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Category: Roger Federer

Rafael Nadal overcomes distractions for win in Australian opener

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal made news on the eve of the Australian Open for his sharp criticism of Roger Federer. The next morning he nearly dropped out of the first Grand Slam event because of a sudden and very painful tendon problem in his right knee.

But it was business as usual after he got going on the court. The Spaniard had no problem defeating Alex Kuznetsov of the U.S., 6-4, 6-1, 6-1, even with a heavily taped knee.

Nadal said he really doesn't understand how the injury occurred.

“I was sitting on a chair in the hotel, I felt like a crack on the knee … really strange,” Nadal said. “I stand up. I felt the knee a little bit strange. I moved the leg like this two times to try to find the feeling. After the second time, the knee stays with an unbelievable pain completely straight. I have no movement on the knee.”

The 10-time Grand Slam champion considered forfeiting the match but decided to give it a shot after an MRI exam showed no major damage.

“I started with a little bit of a scare at the beginning, and nervous because I was really disappointed yesterday,” Nadal said. “But after the first 10 games … I started to play with normal conditions."

With the win Nadal advanced to the second round, as did Federer, who defeated Alexander Kudryavtsev, 7-5, 6-2, 6-2. Nadal and Federer said there is no rift between them, despite Nadal's criticism of Federer a day earlier for not publicly speaking out in support of changes in scheduling and prize money.

“Things are fine between us, you know. I have no hard feelings towards him,” Federer said. “It's been a difficult last few months in terms of politics within the ATP.”

Nadal said: “I always had fantastic relationship with Roger. I still have fantastic relationship with Roger. Just I said we can have different views about how the tour needs to work. That's all.”

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 -- Chuck Schilken

Photo: Rafael Nadal hits a return against Alex Kuznetsov. Credit: Torsten Blackwood / AFP / Getty Images

U.S. Open: Roger Federer loses to Novak Djokovic in five sets

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Roger Federer couldn't convert on two match points while serving in the fifth set and, for the second year in a row, the five-time U.S. Open champion was beaten by Novak Djokovic in the semifinals of the U.S. Open. The top-ranked Djokovic, who is 63-2 on the year, beat Federer, 6-7 (7), 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 in 3 hours 51 minutes.

Djokovic will play the winner of the second men's semifinal between defending champion Rafael Nadal and fourth-seeded Andy Murray on Monday at 1 p.m. Pacific time.

The fifth set was was even until Federer got a service break in the eighth game. Djokovic sent a forehand long to give Federer a 5-3 lead, and it was in the next game that Federer had two match points. On the first, Djokovic pounded a forehand return winner, raising his racket to his ear while begging the pro-Federer crowd to cheer for him. They did.

Djokovic ended up breaking Federer's serve and then winning the final three games.

The beginning of the match was delayed by about an hour because of rain, but once play started, the sun came out and the conditions quickly became draining with heat and humidity.

There wasn't even a break point in the first set and the crowd was on its feet as the tiebreaker began. Federer took an immediate advantage by winning the first two points and four of the first six. But Federer needed five set points before he won the 55-minute first set.

It was in the second set when Djokovic became out of sorts. He frequently gestured to his own box and when there was someone who became ill at the very top of the stadium, Federer didn't notice the hubbub but Djokovic stopped, looked and asked for play to be held up because the movement was bothering him.

Federer got the break in the second set in the third game when he whipped an elegant forehand up the line. Djokovic did get one break point on Federer's serve but he couldn't convert and soon Federer was up two sets to none. Federer was 182-1 when wins the first two sets. But that loss came at Wimbledon in the quarterfinals to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

In the third set, Djokovic began moving his feet better and hitting deeper. He held serve at love and, with the help of a Federer double fault, finally broke Federer for the first time for a 2-0 lead. In what must have felt like only minutes, Djokovic took the third set.

Federer wiped his face, Djokovic was pumping his fists and Djokovic immediately broke Federer to start the fourth set, keeping Federer pushed back and unable to hit deep enough to the Serb.

When Djokovic consolidated the break for a 2-0 lead and won the first point of the third game, he had taken 12 of 13 points and Federer seemed both baffled and exhausted. When Federer did finally hold to stay down 1-2 in the fourth, Federer yelled, "Come on," one of the few times in the first 2:34 of the match that Federer uttered a sound.

Federer didn't win a point off Djokovic's serve in the fourth set until the final game when Djokovic double faulted and Federer hit a winning forehand. Eventually Djokovic did hold tod win the set, 6-2. After 2:56, the fifth set began.

