October 23rd, 2015

Friday Tennis Blog: Diggin’ Drake; Aloha U.S. Fed Cup; More

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ALOHA U.S. FED CUP TEAM

hawaii

The Holua Resort at Mauna Loa Village

The last time a U.S. team tennis match was played in Hawaii? For the Fed Cup, never. For the Davis Cup, 23 years ago when the U.S. defeated visiting Argentina. Some international team destinations are dreaded (remember Bucharest in 1972?), but the U.S. Fed Cup team’s next go will unlikely be one of them as it was announced this week the U.S. will host Poland in Kailua Kona, Hawaii, on Feb. 6-7, 2015, in Fed Cup play. Will it be enough to entice Serena and Venus Williams for a tropical weekend at the Holua Resort at Mauna Loa Village? The U.S. Fed Cup squad will need some firepower in its first-ever visit to Hawaii as current world No. 6 Agnieszka Radwanska will likely lead the Polish squad, which is also looking to claw their way back toward the World Group Playoff round in April 2016. That visit 23 years ago may be a good omen, as Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, and in doubles John McEnroe and Rick Leach swept Argentina 5-0 at the Mauna Lani Racquet Club.

YEAR-END FINALS — WHO’S IN, WHO’S OUT?

singaporeAs of yesterday the year-end WTA Finals field is complete. The Top 8 filling out the field will be Simona Halep, Garbine Muguruza, Maria Sharapova, Petra Kvitova, Agnieszka Radwanska, Angelique Kerber, Flavia Pennetta, and Lucie Safarova competing in Singapore. World No. 1 Serena Williams withdrew from the event to nurse injuries and prepare for the 2016 campaign. Making their debuts at the WTA Finals are the US Open champ Pennetta, the Wimbledon finalist Muguruza and the French Open finalist Safarova. Safarova and Muguruza qualified for the WTA Finals in both singles and doubles. On the men’s side there remains two more weeks of play before the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals, but securing six of the Top 8 spots for London thus far are Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka, Rafael Nadal and Tomas Berdych. The current leaders for the final two spots are Kei Nishikori and David Ferrer. American John Isner sits at No. 12 on the ATP Race to London leaderboard.

MISCELLANY

Vicky Duval

Vicky Duval

Whether or not Drake is dating Serena Williams, the mashup below of his “Hotline Bling” video into a tennis theme is a must-see…Bradenton’s Vicky Duval is back, and the sky should be the limit in 2016…Deerfield Beach resident Taylor Russo and her doubles partner Mackenzy Middlebrooks of Fort Lauderdale “went out with a bang” at the USTA Florida “Bobby Curtis” Junior State Doubles Championships…Aussie media is speculating that their bad boy Nick Kyrgios will eventually trigger his 28-day ban from tennis, so why not do it now rather than in the middle of the January Australian swing?…More on the USTA University (USTAU) which will be a feature at the USTA National Campus in Orlando beginning in 2016…American world No. 1 junior Taylor Fritz won the Fairfield (Calif.) Challenger last week as an unseeded player, beating the No. 1, 3, 4, and 6 seeds en route without dropping a set for his second straight challenger-level title.

Kinda Hypnotizing, isn’t it?


Sock, Johnson in Contention at Stockholm, Vienna

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Jack Sock (photo: IF Stockholm Open)

Two American competitors remain alive entering weekend play in Vienna and Stockholm.

No. 7-seeded Jack Sock moved into the quarterfinals on Wednesday at the If Stockholm Open, defeating Spain’s Fernando Verdasco 7-6(5), 6-7(5), 6-4.

“It’s been my most successful season so far, winning my first title and being more consistent,” Sock said.

In the quarterfinals he will next meet No. 3 Gilles Simon.

Unseeded American Steve Johnson is also into the quarters at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna, Austria, on Thursday beating Poland’s Jerzy Janowicz 6-4, 6-7(7), 6-4, hitting 20 aces and losing a total of four points on serve.

Johnson will next meet No. 2 seed Kevin Anderson.

The last American fell at the BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open in the second round on Thursday when qualifier Anna Tatishvili lost to No. 5 seed Jelena Jankovic 6-4, 6-2.


They Said It

“Some people are born to do certain things, and I think I was born to do tennis. I definitely didn’t miss my calling! I think all that training just comes together. I also think I’m maybe pretty good at what I do. You know?”
Serena Williams speaking to Bazaar magazine

Victoria Duval“I had a cup of Diet Coke in my hand, and I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m eating really clean now. I’m really watching my health,’ and she’s like, ‘What are you drinking?’ And I’m like, ‘Nothing.’ I was so embarrassed. I’m like, what do I say? So I said, ‘It’s cheat day,’ and she was like, ‘There are no cheat days.’ “
— Bradenton’s Vicky Duval on catching up with Venus Williams at the US Open, speaking to ESPN

“Some of these crowds are astonishingly small. Especially when scale and population density are cited so often as reasons for bringing sports to China, it’s odd to see nine of ten seats unfilled.”
Sports Illustrated tennis writer Jon Wertheim on the empty seats in television coverage of the tour’s events in China


Tennis on TV This Weekend

(times subject to change)

TV-multi-color-150x150Friday
6am-5:30pm — Vienna, Luxembourg, Stockholm, Moscow (live), Tennis Channel

Saturday
6am-1:30pm — Vienna, Luxembourg, Stockholm, Moscow (live), Tennis Channel
1:30-4pm — WTA Moscow final (delay), Tennis Channel
11pm — WTA Finals (live), Tennis Channel

Sunday
3-7am — WTA Finals (live), Tennis Channel
7am-noon — Vienna, Luxembourg, Stockholm (live), Tennis Channel
noon-4pm — ATP Vienna, Stockholm finals (delay), Tennis Channel
5-8pm — WTA Finals (repeat), Tennis Channel

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