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USTA FL Friday Blog: Roddick Returns, 15-Year-Old Kozlov in Pro Debut

July 12, 2013 08:46 AM

U.S. Men Alive in Newport; Isner Aims at Three-peat

 
isner_and_querrey_by_ron_angle
John Isner (left) and Sam Querrey at the Davis Cup in Jacksonville earlier this year
American men are still alive going into the weekend on the grasscourts at the ATP Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport, R.I.
 
On Thursday unseeded American "Iron" Mike Russell upset No. 3 seed Igor Sijsling 7-6(3), 6-7(6), 7-6(5) to move into the semifinals Saturday, when he will meet former Wimbledon marathon man Nicolas Mahut.
 
The 35-year-old Russell had to quickly jet to Newport from Ecuador last Sunday after winning the Manta Challenger on hardcourts.
 
"It's not a fitness issue," said Russell after the three-tiebreak marathon win, reaching his second career tour-level semifinal. "I just kept fighting and it helped to have the crowd and my wife there encouraging me to keep going...I've been saving the best tennis of my career for my twilight years. I hope I can keep getting better."
 
Today's resumption of quarterfinal play will see No. 2 seed John Isner take on unseeded Ivo Karlovic in what could set the one-match ace record for the tournament, and former Wimbledon champion and No. 4 seed Lleyton Hewitt taking on Jan Hernych.
 
Isner is the two-time defending champion at the event, while Karlovic is making his first tour appearance since April after a bout of viral meningitis.
 
Tennis Channel will show live coverage on Saturday beginning at 12:30 p.m. EST when former No. 1 Martina Hingis is inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, along Australian Thelma Coyne Long, a three-time Australian Open champion; Cliff Drysdale, the former top-ranked player who helped form the ATP in 1972 and served as its first president; Charlie Pasarell, the former top-ranked player and Indian Wells organizer among other accomplishments; and Ion Tiriac, the former Romanian tennis player and tournament organizer.
 

Bryans Boost All-time-great Talk

 
Adam Bryan Brothers
The Bryan brothers and former USTA Florida Board of Directors member Adam Ross
Numbers and eras and third-set super breakers and technology and all kinds of considerations factor into play when discussions turn to the greatest doubles team of all time -- which doesn't really bother the Bryan brothers, who keep on racking-up the trophies in their Grand Slam case as they approach their late 30s.
 
Last weekend the now-Florida-based Bob and Mike raised the Wimbledon trophy together at the All England Club, but they did so in the midst of a record-setting season that no other team has achieved in the Open Era (since 1968). They are now the only team to hold all four Grand Slam doubles trophies consecutively after winning the US Open last year, and the Australian, French and Wimbledon in 2013.
 
"It's hard to even dream that we'd have the Slam, all four at one time," Mike said. "It all started back after we won the [Olympic] gold. It just felt like a huge pressure was released. Went on to win the Open and had a great summer. This year we've been on an amazing tear. Never had a streak like this. Especially at 35, I feel like we're hitting our peak...It's too hard to dominate in doubles. Maybe we had a little luck involved along the way."
 
The pair, who lived together until each were married and were famous for their in-car fist fights after losses (then immediately making up and getting dinner), have both said it has been easier now they they've achieved just about everything their is to win on the doubles tour.
 
"I think that's the reason why we've been playing so well, is because we have everything," Bob said. "Everything now feels like a bonus. It just feels like we're adding nuts and whipped cream and cherries to our great career. We said that a few years ago: if we retire today, we feel like we've done it all. Let's go have some fun and add to whatever this is."
 
The Bryans have won 15 Grand Slam titles, and at this year's US Open will have the chance to become the first team in the Open Era to win a calendar Grand Slam (all four in the same year). Wimbledon was their 91st career title, their ninth of 2013, and they take a 24 match winning streak into the US Open Series of events leading to Flushing Meadows. Two more titles on the year will tie their career-best of 11 in one year, which they achieved both in 2007 and 2010.
 
The twins are in sync off the court too, buying the same couch in the same store in different cities on the same day.
 
 

Florida's 15-Year-Old Kozlov Shows Pro Glimpse at ATP Newport

 
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Stefan Kozlov (photo: Cynthia Lum)
It's not often you face an opponent approximately twice your age on the ATP circuit, but that's what happened this week to 15-year-old Floridian Stefan Kozlov, who lost in his pro debut to 29-year-old Michal Przysiezny of Poland 6-3, 6-7(9), 6-4 in the first round at the Hall of Fame Championships in Newport, R.I.
 
