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Roger Federer and Serena Williams battles tomorrow

Roger Federer and Serena Williams, two of the greatest players in history, will face off across the net for the first time on Tuesday in the Hopman Cup in Perth, Australia.

The battle of the sexes will happen as the United States go up against defending champions Switzerland in the mixed doubles of the unique two-player, mixed teams event.

This year’s tournament is expected to be Perth’s final Hopman Cup and Tuesday’s group tie is an early sellout on the back of the prospect of seeing two of the all-time greats, with 43 Grand Slam singles titles between them, on the same court.

“It is very exciting for both of us and I hope a lot of tennis fans tune in and watch it,” said Federer after opening his Hopman Cup campaign with an easy singles win on Sunday.

“I admire everything she’s done on and off the court, we are both fierce competitors and we always want to win,” added the 20-time Grand Slam champion of the once-in-a-lifetime match.

“It is going to be one time, probably never again. She is one of the biggest champions in our sport ever, men and women combined, so it is great to be playing against her.”

The original “Battle of the Sexes” saw Billie Jean King beat Bobby Riggs in an exhibition singles match in 1973.

Federer said he had plenty of experience playing against women, going back to his days as a teenage tour hopeful in Switzerland.

Despite their long concurrent careers and having attended a few Wimbledon champion dinners together, Federer said the pair barely knew each other.

“I don’t know her that well,” he said.

“In the corridors and cafes, walking by each other, sometimes in the past she has asked me how are the kiddies and how is everyone doing, but if I said I know her it would be a bit of an exaggeration.”

Williams has said in a television interview that she was looking forward to getting a picture with Federer for her Instagram page.

“It is the age of social media,” said Federer, with a grin.

Djokovic the new champion in Shanghai

By News Desk,

Novak Djokovic is the new champion of Shanghai Masters, beating 21 year-old Croatian Borna Coric in two straight sets 6-3 6-4.

By the victory, he has won a record fourth Rolex Shanghai Masters title and his 32nd Masters title overall.

The victory has also galloped him close to finish 2018 as the year-end No. 1 in the ATP Rankings.

He is now just 35 points behind 33-time Masters 1000 titles leader Rafael Nadal (7,480) in the year-to-date ATP Race To London with three weeks left in the regular ATP World Tour season, ATPWorldTour.com reported.

Djokovic, who has already booked his place alongside Nadal, Juan Martin, Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev at the prestigious Nitto ATP Finals, to be held at The O2 in the English capital from 11-18 November, finished as the year-end No. 1 in 2011-12, 2014-15.

Djokovic did not drop his serve in Shanghai all week — 47 service games — and after another confident display in Sunday’s final he improved to a 27-1 match record since capturing the Wimbledon title on 15 July.

On Monday, he will return to the world’s Top 2 — replacing Federer at No. 2 — for the first time since 11 June 2017.

Djokovic had previously captured the Shanghai title in 2012 (d. Murray), 2013 (d. Del Potro), and 2015 (d. Tsonga).

He is now 20-6 at Masters 1000 tournaments this year — second only to Zverev (22-7) for most match wins — and also won Western & Southern Open silverware in August with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Federer to become the first player to capture all nine Masters 1000 titles since the tournament series was established in 1990.

Djokovic leaves China with 1,000 ATP Rankings points and $1,360,560 in prize money after he lifted his 72nd tour-level crown. He has a 45-10 record this season (23-4 on hard courts), which includes three other trophies at Wimbledon (d. Anderson), Cincinnati and the US Open (d. Federer).

Coric earned 600 points and $667,115 after contesting his fifth ATP World Tour final (2-3 record).

Second seed Djokovic was relentless in defence and quick to capitalise on the short ball, in a physical opening to the final that saw six shots as the average rally length through the first six games. The Serbian took a 4-2 lead after 25 minutes when Coric over-hit a forehand long of the baseline. Djokovic kept his opponent on the move, mixing up his service placement and making forays to the net in order to extend his advantage. He clinched the 38-minute first set with a hold to love, having lost four service points overall.

