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FRENCH OPEN DAY 5: Two Frenchmen And An American Work It Out In Paris - Tsonga, Monfils And Young Sail Into Third Round

Thursday, May 29, 2014

American Donald Young sets his site on the 2014 French Open's 3rd round after defeating Spaniard Feliciano Lopez.

In his post-match interview American Donald Young said, "I have actually never won a match outside of the U.S. on red clay.  So to win two here at the French Open, it means a lot."

Young advanced to the third round today after a 6-3, 7-6, 6-3 win over Spain's Feliciano Lopez.  This represents only the third occasion that he has been able to get this far at a grand slam tournament.

When asked whether he believes he's doing well because of the big stage and the greater challenge, Young responded, "Yeah, actually, I like the big stage a little more than the challengers and everywhere else.  I feel like I play better against higher level players.

"But, yeah, I just feel like I put the work in and I'm playing well.  I'm just letting my game flow and do what it does."

Awaiting Donald in the third round is yet another Spaniard, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.

Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will meet Poland's Jerzy Janowicz in round 3 of the 2014 French Open.

Tsonga The First Of The Frenchman To Charge Into Round 3

Austrian Jürgen Melzer fell to the mighty swings of France's own Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Wednesday. The No. 13 seed took the match in straight sets, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4.

Post-match Tsonga stated that, "Jerzy is a difficult player. You never know exactly what to expect on court. I'm not really talking about his behavior but rather his game. He's rather unpredictable. He's very tall, he strikes hard. He can have a very high first ball, first-serve percentage, striking really hard ... so you have to find a way to neutralize him, and it's not always that easy."

Up next for Tsonga is the No. 22 seed Jerzy Janowicz of Poland.

Frenchman Gael Monfils in second round action against German Jan-Lennard Struff.

Gael Monfils Flies Through Yet Another Round

The consistently acrobatic Frenchman Gael Monfils also moved through the second round in straight sets 7-6(4), 6-4, 6-1, eliminating Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff.  Struff put up quite a defense in the first set, but was not able to overcome the game of the 23rd seed.

Italian Fabio Fognini, the tournament's 14th seed, awaits Monfils in the 3rd round.


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Donald Young Begins BNP Paribas Open Quest With A Win

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Donald Young, USA, BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells, CA, after round one defeat of Italy's Potito Starace.
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

American Donald Young earned his first win at an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament in three years as he came back to defeat Italian Potito Starace 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 in just under two hours on Thursday at the BNP Paribas Open.

The 21 year old fought off nine of 12 break points faced on serve, while delivering on four of his six opportunities against the 47th-ranked Starace.

Young, currently at No. 143 in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings, reached the third round at this tournament in 2008 with wins over Bobby Reynolds and Feliciano Lopez before falling to Rafael Nadal. He next faces World No. 5 Andy Murray.

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Ailing Monfils Upset In Johannesburg

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Black Tennis Pro's Gael Monfils vs. Feliciano Lopez South African Open SemifinalGael Monfils, France

Black Tennis Pro's Gael Monfils vs. Feliciano Lopez South African Open SemifinalJOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Feliciano Lopez of Spain and Stephane Robert of France advanced to the final of the SA Open on Saturday after eliminating the two highest-seeded players in the tournament.

Lopez upset top-seeded Gael Monfils of France 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (1), while Robert ousted No. 2 David Ferrer of Spain 7-5, 6-4.

Monfils struggled in the second set after hurting his knee and was broken twice, winning just eight points on his serve.

"Gael outclassed me in the first set, and after he hurt his knee I was nervous because I wasn't sure to expect," Lopez said. "But I hung in well and played some good serve and volley tennis to take the second set. In the decider he looked to be back to 100 per cent on his feet and it was a close match until the tiebreaker where I just seemed to do everything right."

The 29-year-old Robert reached the first ATP Tour final of his career, having changed his style of play after returning to the game six months ago following a long bout of hepatitis that sidelined him for the previous 15 months.

"I had been all my life playing what I call casino tennis, hitting crazy shots, gambling with big shots and closing my eyes just hoping the ball would go in," the 100th-ranked Robert said. "I never got any better than about 160th in the world rankings with that approach and last August, when I came back to tennis after the illness, I had a long chat with my coach, Ronan Lafaix, who persuaded me to do things differently. He urged me to start focusing on one thing at a time, to concentrate harder than ever before and develop a precision game instead of my unreliable casino tennis."

