Paszek perfection

Caroline Wozniacki, News, Players, Tamira Paszek

By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd at Wimbledon

2012champpaszekTamira Paszek, the shock Eastbourne 2012 winner, continued her incredible form on grass by disposing of Caroline Wozniacki at Wimbledon.

The Austrian ace, who had won just two matches all year prior to Devonshire Park -including 11 1st Round exits on the WTA Tour -saved two match points against former world no1 Wozniacki.

But Paszek won their Centre Court 1st Round clash 5-7 7-6 (4) 6-4 in three hours and 12 minutes.

In a topsy-turvy decisive set, ex-Eastbourne champion Wozniacki moved into a 30-0 3-2 lead only for her tenacious 22-year-old opponent to claw her way back.

After Paszek’s killer baseline strokes destroyed the Dane’s serve to break, the battling Austrian stuttered on her own serve for the match to slip from 5-3 to 5-4.

Wozniacki was hard pushed on her own service game with long rallies, and she unsuccessfully challenged a clearly wayward shot to move to match point against her – and Paszek passed her with a powerful precise drive to take the match.

And to really rub the salt in the wounds, this was the very first time that Wozniacki had suffered an opening round defeat at a Grand Slam.

 

 

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2012 Eastbourne Tennis Videos

Andreas Seppi, Andy Roddick, Angelique Kerber, Caroline Wozniacki, Klara Zakopalova, Marion Bartoli, Tamira Paszek, WTA Players

An interview with Andy Roddick (2012)

Andy Roddick, News

Roddick at EastbourneAndy Roddick | 23 June 2012

Andy RODDICK defeated Andreas Seppi 6‑3 6‑2
Q.  Are you a much happier man than you were at the start of the week?
ANDY RODDICK:  Well, I feel better about my tennis game.  You know, like I touched on yesterday a lot of times you make plans on the fly.  In a perfect world, the idea was that I didn’t get matches at Queen’s; let’s come here and try and get some matches in.
You know, the thing that makes sports great is there is no script.  You can draw it up, and it rarely works out the way this week has.  You know, I think, as I’ve gotten older, I guess I’ve learned to appreciate this a little bit more.

Q.  Pretty efficient performance today, wasn’t it?
ANDY RODDICK:  Yeah.  I mean, I don’t remember the last time I got broken twice and won 3 and 2.  I felt real good.  My returns this week were close to as well as I have.
You know, I was able to close well.  You know, I started off not serving great and then made an adjustment.  I think I served 90% in the second set, which is a pretty strong number, especially given the conditions.  Just try to maintain this form going into Wimbledon.

Q.  On Wimbledon, you’re playing Jamie Baker in Round 1.  Any thoughts on that?
ANDY RODDICK:  Yeah, I didn’t know that until not too long ago.  I made it a point not to check on this that while this tournament was still going on.

You know, he’s played it before.  You know, he’s been in that draw plenty of times.  He had a pretty good win here this week I think over one of our guys.  You know, you’ve gotta go out and serve well and return well, and hopefully it will take care of itself.

Q.  How far do you think you can go at Wimbledon, then?
ANDY RODDICK:  Right now my goal is make it past the first round.  We’ll see.  We’ll renegotiate round by round.

Q.  You go in in a much better mood than you were previously?
ANDY RODDICK:  Well, yeah.  I feel better about my tennis game.  You know, coming in here I felt like I was hitting the ball fine in practice.  It’s just such a fine line but it seems like a big line between playing well and hitting the ball well in drills in practice and getting that to translate to matches.  I was able to kind of find that crossover this week.
You know, now it’s just a matter of, you know, taking care of myself the next couple of days and just trying to maintain what I started this week.

Q.  Will you come back to defend your crown next year?
ANDY RODDICK:  We’ll see.  You know, like I said, I think I answered this yesterday, as well.  I think you might have asked it yesterday.

Q.  Wasn’t me.
ANDY RODDICK:  Wasn’t you?  Okay.
It was you?  Okay.  I’ll let you live, then.  (Laughter.)  We’ll see.  It’s tough for me to say anything at this point.

Q.  Can you just tell us a little bit about your feelings about Wimbledon?  I mean, it has been discussed as to whether this might be your last year or not.  Clearly that’s probably not something you want to answer at the moment, but there will come a time in the not‑too‑distant future when you won’t be able to play there anymore, whether it’s this year, two or three years’ time.
ANDY RODDICK:  Sure.

Q.  How do you feel about going back and all the experiences you’ve had there and going back again?
ANDY RODDICK:  I think it’s the most special place in tennis.  You know, I think it’s the event that we have that we can put up against any other sporting event in the world.

