MEDIA NOTES 2011
Final Briefing - Hamburg, Atlanta
by Greg Sharko|
HAMBURG FINAL PREVIEW – FIRST GERMAN ATP WORLD TOUR TITLE AT STAKE FOR SIMON, ALMAGRO
The final of the bet-at-home Open German Tennis Championships 2011 on Sunday features two Top 20 players making their first appearance in an ATP World Tour title match on German soil. This is the sixth ATP World Tour 500 level final (of 11) this year. The previous five have been won by a Top 10 player.
In the championship on Centre Court, No. 5 seed Gilles Simon of France and No. 3 seed Nicolas Almagro of Spain meet for the third time (tied 1-1). In their previous meeting on clay, Almagro won 62 63 in the final of Valencia in April 2006. They also met last year on hard courts in a dead rubber in the Davis Cup quarter-finals and Simon won in two tie-breaks.
In Simon earned his eighth career ATP World Tour title in Sydney (d. Troicki) and this is the Frenchman’s first final since then. Simon, who is 8-2 in ATP World Tour finals (3-1 on clay), is trying to become the first Frenchman to win the Hamburg title since Henri Leconte 25 years ago (d. Mecir).
Almagro, who has captured a personal-best three titles this season, leads the ATP World Tour with a 30-7 clay court record (most wins). The 25-year-old Spaniard is 39-13 overall on the season and he will move back into the Top 10 for the first time since May 9 (that was the last of three weeks) from his No. 14 ranking. The last Spaniard to reach the final/win the Hamburg title was Rafael Nadal three years ago. Almagro has not dropped a set en route to the final and he leads the tournament in aces (34) and service games won (93%, holding 39 of 42 games). He is 10-3 in his career in ATP World Tour finals, all on clay.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
Winner €230,000 and 500 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points
Runner-up €104,850 and 300 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points
Simon Is appearing in his 11th career ATP World Tour final (8-2 record, 3-1 on clay…1-0 in 2011)
Almagro Is appearing in his 14th career ATP World Tour final (10-3 record, all on clay… 3-1 in 2011)
2011 ATP WORLD TOUR TITLE LEADERS – Almagro is trying to win his fourth ATP World Tour title in 2011:
SUNDAY CHAMPIONSHIP FED-EX HEAD 2 HEADS –
W: Sydney (d Troicki); QF: Dubai (l Gasquet); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami (l Federer); Casablanca (l Starace); Estoril (l Raonic)
YTD W-L: 29-17 (14-8 on clay)
YTD Titles: 1/Career Titles: 8
Date of Birth: December 27, 1984
South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking: 18
* Simon, 26, has an 8-5 record in Hamburg and he's appearing in his first final...His previous best result: 3rd Rd. in 2006 debut (d. No. 9 Gaudio, l. to Mirnyi)…Last French winner here was Leconte in ’86… Since then, Mathieu in 2009 (l. to Davydenko), Gasquet in 2005 (l. to Federer) and Leconte in 1988 (l. to K. Carlsson) R-ups
* He is No. 2 this week in return games won (23 of 49, 47%)
* The No. 4 Frenchman (behind No. 7 Monfils, No. 11 Gasquet, No. 15 Tsonga) has improved his ranking from No. 44 at the end of last season to No. 18 coming in this week…Will rank No. 11 if he wins the title
* Has a 29-17 match record (14-8 on clay) and has already surpassed last year’s mark of 23-17
* He posted his second Top 10 win of the season (2-6 this year) over countryman No. 7 Monfils on Friday…He also beat No. 10 Fish in 3rd Rd. at Roland Garros
* In January, he captured his eighth career ATP World Tour title in Sydney (d. Troicki) and he’s the only Frenchman to win an ATP World Tour title this season (French 1-2 in finals)…Has an 8-2 career mark in ATP World Tour finals (3-1 on clay) and his last clay title came in ’08 Bucharest
W: Costa Do Sauipe (d Dolgopolov); Buenos Aires (d Chela); Nice (d Hanescu); F: Acapulco (l Ferrer); SF: Auckland (l Nalbandian); Barcelona (l Ferrer); Bastad (l Ferrer)
YTD W-L: 39-13 (30-7 on clay)
YTD Titles: 3/Career Titles: 10
Date of Birth: August 21, 1985
South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking: 14
* Almagro, 25, is into the final for the first time and enters with a 9-5 career mark in Hamburg...He leads the tournament in aces (34) and service games won (39 of 42 held, 93%)…Will move into Top 10 on Monday
* He comes in with a 39-13 match record and ATP World Tour-best 30 match wins on clay (30-7 mark) * He’s won a career-best three ATP World Tour titles, all on clay, Costa do Sauipe (d. Dolgopolov) and Buenos Aires (d. Chela) in February, and Nice (d. Hanescu) in May…Also runner-up in Acapulco (l. to Ferrer)…
* Has a 10-3 career record in ATP World Tour finals, all on clay, winning at least one title every year since 2006
* One of six Spaniards to win an ATP World Tour title this season (Almagro-3, Nadal-3, Ferrer-2, Andujar, Ferrero, Robredo)…Spain is 11-13 in finals in 2011…The last Spanish winner here was Nadal (d. Federer)in ‘08
DOUBLES FINAL – NO. 4 SEEDS CERMAK-POLASEK TO MEET AUSTRIAN DUO MARACH-PEYA
• No. 4 seeds Frantisek Cermak of the Czech Republic and Filip Polasek of the Slovak Republic meet the Austrian duo of No. 3 seeds Oliver Marach and Alexander Peya in Sunday’s doubles final. It is a repeat of the Belgrade final on May 1 won by Cermak-Polasek.