A forehand volley error from Coric gifted Djokovic the opening game of the second set, but the Croatian did well to save four break points in the third game that lasted 11 minutes. With victory in sight, Djokovic raised his return game to hold three championship points at 5-3, but Coric showed great character to work his way back.

The 21-year-old Coric, who beat Federer in the Gerry Weber Open final in June and also on Saturday in the Shanghai semi-finals, was attempting to become the youngest champion at the Masters 1000 tournament, held at the Qi Zhong Stadium. He is now 8-15 lifetime against Top 5 opponent and is 36-18 on the year (22-11 on hard courts).

Coric sends Federer packing from Shanghai, books Djokovic in final

By News Desk,

Borna Coric has recorded another big win of his career, defeating defending champion and top seed, Roger Federer in Shanghai Masters in two straight sets 6-4 6-4 on Saturday.

It was the second time in four months the 21-year-old Croatian will upset Federer. He beat Federer in Halle last June, denying the Swiss veteran from ascension to the tennis top.

The 21 year-old Croatian will now face Novak Djokovic in the finals on Sunday. Djokovic earlier easily trounced another young player, German Alexander Zverev 6-2 6-1 in the semi-final.

Victory over Federer makes Coric qualify for the first time in a Masters 1000 final event.

The Zagreb born player went professional in 2013 and has two ATP titles in his bag.

Naomi Osaka inks brand ambassador deal with Nissan

By News Desk,

Following Osaka’s victory at the U.S. Open last week, beating Serena Williams to become the first Japanese woman to win a women’s singles Grand Slam.

“This week has been a dream come to life, and I’m so honored to represent Japan and Nissan on the world stage,” Osaka said in a statement. “I was drawn to partner with Nissan because of its strong Japanese DNA and global competitive spirit.”

Nissan plans to feature 20-year-old Osaka in ads and “support her activities as a tennis player,” which will include transportation in the company’s cars during her tour, according to a release.

“With a combination of grit and grace, Naomi Osaka is not afraid to take on the best tennis players of our time and win,” said Asako Hoshino, svp at Nissan, in a statement. “This is the same spirit of performance that Nissan has embodied throughout our history.”

Hoshino added that Nissan also defied odds recently with sales of its electric vehicle, the Nissan Leaf, which has become “the best-selling electric vehicle in the world.”

“Just like Naomi, Nissan is just getting started,” said Hoshino.

Serena Williams qualify for 2018 US Open Quarter-Finals beating Kanepa

By Sports Desk,

Serena Williams started so strong on Sunday that she looked to be in fourth gear. She downshifted from there, but did not stall for long on her way to the United States Open quarterfinals.

After winning the first set by 6-0 in 18 dazzling minutes, hitting 14 winners and only two unforced errors, Williams slipped before ultimately regaining control, prevailing, 6-0, 4-6, 6-3, over Kaia Kanepi.

Kanepi, a powerful Estonian veteran ranked 44th, had knocked out the top-seeded Simona Halep in the first round last Monday in two emphatic sets.

She could do little against Williams at the outset of their fourth-round match, but gained a foothold by breaking Williams in the opening game of the second set.

Serena Williams seeded 17th at U.S. Open, Venus 16th

By Sports Desk,

Serena Williams has been seeded 17th at this year’s U.S. Open, one place below her sister Venus, the event’s organisers said on Tuesday.

Serena, the Wimbledon runner-up this year after losing to Germany’s Angelique Kerber in the final, is ranked 26th in the world, nine places below the seeding she has been awarded.

The current WTA rankings are the usual criteria to decide seeding in the women’s draw.

Williams, who has won the U.S. Open six times and will turn 37 next month, missed last year’s tournament because of pregnancy.

In June, United States Tennis Association president Katrina Adams said the U.S. Open would revise seedings to take into account the effect of pregnancy on the current rankings of players.

