Friday, 22 July 2016

Tennis on 2 Continents

Tennis has continued in Europe while it is also making its presence felt on the hard courts of North America, a number of players beginning their preparation for the US Open just over a month away.

Still the top of the pack are giving tournament play a rest, only a handful of top ten players out and about, and having mixed success.

In Washington, both the ATP and WTA are holding events, with four of the men's quarter finalists from the USA.  All the top eight seeds are there except for third seed Bernard Tomic who fell to big serving Ivo Karlovic in the second round.  Karlovic won a close first set, in which no break points were created by either player. The only break of the match came in the second set and the Croatian won 7-6 6-3, winning an amazing 37 points from his 39 first serves.

Top seed John Isner is favoured to win the title but he will need to first eliminate fellow American Steve Johnson in his quarter final.

Top women's seed in Washington is Samantha Stosur, in fact the only top twenty player in the draw.  Sam has ridden the bad luck of Caroline Wozniacki, who was a set up before an injured left arm forced her to concede the match to the Aussie who now sits comfortably in the final eight.  Her major competition left in the tournament looks to be France's Kristina Mladenovic, the fourth seed, following early exits by Sloane Stephens and Monica Puig.

Stanford is the other US WTA title up for grabs this week, and again half the quarter finalists are American, all in the top half of the draw.  Venus Williams, the top seed, and Dominika Cibulkova, second seed, both buoyed by great Wimbledon campaigns, are continuing their fine form, and the tall and short of it may well battle out the final at the weekend.
Dangerous, though, to discount the chances of Coco Vandeweghe and Johanna Konta.

Angie Kerber, the Wimbledon finalist, and Bastad top seed, withdrew from the tournament in Sweden before her third round match, leaving Sara Errani and Annika Beck as the top seeds left, ranked 21 and 38 respectively.

Three ATP tournaments are happening in Europe.  While Karlovic is gunning for the Washington title, his home country of Croatia is hosting a tournament in Umag.  Portugal has two of the quarter finalists, with Gastao Elias upsetting top seed Pablo Cuevas, and second seed Joao Sousa needing two close sets to knock out Leonardo Mayer.

Gstaad, Switzerland hosts a tournament where only two of the world's top thirty are competing.  Top seed and world number 20, Feliciano Lopez is among seven confirmed quarter finalists, but second seed Gilles Simon is yet to play his second round match.

Kitzbuhel, Austria is another venue allowing ATP tour players the chance to hit some serious tennis ball.  Headlining the tournament - Dominic Thiem, eager to win his home nations title.  However both he and second seed Philipp Kohlschreiber lost second round matches, following first round byes.
The semi finals have been reached with 107th ranked Gerald Melzer flying the Austrian flag meeting fourth seed Italian Paolo Lorenzi in one, and 123th ranked Nikoloz Basilashvili from Georgia against Serb sixth seed Dusan the other.

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