Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Yussyazlin wins in Perlis

Yussyazlin Nabila Yusri captured the girls’ Under-14 title in the recent 31st Tuanku Syed Putra Milo-Perlis Junior International Tennis Championships at the Kampung Pondok Tennis Complex in Kangar.
Yussyazlin came back from a second set blemish to beat Nurin Nabilah Roslan 6-1, 5-7, 6-0 in almost three hours.
The 13-year-old, ranked third in the Asian 14 & Under rankings, took up tennis at six and aspires to follow the foot steps of Russia’s former World No 1 Maria Sharapova in the near future.
The Form One student of SM Tuanku Lailatul Shireen (Kangar) aims to make an impact in the upcoming Asian 14 & Under season, where she will kick start her campaign in Vietnam on Jan 5-16.
Koay Hao Sheng earned Perlis its second title in the tournament in the boys’ Under-14 singles. He defeated Talhah Rahizam 6-2, 6-1 in the final.
The tournament attracted more than 400 participants including 188 foreign entries from the United States, South Africa, Uzbekistan, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore

* Malaysia unless stated

Boys' singles Under-10 S-Finals — Kim Junseo (Kor) bt Naufal Siddiq Kamaruzzaman 6-2, 6-4; Danial Ahmad Farid bt Woratan Manphian (Tha) 6-2, 6-1.
Final — Kim Junseo (Kor) bt Danial Ahmad Farid (NS) 6-0, 6-1.
Under-12 doubles final — Shamirul Shahril-Alvin Teng (Swk) bt Siphos Montsi-Rayan Little (RSA) 6-1, 6-3.
Under-14 — Hubert Badenhorst-Jandre Lessing (RSA) bt M. Kharil Anas-Koay Hao Sheng (KL-Ps) 6-2, 6-2.
Under-16 — Johnson Ooi-Chia Chen Dong (Png) bt Mohd Ariff Anuar-Mohd Ali Imran (Ps) 6-1, 6-4.

Girls doubles Under-10 final — Thutsaporn Naklow-Napat Pongphanich (Tha) bt Nur Aniess Shamida-Nur Batrisya Mazuki (Pk) 6-0, 6-7(5), 10-8.
Under-12 —Camille Townsend-Katya Townsend (USA) bt Suhana Sofia-Aida Hereena (Sel-Ps) 4-6, 6-4, 10-4.
Under-16 final — Tiara Hareena-Michelle Khoo (Ps-Png) bt Putri Syafiqah-Teoh Shi Yin (Per-Sel) 6-3, 6-1.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Venus confirmed coming

CARBON Worldwide, the organiser of the WTA Tour BMW Malaysian Open, declared that Venus Williams' withdrawal from an Australian Open warm-up event in Auckland would not affect her participation in the Kuala Lumpur competition.
Venus, who has been receiving treatment for Sjogren's syndrome, stated that she was not ready to compete in Auckland, scheduled next month.
Carbon representative Melvin Chia said a fitter Venus would be competing for the first time in the Malaysian Open.
"Tennis fans here will be in for a treat as Venus will be gunning for her first title on her return to competition," said Melvin yesterday.
Meanwhile, former prime minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has been named patron of this year's event, scheduled on Feb 27-March 4, at the Bukit Kiara Equestrian & Country Club.
BMW Malaysia managing director Geoffrey Briscoe said: "We are delighted to have Tun Mahathir as the tournament's patron.
"We believe his involvement augurs well for the Malaysian Open as we've set out to augment the Malaysian sports and tourism industry."
The third edition of the event has attracted an international cast of world class players and among them are France's World No 9 Marion Bartoli, Australia's Jelena Dokic and China's Asian Games champion Peng Shuai.

Marion eyes stellar start

MARION Bartoli is looking to build on a stellar season with a successful campaign at the WTA Tour BMW Malaysian Open on Feb 27-March 4 at the Bukit Kiara Equestrian and Country Resort.
The 27-year-old, who clinched two titles earlier this year on route to equalling her career high ranking of World No 9 in October, said the Malaysian tournament would play a key role in preparing her for what will be an important year.
"Overall I had a very successful year (2011) and was able to reach the quarters in Wimbledon, the final at Stanford and having another win in Osaka," said the Frenchwoman.
Marion, who played in the Malaysian Open last year, said: "I very much enjoyed the warm climate and the event (Malaysian Open) which set up a great run for me this year where I reached the semi-finals at the French Open and won at Eastbourne.
"Finishing in the Top 10 this year was a great success and for 2012, I certainly hope to improve on this position.
"The BMW Malaysian Open will be a very important date in my schedule for the coming season where my focus will be on the Grand Slams and especially the Olympics in London."
Marion, who has nine career singles titles to her name, said the very intimate settings of the Malaysian Open were among the reasons she decided to return to Kuala Lumpur.
"I had a great time in Malaysia last year and my father (her coach) and myself enjoyed the great hospitality and support from the spectators during the event," said Marion.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Venus doubtful for Malaysian Open

VENUS Williams' participation in the WTA Tour BMW Malaysian Open is in doubt after the seven-time grand slam champion withdrew from a Australian Open warm-up event in New Zealand due to "health reasons".
Venus, who has been receiving treatment for Sjogren's syndrome, an auto-immune disease, was given a wild card for Auckland Classic on Jan 2-7.
The five-time Wimbledon champion had also agreed to play in the Malaysian Open on Feb 27-March 4 at the Bukit Kiara Equestrian & Country Resort.
"After playing a number of recent exhibition matches, Williams told her agent Carlos Fleming she was not ready to play in Auckland," a statement on the Auckland Classic website said.
The 31-year-old has been plagued with injuries and health issues since she made the semi-finals of the US Open last year.
The five-times Wimbledon champion, who changed her diet to include more vegetables after suffering fatigue from the disease, said last month that she hoped to return to the tour full-time in 2012 and to top the rankings.
A source, however, said Venus would be in Kuala Lumpur for the Malaysian Open.
"Venus is our marquee player. It is unfortunate that she is not ready for Auckland but we are keeping our fingers crossed that she will play here," said the source.
France's World No 9 Marion Bartoli, Australia's defending champion Jelena Dokic and Asian Games gold medallist Peng Shuai are among those who are confirmed as coming. By Ajitpal Singh

Delizavernne is Asia No 1

WHO said Malaysian tennis is on the slide? Delizavernne Kaur made the country proud by securing the year-end Asian Tennis Federation (ATF) 14 and Under girls' No 1 ranking.
The 14-year-old topped the ranking list with 1,710 points ahead of several top players from South Korea, China, Japan and India.
What made her success sweeter is that Delizavernne achieved it without depending on public funds or other special assistance.
Remarkably, she topped the rankings without the help of a professional coach. Her non-playing tennis father, Bhoopindar Singh, a businessman, has been coaching her since she first picked up the racquet six years ago.
The Form Two student of SMK Sri Aman, however, almost gave up tennis a year ago.
Delizavernne, who is of Punjabi-Filipino parentage, felt there were too many obstacles, which had also halted the progress of her brothers, Pearljit Singh and Duzbionjit Singh. But her father managed to coax her from quitting and the rest was history.
"It's amazing for me to finish the year as the No. 1 player in Asia (14 and under)," Delizavernne told Timesport at Balai Berita in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
"I do not know whether Malaysians have finished a year as No 1 in tennis but to be among the very few is special.
"I'm only in the beginning of my career, and to have achieved so much already is a dream come true."
"Many may argue that the best in Asia were not playing regularly on the circuit but for a Malaysian to be ranked No 1, it is something to be proud of."
Delizavernne admitted that she wanted to quit a year ago as she was not getting the due recognition.
"There were obstacles, which I do not want to elaborate, but my dad told me not to give up and I kept on playing.
"I hope my achievement will help me get some recognition and also open new doors for me to further my tennis career," she said.
Delizavernne played a full schedule in the 14 and under circuit and attained success in Penang, Malacca and Bangladesh.
In last month's season-finale, the Qatar Asian Championships (14 and under), she and Libya's Laura Sahyoun defeated Kazakhstan's Milana Imamniyazova-As Jumamakhambeto 2-6, 6-3, 10-5 for the doubles crown.
In the singles, Delizavernne was beaten 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 in the final by Kazakhstan's Gozal Ainitdinova.
On her plans, Delizavernne said she would like to turn professional and represent Malaysia in the Fed Cup.
"I will make my debut in the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Under-18 tour next year, where I hope to make the grade.
"I do not want to put pressure on myself by setting unrealistic targets. I will give myself about three years in the ITF tour before looking seriously on whether to turn professional," said Delizavernne.
Despite being Asia's No 1 junior, Delizavernne is not a member of the national elite squad but the strong-willed youngster prefers not to think about it
"I am a goal-driven person. Apart from tennis, I want to excel in studies and become a successful business person like my dad.
"I owe him a lot, as if not for him, I would not have achieved so much in the sport," she added.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Ahmad Deedat leads Selangor to title

AHMAD Deedat Abdul Razak powered Selangor to the boys' Under-16 title in the final day of the ECM Libra Foundation-LTAM Junior Championships at National Tennis Centre in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Ahmad Deedat, a member of the national Davis Cup team, with Colin Wong and Tony Chin defeated Singapore 2-0 to regain their title.
Coach S. Selvarajoo said his team played superb tennis throughout the tournament.
"We came into this tournament as favourites and we achieved our target in style by not dropping a single set en route to victory in the boys' under-16 event," he said yesterday.
Selangor, however, failed to retain their girls' Under-16 title, losing 2-0 to Thailand in the final.
The team comprising Alyssa Boey, R. Archnaah and Sagung Putri were no match for the talented Thais.
Perlis cruised past Singapore 2-0 in the boys' Under-13 final and also won the girls' title by edging Thailand 2-1.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Venus confirmed coming

By Fadhli Ishak -NST
*NST Sport broke the story on Venus Williams a day earlier.

CARBON Worldwide, the organiser of the WTA Tour BMW Malaysian Open, has confirmed the participation of former World No 1 Venus Williams for the US$220,000 tournament on Feb 27-March 4 at the Bukit Kiara Equestrian and Country Resort.
Keld Kristiansen, chairman of Carbon Worldwide,   said getting a player of Venus'  calibre was a great boost to the tournament and he was expecting more top  players to sign up for the event.
Also confirmed are Marion Bartoli of France, currently ranked World No 9, and also Asian Games gold medallist Peng Shuai from China.
"We are quite fortunate to be able to get Venus as she is currently in a very important stage of her career having just returned from injury and illness," said Kristiansen.
"It is quite unique to get a player committed to a tournament three months ahead of the event and the tournament is one of a number of key events she will be competing in to get herself back on track next year.
"We are still some way from the event itself so there will be more players registering in the coming months and we are confident there will be more quality players as the event has a good reputation among players on the tour.
"We are expecting (defending champion) Jelena Dokic to be back as well as Lucie Safarova who was here last year, but will have to wait for their confirmation."
Venus, a five-time Wimbledon champion, has been plagued with injuries and health issues since she made the semi-finals of the US Open last year.
Her ranking has since plunged to 104. She recently revealed that she had been suffering from Sjogren's syndrome, an illness which can cause fatigue and pain in the joints.
Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek, who officiated the launch of the tournament yesterday, urged the Lawn Tennis Association of Malaysia (LTAM) to organise more programmes to boost the development of the sport in the country.
"We need to create a tennis playing community to help build the sport.
"Any sport needs a large base of players to create champions and this is clearly lacking in tennis," said Ahmad Shabery.
"LTAM could be better at organising programmes to develop the sport.
"It is not necessary to do tournaments that offer large amounts of prize money but organise simple tournaments or tennis leagues to give our players a platform to develop.
"As long as there are good programmes run by the association, the government is ready to offer its support."
Ahmad Shabery  expressed disappointment at the lack of tennis fans at  the two world class tennis tournaments hosted in Malaysia in recent years --  the BMW Malaysian Open and ATP Malaysian Open.
"It is quite disappointing that we have two world class tennis events in Malaysia yet there are not many people, especially real tennis fans, who come and watch the matches," added Ahmad Shabery.