"It just shows you that because I'm nearly 30 years old doesn't mean I'm over the hill," he said.

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Monfils Into South African Open Semifinals, Brown Knocked Out

Black Tennis Pro's Gael Monfils and Dustin Brown 2010 South African Open QuarterfinalsFrenchman Gael Monfils (top) and Jamaican Dustin Brown
(Photos by © Reg Caldecott)

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Top-seeded Gael Monfils of France breezed past Yen-Hsun Lu of Taiwan 6-1, 6-4 Friday to reach the semifinals of the South African Open.

Monfils converted all three of his break points to complete the win in 56 minutes and set up a meeting with third-seeded Feliciano Lopez of Spain, who beat American Rajeev Ram 7-6(2), 6-3.

"I felt very good out there, I played a fast game and my form seems just perfect," said the 13th-ranked Monfils.

Second-seeded David Ferrer of Spain also advanced by beating India's Somdev Devvarman 6-1, 6-3 in 64 minutes.

"I did play very well," Ferrer said. "Last year I lost in the semifinals here but hopefully this time I can get to the final."

Ferrer will face No. 8 Stephane Robert of France, who beat Jamaica's Dustin Brown 7-6 (5), 6-3.

"It helps to have a big serve when you're playing at altitude which is the case here in Johannesburg, and I don't have the biggest of serves," Robert said. "So my strategy these past few days has been to work hard on perfecting my returns of serve and I've done that pretty good, beating three guys now with cannonball serves."

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Tsonga Vs. Djokovic, Another Semifinal With Great Potential

Friday, February 20, 2009

Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga took it to Spaniard Feliciano Lopez defeating him 6-2, 6-7, 6-4 at the Marseille Open on Friday.

In doing so, Tsonga set up what is sure to be another fabulous match to watch against Serbian Novak Djokovic. Tsonga and Djokovic met four times last year with Tsonga winning three of those matches.

Photo by Getty Images

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Bryan And Fish Stop The USA Bleeding At Davis Cup

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Black Tennis Pro's USA Davis Cup Doubles SemifinalAmericans Mike Bryan and Mardy Fish kept the defending champions’ hopes alive, defeating Spain’s Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco 4-6, 6-4, 63 4-6, 6-4, spoiling Lopez’s 27th birthday celebrations and Spain’s dream of a 3-0 sweep in the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Semifinals. Bryan, playing Davis Cup doubles without twin brother Bob for the first time, and close friend Fish made a strong pair but their opponents also played a tough match.

“The key to this match was us bonding,” said Fish. “We’ve been great friends for years and you play your best tennis when you are having fun. I admire the way Mardy played today,” added Bryan. “It was tough to read Feliciano’s serve. It was a hard fought battle. We took our chances when we got them but it took a little while to get going.”

“It was very close. The toughest thing was to come back from two sets to one down and a break,” said Lopez. “With a bit more luck we could have won. The crowd helped us a lot in the fourth set.”

Good Start For Spain

Madrid’s Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas was rocking with nearly 21,000 fans, most hoping to see Lopez and Verdasco win the third point for Spain and propel their country into the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Final for a sixth time. Lopez was treated to a chorus of “Happy Birthday” by the fans who were clearly in a celebratory mood but a smaller but no less noisy contingent of American fans also had their dreams of an American comeback.

The Spanish were on fire in the first set, serving better than the Americans and making only two unforced errors compared to 10 and converting the first break point opportunity in the seventh game on Bryan’s serve. Lopez served for the set, poaching a volley from Verdasco to seal the opener for Spain.

There were many celebrities on hand at Las Ventas including former IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch, who earlier in the day received a Davis Cup replica trophy from ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti, to LA Laker Pau Gasol, a friend of Rafa Nadal’s. The iconic bullring was clearly the place to be this weekend and the excitement levels were very high.

Bryan And Fish Find A Way Through

The Americans started more confidently in the second set, making fewer errors and generally looking stronger while the Spanish pair made a few more errors to give the USA an opening and on their first break point of the match, Fish hit a stunning forehand volley to win the second set 64.

