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Agnieszka Radwanska vs Alison Riske Preview – Indian Wells 2015 Round 2

Agnieszka Radwanska vs Alison Riske Preview – Indian Wells 2015 Round 2

  • Posted: Mar 12, 2015

Agnieszka Radwanska

The second round of the Indian Wells event in the American desert will feature an intriguing clash between world No. 8 Agnieszka Radwanska and the 44th ranked Alison Riske. It will be the first time that the two competitors will cross paths on the tour, and will place the winner in a third round berth next week.

Watch the match Live Here: Radwanska vs Riske Live Streaming

While Radwanska is currently armed with a significant celebrity coach in 18-time Grand Slam champion Martina Navratilova, she has had a tempestuous adjustment period that has allowed her only six wins in five tournaments. Following a second round exit from Sydney at the hands of Garbine Muguruza, the Pole reached the fourth round of the Aussie Open before losing to Venus Williams. She then suffered consecutive defeats in the Fed Cup tie against Russia, and lost in the second round in Dubai to Muguruza again. She most recently played in Doha, where she lost in the quarter-final round to Venus Williams.

World No. 44 Alison Riske played her opening round match at Indian Wells on Wednesday afternoon, where she defeated Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in straight sets to advance to the following stage. She won the match 6-2, 6-3, and won 71% of her first service points to close out the contest in 1 hour and 19 minutes.

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This marks the first time that Radwanska and Riske will cross paths on the professional tour, and could make for an entertaining affair. The Pole will be the heavy favourite to win the match but she is yet to find her form this season, or any sort of consistency on the WTA tour. It will be interesting to see how she performs against the American in her first match this week.

Prediction: Agnieszka Radwanska in Three Sets

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Victoria Azarenka’s Back, Others Seem Out

Victoria Azarenka’s Back, Others Seem Out

  • Posted: Mar 12, 2015

Victoria Azarenka

The 2014 season was clearly a disappointing one for Victoria Azarenka. She finished it with a 15-9 record without adding any titles to her cabinet – and, more importantly, she was unable to stay reasonably fit for its larger part. Plenty of careers were ruined by injuries before, so many of her fans were asking the same question – is she ever going to come back and return to the heights at which she was staying in the last couple of years?

Well, after February, it seems safe to say that Victoria Azarenka has managed to produce a successful comeback and that all those worries turned out to be unfounded. The first match she played ended in a defeat, but that has been the only big mistake she’s made so far in her comeback season. Since that loss, she has beaten Caroline Wozniacki (twice!), Angelique Kerber, and even her nemesis, Venus Williams, so it seems that only sky is the limit for her this year. It took a perfect performance from Dominika Cibulkova to stop her in Melbourne and one can also find suitable excuses for her loss against Lucie Safarova in Doha, so negatives are indeed rather scarce for the player from Belarus, who also seems rather unfazed by the departure of her long-time coach.

What’s more, while Azarenka seems to be on the rise, her closest rivals appear to be following a somewhat downward spiral. The top two seems to be reserved for Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova, but the other spots are very much for the taking, with Petra Kvitova, Caroline Wozniacki, and Agnieszka Radwanska all showing suspect form in the first two months of the new season. Eugenie Bouchard, who’s probably responsible for the departure of Sam Sumyk, seems to be focused on other things than playing tennis, while Ana Ivanovic is yet to prove that she’s capable of going far in the Grand Slams.

So how high can Azarenka realistically aim for? An optimist would probably say the top six, a pessimist would probably stay at top fifteen, but the bottom line is that she should get to the top fifteen at the very least if her body holds up, a question that will be asked again after the finals in Doha. Apart from that, nobody can question her hunger for success at the moment – and that was what got her the two Grand Slam titles in the first place.

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ATP Indian Wells 2015 Draw Preview and Analysis

ATP Indian Wells 2015 Draw Preview and Analysis

  • Posted: Mar 11, 2015

Federer v Djokovic Indian Wells

The first of back to back ATP Masters 1000 events begins on Thursday in Indian Wells, California. Looking to defend his title is Novak Djokovic, who won last year’s event in a third set tiebreaker against Roger Federer. There is a clean bill of health for the top 10 while in the top 20 just David Goffin and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga miss the event through injury.

