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ATP rankings: Roger Federer rises to fourth; new No. 2 American

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Roger Federer

Roger Federer is back in the top four for the first time since last June. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

Roger Federer moved up to No. 4 in this week’s ATP Tour rankings, his highest position since last June. He trails No. 3 Stanislas Wawrinka by 515 points.

Federer and his replacement at No. 5, Tomas Berdych, both passed David Ferrer, the 2013 Sony Open finalist who fell from fourth to sixth after losing in the fourth round in Miami. The fifth spot equals a career high for Berdych, who reached the semifinals last week before withdrawing with gastroenteritis.

Federer, who lost to Kei Nishikori in the Miami quarterfinals, joins No. 1 Rafael Nadal and No. 2 Novak Djokovic as so-called Big Four members in the actual top four. The fourth, Andy Murray, slipped from sixth to eighth after following up his 2013 Sony Open title with a quarterfinal loss to Djokovic last week. This is Murray’s lowest ranking since 2008.

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  • Published On Mar 31, 2014
  • An ATP first: Semifinals hit with two walkovers on a rough day at Sony Open

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    A pair of semifinal withdrawals means Novak Djokovic will once again lock horns with Rafael Nadal. (Lynne Sladky/AP)

    A pair of semifinal withdrawals means Novak Djokovic will once again lock horns with Rafael Nadal. (Lynne Sladky/AP)

    Spare a thought for the ticket-toting fans at the Sony Open on Friday. The tournament was hit with an unprecedented pair of withdrawals in the men’s semifinals, which gave No. 1 Rafael Nadal and No. 2 Novak Djokovic walkovers into Sunday’s final.

    The day began with news that Kei Nishikori, on the heels of two top-five wins over Roger Federer and David Ferrer, was forced to withdraw from his semifinal against Djokovic with a left groin injury. The news stung even more given Nishikori’s fantastic effort to oust Federer in the quarterfinals, coming back from a set and break down to win 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 to advance to his first ATP Masters 1000 semifinal since the 2011 Shanghai Masters. It also recalled the long-running joke about “The Federer Curse”:

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  • Published On Mar 28, 2014
  • Watch: Grigor Dimitrov stops match to help ailing ballgirl at Sony Open

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    Grigor Dimitrov is pretty much known for three things: being Maria Sharapova’s boyfriend, earning the “Baby Federer” nickname when he was a junior and being a promising player finally making good on all the hype. Now he gets to add one more: “Super-nice guy and friend to ballkids.”

    Early in the second set of his third-round match against Kei Nishikori at the Sony Open, Dimitrov signaled a ballgirl for his towel before he realized she was having some trouble in the heat and humidity. Dimitrov quickly took her hand and walked her off the court and laid her down on a bench before resuming play. Thank goodness the umpire didn’t give him a time violation for his good deed.

    Dimitrov lost the match, but he certainly gained a few points in my book.

    Watch the whole incident below.


  • Published On Mar 24, 2014
  • Watch: Ryan Harrison tells his father to leave during loss at Sony Open

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    What is it about Miami that brings father-son relationships to a boil?

    During his second-round match against Benjamin Becker at the Sony Open, Ryan Harrison double-faulted on set point in the first set and reportedly told his father to leave the court. Freelance tennis reporter Ravi Ubha was commentating the match for the ATP World Feed, and tweeted the details after the match:

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  • Published On Mar 24, 2014
  • Aces and Faults: Catching up after the first week of the Sony Open

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    Lucie Safarova and Maria Sharapova were possibly the most entertaining match-up of the first week. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

    Lucie Safarova and Maria Sharapova were possibly the most entertaining match-up of the first week. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

    Aces and Faults recaps the week in tennis. Here’s where we stand as the second week begins at the Sony Open in Miami.

    Aces

    Rafael Nadal: After only one match, Nadal already looks to be in far better form in Miami than he did two weeks ago in Indian Wells. His 6-1 destruction of Lleyton Hewitt in the first set of their second-round clash was vintage Nadal, with his hyper-aggressive play off his forehand. That’s when you know he’s playing with confidence. Could this be the year he finally wins Miami?

    Maria Sharapova: Speaking of someone who has never won Miami, Sharapova was made to battle for nearly three hours to defeat Lucie Safarova, 6-4, 6-7 (2), 6-2 in the third round. This was the most hard-fought and entertaining match I saw in the first week. Sharapova is still playing herself into form, and she told reporters that despite high expectations for herself, she’s been trying to stay realistic about her form given her four-month injury layoff. Sharapova rebounded after squandering two match points in the second set, but not before Safarova kept saving match points in spectacular fashion.

