Achleitner 6-3, 6-3 on court nine.

Top American seed in the men’s draw Mardy Fish kicked off play on Arthur Ashe Court and dropped only five games against Germany’s Tobias Kamke in a 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 win that made the sport look extremely simple.

But his compatriot, Ryan Harrison, lost in straight sets to Croatia’s Marin Cilic, who progressed 6-2, 7-5, 7-6(6).

Tomas Berdych, Richard Gasquet, Flavio Cipolla, Bernard Tomic, and Janko Tipsarevic were among the male players to make it through in straight sets, while Michael Llodra was one of the first stars taken to five sets by Romania’s Victor Hanescu before triumphing 6-2, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Teenage British star Laura Robson went through earlier than planned when Japan’s Ayumi Morita retired at the beginning of the second set with a shoulder injury, while German star Julia Goerges progressed by dropping only five games in a routine 6-3, 6-2 win over her compatriot Kristina Barrois.

Federer wants Hingis Partnership, Roddick Outburst in Cincy and Serena Wins Two Titles out of Two

Federer Wants Hingis Partnership:

Despite her best efforts to quash talk of a comeback and another assault at the Olympic Games next summer it seems that Martina Hingis’ fellow pros aren’t so willing to let the issue lie. Roger Federer has been talking this week of the possibility of the pair linking up for a dream mixed doubles partnership at the All England Club next summer to compete in the London Games. “Might as well just see if she is available,” he said on Monday. “If I played mixed with anybody it would be with Hingis just because she’s been an amazing player and I had my first kind of success at the Hopman Cup with her and practised and played with her before. Even if she is retired, she might think about it at least. I’ve approached her already a long time ago, and I guess she just mentioned something to the press and it took a life of its own. But I haven’t spoken to her myself yet. We’ll see where it goes. I know it’s a lot on your plate to play singles, doubles, and mixed. I need to decide if I want to do that in the first place, and then see if she will come out of retirement. Still have a lot of things to go through, but haven’t spoken yet. I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Roddick Outburst Compounds Cincy Defeat:

Andy Roddick crashed out of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati yesterday to Philip Kohlschreiber in an outburst-riddled match which landed the American star in hot water. After taking the first set in a tie-breaker, Roddick began to fall apart on court and secured only one game in the final set of a 7-6(7-5), 5-7, 1-6 loss. Having already been warned for smashing one racket to pieces, Roddick was docked a point in the third set to give the German Kohlschreiber a 2-0 lead for hitting a ball in to the crowd in frustration. “Obviously it’s a split second thing, as soon as I did it I wanted it [the ball] back,” he said after the match. “It was a judgment call for the umpire. I am pretty sure I saw an eight-year-old girl catch it on the way down. He was telling me I hit it as hard as I could. I understand where the umpire is coming from but at a certain point, you know, you hit a tennis ball into a stadium, someone goes home with a souvenir, and it pretty much ruins the match from there. Seems counterproductive.”

Serena makes it Back To Back Titles:

Serena Williams made it back-to-back tournament wins on her return from injury as she lifted the Rogers Cup in Toronto over the weekend. She broke Aussie Sam Stosur to move 5-4 ahead in the first set and then served it out, before breaking the 2010 French Open finalist twice more in the second set on her way to victory. “I’m so excited. I never expected to do this well,” she said in her on-court interview in Toronto. “I’m just so happy to be playing again, let alone winning. It’s cool.”

Djokovic Continues Unrivalled Year:

In Montreal, Novak Djokovic continued his unbelievable 2011 with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 win over America’s Mardy Fish in the final. The 24-year-old took just 38 minutes to win the first set and although he suffered a blip as Fish broke him to go 3-2 up in the second and held on to take it, Djokovic recovered and saw out the decider with now-unsurprising ease. “I am human, I can definitely assure you of that,” Djokovic joked afterwards. “I’ve been playing incredible tennis this year. I’m aware of the fantastic year that I’ve had and a great streak but I’m not thinking how many matches will I lose? I’m thinking how many matches will I win?” Fish was quick to pay homage to his all-conquering adversary: “Every knock he’s answered 10-fold this year,” he said. “It’s been incredibly impressive.” The Serb has only lost one match this year to Roger Federer in the semi-finals of the French Open and he becomes the first player in ATP history to lift five Masters events in the same season; Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid, Rome and now Montreal.

