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 .

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

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 or visit

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.