Venus to play in KL

VENUS Williams has announced her return to competition next year and local tennis fans are set for a treat as the former World No 1 is expected to play in Kuala Lumpur in the WTA Tour BMW Malaysian Open.
Carbon Worldwide, the organiser of the Malaysian Open, has approached Venus and the five-time Wimbledon champion has agreed to play in the tournament on Feb 27-March 4  at the Bukit Kiara Equestrian & Country Resort.
"We are waiting for Venus to pen her signature as the tournament's marquee player," said a reliable source yesterday.
Carbon Worldwide will make an official announcement if Venus is coming or not at a leading hotel in Kuala Lumpur today.
France's World No 9 Marion Bartoli, Australia's defending champion Jelena Dokic and Asian Games gold medallist Peng Shuai are among those who are confirmed as coming.
Venus, a 21-time grand slam winner (singles, doubles and mixed doubles), has had problems with injuries and illness since late 2010.
The 31-year-old recently revealed that she had Sjogren's syndrome which can cause fatigue and pain in the joints, after pulling out of her second round match at the US Open, which was her final tournament of the year.
Since reaching the semi-finals of the 2010 US Open, Venus has played only 11 matches which saw her ranking slip to 104.
She, however, has since changed her diet and appeared in exhibition matches with younger sister Serena.
"Sjogren's is something you live with your whole life. The good news is now I know what's happening after spending years not knowing. I feel like I can get better and move on," Venus said in a recent interview in New York.
Venus will re-launch her career in Auckland before competing in the Australian Open, both in January.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Coaches, players, parents to form a special organistion

A tennis organisation comprising coaches, players and parents will be set-up soon.
According to sources, a committee member of a state tennis association will lead the organisation.
Its main aim — I) help upcoming players to develop their skills; II) conduct coaching clinics; III) organise tournaments.

Delizavernne is Asia's No 1 (girls' 14&Under)

Delizavernne Kaur secured the year-end Asian 14 & Under No. 1 ranking on the Asian Tennis Federation (ATF) circuit at last month’s Qatar Asian Junior Championships.
The 14-year-old clinched the top spot for the remainder of 2011 by reaching the final of the girls’ singles.
The top seed, however, lost 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 to Kazakhstan’s Gozal Ainitdinova.
Delizavernne, however, won the doubles title with Libya’s Laura Sahyoun.
The second seeds edged Kazakhstan’s Milana Imamniyazova-As Jumamakhambeto 2-6, 6-3, 10-5.
Delizavernne’s father, Bhoopinder Singh said his daughter was outstanding throughout the season.
“She is progressing but needs more time to develop her skills. She will make her debut in next year’s ITF girls’ circuit,” said Bhoopinder.
In the boys’s singles, Syria’s Kareem Allaf thrashed Yemen’s Hassan Amr 6-2, 6-1 in the final.
Hong Kong’s Chan Chak Yin-Lawrence Lo Lok Pui overcame Hassan and UAE’s Fahad Janahi 6-2, 6-3 for the doubles title.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Indonesia win third Sea Games title

Christopher Rungkat and Elbert Sie won Indonesia’s third Sea Games gold medal by edging the Philippines’ Treat Conrad Huey-Cecil Mamiit in the men’s doubles final at the Bukit Assam Tennis Centre in Palembang yesterday.
Christopher-Elbert won 2-6, 6-2, 10-7.
In an all-Thai women’s doubles final, Noppawan Lertcheewakarn-Nundnada Wannasuk defeated Nicha Lertpitaksinchai-Varatchaya Wongteanchai 6-3, 6-2.
Conrad Huey and Denise Dy won the mixed doubles event by overcoming Christopher-Jessy Rompies 4-6, 6-3, 10-6.

Christopher and Ayu win men's and women's titles

Indonesia’s Christopher Rungkat and Ayu Damanyati won the respective men’s and women’s singles gold medals on Sunday.
Christopher, who represented Indonesia in recent Davis Cup ties, upset Thailand’s top seed Danai Udomchoke 6-2, 6-2 for the men’s title.
“I am so happy...I worked hard for my first career win over the Thai,” said the 21-year-old Christopher.
As for Danai, the Thai said it was not his day.
“Christopher played excellent tennis...and I could not match him,” said Danai.
In the women’s final, Ayu recorded her biggest career win by overcoming former World No 1 junior Noppawan Lertcheewakarn 6-4, 6-1.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Yew Ming-Jawairiah end Sea Games campaign with defeat

SI Yew Ming and Jawairiah Noordin were sent packing in the quarter-finals of mixed doubles at the Bukit Assam Tennis Centre yesterday.
Yew Ming-Jawairiah lost 6-1, 6-2 to Indonesia’s second seeds Christopher Rungkat-Jessy Rompies in an one-sided match.
The defeat was expected as Yew Ming and Jawairiah had never paired up in tournaments before the Sea Games.
In the first round, Yew Ming-Jawairiah defeated Myanmar’s Phyo Min Thar-Aung Thandar 6-4, 6-1.

Selected results
S-finals - Men’s singles: Christopher Rungkat (Ina) bt Cecil Mamiit (Phi) 6-2, 4-6, 8-6; Danai Udomchoke bt Elbert Sie (Ina) 6-2, 6-1.
Women’s singles: Noppawan Lertcheewakarn (Tha) bt Anna Clarice Patri (Phi) 7-5, 6-1; Ayu Damanyati (Ina) bt Nicha Lertpitaksinchai (Tha) 6-0, 6-3.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Yew Ming loses battle in quarters

Si Yew Ming was beaten 6-3, 6-2 by a fitter and stronger Christopher Rungkat of Indonesia in the men's singles quarter-finals at the Bukit Assam Tennis Centre.
“I tried hard to match Christopher but he was too good. He played flawless tennis and made few mistakes. The better player won today (yesterday),” said Yew Ming.
Yew Ming and Jawairiah Noordin will team up in the mixed doubles.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Yew Ming clears first round

SI Yew Ming reached the men’s singles quarter-finals but Jawairiah Noordin failed in the women’s singles opening round at the Jakabaring Tennis Centre yesterday.
Yew Ming, the national No 1, breezed past Laos’ Donedy Keodalasouk 6-2, 6-1 to set up a match against Indonesia’s second seed and World No 439 Christopher Rungkat, for a spot in the semi-finals today.
The unseeded Malaysian, however, is not expected to beat Christopher, whose confidence is on a high after steering Indonesia to the team gold medal on Tuesday.
Yew Ming suffered stomach problems upon arriving in Palembang last week but had since recovered.
In the women’s singles, Jawairiah Noordin played her first international match since last year’s Fed Cup Qualifiers but was tamely beaten by Anna Clarice Patrimonlo. The Filipino player won 6-4, 6-3.
Yew Ming and Jawairiah will team up in the mixed doubles.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Yew Ming wins National Masters title

Si Yew Ming emerged the men’s singles champion in the National Masters Championships, held recently at the National Tennis Centre in Kuala Lumpur.
The 32-year-old, who played in the recent ATP Malaysian Open, won all his matches in the round-robin event comprising the top eight ranked players from the recent four-leg National Tour.
He started his campaign with a 6-1, 6-1 over Sean Yip and followed up with victories over Ariez Elyaas Deen Heshaam (6-3, 5-7, 7-6), Ahmad Deedat Razak (7-6, 6-1), Syed Aqil Syed Naguib (6-4, 6-4), Wan Abdul Muiz (6-1, 6-3), Oscar Chang (6-3, 6-3) and former international Ashaari Zainal (6-3, 6-3).
Reigning National Hardcourt champion Syed Aqil finished second behind Yew Ming followed by Davis Cup player Ahmad Deedat. Ariez Elyaas, who represented Malaysia in the recent Davis Cup, finished fifth behind Ashaari.
In the women’s (combined girls’ Under-16) singles, Choo Lyn Yuen easily won the title with seven victories in as many matches.
The Sarawakian born defeated Alyssa 1-6, 6-3, 6-0 in the round-robin match that decided the champion. Aslina Chua finished third. Sea Games bound Jawairian Noordin withdrew from the event.

(Round Robin)
Men’s singles: 1. Si Yew Ming, 2. Syed Aqil Syed Naguib, 3. Ahmad Deedat;
Women’s singles: 1. Choo Lyn Yuen, 2. Alyssa Boey, 3. Aslina Chua;
Boys’ Under-16: 1 Colin Wong, 2. Ahmad Faiz, 3. Keenan Kam;
Under-14: 1. Khairil Anas, 2. Koay Hao Sheng, 3. Talhah Rahizam
Girls’ Under-14: 1. Yas Syazlin, 2. Nurin Nabilah, 3. Loo Shi Pei.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Luksika dominates Kuching event

WORLD No 316 Luksika Kumkhum of Thailand turned in a near perfect performance to win the singles and doubles titles at US$10,000 Kuching ITF Women’s Circuit event on Sunday.
The 18-year-old top seed overcame a tough first set to beat World No 433 and second seed Nungnadda Wannasuk 7-6 (7-3), 6-3 in an all Thai singles final.
She later partnered Nungnadda to win the doubles title by defeating China’s Lu Jia Xiang-Lu Jia Jing 6-4, 6-3 to claim their second title of year after India.
“I think we played well today and we have been playing well in this championship as both of us are from Bangkok and we train together,” said Nungnadda, who is eyeing for a medal at the upcoming Indonesia Sea Games.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Jeremiasz conducts successful coaching clinic in Penang

FORMER World No 1 (wheelchair tennis) Michael Jeremiasz and German coach Horst Guentzel conducted a coaching clinic for wheelchair tennis at the Penang Sports Club Tennis Complex in Georgetown recently.
The clinic, attended by eight locals players, was conducted jointly with Wheelchair Tennis Malaysia and the Penang Wheelchair Tennis Association.
Jeremiasz was a rising star in the junior circuit before an accident put him in a wheelchair for life.
But that did not dampen his ambition to become a world’s best in tennis. He took up wheelchair tennis about 11 years ago and was ranked World No 1 in the 2005-06 seasons.
"I’ve played in two Olympics Games and earned a gold in doubles in Beijing four years ago.
“My target is to defend my gold in London next year before I retire,” he said.
The 30-year-old plans to get married after next year’s London Games.
Guentzel, a German, has helped many wheelchair players to improve their game for the past 11 years
“It is tough sport as wheelchair players need to multi-task on court,” he said.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Trio do Malaysia proud