Federer Enjoys DelPo “Revenge”:

Roger Federer overcame Juan Martin del Potro in the second round at Cincinnati this week in what was a revenge match for the 2009 US Open final, where Del Potro won through in five sets in what R-Fed describes as one of the “biggest losses” of his career. This time the Swiss star won through 6-3, 7-5 with relative ease and he will progress to face James Blake, the man who painfully ended his run at the 2008 Olympics quarterfinals. “That was obviously a pretty big match for me to lose as well,” said Federer. “May be getting a chance for some revenge. I’m looking forward to it. Seems like he’s playing well. Definitely going to be ready for it.  Had a great final here years ago, and hope we can make something similar happen.” Del Potro, however, will now take a week off before making his first return to Flushing Meadows since that famous win after his long-running injury problems. “I will try to train hard to be 100 per cent for the Open,” he said. “I love this tournament. I want to be there. I want to just play the US Open this year, and then I will have time to take a rest, to think about this season, and to fix all my physical problems.”

Stepanek Hits Milestone:

Radek Stepanek’s 7-5, 5-7, 7-6(4) win over big American John Isner at Cincy this week was the 300th ATP level win of his professional career.

Pre-Open Injuries:

There are a couple of injuries to report ahead of the US Open. As well as the well-documented struggles of Venus Williams and Kim Clijsters, Agnieszka Radwanska pulled out of this week’s Cincinnati event with a right shoulder injury sustained during her Toronto semi-final loss to Sam Stosur. It is unclear as yet how much it will hamper her Open preparations. There were also painful scenes for 52-year-old John McEnroe in the Rogers Legends Cup event in Montreal last week. He went down late in the second set clutching his leg and lay prone for 10 minutes while opponent Michael Chang and medical staff assisted him before helping him off-court.

Nishikori Heading to Malaysia:

Japanese star Kei Nishikori has confirmed that he will compete in this year’s Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur, which takes place from September 24 to October 2. “It is a wonderful opportunity to be able to welcome a player from Asia to the Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur, and especially one who has shown such great maturity and determination,” said Nick Freyer, of organisers IMG. “Kei has incredible talent and it is tremendous for tennis in Asia to be able to see him playing the standard of tennis he has always been capable of.”

O’Brien Retires:

Britain’s Katie O’Brien has retired from professional tennis at the age of 25. She reached a career-high ranking of No.84 in September 2010 but has since slipped all the way down to No.281 in the world. “There are so many bits about tennis that I love, but the day-in day-out grind got to me a little bit,” she said. “A lot of people see the end product, when you’re on the big stage at the Grand Slams, and it all looks so luxurious. But the path to get there takes years and years of dedication. I did really well to break into the Top 100, that was my lifelong ambition, but I sacrificed everything to get there. The Challenger circuit can be a pretty depressing place at times, especially when you’re travelling many weeks on your own, which is what I have been doing.”

Fish at Record High in Rankings Watch:

American Mardy Fish has benefitted from his final appearance at Montreal last week by climbing to a record-high No.7 in this week’s South African Airways ATP World Rankings. Jo Wilfried-Tsonga’s impressive showing at the event also sees him jump six places to enter the Top 10. Janko Tipsarevic climbs four in to the Top 20, while Ernests Gulbis, Pablo Cuevas and Alex Bogomolov Jr. are all in to the Top 50. Belgium’s Steve Darcis climbs in to the Top 100, as does Chilean Paul Capdeville, who leaps 18 places to No.98 in the world. There were further 2011 Chinese records in the Sony Ericsson WTA World Rankings this week as Peng Shuai climbed to a career-high No.15 in the world to make it two Chinese players in the Top 15 in the same week for the first time ever. Vera Zvonareva is back up to No.2 in the world this week, while Petra Kvitova’s amazing couple of months continue as she is at a new career-high No.6 in the world. Italy’s Roberta Vinci made her Top 20 debut at No.19, whilst Serena Williams climbed 49 places to No.31 in the world on the back of her title in Toronto. Mona Barthel also climbed a place to enter the Top 100 for the first time in her career.