MORE:

Andy Murray beats John Isner in quarterfinals

Rafael Nadal dominates Andy Roddick

Serena Williams moves into semifinals

--Diane Pucin, reporting from New York

Photo: Roger Federer returns a forehand to Novak Djokovic during their U.S. Open quarterfinal match on Saturday in New York. Credit: Charles Krupa / Associated Press

U.S. Open: Tuesday sessions, day and night, canceled

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A steady rain, which began falling moments after Roger Federer finished his fourth-round match at 1:13 a.m. Tuesday, was still falling Tuesday afternoon when the United States Tennis Assn. made the decision to cancel both the day and night sessions of the U.S. Open.

Among the matches canceled were fourth-round matches for three Americans -- 21st-seeded Andy Roddick against fifth-seeded David Ferrer; 28th-seeded John Isner against 12th-seeded Gilles Simon; and wild-card entry Donald Young against fourth-seeded Andy Murray.

The weather forecast for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday isn't a lot better, with predictions of Hurricane Katia remnants hitting the area on Friday.

For those who had tickets for Tuesday's session, here is the policy on ticket exchanges and returns.

RELATED:

Serena Williams advances to U.S. Open quarterfinals

Donald Young feels good, humidity gets to others at U.S. Open

Serena Williams beats Victoria Azarenka at U.S. Open

-- Diane Pucin in New York

Photo: Fans sit in the upper deck of Arthur Ashe Stadium during a rain delay at the U.S. Open on Tuesday. Credit: Timothy A. Clary / AFP/Getty Images

U.S. Open: Roger Federer beats Marin Cilic; Caroline Wozniacki wins

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Roger Federer is aiming to win a sixth U.S. Open title, which would be a record. He shares the record of five with Pete Sampras and Jimmy Connors, and he's also trying to be the first man age 30 or older to win a major title since Andre Agassi won the 2003 Australian Open at 30 (Sampras won the U.S. Open as a 30-year-old in 2002).

The third-seeded Federer moved into the fourth round Saturday, beating 27th-seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2, at Arthur Ashe Stadium, but nothing about the victory, Federer's 226th Grand Slam win, was easy.

Cilic, who is 6-foot-6, won the second set with a sudden service break in the 10th game. The winning point was set up by a massive forehand near the line, one that Federer could only lunge at.

After the two players exchanged service breaks to start the third set, it was Federer who struck late. He earned a break point with a whipping one-handed backhand that landed near the sideline. Even the lanky Cilic couldn't lunge far enough to do anything except put the ball in the net. On the next point, after Cilic's first serve had been long, he bounced the ball several times and was given a warning for delay of game. This seemed to unnerve the Croatian, who put the second serve into the net. That double fault gave Federer a 5-4 lead, and he served out the set to take a 2-1 lead.

As the crowd roared, Federer served out the match, going up 40-0 and then earning a second serve winner when Cilic's backhand effort landed in the net. Federer, wearing a bright red shirt and charcoal shorts, shook the sweat from his hair and applauded the crowd. A year ago, he had failed to reach the finals for the first time since 2004 when he lost to Novak Djokovic, this year's top seed, in the semifinals.

In other action, top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki struggled with her serve but still beat unseeded Vania King of Long Beach, 6-2, 6-4, in 1 hour, 36 minutes

"It's quite windy out there," Wozniacki said, "so it was difficult to play. Definitely the serve was difficult as well, because it wasn't just going one way. With the wind, it was going everywhere. You had the keep a good margin over the net and near the lines."

King, 22, expressed disappointment that she didn't take advantage of what she said were ample opportunities to win. "It's a pity," she said. "I had a lot of break point chances in the first, I felt, a lot. She was a little more aggressive than I was."

-- Diane Pucin in New York

Photo: Roger Federer reaches for a volley against Marin Cilic on Saturday at the U.S. Open. Credit: Justin Lane / EPA

U.S. Open: Roger Federer, Serena Williams making things easy

Serena 

Serena Williams on Thursday served 10 aces, hit 25 winners to five from her opponent, won 30 more points than outgunned Michaella Krajicek and pounded her way into the third round of the U.S. Open, 6-0, 6-1. It took the 28th-seeded Williams only 49 minutes to win.

Asked about her older sister, Venus, who pulled out of the tournament Wednesday because of an autoimmune disease called Sjogren's syndrome, Williams said, "I'm praying for her to be fine."

Serena now advances to a match with either fourth-seeded Victoria Azarenka or Gisela Dulko.

Equally impressive was third-seeded Roger Federer, who was little tested in his 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 win over Israel's Dudi Sela.

"Not much trouble on my serve," Federer said, "and from the baseline I also thought I had the upper hand. When it's like that, obviously it's tough for the opponent, but I just think I was superior today. It was a good match for me in the breezy conditions. It was a bit tricky early on to find the rhythm. That's why I was happy to get the first break."

