wta memphis

Arvidsson Takes Memphis Title

by Rick Limpert, Special for Tennis Grandstand

Unseeded Sofia Arvidsson of Sweden won her second WTA title on Saturday in Memphis of all the places, the same city where she won her first.

Arvidsson downed fourth-seeded Marina Erakovic of New Zealand 6-3, 6-4 to take the championship of the Memphis International WTA event.

The 28-year old Swede used a strong first serve and deep ground strokes to keep Erakovic off balance most of the match. Erakovic jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the opening set, but a slew of backcourt errors let Arvidsson back in the match.

This was Arvidsson’ s 18th career match win in Memphis, more that she has at any another tournament. She only committed two unforced errors in the final match and she couldn’t be happier with the way she played and how she is treated in Memphis each year.

“I just love to play here,” stated Arvidsson. “I love the fans and I play well here.”

The two had met once previously on the WTA circuit, with Erakovic prevailing in straight sets last year in Stanford.

Rick Limpert is a freelance writer/photographer that covers sports, technology and the intersection of sports and technology. He is based in Atlanta and his writings can be found on Yahoo Sports and Yahoo News, Examiner.com and CBS Atlanta. You can follow Rick on Twitter at @RickRoswell.

Women Grab Some Limelight From Men in Memphis

by Rick Limpert, Special for Tennis Grandstand

With names like Isner, Roddick and Raonic in the men’s draw at the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships this week, it’s easy to overlook the WTA’s Memphis International also going on through Saturday in Memphis.

A deep and international field came together on the women’s side and close matches throughout the week have been the rule rather than exception at the Racquet Club of Memphis.

In quarter-final play, Marina Erakovic of New Zealand held off a stubborn Michaella Krajicek 6-4, 6-7, 6-4 to reach Friday’s semis.  Erakovic was dominant on serve in the decisive set winning 71% of her first-serve points and a whopping 73% of her second-serve points to take the win.  Up next for Erakovic is 89th ranked Vera Dushevina of Russia.  Dushevina defeated Stephanie Foretz Gacon of France 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 in a two-hour match Thursday morning.

The remaining semi will feature Italian Alberta Brianti who was a straight set winner over Varvara Lepchenko, the last American in the draw and former Memphis champion Sofia Arvidsson of Sweden who was a 6-2, 7-6 winner over Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine Thursday afternoon.

Two very competitive women’s semis will be on tap for Friday in Memphis.  Memphis’ favorite son Elvis had a hit in 1962 called “Good Luck Charm”, these four girls will be looking for their good luck charm and a spot in the finals on Saturday.

 

Rick Limpert is a freelance writer/photographer that covers sports, technology and the intersection of sports and technology.  He is based in Atlanta and his writings can be found on Yahoo Sports and Yahoo News, Examiner.com and CBS Atlanta.  You can follow Rick on Twitter at @RickRoswell.

Roddick, Isner Motivated For Memphis

by Rick Limpert, Special for Tennis Grandstand
One may be playing the best tennis of his life, the other is struggling to stay healthy.  That would be a quick synopsis of the top two seeds heading into this week’s Regions Morgan Keegan Championships, an ATP 500 event going on this week in Memphis.Coming off what he called “the best win of his career”, John Isner has passed his countryman Andy Roddick in the ATP rankings and is the No. 1 seed this week at the Racquet Club of Memphis.

Looking cool and confident, Isner seems to be taking this all in stride.  “Now something is expected out of me, so I have to be ready, explained the 6′ 9″ righty.
Now ranked No. 13 in the world, a good week might get Isner closer to the top-10.  It’s a goal, and it’s something I’ve worked hard for,” added Isner.

The indoor courts in Memphis seem to suit Isner.  He’s a former finalist in singles and a past doubles champion here.  He opened play Tuesday night against a tough lefty in Gilles Muller of Luxembourg and Isner showed why his serve is one of the biggest weapons in tennis.  After basting 26 aces in a 7-6, 7-6 win, Isner moved to 3-0 in his career against Muller, but they have all been close affairs.Even though he may be the defending champ and a three-time winner of this event, Andy Roddick remains a question mark heading into his first match on Wednesday.

A win over Canadain player Milos Raonic last year in the finals is etched in the memories of tennis fans, but Roddick remembers the diving forehand he hit on match point to clinch the victory.
“Listen, there’s probably about 10% skill and 90% luck on that one,” Roddick said in a conference call. “I used all 90% of that luck. But it was a shot I certainly couldn’t believe at the time.”
Injuries sustained earlier this year in Australia and last week in San Jose have left Roddick a bit short on match play heading into this tournament. he opens with play with Xavier Malisse of Belgium.Roddick also said he enjoyed watching the marathon Australian Open final last month between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.  The high level of tennis impressed Roddick.

“It almost looked like kind of the tennis you see when you play XBOX, where the guys really don’t get tired and they just hit whatever shot they want,” Roddick stated.Should Isner and Roddick both reach the finals on Sunday, fans could expect some big serves and great shot making by these two American players.  It’s a big event on American soil, so there’s plenty of reason for motivation.

Rick Limpert is a freelance writer/photographer that covers sports, technology and the intersection of sports and technology.  He is based in Atlanta and his writings can be found on Yahoo Sports and Yahoo News, Examiner.com and CBS Atlanta.  You can follow Rick on Twitter at @RickRoswell.

Young Americans Looking to Avoid the “Blues” in Memphis

Avoiding the “blues” is tough in Memphis when it comes to the city’s vibrant music scene, but that is what a number of young Americans will be looking to do when it comes to play in the ATP and WTA events this week in the largest combined indoor professional tennis tournament in the world.On the men’s side, Ryan Harrison will be looking to build off the semi-final showing he had last week in San Jose with a run at the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships.  Harrison will face a familiar foe in Jack Sock, another young American in the first round.
Sock, who won the 2011 U.S. Open Mixed Doubles title with Melanie Oudin, has embarked on his first full year out on tour and has made the necessary changes a young tennis professional needs to make.
“I’m a lot more professional with the way I go about my business,” offered up Sock.  “Unlike juniors, there are no easy matches and if you aren’t ready, the losses can start piling up.”
Donald Young has made tremendous strides in the past year when it comes to his game and ranking, and he’ll be itching to get on the court after his opening round loss in San Jose.  Young, currently ranked No. 40 will take on an opponent he has never beaten in Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria.The Memphis International’s women’s draw is loaded with rising Americans and this could be the perfect event for one or two of them to make a run.

All three tournament wildcards went to young Americans.  Madison Keys, Lauren Davis and Melanie Oudin all received the free pass into the main draw.

Teenagers Keys and Davis are looking make moves into the top-100,while Oudin is looking to halt a slide that has hurt her confidence for the better part of a year.
Also in the mix are Jamie Hampton, Sloane Stephens and Irina Falconi who just lost her first round match to Evgeniya Rodina of Russia on Sunday.
Many of these same players will also be participating in the doubles events, and that is a great opportunity to get close to the action and see the stars of tomorrow.
Over the years, the Racquet Club of Memphis has showcased the biggest names in tennis, but it’s also a great opportunity for these younger stars to prove themselves on a big stage.
Rick Limpert is a freelance writer/photographer that covers sports, technology and the intersection of sports and technology.  He is based in Atlanta and his writings can be found on Yahoo Sports and Yahoo News, Examiner.com and CBS Atlanta.  You can follow Rick on Twitter at @RickRoswell.