As far as the traditions and just the way everything works, you know, it’s a really, really special place.  You know, on an off day, I think it was five days before Queen’s, I went and hit on the indoor courts, and just walking through the grounds when nobody is there, it still has that feeling.

I think we’re pretty spoiled when we walk through most tennis venues.  I don’t really take notice of too much anymore, I don’t think.  I guess I’m a little jaded as far as that goes.   But you walk through there, and I think if you have a pulse at all, it grabs your attention.

Q.  Are you going to find it hard to pull yourself away from it eventually?
ANDY RODDICK:  Well, there’s no rule against me visiting, is there?  You guys gonna keep me out of the country or what?

Q.  We’ll let you come, yeah.
ANDY RODDICK:  Then I don’t have to worry about that then.

Q.  Won’t be quite the same, will it?
ANDY RODDICK:  It’s never the same, but it is what it is.  I have a lot of great memories, you know.  I have played some great tennis there over the years, and, you know, somehow or another, it’s one of those things that happens naturally, and I don’t know how, why, or when exactly, but I have developed a good relationship with, you know, the crowds there, as well.

So it’s a special place that I really enjoy playing.

Q.  What will this give you confidence‑wise heading into Wimbledon this week?
ANDY RODDICK:  Yeah, it’s great.  I went from a six‑match losing streak to all of a sudden winning a tournament.  It’s 180‑degree turnaround.  Playing the right way, too.

I felt like I played most of the matches this week on my terms, you know, with the exception of yesterday which was on the wind’s terms and nobody else’s.

I feel good.  I felt like I returned really well this week.  You know, it turns quickly.  I always say that to people ‑ I’m not sure how much they believe me ‑ but you’re never playing as badly as you think, and you’re probably never playing as good as you think, too.   I’m just going to stay the course and try to maintain form.

Q.  What happened at Queen’s, quite an amazing turnaround.  In the space of a week you come to the final and win it here.
ANDY RODDICK:  I mean, I had match point at Queen’s a couple times.  I win that one, who knows?  I could be in the same position there, you know.  It’s just a matter of getting over the hurdles.  The margins in professional tennis are so small, you know, between ‑‑ a tournament like playing well here, I mean, yesterday I was down break point in the third set.  I lose that one, and all of a sudden, who knows what happens?  I’m probably not sitting here and you guys still have a lot of questions, you know.

So it’s a fine line.  I’m thankful that it went my way this week.

Q.  Talk about the men’s game with Nadal and Djokovic.  Can anyone surpass them, do you think, this year?
ANDY RODDICK:  Well, yeah, you left out Roger.  He’s pretty good, too.  I’m not in the business of making predictions.  That’s not my job.  So I’m just trying to play and get through a round and then see where we are after that.

Q.  Do you still feel a Grand Slam is in you?
ANDY RODDICK:  We’ll see.  I know I can win matches.  It’s a matter of putting seven in a row together.  I don’t know that I’m going to get carried away with thinking of this tournament in the context of a win before the first Monday.  I think that’s a little presumptuous for me at this point.

I feel I can put a scare into people right now the way I’m playing.

Q.  With your win, you have got over 600 tour victories.  How does that feel?  Pretty esteemed list.
ANDY RODDICK:  I actually miscounted.  I thought the one in the morning was 600, and then, you know, bless my team.  They didn’t have the heart to tell me it wasn’t.  So I kind of messed that one up.

Q.  Is that something you keep an eye on as you play?
ANDY RODDICK:  No, sure, I was conscious of that.  When you do something, you know, 15, 16 people have done in the history of the game, it’s two things:  It makes you call into the fact that you are probably older than you want to be at this point, and secondly, it’s a lot of wins.  I mean, it’s a lot of matches.  You know, it’s a humbling thing.
The other one I wanted to keep alive was, you know, winning one tournament a year for I think it’s 12 years now.  I know three or four people have done that.

This has been a good week for me as far as that stuff goes.  You know, three weeks ago I couldn’t have thought I was further away, you know.
So it changes quickly.  You know, sometimes I need to remind myself of those numbers just to ‑ you know, this is a what‑did‑you‑do‑last‑week‑type sport?

So looking back on that, maybe I need to look at those a little bit more and realize that I’ve done this for a long time pretty well.

 

2012 Ladies Singles – Saturday’s Result

Angelique Kerber, Tamira Paszek

2012 AEGON International Final

Shock success: Unseeded Tamira Paszek captured Eastbourne title

 

Austrian Tamira Paszek won 5-7 6-3 7-5 against German Angelique Kerber to take the Eastbourne crown, staving off five match points.