In the third set, the Americans really began to gel, playing solid tennis and making the Spanish work for every point. The Spanish were able to save two break points on the Verdasco serve at 4-5 but, on the third, Lopez hit a return just wide but Bryan hit it anyway, a winner down the line to finish the point. Fish held serve to give the Americans a two-sets to one lead.The traditional Bryan bump was adapted to a sort of Mardy/Mike twist bump that made its first outing in this set, never to be seen again.

Grabbing the momentum with both hands, the Americans broke Lopez in the first game to take a 1-0 lead but they were not able to hold on, with the Spanish breaking Mike Bryan in the eighth game to get back on serve. At 4-5, Fish served to stay in the set, saving five break points before the Spanish were able to capitalise and level the match at two-sets all.

Vital Break For USA

Verdasco served first to open the set, saving three break points and squandering two game points before a Lopez winner gave the Spanish a 1-0 lead in the set. The set went with serve until it was Verdasco’s turn again and he was broken to give the Americans the lead. Fish struggled on his serve but held on for 4-2 then Lopez held serve easily for 4-3. Bryan held serve for 5-3 and then Verdasco, who had struggled in his last two service games, needed to hold serve if Spain were to have a chance of victory in today’s doubles. If he was nervous, the Spaniard didn’t show it and forced Fish to serve for the match at 5-4. The American had a comfortable service game, converting the first match point to win the match and keep American hopes alive.

“It means the world to me,” added Fish who played on the losing side in the 2004 Final against Spain in Seville. “Davis Cup is a huge thing. I’ve been waiting four years for this.”

“Nobody can say that our players don’t play their guts out when they are playing for their country,” said US captain Patrick McEnroe. “This is a big shot of adrenalin going into Sunday. We lost two heartbreakers yesterday, won a close one today against a great team. We will take our chances, play aggressively when we can and see what happens.”

Nadal Vs. Roddick Tomorrow

Celebrations on the American bench and the prospect of a Nadal-Roddick opener tomorrow tantalised the crowd at Las Ventas who are excited about another day of live tennis. All three of the matches played so far have registered just over 3 hrs. 15 minutes on the Rolex clocks on court and tomorrow’s could also be a long one with the Madrid altitude helping a big server like Roddick, even against a player with the clay court prowess of Nadal.

Asked if he was worried about the crowd tomorrow, McEnroe said: “Rafael Nadal worries me a lot, more than the crowd. He’s the best clay court player in the world. Andy played a tough match against David Ferrer. He got a bit frustrated, losing his serve at 6-6 in the fifth. He’s a competitor who wants to win. I’m not worried. Andy knows what he has to do. He has been in this position before.”

“The crowd behaved well. We can’t complain. This is normal in Davis Cup,” said Spanish captain Emilio Sanchez. “If I were Andy Roddick, I would be concentrating on facing Nadal. If he is worried about the crowd, he won’t be playing his best tennis.”

Photo Paul Zimmer

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First Blake, Now Bob Bryan...USA Davis Cup Team Going Through Changes

Friday, September 19, 2008

Black Tennis Pro's 2008 Davis Cup Semifinal TeamMadrid, SPAIN – After losing the services of No. 2 singles player James Blake last week, the U.S. Davis Cup team has been thrown another obstacle in its quest to repeat as champion.

Bob Bryan, the hard-serving, left-handed compliment to twin brother Mike, withdrew from the 2008 Davis Cup World Group Semifinal on Tuesday, citing a left shoulder injury. He had hoped a cortisone shot would allow him to play in the important tie but was told by doctors to shut down all tennis activity for several weeks.

“His shoulder has been bothering him since Wimbledon,” said Mike Bryan. “With the long summer, he was taking anti-inflammatory medicine. After the Open, he was pretty sore. I’m not a doctor, but I think it’s fairly serious. He’s going to take a few weeks off and then start rehabbing in Florida.”

Virtually inseparable over the years, the Bryans have played every doubles match together as professionals since a brief hiatus in 2002, beginning at a tournament in Long Island, N.Y., when Bob was still playing in singles qualifying matches. For the record, Mike Bryan was a career 13-2 in doubles without his twin.