See the full draw Here: ATP Indian Wells 2015 Draw

Watch the matches Live Here: Indian Wells Live Streaming

With each of the 32 seeds receiving a bye, there are few notable early matchups. Djokovic begins his defence against either Marcos Baghdatis or Jiri Vesely. Fitness permitting, Baghdatis will be looking to make it three in a row against Vesely. The Cypriot retired in his last match during a third set tiebreak in Dubai. Djokovic could face fellow Serbian Viktor Troicki in the third round but Troicki must see of Albert Ramos and Julien Benneteau. The former looks straight forward on paper giving Ramos’ preference for clay. Troicki has moved back into the top 40 after his return from suspension and will have a great chance of picking up his first win against Benneteau at the third time of asking. The Frenchman is just 1-4 on the year with the sole win coming in Sydney.

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John Isner looks to bounce back from Davis Cup disappointment with a good run here and opens with a qualifier. Isner’s loss to James Ward was decisive in Great Britain’s win over the US and Ward is amongst those hoping to earn a place in the main draw. A finalist in 2012, Isner is playing far below the level the saw him make that dream run. A big serving clash between him and Kevin Anderson is on the cards assuming the South African can see off either Federico Delbonis or Dusan Lajovic. Both players are far more comfortable on clay so it is tough to see either causing Anderson any trouble. Delbonis is 2-1 against Lajovic, with both wins coming on hard court.

Marin Cilic will play his first match of the year at this event and will be able to ease into the tournament with either Teymuraz Gabashvili or Juan Monaco up first while Guillermo Garcia-Lopez is the projected opponent in round three. While Garcia-Lopez actually defeated Cilic at Indian Wells 5 years ago, it is hard to see a repeat. Thanasi Kokkinakis will look to build on the momentum from his Davis Cup success at the weekend. His comeback win over Lukas Rosol was key in helping Australia defeat a weakened Czech Republic team. Kokkinakis faces Jan-Lennard Struff in round one.

Bernard Tomic was also part of that team, picking up two wins of his own. It feels as if a rematch of the Acapulco semi final is on the cards in round three with David Ferrer awaiting. Tomic will have to beat Andreas Haider-Maurer or a qualifier if he hopes to avenge the 4-6 6-3 1-6 loss while an 18-1 Ferrer opens against the winner of Ivan Dodig and Joao Sousa.

Andy Murray looks to complete his collection of outdoor hard court Masters titles with a victory here but his route to the final will be tough with both Djokovic and Kei Nishikori in the way. Two efficient Davis Cup displays suggest Murray is out of the post-Australian Open funk as he looks to better his 2009 final run. His round one opponent will come off a Davis Cup high with either Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin or Vasek Pospisil of Canada up first. Philipp Kohlschreiber (plays winner of Benjamin Becker-Tim Smyczek) is the projected round three opponent. They have yet to play on a hard court but split two matches on clay, the most recent at Roland Garros last year.

In theory, Fabio Fognini and Ernests Gulbis should both see off opening round opponents to book a clash between two of the tour’s bad boys. However, it is far from straight forward with this pair with Gulbis winless on the year while Fognini’s hard court results leave a lot to be desired. Fognini plays Adrian Mannarino or a qualifier while Gulbis will play Sam Groth or a qualifier.

Rounding off the top half of the draw is Kei Nishikori‘s section. The Japanese star temporarily moved into the top 4 with his performances this year and can improve further with just third round points to defend. That should be easy enough with either Ryan Harrison or a returning Mardy Fish in round two. He is 0-2 against projected opponent Fernando Verdasco in round three but his level in 2011/2012 is unrecognisable from the current day and he should get on the board in that matchup if Verdasco can beat Dominic Thiem or a qualifier.