• Cermak and Polasek have not dropped a set en route to their second ATP World Tour doubles final together. They first teamed up in late April in Belgrade and won the title. They have an 11-3 career mark in their fifth tournament. They also reached the semi-finals in Nice and 3rd Rd. at Roland Garros.
• Marach and Peya first teamed up in Kitzbuehel 10 years ago but they have played seldom since then. They have a 7-5 career mark as a team.
• Here are ATP World Tour doubles finals records:Cermak (24-16),Polasek (5-6), Marach(9-8), Peya(0-5)
ATLANTA FINAL PREVIEW – ALL-AMERICAN REPEAT FINAL FEATURES TOP SEED FISH, NO. 3 ISNER
For the first time since the same tournament exactly a year ago, two Americans will be featured in the final of an ATP World Tour tournament, as Mardy Fish and John Isner meet at the Atlanta Tennis Championships. This is the first ATP World Tour repeat final from 2010. The last time the same finalists met in back-to-back years was Basel in 2009-10 with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. The winner will also be the early leader in the Olympus US Open Series.
Fish leads Isner in their head-to-head 2-1, with Fish winning on hard courts in San Jose and Atlanta last year and Isner winning on clay in Madrid earlier this year. All three of those matches have gone the distance, two of them ending in a third set tie-break and the other one ending 7-5 in the third set.
World No. 9 Fish, the top seed and defending champion, hasn’t lost a set in any of his three matches this week leading up to the final, not even being pushed beyond 6-4 in any of the six sets he has won. Now the 29-year-old Minnesota native is in his 18th career ATP World Tour final and going for his sixth title (5-12 in finals). He is also trying to repeat the title and win the same tournament twice for the first time in his career. His last title came here one year ago. He is 1-5 against countrymen in finals on the ATP World Tour.
World No. 35 Isner, the No. 3 seed, was a runner-up to Fish here a year ago and will now have a chance at revenge for that loss to his countryman. The 26-year-old from North Carolina, who has been ranked as high as No. 18 but slid down the rankings in the first half of the season, has been on the climb again since Wimbledon, now 8-0 since the grass court major (he went 5-0 to win the title in Newport two weeks ago and has gone 3-0 so far this week). During his eight-match winning streak he has held serve 94 of 96 games, hit 142 aces and saved 14 of 16 break points - the kind of serving numbers that took him to the Top 20 last July. Isner is in his seventh career ATP World Tour final (2-4 mark) and he is 0-4 vs. his countrymen in finals.
WHAT’S AT STAKE –
Winner $96,800 and 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points
Runner-up $50,900 and 150 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points
FINALS HISTORY –
Fish Is appearing in his 18th ATP World Tour final………...5-12 record (first final in 2011)
Isner Is appearing in his 7th ATP World Tour final………….2-4 record (1-0 in 2011)
ALL COUNTRYMEN FINALS – This is the sixth all-countrymen final on the ATP World Tour this season, the first all-American battle :
Acapulco David Ferrer d. Nicolas Almagro (ESP)
Monte-Carlo Rafael Nadal d. David Ferrer (ESP)
Barcelona Rafael Nadal d. David Ferrer (ESP)
Halle Philipp Kohlschreiber d. Philipp Petzschner (GER)
Stuttgart Juan Carlos Ferrero d. Pablo Andujar (ESP)
Atlanta Mardy Fish vs. John Isner (USA)
FISH/ISNER VS. COUNTRYMEN – Here is a look at both players vs. their fellow countrymen in ATP World Tour finals:
2003 Delray Beach lost to Jan-Michael Gambill 60 76
2003 Cincinnati lost to Andy Roddick 46 76 76
2004 San Jose lost to Andy Roddick 76 64
2007 New Haven lost to James Blake 75 64
2010 Queen’s-London lost to Sam Querrey 76 75
2010 Atlanta def. John Isner 46 64 76
SUNDAY CHAMPIONSHIP FED-EX HEAD 2 HEADS –
(1)Mardy Fish vs (3) John Isner (USA) Fish Leads 2-1
09 San Jose (U.S.A.) Hard R16 Mardy Fish 6-2 6-7(4) 7-5
10 Atlanta (USA) Hard F Mardy Fish 4-6 6-4 7-6(4)
11 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Madrid Clay R64 John Isner 7-6(5) 4-6 7-6(3)
SF: Memphis (l Raonic); Delray Beach (l Del Potro); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami (l Djokovic); QF: Houston (l Nishikori); Wimbledon (l Nadal)
