MEDIA NOTES 2012
Nice, Dusseldorf Final Briefing
by Greg Sharko|
NICE SATURDAY PREVIEW – QUALIFIER BAKER MAKES FINAL DEBUT VS. DEFENDING CHAMP ALMAGRO
• One of the toughest clay court players on the ATP World Tour will take on one of the most in-form players in the world as the final of the Open de Nice Cote d’Azur takes place on Saturday.
• Spain’s Nicolas Almagro won this tournament in his only previous appearance last year and as the No. 3 seed has made it to the final again without dropping a set (and even getting better as the week has gone on; he crushed No. 2 seed Gilles Simon in the semi-finals, 61 63). The No. 14-ranked Spaniard is through to his 17th ATP World Tour final, all coming on clay (has 11-5 mark). He has successfully defended titles twice before (Valencia in 2006-07 and Acapulco in 2008-09).
• Before this week, 27-year-old American Brian Baker had never been beyond the second round of an ATP World Tour event. Now as a qualifier he has made it all the way to his first ATP World Tour final in his ATP main draw debut on clay, winning three grueling three-setters in four rounds (his only two-setter was his upset over No. 4 seed Gael Monfils in the second round). He has now won 15 straight matches (eight going back to Savannah, Georgia Challenger last month). He has improved his ATP World Tour-level career win-loss record from 4-12 to 8-12 in one week; he is also trying to become the first American to win an ATP World Tour title this year and become the first first-time winner on the ATP World Tour this season. Players are 0-8 trying to earn their first title.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
Winner €71,900 and 250 South African Airways ATP Ranking points
Runner-up €37,860 and 150 South African Airways ATP Ranking points
Baker is appearing in his 1st career ATP World Tour final
Almagro is appearing in his 17th career ATP World Tour final……………11-5 in finals (1-1 in 2012)
SATURDAY CHAMPIONSHIP FEDEX ATP HEAD 2 HEADS –
YTD W-L: 4-0 (4-0 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Finals W-L: First ATP World Tour final
Date of Birth: April 30, 1985
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 216
• Baker, 27, is appearing in his first career ATP World Tour final and this week is playing in his first ever ATP tournament on clay…Won three qualifying matches in straight sets and four in main draw, three from a set down – d. Sergiy Stakhovsky 67(2) 64 75 in 1R, Mikhail Kukushkin 46 63 76(4) in QF – saved match point and Nikolay Davydenko 67 64 62 in SF…Also beat No. 4 seed/World No. 13 Gael Monfils 63 76(9) in second round
• He is trying to become the first first-time champion on the ATP World Tour this season and the first American winner in 2012…Players trying to capture their first title are 0-8 in finals this season
• Prior to this week, the Nashville, Tennessee native had a career record of 4-12 in ATP World Tour level play, with his last tournament and win coming in the ’05 US Open (d. No. 9 Gaudio, l. to Malisse)
• Was sidelined for nearly six years after five surgeries (three hip, one elbow, one sports hernia) before returning last July at the Pittsburgh Futures event while unranked…He qualified into the main draw and then won the title, defeating last year’s Roland Garros junior champion Bjorn Fratangelo in the final
• This season has won two Futures titles, in January, and March, along with a title at the Savannah (Georgia) Challenger on Apr. 29, which gave him enough ATP ranking points to earn the USTA wild card into Roland Garros…Reached junior final at Roland Garros in ’03 and this will be main draw debut
• Will jump from No. 216 to around a career-high No. 140 by reaching the final and to around No. 113 IF he wins the title
• Americans are 0-2 in ATP World Tour finals this season with John Isner reaching finals at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells (l. to Federer) in March and Houston last month (l. to Monaco)
W: Sao Paulo (d Volandri); F: Buenos Aires (l Ferrer); SF: Chennai (l Raonic); QF(3): Auckland (l Kohlschreiber); Acapulco (l Verdasco); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells (l Djokovic)
YTD W-L: 34-11 (24-6 on clay)
YTD Titles: 1
Career Finals W-L: 11-5 (all on clay)
Date of Birth: August 21, 1985
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 14
• Almagro, 26, the Spanish No. 3 (behind No. 2 Nadal, No. 6 Ferrer) comes in with a 34-11 match record on the season, including 24-6 on clay (most wins on ATP World Tour)…He is appearing in his third ATP World Tour final of the season (1-1) and 17th of his career (11-5), all on clay
• In February, he captured his 11th career ATP World Tour title in Sao Paulo (d. Volandri) and followed with final in Buenos Aires (l. to Ferrer)
• Has played well on hard courts (10-5 mark), reaching the semi-finals in the opening week of the season in Chennai (l. to Raonic) and following week quarter-final in Auckland (l. to Kohlschreiber)…Also 4th Rd. at Australian Open (l. to No. 7 Berdych)
• Has won at least one round in his first 13 tournaments this season
• During European spring clay court circuit, has lost in the third round in Monte Carlo (l. to Wawrinka), Barcelona (l. to Raonic), Madrid (l. to Ferrer) and Rome (l. to Berdych)
• Spaniards are 8-5 in ATP World Tour finals this season and there have been four winners – David Ferrer and Rafael Nadal (three each), Almagro and Pablo Andujar (one each)
DOUBLES FINAL – BRYANS LOOK TO CAPTURE THIRD TITLE OF YEAR AGAINST MARACH-POLASEK
• Top seeds Bob and Mike Bryan attempt to capture their third ATP World Tour title of the season as
they take on the first-time duo of Oliver Marach of Austria and Filip Polasek of the Slovak Republic in
Saturday’s doubles final.