“There might be some things that these guys do better than Bob. They could return a little bit better,” said Mike as the team erupted in laughter. “It’s a good experience to step away from Bob and find my own identity.”

On the heels of capturing their second US Open title, the world’s top-ranked doubles team has excelled over the years on Davis Cup Saturdays, compiling a sterling 14-2 record.

A central piece in their remarkable run to the 2007 title, the Americans knew that they could count on a point from their doubles team. Now, suddenly, that point is in jeopardy.

“Spain was always the favorite, so we don’t look at that as making any big difference,” said U.S. Captain Patrick McEnroe.

“The time is coming for us to get a couple of young guys into the mix. Obviously, this is a difficult match, we’re all well aware of that. But at the same time, I think it’s a great opportunity for us to come out and play with the kind of enthusiasm that these guys have always had for Davis Cup. In no way do we look at this as a setback but as an opportunity for these guys to show what they can do.”

An able replacement for Blake, Sam Querrey has seen his ranking spike in the past year and recently took a set off Nadal at the US Open. Twice a practice partner, how much can be reasonably expected from the Davis Cup rookie in his big debut?

“Well, let’s see… He’s playing in his first Davis Cup tie, against Spain away, against arguably the greatest clay-court player of all time, so he better win,” smirked McEnroe.

“Sam has come a long way in the past year and has earned the opportunity to play. He’s going to get a lot out of this experience.”

Drawing from a suddenly deep pool of players, McEnroe quickly filled Bryan’s vacancy with steady veteran and close team friend Mardy Fish. An in-form player on the heels of a career-best quarterfinal result at the US Open, Fish can play either singles or doubles. In 2004, Fish was a member of the U.S. team that fell to Spain before a record crowd.

“I had a couple of days to put it all together,” said Fish, who was asked to join the team last Friday after Bob Bryan was declared unfit to play. With his wedding to “Deal or No Deal” model Stacey Gardner in just three weeks time, Fish was able to squeeze in the trip.

“I’m not planning it – I just have to show up,” said Fish. “I helped with the time and the date and the place, and that’s it.”

Bryan and Fish have practiced together over the last few days and are likely to get the nod against Spain’s Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco.

Entering the series as prohibitive favorites, Spain has retained its imposing four-man unit, headlined by top-ranked Rafael Nadal, along with rugged top-5 talent David Ferrer, Lopez and Verdasco.

Four-time defending French Open champion Nadal was given extra time to rest by Captain Emilio Sanchez and will be a heavy favorite on slow, red clay, a surface he has dominated.

The best-of-five World Group Semifinal series is expected to attract over 21,000 fans daily at the Plaza de Toros Las Ventas in the heart of downtown Madrid.

Reminiscent of the final in Seville four years ago, the Americans’ task is daunting, staring down not only the best clay-court player in the world but a partisan and raucous crowd, encircling them in an intimating bullfighting ring.

“I think it’s pretty awesome,” said McEnroe. “When you walk in, it’s not your traditional tennis venue, but I think it’ll make for a great weekend. I think the guys are really excited about being here and playing in such a unique environment.

Spain’s No. 1 singles player arrived in Madrid on Sunday and has declared himself fit, following a torrid recent stretch that included a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics and a semifinal result at the US Open.

Versus and Tennis Channel will air same-day coverage of all three days of competition. Versus will broadcast each day at 12 noon ET. Tennis Channel will re-air coverage at 8 p.m. ET.

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USTA And Heineken Premium Light Official Players Party

Sunday, August 24, 2008

2008 US Open USTA/Heineken Premium Light
Official Players Party

August 22 - Empire Hotel Rooftop
New York, NY United States

Black Tennis Pro's US Open Heineken PartySerena Williams

Black Tennis Pro's US Open Heineken PartyFeliciano Lopez

Black Tennis Pro's US Open Heineken PartyFormer New York City Mayor David Dinkins

Black Tennis Pro's US Open Heineken PartySabine Lasicki

Black Tennis Pro's US Open Heineken PartyJames Blake

Black Tennis Pro's US Open Heineken PartyMaria Sharapova

Black Tennis Pro's US Open Heineken PartyActor Daniel Sunjata

Photos WireImage

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