THREE locals made Malaysia proud in international tennis over the past week.
V. Selvam and Lee Vun Tsir etched their names in the history books after becoming the first locals to win titles on the ITF Senior Circuit.
Delizavernne Kaur also made headlines by winning two titles in Bangladesh to consolidate her position as the Asian No 1 (Under-14-and-under) ranked player.
Selvam, a former national champion, made his debut on the Senior Circuit with a title following his 6-4, 6-3 victory over compatriot Megat Khairul in the 40-44 age-group singles final at the recent Malaysian Seniors Championships in Kuala Lumpur.
Vun Tsir defeated Nepal’s Pratap Muktan 6-3, 6-2 for the 35-39 title.
“Everything came together for me in this event. I’m really happy to pick up my first senior title,” said Selvam.
“I played my own game, I played aggressive tennis and that’s what I wanted to do so it’s great that I’ve won this title playing that way.”
Spanish-born John Los Santos defeated Germany’s Rein hold Rombach (Ger) 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 in the 60-65 final.
Meanwhile, Delizavernne is on the verge of ending the year as Asia No 1 (Under-14-and-under) after her success in Dhaka.
The 14-year-old defeated Hong Kong’s Winona IP Wai Lam (6-1, 6-2) and Lam Chan (6-0, 6-4) to win two titles.
Delizavernne’s next event is the Asia/Oceania Champi onship, which starts next week, in South Korea.

Malaysian Seniors Championships (Final)

Men’s 35-39: Lee Vun Tsir (Mas) bt Pratap Muktan (Nep) 6- 3, 6-2;
40-44: V. Selvam (Mas) bt Megai Khairul (Mas) 6-4, 6-3;
50-59: Yogesh Shah (Ind) bt A. J. S. Chhatwa (Ind) 3-6, 6-2, 6-2;
60-65: John Los Santos (Mas) bt Reinhold Rombach (Ger) 3- 6, 6-1, 6-1.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Li Sha dominates Penang Age-Group Championships

MALAYSIA Games trainee Michelle Khoo Li Sha easily won the Under-14 title of the recent Penang Closed Age-Group Championships at the State Sports Complex.
The top seed thrashed second seed Loo Shi Pei 6-1, 6-0 in the final.
Li Sha, a student of St Georges Girls School, also won the doubles title with Shi Pei.
The 14-year-old, who won a double at the recent inaugural ATF Under-14 competition, is also the state women’s champion.

Results (final) — Boys' Under-10 singles: Ishaan Singh Harjit Singh bt Asshwinmurthi Jayaganthan 7-6 (7-4), 6-1.
Under-14: Neoh Khai Keat bt Raveen Balasubramaniam 6-2, 5-7, 6-0
Doubles: Jordan Cheng Shou Ren-Raveen Balasubramaniam bt Neoh Khai Keat-Henry Ho Jia Chyang 7-5, 6-3.
Under-18 singles: Johnson Ooi Jing Wuu bt Dylan Teoh Ken Ji 6-2, 6-2.

Girls' Under-14: Michelle Khoo Li Sha bt Loo Shi Pei 6-1, 6-0.

Selvam and Noordin among the aces

FORMER national No 1 V. Selvam and Noordin Omar, the father of top local player Jawairiah, will make their debuts on the ITF Seniors Circuit at the inaugural Malaysian Seniors Championships (Grade Five) which starts today at the National Tennis Centre in Kuala Lumpur.
Tournament director Fadilah Ghani said the tournament has attracted players from Australia, Germany, Indonesia, India and Nepal.
"A total of 70 players will compete for honours in four age groups, comprising 35-39, 40-44, 50-54 and 60-64. It is a good number for an inaugural tournament," said Fadilah, a former national coach, yesterday
"Selvam is still beating players half his age in 'Open' events after retirement and I foresee him putting up a strong performance in the 40- 44 age group while Noordin, a former Penang champion, is one of the better locals in the 50-54 category."
Among the other Malaysians competing are Juan Los Santos (60-64), Lee Vun Tsir (35-over), Megat Khairul, Wan Abdul Rahman (40-44) and TV personality Abu Bakar Atan (50-54).
"Thailand were supposed to send a team for this tournament but they have withdrawn due to the recent floods. We will only offer ITF ranking points as according to ITF rules, a Grade Five tournament does not need to offer prize money," said Fadilah.
India have a strong field led by World No 217 (50-0ver) Raju PR along with Pramod Kumar Patneik and Yogesh Shah.
The tournament, sanctioned by ITF, will end on Sunday. For details, visit www.malaysianseniorstennis.com .

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Ahmad Deedat-Ariez Elyaas lose doubles final in Ipoh

MALAYSIAN junior pair Ahmed Deedat Abdul Razak-Ariez Elyaas Deen Heshaam were narrowly beaten in the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Junior Championship Grade 4 doubles final at the Ipoh City Council Tennis Court yesterday.
In a three-set battle, their opponents from South Africa, Adrian Du Toit and Matthew Rossouw won 6-4, 3-6 (12-10).
In the semi-finals the Malaysian pair beat Scott Claton and Toby Mitchell of Great Britain 3-6, 6-3 (10-8) while the South Africans received a walkover from another British pair Clay Crawford-Johnny O'Mara. However, Clay will have an opportunity to win a medal in the boys' single's final today.
In the girls' singles final, Karin Kennel of Switzerland emerged the winner when she eased to a 6-2, 6-1 win over Pippa Horn of Britain.
Karin qualified for the final when she beat South African's Ilze Hatttingh 6-3, 6-2, while Pippa defeated teammate Katie Boulter in 6-0, 6-2 in the last four.
In the boys' singles final it will be an all-British final between Peter Ashley and Clay.

Read more: Tennis: Junior pair go down fighting to South Africans http://www.nst.com.my/nst/articles/lkn2e31r/Article#ixzz1avTc4UEF

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Delizavernne does Malaysia proud

DELIZAVERNNE Kaur emerged champion at the recent ATP Under-14 Series Tennis Tournament in Ramna.
The 14-year-old clinched the girls’ title by thrashing Hong Kong’s Winona IP Wai Lam 6-1, 6-2 in the final. Delizavernne, whose brothers Pearljit Singh and Duzbionjit Singh are among the top-15 ranked local players, is the No 1 ranked Asian player in the girls' Under-14 category.
She has earned 1,190 points followed by Indonesia’s Tame Grende (1,000) and South Korea’s Kim Da Bin (920).
Coached by her dad, Bhoopinder Singh, the youngster wants to become a top professional player in the near future. Delizavernne definitely has the potential to do so if she continues to train hard.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Giegle wins Selangor title

GERMAN-BORN Tobias Giegle was crowned men’s singles champion in the recent Selangor Closed Tennis Championships at the MBPJ Sports Complex in Kelana Jaya.
Giegle, a 19-year-old former international school student, defeated former national player and second seed B. Kanagaraj 1-6, 6-3, 6-0 in an exciting final.
The third seed, who received a first round bye, breezed past Joshua Tan and Hasmayadi Abdul with an identical 6-0, 6-0 score line in the second round and quarter-finals before edging Indonesia-born top seed Marco Setipu 6-7 (4-7), 6-1, 6-1 to earn a crack at the title.
Giegle entered the local scene three years ago and has played in the national and ITF Junior circuits.
Selangor Tennis Association (STA) secretary Tengku Mohamed Tengku Harun said Giegle played impressive tennis to win the tournament.
“Giegle has won a senior title as a junior. This boy will definitely go far as he defeated experienced players to lift his first Selangor Closed title,” said Tengku Mohamed.
However, Tengku Mohamed said, Giegle will not be considered to represent the state in official games as he is an expatriate.
“I hope it will not deter him from continuing his tennis as he can still make a name in the local circuit and also in tournaments abroad,” he added.
In the women’s singles, Alyssa Boey, the younger sister of national champion Adele, thrashed Putri Shafiqah 6-0, 6-0 in the final.

Men’s singles: Tobias Giegle bt B. Kanagaraj 1-6, 6-3, 6-0;
Doubles: Marco Setipu-Lee Vun Tsir bt B. Kanagaraj-Akhbar Khan 6-7 (7-9), 6-1, 10-8.
Masters singles: Megat Khairul bt Ahmad Fariz 6-2, 7-6 (7-4);
Doubles: Megat Khairul-Zakaria Othman bt Ahmad Shahrom-Aslam Haneef w/o.
Veterans singles: Ahmad Shahrom bt Hussin Ali 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-2).
Women’s singles: Alyssa Boey bt Putri Shafiqah 6-0, 6-0.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Selvam leads Malaysia's charge

FORMER National No 1 V. Selvam will spearhead Malaysia's challenge at the inaugural International Tennis Federation (ITF) Malaysian Seniors Championships at the National Tennis Complex, Jalan Duta on Oct 17-23.
Tournament director Fadilah Ghani said Selvam, who will be competing in the men's 40-45 and 45-50 age groups, will be among the title contenders based on his current performance.
"He is still in excellent competitive shape as he continues to compete regularly at local level and still has a good serve-and-volley game to go with his vast playing experience," said Fadilah.
"Together with Lee Vun Tsir (35-40) and Juan Los Santos (60-65), I am sure he will be among the Malaysians capable of winning a title here," added the former national coach.
Fadilah, who managed to get the tournament sanctioned by the ITF, said the tournament will also feature players from Thailand, Nepal, India, Germany and Australia, which means the standard of play will be at a high level.
"There are already more 20 foreign players registered for the event. And with senior players, you can always expect them to play a very smart game. so it will be quite competitive," Fadilah added.
Fadilah, who has been actively involved in organising ITF, ATP and WTA tournaments in Uzbekistan for the past seven years, urged local senior players to compete in the event to collect ITF seniors points which will put them in the running to qualify for the ITF World Championships in San Diego, California next year.
"Local players should take the opportunity to take part in the championship this year as they can earn ITF points and can also gauge their level of performance against quality foreign players," said Fadilah.
"Being the first year of competition, the tournament is still lacking in participation so this is a golden opportunity for our players to rack up the points before it gets tougher next year."
Malaysians competing in the Grade 5 tournament, which has seven age groups (from 35 to 70 years for both men and women), will enjoy a subsidised entry fee of RM50 instead of the US$60 that oreign players are charged.
Local players will also be registered for a ITF IPIN, which serves as a player's ranking identification number, for free and will be valid for a year.
For more information, contact Fadilah at 0165979016 or email fadilah02@hotmail.com or visit www.malaysianseniorsopen.com

Wednesday, 5 October 2011


Recently concluded tournament scored exceptionally high marks once again for its organisation and is fast becoming a 'super favourite' destination amongst players on the Tour.

