Davis Cup: No holds barred

Isner IW 12 TR MALT7519

Isner has a tall task ahead vs. Novak

FROM THE US VS. SERBIA DAVIS CUP TIE IN BOISE, IDAHO – It is very difficult to make a proper prediction as to who will win the US versus Serbia Davis Cup tie, because no singles player comes in on a hot streak and while the Bryan Brothers are clearly the worlds best double steam, Serbia is not without talent in that area, either.

Serbia has been called a slight favorite, but that assumes that Novak Djokovic will Play at his

Miami: First quarter has taken physical toll

Cirstea BOW 12 MALT0214

Sori soared over a hobbled Kerber.

Miami has had no discernable theme whatsoever other than that once again too many players are aching or hurt post the Aussie hard courts swing; the February Euro indoor/Middle East outdoor, Latin American clay or US indoor/outdoor outswing; and of course Indian Wells.

Miami will officially close the first quarter of the season, which is perhaps the physically most difficult portion of the year as player must roar out of the gates within two weeks and then head into Melbourne, and must conclude with two back-to-back Masters Series at Indian Wells in Miami.

The only other quarter that touches the first one in regards to physical effort is the third one, which begins on grass and ends at the US Open and also includes two Masters Series (Canada and Cincy).

The second quarter is a big test for clay courters because it ends at Roland Garros and contains two Masters Series (Rome and Madrid) and a mini Masters Series (Monte Carlo) but the surface remains the same and with grass it is the easiest one on the body.

The fall swing is less mentally taxing because it doesn’t not contain a Slam and is less physically taxing because most of the top players pick and choose where they are playing more carefully.

Indian Wells finalists Rafael Nadal (skipped Miami to rest his knee), Juan Martin Del Potro (his left wrist aches and he was upset by Tobias Kamke) and Caroline Wozniacki (took a troubling 6-2 6-4 loss to the rising Spaniard Garbine Muguruza) are all out of Miami.

The resilient Maria Sharapova, who won Indian Wells, was still around as as she overcame Elena Vesnina in two very tough sets, but Angie Kerber, who reached the semis at IW, apparently is still having back trouble and was smoked by Sorana Cirstea 6-4, 6-0. Thne Maria Kirilenko, who played so well in reaching the IW semis, went down to Klara Zakopalova 6-2 7-6(4). Petra Kvitova, who looked great in Dubai and sort of OK in the California desert, melted once again in the heat and lost to the surging Kirsten Flipkens 6-0 4-6 6-1.

Having to win physical matches in the heat also ended up affecting the little but lethal Lauren Davis, who wore down her friend Madison Keys in a marathon and then lost to Alize Cornet in three, leaving the United States with only two out of its strong phalanx of female players left: Sloane Stephens, who advanced when Venus Williams withdrew with a back injury, and Serena Williams who punched past Ayumi Morita. Serena will face the hard hitting but up- and-down Dominika Cibulkova, while Stephens, who has not been playing well since the Aussie Open, will face a stern test in the form of Agnieszka Radwanska, who overcame Magdalena Rybarikova 7-6(5) 2-6 6-3. The Pole and defending champ hasn’t been playing great either, so this is good chance for Stephens to get back on track if she plays with enough patience and savvy, sort of like Maria Kirilenko did in besting Radwanska at Indian Wells.

Aussie Open finalist Li Na has returned and is certainly a big threat on outdoor hard courts. She downed Varvara Lepchenko 6-2 6-4 and will face the 19-year-old Muguruza, who is tall and hits a pretty big ball. Flipkens will play another talented teen, Croat Ajla Tomljanovic who upended Andrea Petkovic 0-6 6-4 7-6(1). It is not going to be easy for Petko to climb back to the top 20. With each passing comeback, on court life gets little tougher.

The ATP has three blockbusters ahead with Andy Murray and Grigor Dimitrov reliving their final in Brisbane, which was won by the Scott. Murray smoked an ill Bernard Tomic, who must now go ply his trade on clay, which will be a huge test of his so-called improved fitness. Dimitrov has played a bit better since February but he is still missing a marquee win. The 21 year old has a lot of weapons, but his point-to-point consistency is not one of them. His girlfriend, Maria Sharapova, might be able to help with that.

John Isner picked up a big mental win in besting Ivan Dodig in a third set breaker and now would take an even bigger step if he could overcome a more talented Croat, Marin Cilic. So much of that outcome of that match will be determined by the return of serve, which Cilic is a little better at. But playing at home in the southern heat, which Isner likes, should give the American the advantage.

Sam Querrey and Milos Raonic will also face off and both guys would love to grab a win here as they are in a fairly open quarter where the winner would likely play Tomas Berdych, a very good player who is better than both of them at this point, but not a guy whom they have no chance of beating. Querrey won his last meeting against Raonic at Wimbledon. Service bombs away.

Belgian David Goffin appears to be getting out of the mental funk that he fell into after choking a Davis Cup match to Victor Troicki. The highflying Goffin upended Philip Kohlschreiber 7-6(5) 4-6 6-2?and now will have to try and grind one out against Nicolas Almagro under the intense Miami sunshine. Good luck with that.


Tennisreporter.net Insider, March 13: The young and lack of progress

Raonic SJ 13 TR

Milos and the younger set need to start beating the Big 4 sooner than later



The ankle injury that Victoria Azarenka has been nursing isn

Dream semis ahead in Dubai?


DelPo could be headed to a showdown against Djokovic

DelPo could be headed to a showdown against Djokovic

Dubai looks it like it will have two dream semis with Novak Djokovic going up against Juan Martin Del Potro and Roger Federer confronting Tomas Berdych. But first things first as Del Potro will open quarterfinal play Daniel Brands, then Berdych takes on a suddenly revived Dmitry Tursunov. Djokovic might face a stiff test from Andreas Seppi and then Federer will play Nikolay Davydenko

Bryan Bros.:

Bryan bob SJ 13 TR

Bob: ‘Emotions were running high’ MAL TAAM PHOTO



Bright spots, questions marks for US tennis in 2013

Isner was great in Davis Cup but struggled in the majors.

TR Year-End Top 50: The Men, Nos. 21-30

The 34 year old Haas was effective on all surfaces.

Thus continues our review of the top 50 singles players on the ATP and WTA Tours. We resume with the men ranked Nos. 21 -30.

21. Tommy Haas

Imagine if the German played as intelligently as he does now back when he was ranked No. 2 a decade ago? A Slam surely would have been his. Haas must be given huge props for being in the oldest man in the top 25. He actually quailed for Roland Garros on his least favorite surface, stunned Federer in the Halle final on grass, and reached the quarters of Canada and Shanghai on hard courts. It

Fast rising Querrey a threat

Splendid on the grass

Murray will face Roddick who once knocked him out at Wimbledon

The tours have been back on grass for five days now and it took that long for Rafael Nadal to almost redline in Queens when he went down to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-7 6-4 6-1 in the quarters. Give credit to Nadal for honoring his commitment by contesting Queens after an exhaustive title run to the RG final but really, was it a wise idea to play.

“Probably after losing the second set mentally I lost my concentration,” he said. “The negative thing is I lost; the positive thing is I have few days off and can stop a little bit mentally. I can be a little bit more relaxed, because every day I play with pressure. “That’s what happened for me the last four months every day.”

Tsonga will face British wildcard James Ward who took down defending champion Sam Querrey 3-6 6-3 6-4 and then France

Answers for Young no longer blowing in wind

FROM THE SAP OPEN IN SAN JOSE, FEB 8- Donald Young is back in a ranking place he doesn