Low GOAT Race Points Totals after Shock Montreal Losses:

Both Roger Federer and Raphael Nadal saw shock losses in last week’s Montreal Masters, severely limiting their points total increases this week. Nadal crashed out in round two as Ivan Dodig secured the biggest win of his career, 1-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(5) against the world No.2. Federer followed in round three, missing out on a place in the quarterfinals thanks to Jo-Wilfried-Tsonga’s 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-1 win. As a result, neither man built on their 10 points for entering. They both, however, gain another 10 points each for entering Cincinnati this week.

Roger: 975 Rafa: 1685

Ma Clijsters Continues Hot Play at US Open

NEW YORK –Ma Clijsters took another giant step for motherhood Sunday and moved closer to regaining her women’s singles title at the US Open.

Playing in her first Grand Slam tournament since giving birth to her daughter, Kim Clijsters out-gunned Venus Williams 6-0 0-6 6-4 to advance into the quarterfinals of America’s premier tennis event.

“I’m not trying to get carried away with it all,” Clijsters said of her surprising run into the second week of the year’s final Grand Slam tournament. “Just trying to focus on what I have to do because the tournament’s still going. I just want to keep focusing on my tennis without having to worry too much about what’s going on around.”

Two years ago, Clijsters retired from the sport. She got married to an American basketball player and gave birth to their daughter. Earlier this year, she decided she wanted to return to the tennis tour and is playing the US Open for the first time since she captured the title in 2005. She was injured when the 2006 US Open came around, and retired the following year.

This is her third tournament back since retirement, and it’s as if she had never been away. She reached the quarterfinals at Cincinnati and the third round in Toronto, losing in the latter to Jelena Jankovic.

“Although I lost to Jankovic, it really helped me a lot knowing that I was capable of taking her to a 5-3 in that third set,” Clijsters said. “That’s where after Toronto I felt like, OK, I feel at this moment I can compete with those best players. … I had a good feeling that I can have a chance against these girls. That’s something that I didn’t have before I went to Cincinnati.”

She was almost perfect in the opening set against the third-seeded Williams, a two-time US Open champion, but the last title coming in 2001. Williams turned the table in the second set, needing only 23 minutes to run through the six games, allowing Clijsters to win just nine points.

“I just said to myself, OK, forget about what happened this last hour,” Clijsters said. “You start from zero and just make sure that you stay aggressive, keep serving well, and it worked.”

The mother broke Williams in the third game of the final set, then held on to hold her own serve for the rest of the match. In the final game, Williams won three of the first four points before Clijsters, pounding the ball deep into the recesses of the court, won the final four points to grab a spot in the quarterfinals.

Clijsters is trying to become the third mother to win a Grand Slam singles title in the Open Era, after two Australians, Margaret Court and Evonne Goolagong.

Clijsters will next face 18th-seeded Li Na, a 6-2 6-3 winner over Italy’s Francesca Schiavone. Li is the first Chinese player to reach the quarterfinals at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

The other quarterfinal in the bottom of the draw will pit second-seeded Serena Williams against No. 10 Flavia Pennetta of Italy, who staved off six match points before beating No. 7 Vera Zvonareva 3-6 7-6 (6) 6-0.

Williams is 0-6 in her career after losing the first set at love. The last time she lost a 6-0 set at the US Open was in the final in 1997 against Martina Hingis.

Serena Williams began Sunday’s play by crushing Daniela Hantuchova 6-2 6-0, winning the last 10 games of the match.

“I traditionally play well in fourth-round matches,” Serena said. “I want to keep this level, stay focused and play well my next match. I enjoy every moment. I enjoy walking out there and I like to battle.

“I’m blessed to be in this position, to travel the world, play tennis and do something I love every day.”

Third-seeded Rafael Nadal grabbed a fourth-round spot in the men’s singles in an early match, beating Nicolas Almagro 7-5 6-4 6-4.
In other early third-round matches, seventh-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat Julien Benneteau 7-6 (4) 6-2 6-4; No. 11 Fernando Gonzalez ousted No. 17 Tomas Berdych 7-5 6-4 6-4; No. 13 Gael Monfils advanced when Jose Acasuso retired with a left knee injury while trailing 6-3 6-4 1-0; No. 6 Juan Martin del Potro beat Daniel Koellerer 6-1 3-6 6-3 6-3; No. 24 Juan Carlos Ferrero upset No. 9 Gilles Simon, who retired with a right knee injury while trailing 1-6 67-4 7-6 (5) 1-0; and No. 16 Marin Cilic stopped Denis Istomin 6-1 6-4 6-3.

