February 26th, 2016
Friday Tennis Blog: Americans in Acapulco; Tennis Feeds the Hungry
TENNIS FILLS KIDS’ BELLIES
School can be tough enough without starting the day hungry. This month the TOPS’L Beach & Racquet Resort in Miramar Beach on the Florida Panhandle hosted its 5th annual Food For Thought Love-All Tennis event, supporting the non-profit Food For Thought organization that provides backpacks filled with healthy, easy-to-prepare food for students who are dependent on free or reduced school meals. “We had more than 60 tennis players participating for this great local charity, making a difference on the Emerald Coast,” said TOPS’L Director of Tennis Joe D’Aleo. “We appreciate the opportunity to be the host site of a great charity in order to give back to the local community and children that are in need.” Food for Thought serves 15 schools in Walton and Okaloosa counties, providing backpacks for 1,200 students each week. What by the way is a TOPS’L and what did President Calvin Coolidge have to do with it?
DAVIS CUP HEAVYWEIGHT MATCH
The U.S. and Australia have been meeting in the Davis Cup for more than 100 years. While Andy Murray and Great Britain won its 10th title last year, the U.S. leads all comers with 32 championships, followed by Australia with 29. On March 4-6, Australia will host the U.S. in first-round action, sending the loser into the World Group Playoffs round and the winner to a quarterfinal meeting later in the year with either Croatia or Belgium. This week Aussie captain Lleyton Hewitt named young guns Bernard Tomic and Nick Kyrgios in singles, along with Sam Groth and doubles specialist John Peers. While current No. 11-ranked John Isner for the U.S. is the highest-ranked singles player, all Aussie eyes will be on the explosive Kyrgios, who last week won his first career ATP title at Marseille. Isner will be joined in singles by Jack Sock, and the Bryan brothers in doubles. The match will be contested on the grass court at the Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club. Kyrgios is 0-2 career against Isner (neither on grass) and has never faced Sock. For more info go to www.usta.com/news.
Stan Wawrinka with his wardrobe looks like he’s ready to play some XGLOsive tennis…Cats don’t care about your tennis match…Former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, China’s Zhang Shuai, and former world No. 1-ranked American junior Taylor Fritz have been announced as wild cards into the main draw for Indian Wells…Victoria Azarenka learned a lot about emotions from attending the Super Bowl…This week Serena Williams hit 157 consecutive weeks at No. 1, passing Martina Navratilova for the second-longest streak and closing on Steffi Graf’s 186…Former world No. 2 Simona Halep, who was looked upon to possibly challenge Serena Williams this year, has an 0-3 win-loss in her last three tournaments…Novak Djokovic retired from his match on Thursday with an eye infection, ending his 17-tournament finals streak — and was booed by the crowd!…18-year-old Taylor Fritz of the U.S. will be the youngest player in the ATP Top 100 when the new rankings are released on Monday.
Querrey Survives Taylor Test; Stephens, McHale Win in Acapulco
Veteran Sam Querrey survived losing the first set to fellow American shooting star and qualifier Taylor Fritz, and Sloane Stephens and Christina McHale also moved into the semifinals on Thursday at the Mexican Open, the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco.
Querrey and Fritz were center stage on the heels of Fritz’s February run which has seen him reach the final in Memphis, and earlier this week in Acapulco take out French veteran Jeremy Chardy.
“I didn’t play my best first set and he came out firing,” said Querrey, who prevailed 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 over the 18 year old. “Second set, I just slowed down and made him play. Once I got a break midway through I relaxed a little bit and was able to settle into the match.”
In the semifinal tonight Querrey will meet No. 4 seed Dominic Thiem.
On the women’s side half of the semifinalists are Americans after the No. 2-seeded Stephens beat Japanese wildcard Naomi Osaka 6-3, 7-5, and the unseeded McHale outlasted Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-4, 6-7(7), 6-2.
In the semis McHale will meet Dominika Cibulkova, and Stephens will face No. 8 seed Yanina Wickmayer.
They Said It
“We played 26 games with the same balls. It’s not fun. You don’t want to be at [this level] too long.”
— American and reigning Wimbledon juniors champion Reilly Opelka on playing the 128-draw qualifying at pro Futures-level events in Florida
“I’m identifying what kind of player I am. Sometimes it takes people a little bit longer to figure it out.”
— 31-year-old American Rajeev Ram after reaching the final at the Delray Beach Open
“Something told me they really were tight and extremely nervous…Even though their talent wasn’t destroyed, their weaker emotions were exposed.”
— Victoria Azarenka analyzing the Carolina Panthers’ loss to the Denver Broncos at Super Bowl 50, writing for Sports Illustrated
Tennis on TV This Weekend
(EST, times subject to change)
1am-7pm — ATP/WTA Dubai, Doha, Acapulco (live/tape), Tennis Channel
7-9pm — ATP Acapulco (live), Tennis Channel
1am-10pm — ATP/WTA Dubai, Doha, Acapulco, Sao Paulo (live/tape), Tennis Channel
10pm-12:30am — ATP Acapulco (live), Tennis Channel
7am-2pm — ATP/WTA Dubai, Doha, Acapulco, Sao Paulo (live/tape), Tennis Channel
2-4pm — ATP Sao Paulo (live), Tennis Channel