MORE:

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Venus Williams exits U.S. Open because of autoimmune disease

Venus Williams shakes off rust to win in first round at U.S. Open

Click here to find out more!-- Diane Pucin in New York

Photo: Serena Williams. Credit: Nathan Denette / Associated Press.

Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal easily move to Wimbledon semifinals

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Rafael Nadal
might have been afraid he broke his foot during his Wimbledon fourth-round match, but the defending champion and No. 1 seed moved smoothly Wednesday in his quarterfinal match and beat 10th-seeded American Mardy Fish 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4.

In Friday's semifinals, Nadal will play fourth-seeded Andy Murray. Murray, the great hope of Great Britain, beat unseeded Spaniard Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 6-3, 6-4. Murray appeared to be wincing through much of the third set, at least between points, but whatever was hurting him didn't appear to slow Murray down.

Nadal, who is now 6-0 in his career against Fish, could only leave Fish smiling with some of his shots, especially a lunging forehand hit by Nadal that curved around the net post, past a flailing Fish. The ball landed resolutely in the corner in the eighth game of the final set and Fish could only tug on his baseball cap, shake his head and grin.

Continue reading »

Rafael Nadal hurting, Roger Federer cruising

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Rafael Nadal is scared.

The defending champion and No. 1-seed player at Wimbledon landed awkwardly in the first set of his fourth-round match Monday against Juan Martin del Potro, causing the Spaniard to yelp and grab his foot.

"I felt terrible," Nadal said of the moment when he landed in the 12th game of the first set.

"I felt that I broke my foot at that moment. I asked for the trainer at that moment. . . . I seriously didn't know, at that moment in the match, I didn't know if I will have the chance to continue playing."

Nadal did continue playing and he beat the 24th-seeded del Potro, 7-6 (6), 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4. But afterward Nadal didn't sound confident about his prospects of playing his quarterfinal match against 10th-seeded American Mardy Fish.

"The pain stayed with me for the next points for sure," Nadal said, "and for all the match."

Nadal described the feeling as intense when the injury occurred. "I pushed hard with the forehand . . . I felt something that like crushed there in the back of the foot. So I didn't know what was going on."

He also said at that moment he didn't expect to still be in the draw. "I thought that I'm never going to win the match when it happened," he said. "I am very happy to be through, winning against one of the best players in the world. I think it was a fantastic match. But I'm worried for sure. I'm going to do an MRI. We'll see what's going on. I cannot predict the future."

Federer didn't have the physical test faced by Nadal but he dropped a set for the first time in the tournament to Mikhail Youzhny before defeating the Russian, 5-7, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.

"I thought even though I lost the first set, it was very good tennis," said Federer who is aiming for his seventh Wimbledon title.

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Tuesday's featured matches at Wimbledon

Photos: 2011 Wimbledon

-- Diane Pucin, reporting from Wimbledon

Photo: Top-seeded Rafael Nadal tries to regain his composure after injuring a foot during the first set of his fourth-round match against Juan Martin del Potro on Monday at Wimbledon. Credit: Felipe Trueba / EPA

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal debate greatness of tennis generations

Rafael-nada_300l After he had moved into Wimbledon's fourth round Saturday, top-seeded and defending champion Rafael Nadal, the Spaniard, suggested that the top four players in the men's rankings now -- himself, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray -- were playing as solidly as any top four in history.

"It is difficult to compare the moments of tennis 15 years ago because the game changes," Nadal said. "The only thing I can say is before, in my opinion, the top four players didn't play as solid as today is going. I think all of the tournaments, even if there isn't a Grand Slam ... top players are always there in the finals, semifinals, playing in the final rounds. Probably in the past that didn't happen a lot.

"That's probably because of two things. The courts are a little bit slower than before, so the best have a little more chance to play the points ... if you have more time to play the best player have the better chances to win.

"Second this is, because the players of today have a big rivalry, they know if they don't play at his best in every tournament, it's going to be very difficult to be in the top positions."

Federer disagreed.

"I think it's not fair to say that our generation is stronger," Federer said. "For many years many people said it's weaker just because there was only me and then there was only Rafa and me. And now, all of a sudden, there's people talking about four. Now it's the best ever. This is where I disagree. it doesn't happen so quickly.

"I remember when Pete [Sampras] and Andre [Agassi] and [Boris] Becker and [Stefan] Edberg and [John] McEnroe and all those guys were still around...

"Now I still feel 10, 20 years ago, I still think when they were doing something good, they were doing excellent. Like Pete's serve, I still think would be one of the great serves in the game today, if not the best one. Agassi maybe didn't have the serve, but he had the return that many players don't have today."