Mondays With Bob Greene: Did I hear the baby? My grandmother in Russia heard the baby

STARS

Juan Martin del Potro beat Andy Roddick 3-6 7-5 7-6 (6) to win the Legg Mason Tennis Classic title in Washington, DC, USA

Flavia Pennetta beat Samantha Stosur 6-4 6-3 to win the LA Women’s Tennis Championships in Los Angeles, California, USA

Feliciano Lopez won the ATP Open Castilla y Leon in Segovia, Spain, defeating Adrian Mannarino 6-3 6-4

Andreas Seppi beat Potito Starace 7-6 (4) 2-6 6-4 to win the San Marino CEPU Open in San Marino

Marcos Baghdatis beat Xavier Malisse 6-4 6-4 to win the Odlum Brown Vancouver Open men’s singles in Vancouver, Canada

Stephanie Dubois beat Sania Mirza 1-6 6-4 6-4 to win the Odlum Brown Vancouver Open women’s singles in Vancouver, Canada

SAYING

“We play until the tiebreaker, and then I did the best service of my life.” – Juan Martin del Potro, who hit five of his 19 aces in the tiebreaker to beat Andy Roddick and win his second straight Legg Mason Tennis Classic.

“I kind of forced him to play high-risk tennis, especially with the heat. He was taking big cuts, especially for the last 30, 45 minutes we were out there, and he was connecting.” – Andy Roddick, after losing to Juan Martin del Potro in the final at Washington, DC.

“Every match I improved. I had a great chance in the second set and I took it, that’s why I won.” – Flavia Pennetta, who won the LA Women’s Tennis Championships.

“My whole career I’ve been trying to get to this point. It kind of looks like I’ve done it late, but I don’t worry too much about that. I took a little longer to develop.” – Samantha Stosur, after reaching the final of the LA Women’s Tennis Championships.

“I don’t have fear if I miss that important point. If you don’t take a risk, you don’t gain.” – Fernando Gonzalez, after beating Tommy Haas at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic.

“Did I hear the baby? My grandmother in Russia heard the baby.” – Maria Sharapova, after a baby started crying in the first set of her 6-4 (4) 6-4 6-2 victory over Victoria Azarenka at the LA Women’s Tennis Championships.

“I have to give him a lot of credit. He helped turn my mind around. I’m no longer looking at tennis as a matter of life and death.” – Philip Bester of Canada, speaking about his several sessions with sports psychologist Jim Loehr.

”I realized how much I missed it and how it made me sharper, and, in some ways, more focused. Then I realized I wanted it back.” – Ana Ivanovic, talking about the pressure of being number one in the world.

“Maybe some people think it’s too crazy, but I’m enjoying a lot. For me it’s not only for the ranking or always to win the tournament. It’s just to enjoy life.” – Kimiko Date Krumm, on returning to the WTA Tour after her 12-year retirement.

SECONDING THE CALL

After battling through 14 points in the final-set tiebreaker, Andy Roddick and Juan Martin del Potro waited at the net for the replay to tell them if their match was over. Del Potro appeared to win the match with a crosscourt forehand winner, but Roddick challenged the call. “I actually thought it might have been out, and I asked him and he said it might have been out,” Roddick said. “So imagine the disappointment when it wasn’t.” The disappointment was all Roddick’s as del Potro won his second straight Legg Mason Tennis Classic title in Washington, DC, edging Roddick 3-6 7-5 7-6 (6).

STRIKING BACK

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has appealed a ruling that essentially cleared Richard Gasquet, who said he inadvertently took cocaine by kissing a woman in a nightclub. The ITF is appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport after an independent tribunal decided to exonerate Gasquet for a positive cocaine test. The Frenchman was allowed to resume playing after serving a 2½-month retroactive ban. The ITF is seeking a two-year ban under the terms of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s code.

SKIPPING SUSPENSION

Tamira Paszek will not be suspended while officials investigate whether medical treatment the Austrian tennis player received for a back injury violated doping regulations. The disciplinary committee of Austria’s anti-doping agency said Paszek can continue to play on the WTA Tour until a verdict is reached in about seven weeks. Last month Paszek had blood taken for homeopathic enrichment, and then re-injected into her lower back. Re-injecting one’s own blood is banned under international anti-doping rules. It was Paszek herself who alerted the doping agency when she learned that her treatment may have been illegal. She hasn’t played a match since retiring in the first round of Wimbledon in June.