• The Bryans have captured titles in Sydney (d. Ebden-Nieminen) in January and for the third straight year at ATP Masters 1000 Monte Carlo last month (d. Mirnyi-Nestor). They also were finalists at the Australian Open (l. to Paes-Stepanek) in their 20th career Grand Slam final (11-9).
• The Bryans have a 77-42 career record in doubles finals and last year they finished as the No. 1 team for a record seventh time in the past nine years. They went 8-3 in finals.
• The unseeded Marach and Polasek beat two wild card teams in straight sets in their first two matches, then were pushed to a match tie-break to beat fellow unseeded team Hanley/Knowle, 64 57 107.
• Marach and Polasek are playing their first ATP World Tour doubles final together and their individual doubles final records (W-L) are: Marach (12-8), Polasek (9-10).
DUSSELDORF SATURDAY PREVIEW –CZECH REPUBLIC, SERBIA TO MEET IN CHAMPIONSHIP
• The Czech Republic and Serbia will square off in Saturday’s final of the Power Horse World Team Cup with a pair of Top 10 players beginning the order of play.
• The Red Group champions, Czech Republic, went 3-0 in round robin play and will attempt to capture their third title in Duesseldorf, the first since 1987. They also won the title in 1981. Blue Group winners, Serbia, also went 3-0 in group play and they will try to earn their second title here (2009).
• Leading off the action is World No. 7 Tomas Berdych, who is the top player from the Czech Republic, against World No. 8 Janko Tipsarevic, who is the No. 2 player from Serbia (behind World No. 1 Novak Djokovic). Tipsarevic leads the head-to-head series 4-3 but Berdych has won the past three meetings, including their only clay court battle last month in the Davis Cup quarter-finals in three tie-breaks. Both players have compiled a 3-0 mark this week to help lead their country into the final. Berdych comes in with a 31-8 match record on the season, including 14-3 mark on clay. Tipsarevic is 25-11 overall this year, 10-5 on clay.
• In the second match on, Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic takes a 4-2 record against Viktor Troicki of Serbia. Stepanek is 1-2 in singles this week but he teamed on Friday with Frantisek Cermak to defeat Argentina’s Carlos Berlocq and Leonardo Mayer to lift his country to a 2-1 victory and into the final. Troicki is 3-0 in singles this week and he’s lifted his match record to 14-13 on the season. He’s also 8-4 lifetime in Duesseldorf.