It has been three years since the Malaysian Open first arrived on our shores, bringing with it some of the best tennis players from around the globe and showcasing the best live tennis that Malaysians have ever seen.
At three years old, it may still be an infant compared to more established neighbouring tournaments such as the Thailand Open that has been held since 2003, but it has quickly established itself as one of the best organised and most enjoyable tournaments amongst officials, staff and most importantly, the players on the ATP World Tour.
The latest edition of the tournament, the Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur 2011, which concluded on Sunday and saw Serbian Janko Tipsarevic make personal history with his first title on the Tour, once again scored the tournament top marks in the official post-event report from ATP Supervisor Tom Barnes.
The report, which covers all aspects of the tournament, such as PR and marketing, accommodation, transport, hospitality, player satisfaction and technical aspects such as lighting, court surface, officials, medical and physio services, paid glowing tribute to the organisers and staff for another impeccable outing.
“Nick (Freyer) and the rest of his IMG team showed the players and ATP a very friendly, relax(ed) and well organized event. Players received everything they needed to perform well and enjoy their time in Malaysia. (It was a) great week of tennis. The sole challenge for the future is crowd attendance. I know the tournament is working extremely hard to improve the current situation. This event has all the ingredients to be one of the best indoor 250s on the ATP circuit,” the report read.
As Malaysians, we can be especially proud of the fact that our world-renowned hospitality, food and friendliness has shone through in an internationally recognised sporting event televised globally, such as this, as Tom Barnes notes “in particular, the players and staff enjoyed the VIP treatment they received… The Mandarin Oriental hotel is excellent… Transportation is excellent - it is a pleasure to have the transport system reliable and punctual… the on-site food was catered by the hotel and was excellent.”
The Malaysian Open is organised by IMG, which had received a five-year contract to run the event from 2009 to 2013, and Tournament Director Nick Freyer was delighted to receive the outstanding review.
"We are humbled by the excellent Supervisors report. Tom Barnes is an ex-US Marine, has been on Tour since it was launched in 1990 and is tough as nails. To receive such glowing praise in all areas of the tournament from a Supervisor who has seen everything, with the exception of attendance, really is an outstanding result and kudos belongs to every single person that has supported us and who has worked so hard on the event. I am proud and happy for you all,” he said.
The players themselves, not usually known for their generous words of praise, were liberal in their praise of the tournament, with many players demonstrating their partiality by returning for the second or third time to Kuala Lumpur.
“In addition, I personally received so many wonderful comments from the players directly, including Marcos Baghdatis, Jurgen Melzer and Philip Petschner, Kei Nishikori, Ryan Harrison, Eric Butorac (who is on the ATP Players Council), Viktor Troicki and many more coaches and players, that at times, I was lost for words, and of course deeply touched,” added Freyer.
Singles champion Tipsarevic, in his post-match conference, also expressed his fondness for the event.
“I am so happy to capture my first tournament win here, in a place where I feel so comfortable and have enjoyed myself so much. I think this tournament has the potential to become an ATP 500 event,” the 27-year-old Serbian had said.
Other aspects of the tournament that received top marks were the courts that were “excellent and professional in appearance”, the practice courts, which were “large enough and good enough to use during qualifying if they were needed”, the ball boys and girls were “well trained, disciplined and hard working”, the “(local) massage therapists were highly recommended by the players and thought they were some of the best on the entire Tour” and even the “the DJ changeover music is fantastic… the sound quality in the stadium is of concert quality.”
“Malaysia really has something very special with this tournament, something extremely world class and something that shines the best possible light on so many aspects of this wonderful country,” added Freyer, who is already looking forward to putting on an even bigger and better show next year

Jawairiah Noordin's profile

Name: Jawairiah Noordin
Date-of-birth: Oct 8, 1990
Place-of-birth: Penang
Favourite surface: Hard
Plays: Right-handed (double handed backhand)
Coach: Noordin Omar
Age started tennis: 8
Idol: Serena Williams (USA)

ITF Junior: Win-Loss record: 80-41; Career high ranking: 111 (Feb 18, 2008)
Titles : Singles - 2008 Rajshahi International Junior Championships (Grade 3), 2007 ITF World Junior Tennis Championship (Grade Four), 2007 Brunei ITF Junior Circuit (Grade Four), 2007 24th International Junior Championships of Sri Lanka (Grade Five), 2006 ITF World Junior Tennis Championship (Grade Four),
Doubles - 2008 Bangladesh International Junior Championships (Grade 3).

Runners-up: Singles - 2007 ITF Mercedes Thailand Cup (Grade 4), 2007 Thamrin Cup International Junior Championships (Grade 4),
Doubles - 2008 ITF International Junior Tennis Championship (Grade 4), 2007 ITF Mercedes Thailand Cup (Grade 4), 2007 Thamrin Cup International Junior Championships (Grade 4), 2006 PHINMA/ITF International Junior Tournament (Grade 4), 2006 Brunei ITF Junior Circuit (Grade 4),

WTA Tour: Win-Loss record (between 2007-2010): 12 - 17; Career high ranking: 931 (Nov 16, 2009);
Prize money: US$3,477;
Best results: 2008 - US$10,000 ITF Indonesia (Surakarta) semi-finalist; 2009 US$10,000 ITF Indonesia (Solo) - quarter-finalist; US$10,000 ITF Philippines (Manila) quarter-finalist,

Sea Games: 2007 Korat - women's team bronze, 2009 Laos - women's team bronze.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Newlywed Butorac lands the best wedding gift

Newlywed Eric Butorac had the best wedding gift when he and Jean-Julien Rojer won the doubles event of the Malaysian Open ATP 250 tennis championship at Putra Stadium, Bukit Jalil, yesterday.
The 30-year-old American Butorac was competing in his first tournament since getting married last month and yesterday the second seeded pair were simply scintillating against third seeds Frantisek Cermak-Filip Polasek of Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Butorac-Rojer, who had a great tournament so far, broke Cermak-Polasek’s serve twice in the first set and easily took it at 6-1.
In the second set, Cermak-Polasek provided some stiff resistance but Butorac-Rojer’s energetic net play was simply too much for the eastern Europeans to handle as they broke serve three times to take the match 6-1,6-3.It was a sad end for one half of the defending champions Cermak, who on Saturday had played brilliantly with Polasek , to knock out US Open doubles champion Jurgen Melzer-Phillip Petzschner in the semi-finals. But the day belonged to Butorac-Rojer who had a great season so far, winning two titles already in Nice and Estoril earlier in May.
“We honestly did not expect it to be that easy because Cermak-Polasek are great players and they had a fantastic tournament thus far,” said Butorac. “But it was just one of those days when every shot you hit feels great and you can actually plan the next shot in advance.
Unfortunately, there’s not going to be much of a celebration because we’ll catching the next flight out to Tokyo for the Japan Open which we won last year,” said Butorac.
Meanwhile, Rojer who hails from Netherlands Antilles, dedicated the victory to Butorac and hopes to maintain their form and qualify for the ATP World Tour Finals in London next month.
The duo were previously ranked ninth in the world but winning the Malaysian Open will see them move back up into the top eight rankings in the world.
“It feels great to move back into the top eight but we actually try not to think about it too much and prefer to focus on playing good tennis. It has been a great year for us and we always enjoyed success towards the end of the season, so hopefully we’ll qualify for London for the first time,” said Rojer. - By KNG ZHENG GUAN (The Star)

Tipsarevic rules supreme

SERBIA'S Janko Tipsarevic has compatriot Viktor Troicki to thank after he captured his maiden career ATP Tour title at the Malaysian Open in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
Tipsarevic, the third seed, turned in an inspired performance to end Cypriot wild card Marcos Baghdatis' gallant run in the tournament with a 6-4, 7-5 win in the 127-minute final.
The World No 17 turned to Troicki, who lost to Baghdatis in the semi-finals, for tips on playing the Cypriot just hours before the final.
"Troicki told me not to feel frustrated or get angry if I drop points on my serve as Baghdatis also gives chances to break him on his serve. I remembered his advice when Baghdatis had broken me once to lead 3-0 in the first set," said Tipsarevic, who turned professional in 2002, at Putra Stadium.
On what he did differently at the Malaysian Open, Tipsaveric said he mixed his game with a variety of defensive and offensive shots.
"In previous finals, I played either too offensive or too defensive but today (yesterday) I balanced it and it made a difference. This victory means a lot especially to win it here where I feel very comfortable," he said.
It was a nervy start for Tipsarevic, a finalist at Delray Beach and Eastbourne this season, as he struggled with his first serve in his opening two service games and found himself down 3-1 in the first set.
But the 27-year-old rallied back by mixing his shots to break Baghdatis' serve twice to take a 5-3 lead before his opponent won the next game to reduce the deficit.
The Belgrade-born, however, remained calm to claim the 10th game on his serve for the first set in 52 minutes.
Baghdatis started confidently in the second set by holding serve in the first game but Tipsarevic raised his game to break the third and fifth games for a 4-1 lead.
The champion lost the following two games but managed to hold his serve in the eighth game for a 5-3 lead. Tipsarevic, however, got nervous and allowed Baghdatis back into the match as the World No 60 levelled proceedings at 5-5.
After breaking the 11th game for a 6-5 lead, Tipsarevic, who was on serve in the next game clinched the winning point on his third match point attempt after Baghdatis had hit his return into the net.
"I admit I felt a bit nervous as I've not won a title before in the closing stages of the match but luckily I managed to recover in time." he added.
Tipsarevic left for Tokyo yesterday to compete in the Japan Open where he will open his campaign against Russia's Dmitry Tursunov in the first round on Wednesday.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Wild card Baghdatis makes final

CYPRIOT wild card Marcos Baghdatis and Serbia's third seed Janko Tipsarevic will face off in the men's singles final of the ATP Malaysian Open after both logged convincing victories at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
Baghdatis avenged his loss to Serbia's Viktor Troicki in the final of the Kremlin Cup last October when he snapped a five-match losing streak against top-20 opponents in beating the second seed 6-3, 6-1 to qualify for his 11th career final.
In the other semi-final, Tipsarevic, the World No 17, broke three times to notch a comprehensive 6-4, 6-3 victory over Japan's World No 54 Kei Nishikori to reach his third final of the season.
The Serbian, who is playing confidently in Kuala Lumpur, will be gunning for his maiden career ATP-level title today.
Troicki was far from his best as he made too many unforced errors, which led him to be impatient throughout the match.
Two service breaks were exchanged before Baghdatis broke in the eighth game to win the first set. The 26-year-old then broke his World No 15 rival three times in the second set to race to victory in 84 minutes.
Baghdatis, whose ranking tumbled to World No 60 after a mediocre season, will be making his first appearance in a tour final since last year's Kremlin Cup. The Cypriot has won five career titles with his last success in Sydney last January.
"It was a very weird first set as both of us had problems with our serving but I stayed calm and won the important points. I concentrated on my serve in the second set and broke him three times," said Baghdatis, who was once World No 8.
"I think it was more of a mental match and my mental side won it as I kept pushing and pushing myself throughout the match.
"I also kept Troicki off the rallies and made him move forward to the net to earn crucial points."
Nishikori could have become Japan's highest world ranked player if the 21-year-old had beaten Tipsarevic yesterday. He would have moved up to around No 42 or 43 if he had won.
However, Tipsarevic, a losing finalist in Eastbourne and Delray Beach this year, managed to get the better of his eighth seed opponent with his powerful serve and ground strokes.
Nishikori had break-point opportunities throughout the match including the decisive eighth game of the second set but could not convert.
Tipsarevic, however, does not want to put himself under pressure by thinking about winning the title today.
"Winning titles is overrated. I will just focus on the final as if it is just another first round match. Marcos (Baghdatis) is a very good player and if he is in good form, he will be difficult.
"It will be a very different Tipsarevic out there this time and so we will have to see what happens. I will have to play as well as today (yesterday) or even better to have a chance of winning tomorrow (today)," said the part-time DJ.
Baghdatis has beaten Tipsarevic twice in three meetings but the Serbian won the last encounter in Los Angeles last year.