A good run on the clay has seen Pablo Cuevas reach a career high ranking but hard courts are not really for the Uruguayan. He is 7-10 on the surface since he returned to the tour in late 2013 after a long time out with injury. He looks one of the most vulnerable seeds with Jarkko Nieminen or a qualifier hoping to spring a surprise win. Meanwhile, another player currently at their career high ranking hopes to improve further. Feliciano Lopez hit no.12 at the age of 33 and should be good to make a likely fourth round meeting with Nishikori. A battle of lefties in round two seems likely with Gilles Muller expected to get the better of Marinko Matosevic in their first round clash.

Simone Bolelli already has a win over sixth seed Milos Raonic this year in Marseille but will hope lightning strikes twice if he gets the chance to face the Canadian in round two. Bolelli opens against Thomaz Bellucci while Santiago Giraldo will play either Alexandr Dolgopolov or a qualifier. Dolgopolov is 5-5 on the year having made back to back quarter finals in Delray Beach and Acapulco.

One of the more attractive potential second rounders on paper is between Nick Kyrgios and Grigor Dimitrov, assuming the Australian can see off wildcard Denis Kudla. However, Kyrgios is short on matches having not played since the Australian Open. Tommy Robredo is the projected third round opponent here but his 2015 has been far from stellar. He has won just 2 matches so far, both on the clay against wildcard opponents. Robredo will face either Andrey Golubev or Dustin Brown.

After failing to take the title in Rio, doubts have surfaced regarding Rafael Nadal. However, worries over the 2013 winner’s longevity have proved in the past to be unfounded and writing him off on the basis of a few poor results remains as crazy as it ever was. He opens against Igor Sijsling or a qualifier while Frenchmen likely stand in the way of him and the quarter finals. Jeremy Chardy is his expected third round opponent while the two seeds competing for a place in the fourth round in his section are Richard Gasquet and Gilles Simon whom Nadal is 19-2 against.

Lukas Rosol looks to bounce back from Davis Cup disappointment with a run here but Stanislas Wawrinka waiting in round three will likely put paid to that. Martin Klizan or Pablo Andujar is up first and the Czech should have too much for them while Wawrinka faces Robin Haase or a qualifier. Wawrinka will probably have to defeat a second Czech if the draw goes to plan with a exciting encounter with Tomas Berdych projected in round four.

Wawrinka is 11-5 overall and 2-0 against the 9th seed who opens against Sam Querrey or Sergiy Stakhovsky. Aside from his run to the Memphis semi finals, Querrey has not won a match but an opponent he is 3-0 against is something to inspire confidence. Meanwhile, Steve Johnson and Ivo Karlovic face off for the second time in a month. Karlovic won that last clash in straights on his way to winning the title in Delray Beach.

Roger Federer was close to building further on his record four Indian Wells titles but was denied in the final by Novak Djokovic in a final set tie The Swiss is probably the favourite from the bottom half, especially if he continues in the form that saw him pick up the Dubai title. In round two he begins against either 6ft8 Jerzy Janowicz or Diego Schwartzman who comes in slightly shorter at 5ft7. Round three provides him with the opportunity to gain revenge over Andreas Seppi for the Australian Open loss. If the Italian fails to make it, Federer will be excited at the prospect of extending his lengthy win record over Mikhail Youzhny who faces a qualifier.

Leonardo Mayer comes into this event off his Davis Cup victory against Joao Souza, which lasted over 6 hours. A returning Jack Sock will fancy his chances of making a run here with Yen Hsun-Lu and Mayer standing between him and a round three place.  Roberto Bautista-Agut will be a tougher test for the American, who has lost both matches against the 15th seed.

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Andy Murray to Add Doubles Specialist Jonas Bjorkman to Coaching Staff

Andy Murray to Add Doubles Specialist Jonas Bjorkman to Coaching Staff

  • Posted: Mar 11, 2015

Andy Murray

British No. 1 Andy Murray is expected to add a new coach to his growing team this week. Sweden’s Jonas Bjorkman, a renowned doubles specialist, will join Amelie Mauresmo during her absence from Andy’s corner.