SPARKLING MARK

Andy Roddick reached another milestone at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic in Washington, DC. When the Wimbledon finalist beat fellow American Sam Querrey in a third-round match, it was his 500th career match victory, making Roddick only the fourth active player and the 36th in the Open Era to win 500 matches. Roger Federer – no surprise there – leads the active players with 657 match wins, while Carlos Moya has 573 and Lleyton Hewitt 511.

SODERLING STOPPED

An elbow injury did what an opponent couldn’t at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic in Washington, DC. An injury to his right elbow forced Sweden’s Robin Soderling to withdraw from his quarterfinal match against second-seeded Juan Martin del Potro. Soderling reached the French Open final this year, losing to Roger Federer, then won the Swedish Open in Bastad, Sweden, in his last two tournaments.

SQUEEZE PLAY

After years of paying on consecutive weeks, men and women will compete for the Rogers Cup at the same time but in separate Canadian cities. The men and women take turns playing one year in Montreal, then the next in Toronto. This year, the men will play in Stade Uniprix at Jarry Park in Montreal this week; the women will play at Rexall Centre at York University in Toronto next week. But because of increased international pressure for more combined men’s and women’s tournaments, Tennis Canada will squeeze its two marquee events into the same week beginning in 2011. That’s the only way the Rogers Cup can be played three weeks before the US Open, the year’s final Grand Slam tournament. Despite the two tours playing in separate cities, Tennis Canada will be calling it the world’s first “virtually-combined” tournament, melding the two events into one through the medium of television.

SINGLES WINNER

On her way to the court to play for the title, Stephanie Dubois noticed the photos of the previous winners of the Vancouver Open. “I visualized myself on that wall with the others,” said Dubois, a native of Quebec, Canada. “I worked very hard for this.” The 22-year-old Dubois made sure her picture will be added to the “winners’ wall” when she became the first Canadian to capture the Odlum Brown Vancouver Open women’s singles title by beating India’s Sania Mirza 1-6 6-4 6-4. The winner didn’t hold serve until 3-2 in the second set, then knotted the match at one set apiece when she cashed in on her sixth set point. “I’m very happy to have won,” Dubois said. “I came here with that objective.”

SWEETING FINED

When he suffered a second-round loss at the Odlum Brown Vancouver Open, Ryan Sweeting had a few choice words to say to the chair umpire. The officials weren’t impressed by his choice of words and instead fined Sweeting USD $1,500 for verbal abuse of a chair umpire. The young American made his expensive speech after losing to Canada’s Philip Bester 6-4 6-3.

SIGN UP, PLEASE

Two tennis stars, Mahesh Bhupathi and Sania Mirza, have asked cricketers in India to sign the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code despite apprehension about the “whereabout” clause. “Lots of the tennis players had apprehensions early but we are all doing it,” Bhupathi said. The disputed clause makes it mandatory for athletes to disclose their whereabouts three months in advance. Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams are two tennis stars who are the most vociferous critics of the clause, but both have signed it. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) supports its players and has asked the International Cricket Council, a WADA signatory, to explore the possibility of having an anti-doping agency of its own. “It would not be fair to all the other sports and sportsmen of the world to make exceptions to WADA’s rules, and I’m sure any doubts that the cricketers have can be sorted out amicably through consensus before they sign on the dotted line,” Sania said.

SWISS DOUBLES

Roger Federer posted the first public photo of his twin daughters on the Internet. The Swiss tennis star wrote below the photo on his Facebook account that the girls and mother are “doing great,” and thanks friends and fans for their wishes. Federer and his wife Mirka are each holding a baby in the picture. Charlene Riva and Myla Rose were born July 23. Federer said the photo was taken by his father.

SPECIAL HONOR

Jane Brown Grimes and John Reese are the 2009 recipients of the prestigious International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum (ITHFM) Chairman’s Award, which recognizes outstanding service by a board member. Brown Grimes opened the ITHFM’s New York office in 1977 and became the Hall of Fame’s executive director in 1981. In 1986 she became managing director of the Women’s Tennis Council, then returned to the Hall of Fame as its president and CEO in 1991, serving until 2000. A board member since 1983, Reese became executive vice president of the Hall of Fame board and later served in a number of positions, including president and CEO, chairman and CEO, and chairman of the executive committee. In 1998, Reese was inducted into the United States Tennis Association’s Eastern Tennis Hall of Fame.

