Mondays with Bob Greene
Dominic Thiem beat Daniil Medvedev 6-4 6-0 to win the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell in Barcelona, Spain
Petra Kvitova beat Anett Kontaveit 6-3 7-6 (2) to win the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany
Matteo Berrettini beat Filip Krojinovic 4-6 6-3 6-1 to win the Hungarian Open in Budapest, Hungary
Petra Martic beat Marketa Vondrousova 1-6 6-4 6-1 to win the TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Cup in Istanbul, Turkey
Zheng Saisai beat Zhang Shuai 6-4 6-1 to win the Kunming Open in Anning, China
“It’s such an honor to win this tournament, looking at all the names who have won it. I’m very happy and proud that my name is also there now.” – Dominic Thiem, after winning the Barcelona Open.
“I tried my best, but Dominic was too good today. At one point today, even just getting a point off him was a great achievement.” – Daniil Medvedev, who lost to Dominic Thiem in the Barcelona final.
“So, we are three of us now.” – Petra Kvitova, noting she, Dominic Thiem and Roger Federer are the only three players to have won two tournaments this year.
“My forehand, especially on the clay, is a good weapon. Today was a great day for my forehand. But during the tournament my backhand and my serve helped me a lot.” – Matteo Berrettini, who won the Hungarian Open.
“It’s been a great week for me coming through qualies, now into the final. I’m going home happy.” – Filip Krojinovic, after losing the Hungarian Open final to Matteo Berrettini.
“(Dominic) Thiem played a great match and I was in it. I was competitive, and I think that from here on I will be even better.” – Rafael Nadal, after losing to Thiem in the Barcelona semifinals.
“I’m always super proud if I beat him because he’s the best player ever on this surface.” – Dominic Thiem, on beating Rafael Nadal.
“I’m in a hole and I don’t know how to get out of it.” – Alexander Zverev, who has failed to win more than one match in his last five tournaments.
“I know this profession is not forever. I hope I will have a couple more years, but it has been a long way to get here today. Things happen, and of course the end is closer than five years ago. It is important to try and enjoy every moment.” – Rafael Nadal, when asked how he is able to stay motivated.
“When I saw him play at the beginning of his career, seeing his intensity that he puts on the court and the way he moves around, it is a very physical game that he plays. I didn’t expect him to be at the top at this age anymore, but he’s still there.” – Gilles Muller, on Rafael Nadal.
“You know, everybody says enjoy the journey, it’s what it’s all about. And you are like, what the hell are you talking about? It’s painful, it’s miserable, how do you enjoy that? And apparently you can. You just got to find a way and stay strong, stay focused, be vulnerable, be open and it works out. It’s exciting, but it took me a while.” – Viktoria Azarenka.
“Steffi beat everybody really fast. … She beat everybody like under 30, 35 minutes. 6-0, 6-1, 6-1, 6-1. I think some of them even in 19 or 20 minutes. It was incredible. Sometimes she didn’t even sit down for the changeover. It was just so … not even sweat.” – Andrea Temesvari on how it felt to play Steffi Graf.
There was no letdown for Dominic Thiem after he upset Rafael Nadal in the semifinals of the Barcelona Open. Although getting off to a slow start, the Austrian thrashed Daniil Medvedev of Russia to win his second title of the year. “I had some trouble in the beginning and going 0-3 down,” Thiem said. “I had some troubles at the beginning with the slice, then it got better and that’s the only thing you can do against him. I’m happy that I made it work.” When he did get going, he was an unstoppable force, dropping only one more game the rest of the way. Medvedev called for a trainer and received treatment on his shoulder with Thiem leaving 5-4 in the opening set. The Russian never won another game.
Petra Kvitova wants to prove she’s as good on clay as she is on grass. She took a huge step in that direction at the Porsche Grand Prix, capturing the title by stopping Estonian Anett Kontaveit in straight sets. A two-time Wimbledon champion, Kvitova broke Kontaveit in the fifth game of the opener, then held for a 4-2 lead. Two games later, she served out the seton the quick indoor clay courts in Stuttgart. Kontaveit put up a much better battle in the second set, sending it into a tiebreak. But Kvitova ripped off the first six points and easily closed it out at 7-2. “I played Anett a few tiebreaks in the past and I almost lost all of them, which wasn’t really nice going to the tiebreak,” Kvitova said. “My last service game actually I played amazing. I really had the great serves over there, and I was just continuing in the tiebreak from the beginning.” By winning, Kvitova became the first player this year to win two titles on the WTA Tour. Eighteen prior tournaments had taken place this season without a repeat singles champion. “Thank you to everyone,” Kvitova said in the post-match trophy presentation. “It was an amazing atmosphere, an incredible scene with full crowds.”