Bjorkman is the latest change in a team that has undergone significant shifts since Ivan Lendl parted ways with Murray over a year ago. Since then, Murray has hired a former female world No. 1 and two-time Grand Slam champion, and has also parted ways with long-time hitting partner Dani Vallverdu last November. It was believed that their separation had to do with Mauresmo’s participation in the team.

Interestingly, Bjorkman was one of the suggested replacement for Lendl when he parted ways in 2014. He reached the ranking of No. 4 in 1997 and has been retired for seven years now, and is currently a contestant on Sweden’s version of Dancing with the Stars (Let’s Dance).

During his peak years, Bjorkman won nine grand slam doubles titles, and even reached the semi-final stage of the Wimbledon Championships in singles back in 2006. He lost out to eventual champion Roger Federer.

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Murray is scheduled to compete in the second round of the Indian Wells Masters event this week, where he will be joined by Mauresmo for the first time since the Aussie Open. He is coming off losses in the quarter-final rounds in Rotterdam and Dubai before winning two rubbers for Great Britain’s 3-1 victory over the United States.

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Del Potro, Monfils, Goffin Withdraw from Indian Wells

Del Potro, Monfils, Goffin Withdraw from Indian Wells

  • Posted: Mar 10, 2015

del potro

After announcing that he will play singles along with doubles at the Indian Wells Masters event this week, Juan Martin del Potro has once again withdrawn from another tournament as a precaution for his healing wrist.

Del Potro’s withdrawal comes days after Jo-Wilfried Tsonga confirmed that he is yet to return to the tour, and hours after it was announced that Gael Monfils (knee) and David Goffin (rib).

“I felt a slight pain on my rib during my Davis Cup match, so I decided to withdraw from the Indian Wells tournament to cure myself,” Goffin wrote on Facebook. “I will be back to competition in Miami where I will be 100% physically.”

Del Potro made his return to tennis for the first time since February 2014 last week in Sydney. While few expected much, he managed to reach the quarter-final round at the Apia Sydney International, where he was the defending champion. He defeated Sergiy Stakhovsky and followed up with a three-set win over Fabio Fognini before losing to Mikhail Kukushkin the following round. However, he withdrew from the Australian Open soon afterwards and was under the knife just a few days later.

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While Del Potro expects to compete in singles competition in Miami, he has signed up for doubles competition alongside fellow injured star Marin Cilic at Indian Wells. It was a low-key way to gauge their recovery.

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Timea Bacsinszky Lifts Second Title in Two Weeks in Monterrey

Timea Bacsinszky Lifts Second Title in Two Weeks in Monterrey

  • Posted: Mar 10, 2015

timea bacsinszky

When it was revealed that two players would meet in back-to-back WTA finals for the first time in years, many expected an intriguing match-up. After meeting in the final of the Mexican Open in Acapulco last week, Timea Bacsinszky and Caroline Garcia crossed paths once again in the WTA Monterrey final.

With a stroke of excellence, Bacsinszky managed to duplicate her efforts from the previous week to defeat Garcia for the second time in a WTA final. However, while their contest in Mexico was a straightforward affair, the two finalists were faced with a four-hour rain delay that put a damper on their respective strategies.

The contest started with Garcia firmly in command, but Bacsinszky responded with a 3-1 lead in the second set before the rain arrived. Once play resumed, the world No. 26 took control of the match to finish it off 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.

“I’m just really happy to play so well at the beginning of the year,” Bacsinszky said in her post-match press conference. “I’m going to keep trying to push my limits in the next tournament I’m playing. I hope to keep improving all parts of my game, doesn’t matter whether I’m winning or losing.

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“I always just want to be a better tennis player, and be a better person too.”

The Swiss native has now won three WTA titles over her career.

During the doubles final earlier that day, fourth seeds Alicja Rosolska and Gabriela Dabrowski defeated third seeds Anastasia Rodionova and Arina Rodionova 6-3, 2-6, 10-3 to lift the doubles crown.