Adams’ comments followed widespread criticism of tennis officials after Serena was denied a seeding at this year’s French Open, her first grand slam after returning to the sport.

Romanian Simona Halep is the top seed in the women’s draw with defending champion Sloane Stephens at number three, ahead of Kerber, who won at Flushing Meadows in 2016.

There were no surprises on the men’s side.

World number one and defending champion Rafa Nadal has been named top seed ahead of Roger Federer and Argentine Juan Martin del Porto in third.

Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic, who heads to Flushing Meadows in arguably his best form since returning from a troublesome elbow injury, is seeded sixth.

This is a place below big-serving South African Kevin Anderson.

John Isner is the highest-seeded American in the men’s draw at number 11

Nadal withdraws from Cincinnati Masters

By Sports Desk,

Tennis World number one Rafa Nadal has withdrawn from the Cincinnati Masters as he adjusts his schedule to retain fitness ahead of his U.S. Open title defence.

The 32-year-old Spaniard swept aside Greek youngster Stefanos Tsitsipas to claim his 80th career title with victory at the Rogers Cup in Toronto on Sunday.

“I am very sorry to announce that I won’t be playing in Cincinnati this year,” Nadal wrote on Twitter late on Sunday.

“No other reason than personally taking care of my body and trying to keep as healthy as I feel now.

“I am very thankful to my friend Andre Silva, Tournament Director of the Cincinnati tournament, who after speaking to him on the phone understood what I said and understands the situation.”

“I am sure the tournament will be a success and I wish him and his team all the best.

“I am also sad for those amazing fans in Cincy and around who always gave me great support. I am sure I’ll see them next year and I am sorry I won’t be with them this year.

“Thanks for all the support as always.”

Nadal’s withdrawal leaves world number two Roger Federer, who skipped the Toronto event, as the highest seed in Cincinnati.

The U.S. Open starts on Aug. 27 in New York.

Murray & Soares win Washington Open doubles title

By Sports Desk,

Britain’s Jamie Murray and Brazil’s Bruno Soares won the Washington Open doubles title.

The fourth seeds beat Mike Bryan and Edouard Roger-Vasselin 3-6 6-3 10-4 in the final.

It is the pair’s second success this year, following the successful defence of their Acapulco crown in March.

Murray, 32, and Soares, 36, have now won eight titles since they joined forces in 2016, including the Australian Open and US Open.

American Bryan, 40, is ranked the number one doubles player in the world but has been playing with an array of different partners since his twin brother Bob was injured earlier this year.

Djokovic defeats Rafael Nadal to reach Wimbledon finals

By Sports Desk,

Rafael Nadal said he was proud and had nothing to reproach himself for after losing a top-quality Wimbledon semi-final to great rival Novak Djokovic on Saturday.

The two-day, five-hour-15-minute match of breathtaking shotplay and tiny margins between two giants of modern tennis ended 6-4 3-6 7-6(9) 3-6 10-8 in Djokovic’s favour.

“Nothing to complain. I think I played a great match. I have not much more inside me. I give it my best,” the 32-year-old Spanish world number one said.

“I think I did a great work. Is difficult to come back after injuries for a long time and have these kind of results, so I am proud of myself.”

Nadal, who won the French Open for the 11th time last month, spent much of 2016 out of action with a wrist injury.

He has won the Wimbledon title twice but last reached the final in 2011 and has since struggled at the All England Club with a series of losses to lower-ranked players.

It was his 52nd match against Djokovic, 31, a rivalry dating back to 2006. Serb Djokovic leads the head-to-head 27-25.

“I can say he deserve (the win), because he deserve it. In my opinion, he deserve it. I deserve it, too. Both of us deserve it,” Nadal said wearily.

“As I say the other day against Del Potro, anyone could win. Today I say the same. The other day was for me, today was for him. That’s it.”

Argentine Juan Martin del Potro stretched Nadal to five sets in the quarter-finals.