YTD W-L: 25-14 (15-8 on hard)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 5
Date of Birth: December 9, 1981
South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking: 9
* Fish, 29, the top American, is trying to defend an ATP World Tour title for the first time in his career...This is the Minnesota native’s first final of the season and first title match since last August at ATP Masters 1000 Cincinnati (l. to Federer)…His last title came here…He is the top seed for the second time (Houston, QFs)
* He leads the tournament in return games won (11 of 27, 41%) and pts. won returning first serve pct. (43%) and No. 4 in service games won (25 of 28, 89%) and second serve pts. won (59%)
* He enters with a 25-14 match record (15-8 on hard) and he broke into the Top 10 for the first time on Apr. 18 then slipped out for next three weeks before returning on May 16 (has been there since – 10 weeks)
* Two weeks ago, he played in U.S.-Spain Davis Cup QF tie in Austin, Texas and lost opening match to Lopez 8-6 in fifth set and then to No. 6 Ferrer in four sets in reverse singles
* Prior to that, reached his first Wimbledon quarter-final (l. to Nadal)
* Has a 5-12 career mark in ATP World Tour finals (2-2 last year)
W: Newport (d Rochus); QF: Auckland (l Nalbandian); Houston (l Karlovic)
YTD W-L: 19-14 (9-6 on hard)
YTD Titles: 1
Career Titles: 2
Date of Birth: April 26, 1985
South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking: 35
*Isner, 26, is appearing in back-to-back ATP World Tour finals for the first time in his career…Two weeks ago he captured his second career ATP World Tour title in Newport (d. O. Rochus)…He only lost serve once in 54 games that week…Also fired 76 aces and moved his ranking from No. 46 to No. 36…If he wins the title, will move from No. 35 to around No. 30
* This week he leads in five of six serving categories -- aces (66), service games won (41 of 42, 98%), break points saved (10 of 11, 91%), first serve points won (81%) and first serve pct. (70%)
* During eight-match winning streak, has held serve 94 of 96 games, fired 142 aces and saved 14 of 16 brk pts.
* Prior to Newport, his previous best results of the season was the quarter-finals in Auckland (l. to Nalbandian) in January and Houston (l. to Karlovic) in April
* Last year’s Atlanta finalist (l to Fish) opened on Wednesday night firing 30 aces in a 76 67 75 win over Tampa neighbor James Blake…He is 10-3 lifetime when hitting 30-more aces…On Friday, he defeated Yen-Hsun Lu 61 62, tying for fewest games lost in a match in his career…He hit 28 aces in three-set win over Muller in SFs
* He leads ATP World Tour with most tie-breaks won (21-16) this year and has played at least one TB in 10 of past 12 matches, compiling a 10-5 mark
* He is 2-4 in his career in ATP World Tour finals and one of three Americans to win an ATP World Tour title this year (Roddick-Memphis, Sweeting-Houston)
* Has a 4-15 career mark vs. Top 10 opponents (0-3 this year) and his last win came over No. 6 Davydenko in the quarter-finals of Beijing last October…The only time he faced a Top 10 foe in a final was in his first ATP title match in ’07 Washington (l. to No. 5 Roddick 64 76)
DOUBLES FINAL – Bogomolov Jr/Ebden (USA/AUS) vs. Bachinger/Moser (GER/GER)
• In an all unseeded final, the first-time duo of Alex Bogomolov Jr. of the U.S. and Matthew Ebden, of Australia, meet the all-German squad of Matthias Bachinger and Frank Moser.
• Both teams are playing in their first ATP World Tour doubles final together
• Bogomolov’s previous ATP World Tour doubles final came in Beijing in 2004 (w/Dent) and Ebden’s previous final came two weeks ago in Newport where he captured the title (w/Harrison)
•Bachinger and Moser, who are playing together for the third time (second on tour level), debuted at Wimbledon last month, losing in the second round. Last week they played at the Granby Challenger in Canada and reached the final (l. to K. Beck-Roger-Vasselin).
• Bachinger is making his ATP World Tour doubles final debut and Moser’s previous ATP final came in Los Angeles two years ago (w/Becker), losing to the Bryan brothers
• While Bogomolov and Bachinger are trying to win their first ATP World Tour doubles title with their
respective partners, each have excelled in singles this season. Bogomolov is ranked a career-high No. 63 and Bachinger is at a personal-best No. 87 this week.