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Amelie Mauresmo Leads International Tennis Hall of Fame Class of 2015

Amelie Mauresmo Leads International Tennis Hall of Fame Class of 2015

  • Posted: Mar 10, 2015

Amelie Mauresmo

On Monday afternoon, it was announced that former world No. 1 and two-time major champion Amelie Mauresmo would lead the latest class to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. The remainder of the class include Paralympic medalist David Hall, Nancy Jeffett.

“I’m honored and humbled to be selected for induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Tennis has been my passion for as long as I can remember. I extend my gratitude to the selection committee for recognizing my career in this way,” commented Mauresmo, who was a singles champion at Wimbledon and the Australian Open. “It’s an extraordinary honor to have my career celebrated alongside the greatest champions of our sport, people who I have admired so greatly all my life.”

Since 1955, the honor of induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame has been presented to just 240 people representing 21 nations. Located in Newport, Rhode Island, the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the history and heritage of tennis. The Class of 2015 will be honored with tribute exhibits in the Hall of Fame’s museum, which is currently undergoing a $3 million renovation to offer tennis fans a new, engaging, state-of-the-art experience. The museum will re-open in May.

“Amelie and David were both inspiring and highly accomplished competitors on the professional tours. Nancy’s commitment to tennis has been integral to the growth of the sport and will leave a permanent positive impact on tennis for years to come,” commented Hall of Fame President Stan Smith, who also serves as chairman of the Enshrinee Nominating Committee. “We look forward to celebrating their many accomplishments and contributions to tennis by presentation of our sport’s highest honor- induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.”

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Wozniacki Wins First Title of 2015 in Kuala Lumpur

Wozniacki Wins First Title of 2015 in Kuala Lumpur

  • Posted: Mar 10, 2015

wozniacki

Caroline Wozniacki completed an impressive week on the WTA tour on Sunday afternoon when she lifted her first title of the season at the Malaysian Open.

The tournament’s top seed faced adversity for the first time during her week-long stay in Kuala Lumpur when she was required to rally back from a set down to defeat the valiant Alexandra Dulgheru in the final. After a difficult opening set that she lost, the Dane bounced back to snatch the second set, and then stormed to the finish line after breezing to a 5-0 lead in the third set. The final score was 4-6, 6-2, 6-1.

“I think she played well the whole match,” Wozniacki said (via WTA). “She tried to play aggressive and take the ball early. But I knew she had a tough match yesterday, so I just kept playing my game and kept trying to put pressure on her. I think I stepped it up in the second and third sets, and it paid off.”

This was Wozniacki’s 23rd career WTA title.

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With most of the world’s top competitors focused on the Indian Wells event next week, Wozniacki will be happy to carry this sort of momentum into the “fifth slam.”

“I think things have been going my way. Things are great,” Wozniacki said. “I’m excited for Indian Wells. It’s one of my favorite tournaments of the season, so hopefully I can play well there.”

In the doubles final, Liang Chen and Wang Yafan defeated third seeds Yuliya Beygelzimer and Olga Savchuk 4-6, 6-3, 10-4 to lift the title.

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Davis Cup 2015 World Group. Locations and Results

Davis Cup 2015 World Group. Locations and Results

  • Posted: Mar 09, 2015

DAVIS CUP POSITIONS. March 2015

http://bit.ly/1KACvaH

GERMANY v FRANCE (2-3)
Venue: Fraport Arena, Frankfurt
GREAT BRITAIN v USA (3-2)
Venue: Emirates Arena, Glasgow
CZECH REPUBLIC v AUSTRALIA(2-3)
Venue: Cez Arena, Ostrava
KAZAKHSTAN v ITALY (3-2)
Venue: National Tennis Centre, Astana
ARGENTINA v BRAZIL (3-2)
Venue: Tecnopolis, Buenos Aires
SERBIA v CROATIA (5-0)
Venue: Kraljevo Sports Centre, Kraljevo
CANADA v JAPAN (3-2)
Venue: Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre, Vancouver
BELGIUM v SWITZERLAND (3-2)
Venue: Country Hall du Sart Tilman, Liege