Tipsarevic shines despite eye problem

SERBIA'S Janko Tipsarevic has an eye problem but it has not stopped him from making headlines on the ATP Tour.
The World No 17 is short sighted and he wears custom-made glasses to correct his vision.
"I tried putting on contact lenses but it did not work as I felt uncomfortable. My friends told me to try surgery but laser treatment is not for me," said Tipsarevic, who is competing in the ongoing ATP Malaysian Open.
"My vision, without my prescription glasses, is bad under the sun but I also need to wear them for indoor conditions. As for now, I am happy with my glasses."
The 27-year-old, who took up tennis at the age of six, earned his biggest prize in tennis by helping Serbia win the Davis Cup last year.
Tipsarevic, however, has not won an ATP-level title despite coming close in several tournaments.
The Belgrade-born, who achieved his career high ATP ranking of 13 last month, is hoping to break into the top-10 by the end of the year.
"My confidence has gotten better after playing a role in Serbia's Davis Cup victory. If I fail to achieve my target this year, I will probably do it next year," he said.
Tipsarevic, a regular in Asian tournaments, is playing in his first tournament in Southeast Asia at the Malaysian Open.
"As players, we do not need much in tournaments but I like it here as the facilities are good. We have two practice courts here and this really helps us. I will probably return next year," he added.

US Open champs crash out

FRANTISEK Cermak is on course to being the first player to successfully retain the doubles title at the ATP Malaysian Open.
He and Slovakian partner Filip Polasek dispatched US Open champions Jurgen Melzer-Philipp Petzschner 7-6 (9-7), 6-4 in the semi-finals yesterday.
It was a nail-biting first set which saw Cermak-Polasek winning 9-7 in the tiebreak, thanks to a number of costly unforced errors from the top seeds.
The second set saw Cermak-Polasek, the third seeds, clinch a crucial break in the third game. The duo had a chance to wrap up the match with a brace of match points in the ninth game but could not convert. They later held serve to close out the match.
Cermak, who partnered Slovakian Michal Mertinak to the title last year, said the pair were lucky to have won the first set against the top seeds.
"It was a tough match and we were forced to play our best. We were lucky to have won the first set and it definitely changed the course of the match for us," said the 34-year-old.
"We are very happy to beat them and make the final as we have lost to them four to five times (with different partners) in the past so this is a good result for us."
The World No 20 will face second seeds Eric Butorac of the United States and Jean-Julien Rojer of the Netherlands Antilles who beat fourth seeded American pairing of Scott Lipsky and Rajeev Ram 6-3, 7-6 (7-5), 10-6.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Melzer-Petzschner face Czech test

AN exciting battle is on the cards as the top four seeds will contest today's doubles semi-finals of the ATP Malaysian Open at Putra Stadium.
Newly crowned US Open champions Jurgen Melzer-Philipp Petzschner, who are aiming for their fourth title of the season, face third seeds Czech Republic and Slovakia pairing of Frantisek Cermak and Filip Polasek. It will be the first meeting between both pairs.
Cermak will be gunning for revenge today as he and his former Slovakian partner Michal Mertinak were beaten by Melzer-Petzschner in Zagreb last year, which turned out be the turning point for their World No 5 opponents as they went on to win their first title together.
Cermak-Polasek, the World No 20, are determined to win their third title of the season after having been crowned champions in Belgrade and Gstaad this year.
The 34-year-old Cermak could also etch his name in the Malaysian Open history books if he retains the title as no player has done so in the tournament. He won the title with Mertinak last year.
However, Melzer, an Austrian, and the German-born Petzschner are the favourites to extend their winning streak since their triumph in New York in the semi-finals today.
Petzschner said he and Melzer were not thinking too hard about their match.
"I am taking a break today (yesterday) while Melzer needs to focus on singles. We will discuss and plan our strategies on Saturday (today)," said Petzschner.
"We are happy with our form as we are continuously improving. A good showing here will boost our confidence in upcoming tournaments in Asia."
Second seeds Eric Butorac of the United States and Jean-Julien Rojer of the Netherlands Antilles, the World No 9, meet American pairing of Scott Lipsky and Rajeev Ram, the fourth seeds, in the other semi-finals.
Butorac-Rojer, the World No 9, are hoping to secure their first qualification to the ATP World Tour Finals in London and a victory in the Malaysian Open will set them on the right course. Only the top eight highest ranked pairs will do battle in London.
Lipsky-Rajeev, the World No 16, who won in Delray Beach and San Jose, however, could make it tough for their opponents' as they are playing good tennis in KL.

Troicki finds his groove

SERBIA'S Viktor Troicki is hoping to build on a confidence boosting outing at the ATP Malaysian Open to propel him into the world's top-10 by year-end.
The 25-year-old, who breezed into the semi-finals with a straight-set win over Russia's Dmitry Tursunov yesterday, said his good outing in Kuala Lumpur has helped him regain some confidence that had been diminished by a four-match losing streak prior to the tournament.
"I lost confidence with myself after losing early at the US Open and also in Cincinnati before coming here.
"It has been a long time since I have reached the semi-finals of a tournament. So it is a great boost for me, especially as I was not in good form coming into this tournament," he said.
Troicki, who had reached a career high ranking of 12 in June, said he had a great start to the year after helping his country to victory in the Davis Cup and shining in the Kremlin Open.
"My confidence was at a really good level then and I thought I would have a great year as I was close to getting into the top 10."
Troicki, who had to choose between tennis and football in his formative years, said he had not regretted the decision to take the racquet sport seriously.
"It was my father who told me to stick to tennis and I have no regrets," said Troicki who earlier this year played in a charity football match together with fellow ATP stars Feliciano Lopez and David Ferrer against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers to raise funds for the Japan Earthquake victims.

Kei kills off top gun Almagro

JAPAN'S Kei Nishikori upset Spain's top seed Nicolas Almagro on a day which saw the Serbians ending Russia's stranglehold on the men's singles of the ATP Malaysian Open at Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
Nishikori played flawless tennis to come back from one set down to edge World No 11 Almagro 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 6-4 in 135 minutes to earn his fourth semi-final appearance this season.
The World No 54's heavy top spins drew many unforced errors from the impatient Almagro in the opening set but the Spaniard earned a crucial break in the tie-breaker to win.
Nishikori then got the decisive break in the ninth game to seal the second set before breaking the opening game of the third to seal victory.
"I played great tennis... kept on fighting to beat a former top-10 ranked player.
"My backhand was not working today (yesterday) but luckily I managed to beat him," said the 21-year-old in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
Nishikori, the eighth seed, faces Serbia's third seed Janko Tipsarevic, who was up 3-1 when Russia's former champion Nikolay Davydenko retired with a suspected hip injury.
"I've lost to Tipsarevic four times, twice in the semi-finals, this year... it is always hard against him as he has a good serve and back hand. I need to be careful as he likes to come to the net," said Nishikori.
Tipsarevic, the World No 17, was 15-30 down in the third game of the first set when Davydenko called for the trainer and took a medical time-out after the next point.
Davydenko, the World 36, returned briefly, allowing Tipsarevic to clinch the next two games before retiring.
"I'm happy to be in the semi-finals but this was not how I wanted to do it. Anyway, I am feeling confident and hitting the ball well," said the Serb.
Davydenko said: "I don't know what the injury is exactly yet. I'm a nit scared and I've never had anything like it before. I will go to Beijing, maybe wait a few days and see what the pain is like," said the 30-year-old.
Viktor Troicki, the World No 15 and second seed, reached his first ATP-level semi-finals since February as he dismissed Russia's seventh seed Dmitry Tursunov 6-4, 6-4.
Troicki failed to serve out the match at 5-2 in the second set against Tursunov, but did not falter in the 10th game as he claimed victory in 76 minutes.
"It was tough match. It was tough to hold serve as the courts are slow and every point has to be worked for. But this is normally my favourite surface (indoor hard court) and I think I played a good match and I'm happy to be in the semis of a tournament after a long time," said Troicki.
The Serbian will face Cypriot wild card Marcos Baghdatis, who upset fourth-seeded Austrian Jurgen Melzer 6-3, 7-6 (7-3), in today's semi-finals.
Baghdatis, a former World No 8, claimed the only break of the match to win the first set and, after saving a set point in the 10th game of the second set, controlled the tie-break to claim victory in 88 minutes.
The 26-year-old hopes to get his revenge against Troicki, who defeated him in the Kremlin Cup final last October.
"He (Troicki) is a patient player at the baseline and does not make too many mistakes. I must serve well and try to be more aggressive on his serve," said Baghdatis, the World No 60.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Jawairiah earns Sea Games ticket

JAWARIAH Noordin will make her return to international tennis at the Indonesia Sea Games after winning a trial conducted by the Lawn Tennis Association of Malaysia (LTAM) on Wednesday.
Jawairiah’s last international assignment was in last year’s Fed Cup Asia/Oceania Zone Qualifiers, where Malaysia finished fourth in Division Two.
The Malaysia Games champion together with Si Yew Ming will compete under ‘Category A’ in the men’s and women’s singles and mixed doubles in Indonesia.
LTAM executive secretary Ibrahim Abu Bakar said the association will not be sending its other players for the Sea Games due to cost factor.
At the Laos Sea Games, Jawairiah led Malaysia to a bronze medal in the women’s team.