RED GROUP BLUE GROUP
Czech Republic (3-0) Serbia (3-0)
Argentina (2-1) Germany (2-1)
USA (1-2) Russia (1-2)
Japan (0-3) Croatia (0-3)
CENTRE COURT 1 –
Tomas Berdych (CZE) vs Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) Tipsarevic Leads 4-3
04 Stockholm (Sweden) Hard R32 Janko Tipsarevic 3-6 7-5 6-1
10 SRB vs. CZE WG SF (Serbia) Hard RR Janko Tipsarevic 7-5 6-2 2-6 7-6(5)
11 ATP Masters 1000 Montreal Hard QF Janko Tipsarevic 6-4 6-4
11 US Open (U.S.A.) Hard R32 Janko Tipsarevic 6-4 5-0 ret
11 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Paris Hard R16 Tomas Berdych 7-5 6-4
11 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals Hard RR Tomas Berdych 2-6 6-3 7-6(6)
12 CZE vs. SRB WG QF (Czech Rep) Clay RR Tomas Berdych 7-6(6) 7-6(6) 7-6(7)
04 Weiden CH (Germany) Clay F Tomas Berdych 6-3 6-3
09 Sunrise CH (U.S.A.) Hard SF Tomas Berdych 6-0 6-4
Match Wins By Surface:
Clay: 1 0
Hard: 2 4
W: Montpellier (d Monfils); F: ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Madrid (l Federer); SF (2): Rotterdam (l Del Potro); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Monte Carlo (l Djokovic); QF(3): Australian Open (l Nadal); Dubai (l Murray); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Rome (l Nadal)
YTD W-L: 31-8 (14-3 on clay)
YTD Titles: 1/Career Titles: 7
Date of Birth: September 17, 1985
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 7
- Sixth Tournament Appearance (2005-08, ’10, ‘12) in Duesseldorf (15-4 record)
2012 in Review:
• Berdych, 26, the top player from the Czech Republic, has reached the quarter-finals or better in seven ATP World Tour tournaments and has a 31-8 record (14-3 on clay since April)…Six of his losses (2-6) have come to Top 10 foes
• Two weeks ago he reached his 14th career ATP World Tour final (7-7 mark) in Madrid (l. to Federer), third in an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final (1-2) and fifth on clay (2-3)…Then followed with a quarter-final in Rome last week (l. to Nadal)
• His best result was capturing his seventh career ATP World Tour title in Montpellier, France on Feb. 5 (d. Monfils in final)…Also a semi-finalist in Rotterdam (l. to No. 10 del Potro) and Monte-Carlo (l. to Djokovic) along with quarter-finalist at Australian Open (l. to No. 2 Nadal) and Dubai (l. to No. 4 Murray)
• In first two ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments in March, reached fourth round in Indian Wells (l. to No. 12 Almagro) and third round in Miami (l. to Dimitrov)
• Prior to Monte Carlo, won both of his singles Davis Cup QF matches vs. Serbia, defeating Viktor Troicki and Janko Tipsarevic, both in straight sets…Czech Republic will play Argentina in SFs in September
• Has a 3-6 mark vs. Top 10 opponents this year (28-66 in career)…Also 1-5 in finals vs. Top 10 opponents with lone win over No. 10 Ljubicic in 2005 Paris final
F: Chennai (l Raonic); SF(2): Marseille (l Llodra); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Madrid (l Federer); QF(3): Dubai (l Djokovic); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami (l Murray); Barcelona (l Nadal)
YTD W-L: 25-11 (10-5 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 2
Date of Birth: June 22, 1984
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 8
- Third Tournament Appearance (2009, ’11-12) in Duesseldorf (7-2 record)
2012 in Review:
• Tipsarevic, 27, enters with a 25-11 match record (10-5 on clay) and he’s reached six quarter-finals or better this season…Has won opening round match in 10 of 11 tournaments this year with only opening loss in Rome (l. to Wawrinka)
• Last month, played in Davis Cup quarter-final tie in Czech Republic and defeated Radek Stepanek 9-7 in the fifth set in second rubber before losing to No. 7 Berdych in three tie-breaks…Then followed with third round in Monte Carlo (l. to Simon)
• His best result was a runner-up showing in opening week in Chennai (l. to Raonic in three tie-breaks without break of serve)…In February, advanced to semi-finals in Marseille (l. to Llodra) and two weeks ago in Madrid (l. to Federer)…Also a quarter-finalist at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami (l. to Murray) in March
• Has an 1-5 mark vs. Top 10 opponents this year after defeating No. 1 Djokovic in QFs in Madrid (13-36 in career, 3-10 on clay)
Radek Stepanek (CZE) vs Viktor Troicki (SRB) Stepanek Leads 4-2
08 Wimbledon (Great Britain) Grass R64 Radek Stepanek 6-7(1) 6-7(3) 6-3 6-1 6-2
09 ATP Masters 1000 Cincinnati Hard R64 Radek Stepanek 7-6(2) 1-0 ret
09 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Paris Hard R32 Radek Stepanek 6-4 6-0