Italy’s Matteo Berrettini rallied from behind to win his second career ATP Tour title, beating Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic to capture the Hungarian Open. The match featured two baseline players willing to trade groundstroke until an opening appeared. Many points ended with drop shots or winners from acute angles. Krajinovic took the opening set before the Italian bounced back to knot the contest at one set apiece. When Berrettini broke Krajinovic in the opening game of the decisive set, then held for a 2-0 lead, it appeared to break the Serb’s fight. The 23-year-old Italian went on to convert three of four break points to race to the title. It was Berrettini’s second final and his second title. “After the first set I just told myself to fight game after game point after point, and I’m really happy because it was really difficult,” the winner said.
SENDS NADAL PACKING
By upsetting Rafael Nadal in the Barcelona Open semifinal, Dominic Thiem doubled the number of players who have beaten the Spaniard on clay four times. Novak Djokovic is the only other to accomplish the feat. Only two other players have beaten Nadal on clay three times: Fabio Fognini and Gaston Gaudio. Nadal was seeking a record 12th Barcelona title and fourth consecutive. “There are losses that help you, and this was one of them,” Nadal said. “Considering the way I played, it has been quite a while since I felt this good on clay. Of my last eight matches, this is the first one where I have felt that I am playing at the level I need to be at, to be able to play relaxed and with the necessary energy.” Thiem lost the Barcelona final to Nadal two years ago, but the Austrian has beaten the 17-time Grand Slam tournament champion on clay in each of the last three seasons. “We always had great matches in the past, and also today’s was very good,” Thiem said. “I was more lucky today.”
An abdominal injury suffered in her quarterfinal match caused world number one Naomi Osaka to pull out of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. “I’m really sorry I’m not able to compete for the semis today,” Osaka said. “I unfortunately got injured yesterday and I was waiting till today to see if I could get better. But, unfortunately, I didn’t.” In her quarterfinal, Osaka rallied from a 1-5 final-set deficit to beat Donna Vekic 6-3 4-6 7-6 (4).
South Africa’s Kevin Anderson will use the clay season to recover from an elbow injury. “I wanted to let you all know that I will unfortunately be missing the clay season this year,” said Anderson, a big-server who reached the Wimbledon final a year ago. “After discussing with my doctors and team, we thought the best decision is to rest and rehab my elbow injury for a few more weeks. I will keep working hard each day to get healthy again in time for grass,” he wrote on Twitter. Anderson was scheduled to compete in Estoril, Madrid, Rome and Roland Garros.
Citing a right knee injury, Canada’s Milos Raonic has withdrawn from Madrid and Rome. Raonic was a semifinalist at Indian Wells last month, losing to eventual winner Dominic Thiem. Last year, Raonic skipped Rome and Roland Garros. He is scheduled to play on grass in Stuttgart, Queen’s Club and Wimbledon.
Eugenie Bouchard is no longer working with coach Michael Joyce. While under his tutelage, the Canadian moved back into the top 100, but after losing three straight matches, the two chose to separate. Joyce also has worked with former Wimbledon winner Maria Sharapova and Great Britain’s top player, Johanna Konta. Now 25, Bouchard reached a career-high ranking of fifth in the world in 2014. She dropped out of the top 100 last year.
He was touted to be the next Grand Slam champion after he beat Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic last year and rose to third in the world in the ATP Tour rankings. But Alexander is in a rut that has him confused. The 22-year-old German has failed to win more than one match in his last five tournaments, his latest loss coming to lucky loser Nicolas Jarry in the first round of the Barcelona Open. “I just play bad, it’s not a secret,” Zverev said. “I’m missing backhands all over the places, which is my best shot. I cannot make one impressive shot. I’m double-faulting.” And against Jarry, Zverev said, “Most of the points that I won were unforced errors by him.”
A woman’s car just stopped on the side of the road in Canberra, Australia, when Simon Anderson and his girlfriend stopped to help her. When another car pulled up next to them, the occupant asked if they needed a hand and they said yes. “Guy hopes out of the car to help and it’s Nick Kyrios,” Anderson wrote on Twitter. “So, my girlfriend, her mate and Nick Kyrgios push this woman’s car home. Despite being on the way home from training and then helping push a car down a Canberra street, he takes a pic with them and then gets back in the car and goes home. Nick Kyrgios: good guy.” Kyrgios was modest, tweeting, “This sort of stuff shouldn’t be noticed. It’s an everyday thing, anytime.”