Nishikori wins battle of pain

JAPAN'S Kei Nishikori won an epic battle in pain while top seed Nicolas Almargo and Viktor Troicki both hit form at Putra Stadium to reach the ATP Malaysian Open quarter-finals yesterday.
Nishikori recovered from a second set blemish to edge Germany's World No 66 Philipp Petzschner 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 in a match, which both players were struggling to hold serve, to make his fifth quarter-final appearance of the season.
The 21-year-old suffered muscle strain issues in his leg in the first set and had to call for the trainer for treatment before resuming play.
The World No 54 was struggling with the German's slice and drop shots throughout the match but managed to get the deciding break in the 11th game of the third set before winning the next game in deuce to clinch the match.
"I struggled with his slice shots but overcame it by playing aggressive in the third set. I worked really hard yesterday (Wednesday) by practising with my coach to counter Petzschner's game," said Nishikori yesterday.
"In the second set, I broke his serve first but lost my confidence and thus missed easy shots. This tough victory definitely gives me the self-belief for my following matches."
"I hope my muscle strain is not serious as I need to return to court tomorrow (today). It is important that I get enough rest."
Almargo, the World No 11 Spaniard, who received a first round bye, battled past training partner and compatriot Albert Ramos 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-4) to tee-up a first-ever meeting against Nishikori today.
"I will need to play hard and most importantly serve better against Nishikori. I know that he played three sets today (yesterday) and just maybe I will be fresher on court tomorrow (today)," said Almargo.
Troicki, the World No 15, saved all three break points he faced to knock out Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin 6-1, 6-4 in 79 minutes.
"The first set I played pretty good, controlling that part of the match. The second set was pretty equal. I was just a bit more focused at the end to make a break to win the match," he said.
Troicki will hope to extend his winning streak to four matches when he faces seventh-seeded Russian Dmitry Tursunov today.
"I know what to expect him but it would be easy as he is hitting the ball a lot better here," said Troicki.
Former champion Nikolay Davdenko overcame a tough second set to defeat Poland's Lukasz Kubot 6-3, 7-6 (7-2) in the pair's first meeting since 2006.
"At 5-2 down in the second set, I was already thinking about the third set. I was just fighting for the points and was able to come back and win it in two sets. Sometimes it happens that way," said Davydenko, who faces Serbia's Janko Tipsarevic for a place in the semi-finals today.
Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis is coincidently the first ever wild card player to reach the quarter-finals in the tournament's history, where he faces Austria's fourth seed Jurgen Melzer.

Men's singles 2nd rd: Viktor Troicki (Srb) bt Denis Istomin (Uzb) 6-1, 6-4; Nikolay Davydenko (Rus) bt Lukas Kubot (Pol) 6-3, 7-6 (7-2); Kei Nishikori (Jpn) bt Philipp Petzschner (Ger) 6-3, 4-6, 7-5; Nicolas Almagro (Spa) bt Albert Ramos (Spa) 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-4); Janko Tipsarevic (Ita) bt Flavio Cipolla (Ita) 6-2, 6-4.

Doubles Q-finals: Frantisek Cermak (Cze)-Filip Polasek (Svk) bt Martin Emmrich (Ger)-Andreas Siljestrom (Swe) 6-4, 3-6, 10-7; Scott Lipsky (US)-Rajeev Ram (US) bt Matthew Ebden (Aus)-Bernard Tomic (Aus) 6-2, 6-3; Eric Butorac (US)-Jean-Julien Rojer (Ned) bt Lukas Dlouhy (Cze)-Marcelo Melo (Bra) 6-4, 4-6, 10-3; Juergen Melzer (Aut)-Philipp Petzchner (Ger) bt Colin Fleming-Ross Hutchins (Bri) 6-3, 6-3.

Somdev's hard work pays off

SOMDEV Devvarman was a scrawny kid with a weak serve when he entered the University of Virginia to study sociology seven years ago.
The Chennai-born player, however, embraced the advice of his tennis coaches to improve in all aspects of his game.
His determination to put his heart and soul into his game paid off as he made headlines for being the only collegiate player to have entered three consecutive finals at the NCAA men's tennis championship. His 44-1 win-loss record in 2008 is unprecedented.
Somdev turned pro with an extra bounce in his step and just weeks after graduating three years ago, he won a pair of Futures and a Challenger, and in less than two months, his ranking soared more than 500 spots into the top 250.
The baseliner's meteoric rise in the sport is proof that one does not have to sacrifice studies for sport.
"It is a norm for players to turn pro and play full-time at a very young age but as for me, I went through the college system to earn a degree and also improve my tennis," said Somdev, who is competing in the ATP Malaysian Open.
"I was fortunate to not have to go through the initial tough phases because I was confident after doing well at the end of my college career and kind of carried that into the pros, did well the first two months, and put the really, really tough work behind me. After that, it was a lot easier."
The past year has been Somdev's best to date at pro level as he captured the singles gold medal at the New Delhi Commonwealth Games and the singles and doubles titles at the Guangzhou Asian Games.
Somdev, however, has not won a tour title but came close on several occasions. A year after he turned pro, he was beaten by Croatia's Marin Cilic in the Chennai Open final before bowing out to South Africa's Kevin Anderson at the same stage in Johannesburg two years later.
"I may have turned pro late in my career but my standard of play is about the same as those at my age.
"I'll continue working on my game, try to get better in every aspect and, hopefully, soon I can break 50.
"If I get to that, then you don't kind of stop, you go for the next one.
"It's always just trying to get better," said Somdev, who reached a career-high No 62 in July but has since dropped 27 rungs.
Somdev arrived in Kuala Lumpur after a two-week break nursing a shoulder injury but managed to clear his first round match despite not being 100 per cent.
He, however, was beaten by Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis 7-5, 6-4 in a thrilling second round match on Wednesday.

Davydenko goes for relaxed approach

FORMER ATP Malaysian Open champion Nikolai Davydenko has opted for a more relaxed approach to his game since struggling to return to form after injuring his wrist last year.
The Russian, who has been ranked as high as World No 3, said he has fully recovered from the injury.
"When I came back from my injury, I felt the need to go back straight into the top 10 and I pushed myself very hard to achieve that," said the World No 36.
"When it didn't happen, I got frustrated and kept asking myself why I could not be the same anymore. I now have decided to try and relax more and just enjoy myself,"
"It is tough to combine a life as a competitive tennis player and enjoy life at the same time but maybe when I am feeling more confident, I will push myself once again."
Davydenko disclosed that he is looking to change his game in the future to minimise the long energy-sapping rallies he has to play.
"I cannot sustain long rallies as age is catching up. I need to play smart tennis to last longer on the tour," added the 30-year-old who has won 21 tour titles.

Yew Ming wants to keep playing in the doubles

Malaysian No. 1 Si Yew Ming is hoping to continue playing doubles in the Malaysian Open tennis championships for many more years.
The 32-year-old Yew Ming, who partnered American teen sensation Ryan Harrison as a wildcard pair, came close to achieving an historic feat of reaching the second round on Wednesday.
The pair lost 4-6, 5-7 to Eric Butorac-Jean Julien Rojer.
“It was a great experience for me. Harrison had great energy and I felt good about the way I played,” said Yew Ming yesterday.
“Despite the loss, I’m happy with my performance and I would love to come back and play in the doubles event again next year.”
The soft spoken Ipoh-born Yew Ming had earlier given a spirited performance in the singles qualifying round before losing to Ukraine’s Stanislav Poplavskyy.
No Malaysian player has ever reached the second round of the Malaysian Open.
Still, it was a commendable performance by both Yew Ming and Harrison – especially the Malaysian, who has held the fort for local tennis for the past decade.

Thursday, 29 September 2011


Kuala Lumpur, 28 September: For the second year running, Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis has reached the quarterfinals of the Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur 2011 that is currently into its fifth day at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil. He overcame a strong challenge from world No.89 and India’s currently top ranked player, Somdev Devvarman to win 7-5, 6-4 in 105 minutes. Devvarman looked strong in the first set when he broke Baghdatis in the seventh game and took a 5-3 lead, but the Cypriot came back to break the Indian's serve in the tenth and twelfth game. Baghdatis always seemed to save his best for when his back was against the wall, saving a total of seven out of eight break points in the first set. In the second set, Baghdatis displayed good serve form, racking up four aces and taking a 3-1 lead, and while Devvarman hit a number of good winners, he also suffered from lapses in concentration that boosted his count of unforced errors for which he eventually paid the price. “I was a bit impatient in the beginning but changed my game to suit the slow court. It was disappointing to have my serve broken but I took it point for point and it turned out ok. It is always tough against Somdev,” said the 26-year-old Baghdatis, who also added he has been working hard on improving his fitness. Baghdatis, who will face Melzer in the quarterfinals, said he is looking forward to giving his best against the Austrian after having retired against him in the Australian Open. “I am disappointed I had to retire with an injured finger the last time we met. He is a great player and I will give it my all against it.” Austrian world No.21 Jurgen Melzer, meanwhile, took just over an hour to dispose off SouthAfrican qualifier Rik De Voest 6-0, 6-4 in the first second round match of the tournament played here on the Putra Stadium Centre Court today. The 30-year-old Melzer, who received a bye in the first round, was in fantastic form from the get go, serving his opponent a bagel first set with his consistent serve game, solid returns and strong baseline play. Thirty one-year-old De Voest put up a stronger challenge in the early stages of the second set, but failed to hit the form that saw him overcome American Ryan Sweeting yesterday, instead making a series of unforced errors and bad returns that helped fourth seed Melzer sweep into the quarterfinals. “I played pretty well today. I think the first set was one of the best I have played all year,” said the Austrian who hit his career high of No.8 in April this year. “Once you reach the top-ten, it’s different because you become the favourite to win every game. I just hope to keep on playing like this,” he added. In the biggest upset of the tournament so far, Italian Flavio Cipolla dashed young Australian Bernard Tomic’s hopes of progressing into the second round when he overcome the higher ranked 18-year-old tennis sensation 6-2, 6-2 in just 72 minutes. The scene was set early on for the 27-year-old’s Italian’s upset when he broke Tomic’s serve as early as the first game. Clearly not at the form that saw him reach the Wimbledon quarterfinals this year, Tomic struggled with his serve throughout the match, with the world No.96 Cipolla returning strongly and Tomic finding it hard to adapt to the Italian's aggressive play. Tomic continued to adopt a defensive approach in the second set but was prone to errors while Cipolla was strong coming into the net to finish off points against the lethargic 18-year-old world No.59. ”It was a great match for me. He is good player but he wasn’t playing at his best and his serve wasn’t his usual. I was solid and smart and didn't make any mistakes. We had a lot of long rallies which I won, so it was a good game for me,” said Cipolla, who is playing the best tennis of his career and recently beat Andy Roddick in the ATP World Tour Masters in Madrid in May.Cipolla will have to again be at his best if he hopes for a result in his second round match against the tournament’s third seed, Serbian Janko Tipsarevic. The other seeded player in action today was seventh seed and World No.41 Dmitry Tursonov who hit eight aces en route to defeating 20-year-old wild card David Goffin 6-3, 6-3 in 83 minutes. Meanwhile, in the final game of the singles first round, Uzbek Denis Istomin ended Australian Marinko Matosevic’s challenge in the tournament when he defeated the 26-year qualifier 6-3, 6-2 in 73 minutes.
Top seeds take to Centre Court tomorrow Top three seeds Nicolas Almagro, Viktor Troicki and Janko Tipsarevic will all be in action in their second round matches tomorrow, while fifth seed Davydenko and eighth seed Nishikori are also featuring in their second round matches. The first match slated to being at 1pm on Centre Court will see second seeded Serbian Troicki, who has yet to play a match, take on Uzbek Denis Istomin. Next up, fifth seed Nicolay Davydenko will face Polish world No.57 Lukasz Kubot, with the duo only having played in each other once in the 2009 US Open, with Davydenko emerging victorious. Japan’s Kei Nishikori, who overcome a rough start before defeating his qualifier opponent in the first round, will have to show more consistency if he is to defeat one half of US Open doubles champions, Philipp Petzschner, in his second round match. Now No.54 in the world, the 21-year-old Nishikori is ranked only a few spots higher than his 27-year-old opponent, who is currently at No.66, but has held a ranking as high as No.35. Top seed and World No.9 Nicolas Almagro of Spain will face a fellow Spaniard Albert Ramos in his first match of the tournament. Ramos, who made it through to the second round after Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin retired in the 3rd set of their first round match, is ranked No.80 in the world and has never played Almagro before. Almagro will be motivated to do well in the Malaysian Open, as he stands a good chance to make to the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in November, should he take all 250 points home.In the final match to be played on Centre Court tomorrow, Serbian Janko Tipsarevic will take on Flavio Cipolla of Italy. Tipsarevic is tipped to win the game based on his superior ranking, but the duo have never met before and Cipolla is playing the best tennis of his career.
Local boys put up a valiant fight but fall to top ranked opponents in doubles Local tennis stars Ahmad Deedat Abdul Razak and Ariez Elyaas Deen Heshaam put on a good display on front of home fans but eventually succumbed to the experience of their third seeded opponents Frantisek Cermak and Filip Polasek 6-2, 6-2 in just under an hour. The boys started off brightly with some aggressive net play and held serve until the sixth game, when the Czech-Slovakian duo finally broke them to take a 4-2 lead and seal the first set. Both Deedat and Ariez struggled with their serve rhythm and gifted their opponents a number of double fault points during the match, but it was clear to all watching that the boys were giving it their all and managed to pull off some impressive winners. At 5-0 down in the second, the teenagers finally won their first game of the set and even managed to break their opponents serve next, much to the delight of the crowd. "I think we played alright, not too bad but our opponents were just at a much higher level. We just went all out and tried to have fun. Being in this atmosphere makes you want to work harder to rise to the level needed to make this your career,” said 17-year-old Ariez Elyaas. “This is the life I want - playing in tournaments like these,” added the 16-year-old Ahmad Deedat. Although they secured the win, it is still too early to tell if 34-year-old Cermak can go all the way and defend his Malaysian Open doubles title, albeit with a new partner. On 26-year-old Polasek, the Czech said: "He is a very good player and (our partnership) is going very well so far." In today’s final game on Centre Court, but certainly not the least interesting, number one Si Yew-Ming and 19-year-old American Ryan Harrison partnered up as a wild card entry and took on the second seeds in the tournament, American Eric Butorac and Jean-Julien Rojer of the Netherlands Antilles, in their first round doubles match. The Malaysian-American scratch pairing put on a passionate and exciting show but eventually went down 6-4, 7-5 in 65 minutes. There was hope of a historic upset early in the match when Yew-Ming and Harrison held serve strongly and made some impressive winners against their opponents seeded 18th and 19th in the world, but the scratch pairing could not sustain their challenge, conceding a break in the ninth game and the set. Down 5-4 in the second, the wild card duo broke their opponents for the first time in the match, much to the crowd’s appreciation. They may have lost, but this was probably the closest a Malaysian has ever come to a victory on the ATP World Tour. “It was a great experience for me. Harrison has good energy and I feel good about the way I played. I’m happy to be back in the doubles and I would love to play in the doubles again next year,” said the 32-year-old Yew-Ming. In today’s other doubles first round matches, German Martin Emmrich and partner Andreas Siljestrom of Sweden defeated the Canadian-Slovakian duo of Adil Shamasdin and Igor Zelenay 7-5, 3-6, 10-7 in a super-tie breaker match lasting 92 minutes. Singles fifth seed Nicolay Davydenko and fellow Russian partner Teymuraz Gabashvili also saw their hopes of progression in the doubles dashed by the Czech-Brazilian pairing of Lukas Dlouhy and Marcelo Melo when they were defeated 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) in 80 minutes. All the doubles quarterfinals will be played tomorrow on Court 1 from 1.00pm onwards.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Davydenko starts singles campaign strongly against Harrison