10 ATP Masters 1000 Cincinnati Hard R64 Viktor Troicki 7-5 6-1
10 New Haven (U.S.A.) Hard QF Viktor Troicki 6-2 6-3
10 SRB vs. CZE WG SF (Serbia) Hard RR Radek Stepanek 4-6 6-2 6-4 6-4
SF: Memphis (l Melzer); QF: Brisbane (l Dolgopolov)
YTD W-L: 12-13 (3-6 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 5
Date of Birth: November 27, 1978
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 26
- Third Tournament Appearance (2003-04) in Duesseldorf (5-5 record)
2012 in Review:
• Stepanek, 33, the No. 2 player from the Czech Republic (behind No. 7 Berdych), enters with a 12-13 record on the season (3-6 on clay), with his best result a semi-final showing in Memphis in February (l. to eventual champ Melzer)
• In opening month of season, reached quarter-finals in Brisbane (l. to Dolgopolov) and followed with a second round in Sydney (l. to Nieminen) and first round at the Australian Open (l. to Mahut)…Captured first Grand Slam doubles crown in Melbourne (w/Paes), defeating No. 1 Bryan brothers…Also earned first ATP Masters 1000 crown in Miami
• In first round Davis Cup tie in February, defeated Italian Andreas Seppi in five sets in opening rubber of first round Davis Cup tie vs. Italy (and won doubles w/Berdych)…Last month lost to Serbian No. 8-ranked Tipsarevic 9-7 in fifth set in second rubber of quarter-final tie
• In first three ATP Masters 1000 tournaments, in Indian Wells, lost in the third round (after a bye, d. Malisse, l. to No. 6 Tsonga) and followed with same result in Miami (after bye, d. Haas, l. to Nadal) …In last tournament in Monte Carlo, lost in the first round to Jarkko Nieminen in straight sets
• Has an 0-4 mark vs. Top 10 opponents this year 22-58 in career…His last Top 10 win on clay came over No. 1 Federer in the quarter-finals of Rome in May 2008
QF: Doha (l Monfils); Rotterdam (l Del Potro)
YTD W-L: 14-13 (6-6 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 1
Date of Birth: February 10, 1986
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 31
- Fourth Tournament Appearance (2009-10-11) in Duesseldorf (8-4 record)
2012 in Review:
• Troicki, 26, the No. 3 Serb (behind No. 1 Djokovic, No. 8 Tipsarevic) comes in with a 14-13 match record on the season (6-6 on clay)…This week has compiled a 3-0 mark…His best win of the year came over No. 35 Florian Mayer in last group match on Thursday
• Played in Davis Cup QF tie vs. Czech Republic, Apr. 6-8 and lost to No. 7 Berdych in opening rubber and Rosol in dead rubber
• His best results are a pair of ATP World Tour quarter-finals in Doha (l. to Monfils) in opening week of campaign and in Rotterdam (l. to del Potro) in February
FRIDAY REVIEW – TIPSAREVIC, STEPANEK LEAD COUNTRIES INTO FINAL
• Serbia, the 2009 titlist, advanced to the Power Horse World Team Cup final with victory over defending champion Germany in the Blue Group on Friday.
• World No. 8 Janko Tipsarevic battled past No. 24-ranked Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 in two hours and 26 minutes. Tipsarevic also won their 2009 final meeting at the Rochusclub.
• Kohlschreiber saved three match points at 5-4 and two match points at 5-6, 15/40 in the deciding set, but Tipsarevic held his nerve to complete his 25th match win of the season (25-11 overall). He is now 7-2 lifetime in Dusseldorf. Kohlschreiber is 1-6 versus Top 10 opponents in 2012.
• "We were making fun before we came here with Nenad [Zimonjic] saying that we would like to win the tournament without him having to win one doubles," said Tipsarevic. "So far, we are on a good track. I felt I maybe could have won easier today. I certainly had opportunities. But in the end, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that Serbia is in the final."
• The Germans denied Serbia a sweep when Christopher Kas and Philipp Petzschner defeated Miki Jankovic and Nenad Zimonjic 6-4, 6-4.
• In one other Blue Group tie, Russia's Alex Bogomolov Jr. beat Lovro Zovko of Croatia 6-4, 6-2 in 77 minutes. Zovko hit 10 aces, but could not convert any of his three break point opportunities. Igor Kunitsyn and Dmitry Tursunov later completed a 2-1 victory for Russia with a 2-6, 6-3, 10-3 win in 70 minutes over Ivan Dodig and Zovko.
• In Red Group action, Frantisek Cermak and Radek Stepanek won the deciding doubles rubber against Carlos Berlocq and Leonardo Mayer 6-4, 4-6, 10-3 to clinch the Czech Republic’s place in the title match. The Czechs won all six of their service points in the final set Match Tie-break.
• Stepanek regrouped after Mayer won their grueling singles rubber 6-7(4), 7-5, 6-4 in three hours and two minutes to level the tie for Argentina.