“These kind of matches between probably two great players, playing so well both of us, anything could happen. That’s it. Today was for him. Well done,” Nadal said.

“Played great. Semi-finals, after a while without being there. Winning some great matches, especially in that quarter-finals against Del Potro. Today was another great match.”

Nadal said he regretted losing an opportunity to win another major title.

“But that’s it. Nothing else. I go for holidays proud of the things that I’m doing.”

Serena Williams beats Julia Gorges, faces Kerber in Wimbledon finals

By Sports Desk,

For Serena Williams it was like a walk in the park as she reached her first Grand Slam final as a mother just 10 months after giving birth.

The seven-time champion marched into her 10th Wimbledon title match with a 6-2, 6-4 rout of Julia Goerges on Thursday.

On 20-match winning streak at Wimbledon, Williams will face German world number 10 Angelique Kerber on Saturday in a repeat of the 2016 showpiece won by Williams.

In only her fourth tournament since the arrival of her daughter Olympia in September, the 23-time Grand Slam champion is closing in on her first major title since becoming a parent.

German 13th seed Goerges was sent packing in only 70 minutes on Centre Court.

It was a cathartic moment for the 36-year-old, who endured severe labour complications that left her needing life-saving operations.

“It’s crazy. I don’t even know how to feel. I didn’t expect to do this well in my fourth tournament back,” Williams said.

“I had a really tough pregnancy delivery. I had to have multiple surgeries and almost didn’t make it to be honest.

“I’m just enjoying every moment of this. This was not inevitable for me.”

The American star will have history in her sights against Kerber as she tries to equal Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slams singles titles.

An eighth Wimbledon title would also move her past Steffi Graf into second place on the list of female Wimbledon champions, behind nine-time winner Martina Navratilova.

Serena will go into her 30th Grand Slam final — her first since winning the 2017 Australian Open — holding a 6-2 lead in her head to head record against Kerber.

“She is clearly a really good grass-court player. But whatever happens it’s a great moment for me and incredible motivation to keep going for the rest of my career,” Serena added.

After all the controversy about the decision to seed Williams 25th at Wimbledon despite her position at 181 in the WTA rankings, she has proved the tournament’s officials were actually too conversative.

Williams, who missed Wimbledon last year due to her pregnancy, won the grass-court Grand Slam on her previous two visits in 2015 and 2016.

Twenty years after making her Wimbledon debut as a precocious teenager and 16 years since her first title at the All England Club, Serena remains the pre-eminent force in the women’s game.

In a testament to her remarkable longevity, the former world number one has now made at least one Grand Slam final for the last 12 years.

Serena had lost only one of her 10 previous Wimbledon semi-finals and the 11th followed a familiar script.

When a panicked Goerges error wrapped up the first set, Serena’s dominance was so total that the American, whose emotions are usually on full display, barely acknowledged the moment.

By the time a Goerges drop-shot drifted into net to present Serena with the decisive break in the sixth game of the second set, the contest had already been sapped of any drama and moments later the title favourite was waving to the crowd in celebration.

Earlier, Kerber raced into her second Wimbledon final and fourth Grand Slam showpiece as the German crushed former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 6-3 in 67 minutes.

The 30-year-old hit only 10 winners but that was all it took to get the job done as Latvian 12th seed Ostapenko shot herself in the foot with 36 unforced errors.

“I was just trying to move good and take my chances. I’m so excited,” Kerber said.

“It’s such a great feeling to be back in the final. Playing on Centre Court is always great.”

Referencing her dismal form last year, Kerber added: “2017 is over and I’m really happy about that. We are in 2018!

“I’m really happy and proud to be in a Grand Slam final. These are the matches I was working for since I was a kid.”

It will be Kerber’s first Grand Slam final since she won the second of her two major titles at the 2016 US Open.

Kerber, who also won the Australian Open in 2016, is bidding to become the first German woman to win Wimbledon since Graf in 1996.