Fifth seeded Russian Nicolay Davydenko eased his way into the second round after defeating American teenage sensation Ryan Harrison 6-3, 6-2 in tonight’s big match on Centre Court.
The 19-year-old Harrison, who has been touted as the next big name in American tennis, got off to a slow start, allowing Davydenko to break his serve early in the first set before getting back into the match as the 30-year-old Russian began to tire.
Harrison started with greater purpose in the second set and broke Davydenko in the third game. But his more experienced opponent immediately returned the favour and went on to wrap the game up in 88 minutes.
”We had a lot of long rallies at the start and I was running a lot. I got a little bit tired towards the end of the first set. He’s a young player and he plays well with good baseline play and volleys. But I just kept fighting and I’m happy I managed the same level in the second set,” said the Russian world No.36.
Asked what his target for the tournament was, Davydenko replied that “right now, I just want to get past the second round.”
Harrison conceded that his opponent deserved the victory today.
“He was very good from the start and was rushing me around the court a lot. He is a world class tennis player and he is definitely playing at a higher level than me right now. I need to press a little more and push up my level,” said the American teenager. - Karan (Malaysian Open)

US Open doubles champs cruise into quarterfinals

In their first doubles game since their August win in New York, the German-Austrian duo of Philipp Petzschner and Jurgen Melzer brushed aside the challenge of Russian Mikhail Elgin and Kazakh Mikhail Kukushkin, winning 7-6(7-5), 6-2 in 73 minutes to move into the quarterfinals of the Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur 2011.
Although the top seeded doubles pair squandered a number of opportunities to break their opponents in the first set and were forced into a tie-break, they got quickly off the mark in the second to wrap the tie up.
“We played good tennis and even though it looked close in the first set, we actually had opportunities to break them in five out of their six service games. The second set was a bit more of a cruise,” said 27-year-old Petzschner after the match, adding that the US Open win was a great confidence booster.
However, both men will still place greater focus on the singles tournament, with 30-year-old Melzer seeded fourth in the draw. “Singles is still our priority – doubles is more for fun,” he said. - Karan (Malaysian Open)

Devvarman, Petzschner, Ramos and Kubot through to second round

Indian tennis star Somdev Devvarman booked his spot in the second round of the ATP Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur 2011 after he defeated Russian qualifier Mikhail Ledovskikh 7-6(7-5), 6-4 in the day’s second match on Centre Court here at Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
The 25-year-old world No.305 qualifier threatened to pull off another upset when he stretched the No.89 Indian into a tie-break in the first set, but Devvarman overcame the Russian’s challenge to seal the victory in straight sets.
The 26-year-old Indian, who won the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games gold for India last year, has recently recovered from a shoulder injury that has ruled him off the court for the last two weeks.
“He (Ledovskikh) has been playing some good tennis this tournament so I wasn’t expecting an easy game. I’m still not 100% yet (due to my shoulder injury) so I’m happy with the win and it was great to be out there and pain-free today. The ATP trainers have been fantastic in helping me out,” said Devvarman after the game.
On his next match, he added, “Baghdatis is a very good player who has been playing well recently – I will have to be aggressive against him and not let him control the game,”
In the day’s first game on Centre Court, German Phillip Petzschner
defeated countryman Mischa Zverev 7-5, 6-3 in 72 minutes to also book his second round spot in the singles draw.
The US Open Doubles winner Petzschner is currently on Centre Court again with Austrian partner Jurgen Melzer as they kick off their Malaysian Open doubles campaign as the top seeds.
On Court 1, Spaniard Albert Ramos moved into the second round of the tournament after his higher ranked opponent, Mikhail Kukushni of Kazakhstan, retired in the third set after 2 hours and 10 minutes. The 23-year-old Ramos had lost the first game 4-6, but had clawed his way back into the match, winning the second 6-3 and leading the third 4-2 when Kukushkin retired due to injury. Ramos will meet top seed and fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro in the second round.
Meanwhile, Polish star Lukasz Kubot beat Czech Lukas Rosol 6-3, 6-3 in the day’s second game on Court 1 to also stake his place in the next round against the winner of tonight’s match between Russian Nikolay Davydenko and American sensation Ryan Harrison. - Karan (Malaysian Open)


Almagro is all fired up

Nicolas Almagro may be known as the Tempe­ra­mental Talent on court, but off it he certainly didn’t show any signs of it at all.
Almagro also explained that his fiery temper on court is part of his playing style which has helped him improved over the years.
“It’s part of my mentality. When I step on court I just want to win although recently I’ve learned to focus solely on the game.”
Almagro is the top seed following Czech Tomas Berdych’s withdrawal and he is certainly well poised to win in his first appearance here.
Almagro has won three tournaments this season although uncharacteristic performances saw him crash out in the first round of the French and US Opens.
And the hard-serving Almagro has taken a more precautionary approach towards the Malaysian Open.
“I’ve played some good tennis this year especially early on but I could have done much better. At times I made just too many mistakes like during the French Open.
“The competition here is very strong. Every player has a chance to win and I’m just hoping to play my best tennis and win the tournament,” said Almagro who named Serbia’s Viktor Troicki as his strongest opponent.
Troicki is the second seed while another Serb, Janko Tipsarevic, is the third seed.
Almagro receives a bye in the first round and will take on the winner of the match between Kazakh­stan’s Mikhail Kukushkin and Spaniard Albert Ramos in the second round.
The Spaniard, the world number 11, arrived yesterday for the Malay­sian Open tennis championship and he was certainly in good spirits as he joked with reporters during a press conference at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
“I just landed and I haven’t tried the courts yet. The only thing I’ve tried was the bed but it was only for 20 minutes and it is definitely not enough,” joked the 26-year-old Murcia native - Kng Zheng Guan - Star

Baghdatis sails through

CYPRIOT Marcos Baghdatis won his 200th career match on the ATP Tour in style by upsetting World No 40 and sixth seed Alex Bogomolov Jr 7-6 (7-3), 6-4 in the first round of the Malaysian Open at Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
The World No 60, who struggled in the recent US Open, needed to produce his best tennis to overcome his on-form opponent.
Baghdatis, the 2006 Australian Open finalist, and the bad-tempered Bogomolov started cautiously as both held serve to force a tie-break before the former broke serve three times to win the first set 7-3 in 54 minutes.
It was the same story in the second set as both players preferred to stay on the baseline. Baghdatis then raised his tempo in the ninth game and held two match points at 40-15 but Bogomolov, who was on serve, saved both for deuce.
The 26-year-old, who has won two ATP titles, however got the better of Bogomolov to earn his place in the second round, where he will face either India's Asian Games champion Somdev Devvarman or Russian qualifier Mikhail Ledovskikh.
Bogomolov was warned by the chair umpire for throwing his racquet on the court several times during the match.
"You don't really think about it (200th win on the ATP Tour). It is the first round and you just try your hardest to win," said Baghdatis.
"Alex (Bogomolov) played really well and so I had to up my game. It was an even match between us but I had the little bit of edge just enough to win."
In the battle of two wild cards, Belgium's World No 223 David Goffin earned his second career match victory by ousting Australia's World No 137 Matthew Ebden 6-4, 7-6 (4).
Goffin, 20, broke Ebden's serve in the seventh game to win the first set but stomach problems saw him struggle in the second, where he had to come back from 5-2 down to clinch victory in only his second ATP-level tournament this year.
"I have been having stomach problems for the last two days. I called for medical help during the match. I hope I will recover in time for my second round match," said the Belgian.
He will face either Russia's Dmitry Tursunov or Chile's Paul Capdeville, who were involved in a late match, in the second round.