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  • Published On Mar 24, 2014
  • Better ways for Bernard Tomic to spend 28 minutes and 20 seconds of his time

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    Bernard Tomic was completely smothered by Jarkko Nieminen 6-0, 6-1. (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

    Bernard Tomic was completely smothered by Jarkko Nieminen 6-0, 6-1. (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

    In his first tournament since having double-hip surgery in February, Bernard Tomic lost to Jarkko Nieminen 6-0, 6-1 on Thursday in just 28 minutes and 20 seconds at the Sony Open — the shortest recorded match in ATP history. Cue all the “Tomic the Tank Engine” jokes that have been sitting on the back-burner while Tomic has been injured.

    “I felt like I did the best that I could and I’m happy with the way I’m coming back,” Tomic said. “Hopefully in a little bit of time I can get back to 100 percent. It’s not easy but I’m trying, doing everything, doing my best to get there.”

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  • Published On Mar 21, 2014
  • Ranking the Big Four rivalries

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    The ATP Big Four of (from left) Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray (Getty Images)

    The ATP Big Four of (from left) Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. (Getty Images)

    In his SI.com mailbag this week, Jon Wertheim was asked to rank the best matchups among the ATP Big Four of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray. Here’s how I would answer the question:

    1. Rafael Nadal vs. Roger Federer

    Head-to-head: Nadal leads 23-10
    First match: 2004
    Number of finals: 20
    Signature match: 2008 Wimbledon final; Nadal won 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-7 (8), 9-7

    I still consider this to be tennis’ most compelling rivalry despite Nadal’s decided head-to-head advantage, which includes a five-match winning streak and 15 victories in the last 19 meetings. Nadal-Federer features the most distinct contrast of styles among the Big Four matchups, and they’ve contested 20 finals, including eight at Grand Slam tournaments, over the last 10 years. Just imagine how different their careers would be without the other serving as a roadblock. Nadal has won nine of their 11 matches at majors; it’s conceivable that Federer might have completed the Grand Slam — whether calendar or career — a few times over and pushed the Slam record from 17 to well over 20 without the presence of Nadal.

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  • Published On Mar 21, 2014
  • Juan Martin del Potro withdraws from Sony Open with wrist injury

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    Juan Martin del Potro

    An injured Juan Martin del Potro has dropped to No. 8 in the rankings. (Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

    No. 8 Juan Martin del Potro withdrew from the Sony Open with a left-wrist injury that has bothered him for weeks.

    Del Potro received treatment after pulling out of the BNP Paribas Open two weeks ago and flew to Miami to test the wrist in hopes of playing this week at the Masters 1000 tournament in Miami. But the 25-year-old Argentine decided that he wasn’t ready to return.

    “[I] still feel pain in my left wrist and I don’t feel competitive to go on court,” Del Potro wrote on Facebook. “It’s a pity because this is a special tournament for me since there are many Latin fans and Argentines in particular. In the next few days I will visit my doctor again to determine the following steps.”

    Th injury has forced Del Potro to either withdraw or retire from his last three tournaments. Del Potro was scheduled to play either Federico Delbonis or Ryan Harrison in the second round after a first-round bye. He will be replaced in the draw by lucky loser Benjamin Becker.


  • Published On Mar 19, 2014
  • Aces and Faults: Indian Wells recap

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    Flavia Pennetta

    Flavia Pennetta beat the top-two seeds en route to the Indian Wells title. (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

    Aces and Faults recaps the week in tennis. Here is our review of the BNP Paribas Open.

    Trophy Winners

    Novak Djokovic: He may not have been dominant, but this run to his first title of the year was precisely what Djokovic needed to jump-start his season. Djokovic wobbled in dropping a set to No. 91 Alejandro Gonzalez, getting blasted off the court for a set by Marin Cilic and being broken twice while serving for the match against John Isner. But Djokovic was battle-tested by the time he arrived in the final, as he showed in rebounding in the third-set tiebreaker after failing to serve it out against Roger Federer.

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  • Published On Mar 17, 2014
  • ATP rankings: Roger Federer up to No. 5

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    Roger Federer

    Roger Federer has made the semifinals or better at all four of his tournaments this year. (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

    Roger Federer moved up to No. 5 in this week’s ATP Tour rankings after making the final of the BNP Paribas Open. Federer would have climbed to No. 4 if he had beaten Novak Djokovic on Sunday. Instead, the 32-year-old Swiss trails No. 4 David Ferrer by 105 points.

    Through three and a half months of the 2014 season, Federer has already matched last year’s totals for titles (one), runner-up finishes (two) and victories over top-10 players (four).

    “There is a sense of calmness to my game right now,” Federer said after his quarterfinal victory. “Also confidence. But also that grit and wanting-to-win-badly feeling is out there, which was hard to find at times last year. So now I got it all.”

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  • Published On Mar 17, 2014


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