Interesting argument. Who's the winner?

-- Diane Pucin, reporting from Wimbledon, England

Photo: Rafael Nadal serves against Gilles Muller during their third-round match on Saturday at Wimbledon. Credit: Glyn Kirk / AFP / Getty Images

How to watch Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic at French Open

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It happens every year. After nearly two weeks of watching live French Open tennis coverage on Tennis Channel and ESPN2, NBC jumps into the mix when play reaches the semifinals. And Friday that means tape-delay on the West Coast because NBC puts its broadcast on after the "Today Show" at 11 a.m. EDT and PDT.

It's a losing battle. The "Today Show" is coming on and live French Open tennis on your big screen is not. But NBC is making a concession Friday. You can watch NBC's coverage live on NBCsports.com, which will live-stream whatever matches it is showing.

Even fans in the East have complained in the past about missing something. Play begins at Roland Garros Friday at 5 a.m. PDT with the Rafael Nadal-Andy Murray semifinal and followed by the match between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

It is that second contest that is much anticipated. Djokovic has an unbeaten season going, 41-0 so far, and if he beats Federer, even if he doesn't win the title, Djokovic will be ranked No. 1 in the world next week. Federer, who turns 30 this year, is fighting the sense that his days of winning major tournaments are over. He hasn't won a Grand Slam title since the 2010 Australian Open but has been efficient so far in the French Open. Federer hasn't lost a set.

Tennis Channel is going to show the Nadal-Murray match live. NBCsports.com will live-stream the entire Federer-Djokovic match. In the East, NBC will either pick up with the finish of the Nadal-Murray match (Tennis Channel will be allowed to show the match in its entirety) or, if Federer and Djokovic have already started, NBC will pick up the match in progress. But NBCsports.com will start its live-stream whenever Federer and Djokovic hit the first ball.

In the West, it is possible, as has happened in the past, that by the time NBC puts tennis on at 11 a.m. there will be nothing live left in which case NBC will show the entire Federer-Djokovic on tape delay.

-- Diane Pucin

Photo: Roger Federer. Credit: Clive Brunskill / Getty Images.

Questions for Roger Federer? None in English.

Photo: Roger Federer. Credit: Susan Mullane / U.S. Presswire. The interview protocol at the four major tennis tournaments has traditionally been this:

A requested player, and most seeded players, gather in an interview match anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour or two after a particular match (yeah, that hour or two part can be annoying) and then questions are requested, first in English, second usually the language of the country the major tournament is held in (French Open means French) and then in the native language of the player.

So Friday at the French Open after third-seeded Roger Federer, winner of more major titles (16) than any player in history, settled into his seat in the interview room at Roland Garros after his quite impressive 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 win over 29th-seeded Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia and the press conference moderator asked for Federer: "Questions in English."

And there was ... dead silence. Not a one. Not a "How did it feel" or "Are you playing well" or "Are you going to watch that Djokovic-Del Potro match?"

Continue reading »

Nadal, Wozniacki lead lineup for Indian Wells

Caroline_300 The lineup for the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells was announced Wednesday and includes the top three players on the men's and women's tours: Rafael Nadal and Caroline Wozniacki (No. 1), Roger Federer and Vera Zvonareva (No. 2) and Novak Djokovic and Kim Clijsters (No. 3). The tournament runs March 7-20.

Nadal, however, appeared to suffer a thigh injury Wednesday in his quarterfinal match at the Australian Open against fellow Spaniard David Ferrer and wound up losing, 6-4, 6-2, 6-3.

Wozniacki, a finalist at last year's BNP Paribas Open, is seeking her first Grand Slam title this week at the Australian Open and is into the semifinals.

Federer, the only man to win the BNP Paribas Open three years in a row (2004-2006), will face Djokovic in Thursday's semifinal at the Australian Open.

The Indian Wells tournament will also feature defending women's champion Jelena Jankovic, Ana Ivanovic (2008), Daniela Hantuchova (2007, 2002), and Maria Sharapova (2006); on the men’s side, defending champion Ivan Ljubicic and Lleyton Hewitt (2001-2002) join Nadal, Federer and Djokovic as former champions in the draw.

Others in the field: Robin Soderling, Andy Murray, Tomas Berdych, Ferrer, Andy Roddick, Fernando Verdasco, Mikhail Youhzny, Samantha StosurFrancesca Schiavone, Mardy Fish, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Sam Querrey, Melanie Oudin, John Isner and the world No. 1 doubles team, Mike and Bob Bryan.

And something new at Indian Wells: the Hawkeye replay technology and video displays will be on all eight match courts.

--Debbie Goffa

Photo: Caroline Wozniacki. Credit: William West / AFP

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