RESULTS: Men's singles -- 1st rd: David Goffin (Bel) bt Matthew Ebden (Aus) 6-4, 7-6 (7-4); Marcos Baghdatis (Cyp) bt Alex Bogomolov (Usa) 7-6 (7-3), 6-4.

Qualifying (3rd rd): Mikhail Ledovskikh (Rus) bt Tatsuma Ito (Jpn) 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 7-6 (8-6); Rik De Voest (Rsa) bt Michael Yani (Usa) 7-6 (7-3), 6-4; Marinko Matosevic (Aus) bt Rajeev Ram (Usa) 6-3, 6-4; Teymuraz Gabashvili (Rus) bt Zhang Ze (Chn) 6-2, 6-4.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Tatsuma lets his performance on court do the talking

Asian Games bronze medalist Tatsuma Ito may not be as well known as his good friend and fellow Japanese Kei Nishikori in the tennis circle but he is certainly one to let his performance on court do the talking.
The 23-year-old Inabe native showed that he can be just as good as Nishikori when he played some brilliant tennis to dispatch off Monaco journeyman Jean-Rene Lisnard 7-6, 6-2 in the second qualifying round of the Malaysian Open ATP 250 championship at Putra Stadium, Bukit Jalil yesterday.
“Me and Kei, we’re good friends and we have a lot to talk about,” said Tatsuma.
“Even though he’s younger than me, he certainly plays good tennis and I get to train and spar with him whenever he’s back in Japan and that helps me improve as well.
“I’ve certainly improved quite a bit since the Asian Games last year and I even got to compete in the main draw of the US Open last month which was quite an experience.”
Tatsuma lost in the first round to Spain’s Feliciano Lopez then.
“Although my rankings is still just at 130 in the world, I believe there’s still room for me to improve and maybe catch up with Kei,” said Tatsuma who was ranked as high as No.102 early last month.
Yesterday Tatsuma broke Lisnard’s serve early in the first set to race to a 4-1 lead before Lisnard fought back to force deuce at 5-5.
Still the young Japanese proved superior especially on service returns and eventually took the first set after a closely fought tiebreaker and it was one-way traffic in the second set.
Tatsuma will next take on Russia’s Mikhail Ledovskikh in the qualifying final today for a place in the main draw.
Meanwhile, in yesterday’s other matches, top qualifying seed Teymuraz Gabashvili of Russia made light work of Bulgarian Alexander Lazov – winning 6-1, 6-1 and will take on China’s Zhang Ze next.
The young Chinese had earlier defeated the higher ranked Yuichi Sugita of Japan 6-3, 6-4.
Two Americans – Michael Yani and Rajeev Ram also made it through with hard-fought victories and will take on South Africa’s Rik De Voest and Aussie Marinko Matosevic respectively. - Kng Zheng Guan

Budding star Ariez gets surprise wildcard for doubles event

Malaysia’s budding tennis star Ariez Elyaas received a major boost in his career when he was handed a surprise wildcard to play in the main draw of the doubles event in the Malaysian Open ATP 250 which begins today.
The 18-year-old Ariez along with fellow Malaysian youngster Ahmed Deedat Abdul Razak had earlier played in the first qualifying round of the singles event on Saturday.
Although he lost to China’s Zhang Ze 4-6, 0-6, Ariez managed to show why he’s touted as the future of Malaysian tennis with some brilliant play and strong serves.
Ahmed was beaten by Taiwan’s Jimmy Wang 1-6, 2-6.
Despite that loss, Ariez will now have a second chance to prove his worth after being handed the wildcard together with Ahmed as a pair and they will have a chance to rub shoulders with the big guns.
“It was really a shock when I received the news because I was not expecting it at all,” said Ariez.
“The call came late Saturday night out of the blue and I’m still really happy and surprised by that decision.”
However, Ariez is aware that they will have their hands full in the first round itself but has promised to give a good showing of himself.
In fact, Ariez-Ahmed could not have asked for a tougher first round assignment as they are drawn against third seeds and defending champions Frantisek Cermak-Filip Polasek of Czech Republic and Slovakia.
“It is definitely a very tough draw because our opponents are the winners from last year and are very good.” -Star

Baghdatis targets milestone victory

BIG hitting Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis is eyeing more than his 200th career win at the Malaysian Open.
Baghdatis, a finallist at the 2006 Australian Open, wants to bag his second title in Asia, after Beijing in 2006, in his third appearance in Kuala Lumpur.
The World No 60, however, wants to take it one match at a time and his first aim is to record his 200th career win over Alex Bogomolov of the US in the first round.
"I do feel some pressure to win the match (against Bogomolov) but that is normal as I always want to win every match I play," said the 26-year-old from Limassol.
"I have not played him in a while but I've seen him play a few times recently and he is a solid player with good shots. So I need to be prepared and playing well to beat him."
Baghdatis, who has been plagued by numerous injuries throughout his career, said he is fit and wants to win a title this year.
"The draw does look a little better, but having said that there are always a lot of other good players who are also hungry to win so it will not be so easy," added Baghdatis, whose best achievement in KL was reaching the quarter-finals last year.

Melzer-Petzschner still on a high

US Open doubles champion Jurgen Melzer and Philipp Petzschner are eager to keep their momentum going ahead of the year-ender ATP World Tour Finals in London at the ongoing Malaysian Open.
"We are in good form especially after just coming off a big win at the US Open. We definitely want to win here," said Melzer at Central Market in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
"We are the top seeds, so we will look to live up to that, but having said that we are also the pair to beat in this competition. We need to be careful as there are many good players here."
The World No 5 Austrian-German combination have won five titles including last year's Wimbledon since coming onto the scene as a pair early last year. At the Malaysian Open, they will open their campaign against Russia's Mikhail Elgin and Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin.
Petzschner, however, fears that the heat could affect their rhythm and performance in Kuala Lumpur.
"Now the tour is moving into the Asian swing and we may need a few days to adapt to the temperatures and conditions here," said Petzschner, the German half of the partnership.
Despite their success in the doubles, Melzer and Petzschner stressed that the singles were their priority.
"We are good because doubles is not our main priority. We mainly focus on singles... so that allows us to be more relaxed when we play doubles."
"It is quite difficult to balance singles and doubles but we find a way. We are also very good friends and have good understanding with each other. If one of us goes far in the singles (like reaching the semis or final) we try to find a way out of the doubles to focus on singles," said Melzer.
The United States' Eric Butorac and Netherlands Antilles' Jean Julien Roger, the second seeds, together with the Czech Republic and Slovakia combination of Frantisek Cermak and Filip Polasek, the third seeds, are among the favourites in the doubles which starts today.
Butorac-Roger face Malaysia's Si Yew Ming and Ryan Harrison of the US while Cermak-Polasek face local pair Ahmad Deedat Abdul Razak-Ariez Elyaas Deen Heshaam, who received the tournament's third wild card.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Malaysian Open main draw starts tomorrow

Kuala Lumpur, 25 September: The second round of qualifying games of the Malaysian
Open, Kuala Lumpur 2011 concluded here today at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil, as more
of the best tennis players from around the world fought to stake their place in the singles
main draw. Today’s winners will face off tomorrow to determine the four qualifying spots
made available in the main draw.
In one of the day's longest and hardest fought matches, world No. 194 ranked American
Michael Yani came from a set down to beat Chinese Taipei's Jimmy Wang 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in 2
hours and 16 minutes.
The 30-year-old Singapore-born Yani’s final qualifying hurdle will be South African Rik De
Voest, who emerged victorious in another marathon battle against a determined Ti Chen of
Chinese Taipei. The 31-year-old De Voest eventually saw the game out 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 in 2
Meanwhile, Tatsuma Ito of Japan overcame a strong first set challenge before disposing
Jean-Rene Lisnard of the Principality of Monaco 7-6(7-5), 6-2 in straight sets.
Tomorrow, the 23-year-old Ito will take on 25-year-old Russian Mikhail Ledovskikh, who
today defeated Italian Riccordo Ghedin 6-4, 6-4 in 75 minutes.
Australian Marinko Matosevic also booked his place in tomorrow’s final qualifying round
after grinding out a 6-2, 7-6(9-7) straight sets victory against Ukrainian Stanislav Poplavskyy.
Matosevic has his sights set now on defeating American Rajeev Ram to make the main draw,
after the 26-year-old Ram overcame a defiant Russian Mikhail Elgin 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 in a match
lasting close to two hours.

Yew Ming and Co fail to get past first qualifying round

Local interest in the singles event of the Malaysian Open tennis championships ended after national No. 1 Si Yew Ming and Co failed to lift their game in the first qualifying round at Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Saturday.
The 32-year-old Yew Ming was given a wildcard to compete in the qualifying rounds but fell to Ukraine’s Stanislav Poplavskyy – 12 years his junior – 4-6, 2-6.
The second set was delayed for about 30 minutes due to lighting problems at the centre court with Poplavskyy leading 3-1.
When play resumed, Poplavskyy continued from where he left off.
Ipoh lad Yew Ming was quite pleased with his performance des­pite crashing out at the first hurdle once again.
“He (Poplavskyy) made quite a few good returns on my service ... perhaps I could’ve done better,” said the soft-spoken Yew Ming.
“I will need to brush up on my shots, especially at the net, but overall I thought I played quite well. It was quite satisfying in the end.”
While the elder statesman of the national team failed to get past the first round, the juniors fared no better.
Eighteen-year-old Ariez Elyaas showed flashes of brilliance in his match against China’s Zhang Ze but crumbled in the second set to lose 4-6, 0-6 while 16-year-old Ahmed Deedat Abdul Razak was totally outclassed by Taiwan’s Jimmy Wang 1-6, 2-6.
Another Malaysian youngster Wan Abdul Muiz was given a 1-6, 0-6 thrashing by Bulgaria’s Alexander Lazov.
Despite the early whitewash in the singles event, Malaysia will still have something to cheer for as Yew Ming will compete in the main draw of the doubles event , partnering rising American youngster Ryan Harrison.


First round: Alexander Lazov (Bul) bt Wan Abdul Muiz (Mas) 6-1, 6-0; Zhang Ze (Chn) bt Ariez Elyaas (Mas) 6-4, 6-0; Jean-Rene Lisnard (Mon) bt Koki Matsunaga (Jpn) 6-3, 7-5; Mikhail Ledovskikh (Rus) bt Gong Mao-Xin (Chn) 6-4, 7-5; Chen Ti (Tpe) bt Scott Lipsky (US) 7-6, 6-3; Jimmy Wang (Tpe) bt Ahmed Deedat Abdul Razak (Mas) 6-1, 6-2; Stanislav Poplavskyy (Ukr) bt Si Yew Ming (Mas) 6-4, 6-2; Mikhail Elgin (Rus) bt Jean-Julien Rojer (Aho) 6-4, 6-7, 7-6. - (Kng Zheng Guan-Star)