Kozlov, who was coming directly off a deep run at the Wimbledon juniors, looked like he could advance into the second round in the third set until cramps in his arm and leg led to the defeat, and a collapse on the court where he needed to be helped off by family members.
 
"Normally you cannot practice with a guy who is 15, but here I almost lost the match," said an impressed Przysiezny, who is ranked just outside the Top 100. "He's great for his age."
 
Employing an entertaining range of slices and drop shots, the teenager from Pembroke Pines rallied from an 0-3 deficit in the third set to take a 4-3 lead, but then needed medical attention during the changeover and began to succumb to the cramping which curtailed his court movement.
 
"I slipped in the first set on my hip, so I needed to get it worked on," Kozlov said. "I was hanging in there. I started cramping again, and it's kind of tough to play when you're cramping. It's kind of my fault. I should have ate more during the match and drank a lot more."
 
 

Miscellaneous

 
Props to American teen Taylor Townsend, who in the Wimbledon junior girls' final lost 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 to top seed Belinda Bencic of Switzerland. Bencic, who also won the French Open junior girl's title, made it three victories over Townsend in roughly the span of a month in junior play this year. Townsend began the match swinging freely, especially on Bencic's serve, jumping out to a 4-0 lead with a break point for 5-0, but struggling to eventually close out the set 6-4. In the second set Townsend could not convert on three break points in the first game, eventually losing the set 6-1, and in the third set Bencic broke at 4-4 before serving out the match. The Swiss Bencic says her hero is former No. 1 Swiss Martina Hingis, and she is coached by Hingis' mother, Melanie Molitor. Check out video highlights of the final here
 
The usually under-the-radar Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland posed nude for ESPN's "The Body" issue, which has made her a target of Catholic organizations as Radwanska has always emphasized her Catholic upbringing. In 2011 she was pictured on court standing next to the name "Jesus" written out by using tennis balls. Fun fact: while most competitive players need to watch when they eat before a match, Radwanska says she chows down right before going on court: "Unlike most players, who eat at least two hours before matches, I can eat a full meal and go straight out on the court. In fact, I prefer to do that. My usual routine is a plate of pasta 30 minutes before I'm due to go on court. If I don't, I end up starving mid-match. That habit dates back to when my dad used to pick me up from school and drive me straight to matches. We had no time for dinner, so I had to stuff myself in the car."
 
roddick-retirementAndy Roddick apparently hasn't lost a step as his Springfield Lasers team defeated the defending champion Washington Kastles in World TeamTennis play this week. Roddick lost in the singles to South African Kevin Anderson but teamed in the doubles with Jean-Julien Rojer to defeat Leander Paes/Bobby Reynolds 5-4. "I was pissed the streak ended last night," said Roddick of the Kastles losing the previous night to the Texas Wild, ending their 34-match winning streak. Roddick had said he was looking forward to his team ending their streak. "There are few things I can get up for anymore, so that was disappointing...I was a little worried of how my shoulder would come around, I hadn't served in nine months. I'm still going so that's good."
 

Tennis on TV This Weekend

 
Friday
 
1-5pm -- ATP Newport, Tennis Channel (live)
5-9pm -- ATP Bastad, Tennis Channel (delay)
 
Saturday
 
12:30-1:30pm -- Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Tennis Channel (live)
2-6pm -- ATP Newport, Tennis Channel (live)
6-10pm -- ATP Stuttgart, Tennis Channel (delay)
10pm-2am -- ATP Bastad, Tennis Channel (delay)
 
Sunday
 
2-4pm -- ATP Newport, Tennis Channel (live)
4-6pm -- ATP Stuttgart, Tennis Channel (delay)
6-8pm -- ATP Bastad, Tennis Channel (delay)
 
The USTA Florida Friday blog is written by USTA Florida Communications Coordinator Rick Vach, former publications editor for the ATP World Tour and former editor/publisher of Play Tennis Florida magazine. The opinions expressed here do not necessarily represent those of USTA Florida, USTA national, or anyone that can fire him. Want a USTA or tennis-related question answered in the blog? E-mail HERE.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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