SPOT CLINCHED

Dinara Safina is the first player to clinch a spot in the season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships, which will be held October 27-November 1 at the Khalifa International Tennis Complex in Doha, Qatar. The world’s top eight singles players and top four doubles teams from the 2009 Sony Ericsson WTA Tour will compete for the year-ending title and a share of the record Championships prize money of USD $4.45 million. It will be Safina’s second trip to the Championships, having made her debut a year ago. The Russian reached the world number one ranking on April 20. Her 16-match winning streak is the best on the WTA Tour this season. She also has reached the final of the Australian Open and Roland Garros, while gaining a semifinal berth at Wimbledon. “Qualifying for the year-end Sony Ericsson Championships is one of the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year,” Safina said. “I’ve accomplished a lot of milestones this season and am thrilled to be the first to qualify for the Championships.”

STAR JUNIORS

The United States became the first nation to win three straight World Junior Tennis titles when the 14-and-under girls beat the Czech Republic 2-1 in the final held in Prostejov, Czech Republic. Aneta Dvorakova beat Victoria Duval of Delray Beach, Florida, to begin the title competition. After Sachia Vickery of Miramar, Florida, beat Petra Rohanova 6-4 6-7 (3) 6-2 of knot the tie at one match each, the American doubles team of Duval and Vickery beat Dvorakova and Rohanova 6-2 6-7 (4) 6-1 to clinch the crown. Also on the winning team was Brooke Austin of Indianapolis, Indiana.

SHARED PERFORMANCES

Washington: Martin Damm and Robert Lindstedt beat Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski 7-5 7-6 (3)

Los Angeles: Chuang Chia-Jung and Yan Zi beat Maria Kirilenko and Agnieszka Radwanska 6-0 4-6 10-7 (match tiebreak)

Segovia: Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin beat Sergiy Stakhovsky and Lovro Zovko 6-7 (4) 6-3 10-8 (match tiebreak)

San Marino: Lucas Arnold Ker and Sebastian Prieto beat Johan Brunstrom and Jean-Julien Rojer 7-6 (4) 2-6 10-7 (match tiebreak)

Vancouver (men): Kevin Anderson and Rik De Voest beat Ramon Delgado and Kaes Van’t Hof 6-4 6-4

Vancouver (women): Ahsha Rolle and Riza Zalameda beat Madison Brengle and Lilia Osterloh 6-4 6-3

SITES TO SURF

Montreal: http://www3.rogerscup.com/men/english/home.php

Cincinnati: www.cincytennis.com/

Cordenons: www.euro-sporting.it/challenger/

Toronto: www.rogerscup.com/

Algarve: www.atpchampionstour.com/

Newport: www.championsseriestennis.com/newport2009/

TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK

(All money in USD)

ATP

$3,000,000 Rogers Cup, Montreal, Canada, hard

$120,000 Internazionali del Friuli Venezia Guilia Tennis Cup Cordenons, Italy, clay

WTA

$2,000,000 Western & Southern Financial Group Women’s Open, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, hard

SENIORS

Vale Do Lobo Grand Champions CGD, Algarve, Portugal, hard

TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK

ATP

$3,000,000 Western & Southern Financial Group Masters, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, hard

WTA

$2,000,000 Rogers Cup, Toronto, Canada, hard

SENIORS

International Tennis Hall of Fame Champions Cup, Newport, Rhode Island, USA, grass

Fashion Focus: Cibulkova’s Lacoste outfit has us seeing spots

Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova adds to her strong year (two finals — Amelia Island and Toronto) by dispatching world No. 5 and reigning French Open champ Ana Ivanovic 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 in the second round of the Kremlin Cup. She showed up the Serb (sorry, Ana) by wearing a simple white Lacoste tennis dress trimmed with slate.

And in her loss to Beijing bronze medalist Vera Zvonareva in the following round, she traded her dress for the Interlock Skirt and a Dot-Printed polo.

Buy: Lacoste V-neck Dot Print dress, $145, lacoste.com.