SEES PLAYING AGAIN
Andy Murray’s mother, Judy, says her son is “cautiously optimistic” that he will be able to play tennis again this season. Murray underwent hip surgery in January to end the constant pain that caused the former world number one to consider quitting the sport. “He was told not to do impact work, which basically means running around the garden hitting a ball for three months, but he’s been hitting against a wall from a static position,” Judy Murray said. The 31-year-old hoped to return to action at Wimbledon, where he is a two-time champion. In March he said he would consider playing doubles because it would put less stress on his hip.
This year’s US Open will be the last for tournament director David Brewer. The United States Tennis Association (USTA) announced that Brewer also will leave his job as its chief professional tennis officer. Brewer became US Open tournament director in 2012. His departure comes a month after the USTA named Soeren Friemel as US Open tournament referee, replacing Brian Earley.
SWITCHING TO TURIN
In two years the ATP Finals will move from London to Turin, Italy. The ATP Tour said the Italian city beat out four other cities that bid for the tournament: Singapore, Tokyo, London and Manchester, England. Turin will stage the year-ending event through 2025.
Justin Gimelstob, a former player and current ATP Tour board member, was sentenced to three years probation and 60 hours of community labor after pleading no contest to felony battery charges. Gimelstob was accused of attack Randall Kaplan while the venture capitalist, his wife and their 2-year-old daughter were trick-or-treating on Halloween. The 41-year-old Gimelstob was also ordered to undergo 52 weeks of anger management classes. The Los Angeles Times reported that Gimelstob had threatened his former friend because of Kaplan’s friendship with Gimelstob’s estranged wife. At one time Gimelstob was considered a strong candidate to take over the top spot at the ATP Tour. Andy Murray told The Sunday Telegraph, “I don’t see how, with everything that’s gone on, how it’s possible for him to remain in a position of authority or management at the ATP right now.” Several other top players – including Martina Navratilova, Darren Cahill, Pat Cash, Amelie Mauresmo, Pam Shriver and Tim Mayotte – have suggest that Gimelstob should not continue in his high-profile role. The All England Club has banned Gimelstob from Wimbledon’s Royal Box.
Belgium’s Benjamin D’Hoe has been suspended for one month for betting on matches. The Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) said the 22-year-old was given a six-month ban with five months suspended provided he commits no further offense. He also was fined USD $3,000, of which US $2,500 was suspended. D’Hoe, who reached a career-high ranking of 782nd in 2017, admitted to placing more than 900 bets on professional tennis matches in a one-month span in 2017. In announcing the ban, the TIU said it took into account that D’Hoe reported his offense himself and didn’t bet on matches in which he competed.
Anning: Peng Shuai and Yang Zhaoxuan beat Duan Yingying and Han Xinyun 7-5 6-2
Barcelona: Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah beat Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares 6-4 7-6 (4)
Budapest: Ken Skupski and Neal Skupski beat Marcus Daniell and Wesley Koolhof 6-3 6-4
Istanbul: Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic beat Alexa Guarachi and Sabrina Santamaria 6-1 6-0
Stuttgart: Mona Bartel and Anna-Lena Friedsam beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Lucie Safarova 2-6 6-3 10-6 (match tiebreak)
Puerta Vallarta: //www.puertovallartaopen.com/en/
Aix En Provence: //www.openpaysdaixcepac.com/
Bonita Springs: www.bbcusta.net
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
$653,177 Millennium Estoril Open, Estoril, Portugal, clay
$653,177 BMW Open by FWU, Munich, Germany, clay
$135,400 Puerta Vallarta Open, Puerta Vallarta, Mexico, hard
$127,930 BNP Paribas Primrose, Bordeaux, France, clay
$250,000 J&T Banka Prague Open, Prague, Czech Republic, clay
$250,000 Grand Prix De SAR La Princesse Lalla Meryem, Rabat, Morocco, clay
$100,000 Live To Play, Charleston, South Carolina, USA, clay
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
$8,110,130 Mutua Madrid Open, Madrid, Spain, clay
$162,480 Busan Open Challenger, Busan, Korea, hard
$153,261 Open du Pays d’Aix, Aix En Provence, France, clay
$7,021,128 Mutua Madrid Open, Madrid, Spain, clay
$100,000 FineMark Women’s Pro Tennis Championship, Bonita Springs, Florida, USA, clay