 

Paszek stuns Kerber

Angelique Kerber, Caroline Wozniacki, Marion Bartoli, Tamira Paszek

2012 Ladies Final by Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

2012 Eastbourne winner

Just champion: Austrian ace Tamira Paszek

Tamira Paszek’s spirit and determination saw the Austrian ace snatch victory from the jaws of defeat to stun Angelique Kerber 5-7 6-3 7-5 – saving five match points in the process.

Paszek claimed her first title since she won Quebec City in 2010, her shock triumph arrived on the back of 11 1st Round defeats and just two victories on the WTA Tour all season.

Paszek, a 2011 Wimbledon quarter-finals, made it two shocks in as many days after dismissing in-form French star Marion Bartoli in yesterday’s semi-final and then edging past Kerber in a thriller worthy of a final.

But the world no59 needed three match points to triumph, watched by her father and her Eastbourne-based Godparents.

Paszek took a medical time-out to have her right ankle strapped and called the trainer again to massage her calf during a changeover before clinching the match on her third match point.

Paszek said:

I always knew I’m a fighter, I always believe in myself. It’s been one of the best weeks for me by winning a title, everything fitted together.

“It makes it really special to win, first of all, the title on grass, one of my favourite surfaces, and secondly, in front of the family. It was a pleasure to have all my family here and my coach here.

“Grass is good for my game, I love fast surfaces like hard courts and I just enjoy the grass.

”I don’t know what kept me going and how I kept going! I was dead tired in the third set, I could hardly move. I just gave all I had left – and it just was enough.”

Kerber claimed the opening set, which was accompanied by chants from protesting Dutch dockers gathered outside a gate close to Centre Court who accused tournament sponsor AEGON of mishandling their pension fund and handed out black tennis balls to those going into Devonshire Park.

And the world no8 Kerber seemed in control in her bid for a third title in 2012 after capturing the Paris Indoor and Copenhagen events.

But unseeded Paszek bounced back with verve to level matters with some impressive power shots from tight angles.

The Centre Court fans were treated to a nailbiting final set, with Kerber seemingly running out of steam with less impressive groundstrokes as the set continued.

Yet the rising German star, touted as future world no1, created 10 break points but was denied nine of these by brave Paszek.

The unseeded Austrian battled back from a set and 4-0 down against defending champion Marion Bartoli in the semifinals, and she trailed Kerber 4-2 in the final set of their 2-hour, 45-minute final.

Positive play from Paszek ensued, but the talented Kerber had only herself to blame for not producing the sort of clinical finish that she had provided all week.

Kerber fluffed a match point on Paszek’s serve and even though she was gifted a further four match points stuttered under pressure with unforced errors, although all credit must go to brave battler Paszek.

Yet the Austrian suffered injury problems with her right leg after slipping in the seventh game and was forced to take a medical time-out to have her right ankle strapped.

She required the trainer again to massage her calf during a changeover prior to clinching the crown on her third match point.

The 21-year-old sank to her knees and kissed the grass in true Grand Slam fashion, warming up perfectly at Devonshire Park for her 1st Round Wimbledon clash against former Eastbourne winner and ex-world no1 Caroline Wozniacki.

Roddick roars to title

Andreas Seppi

Andy Roddick EB winner

Andy Roddick, the world no33, wrestled the AEGON International title off in-form Andreas Seppi with a comprehensive 6-3 6-2 triumph in 72 minutes.

The Centre Court crowd were disappointed that the ATP Tour final failed to produce the drama and fireworks of the preceding WTA Tour when eight match points were required to decide a champion.

American ace Roddick, who arrived at Eastbourne in the worst form of his career with six defeats on the bounce, has reversed his fortunes by dismantling all those before him this week at Devonshire Park – including the hapless Italian in the final.

And no6 seed Roddick reached the final courtesy of two retirements against him, and dropped just one set en route to capturing the crown – his fifth grass court title – culminating in a one-man show to bring down the curtain on no3 Seppi and his reign as 2011 Eastbourne champion.

The last-minute wildcard won over half of his return points, which resulted in Seppi being broken five times. And the American clinched the title on his first point to claim his 31st career title.

Roddick now joins Swiss star Roger Federer as the only two current ATP Tour stars to have won at least one title each season for the past 12 years.

Former world no1 Roddick beamed:

I started off not serving great and then made an adjustment. I think I served 90 percent in the second set, which is pretty strong number.

“I feel really good because I went from a six match losing streak to all of a sudden winning a tournament – it is a 180-degree turnaround.

“I am so thankful that it went my way this week. My returns this week were close to as well as I have returned – I’ll just have to try to maintain this form going into next week’s Wimbledon.

“I really wanted to keep alive winning one tournament a year for 12 years, I know three or four people have done that.

“I need to remind myself of those numbers just to remember this is a what did you do last week type sport? So looking back on that, maybe I need to look at those a little bit more and realise that I’ve done this for a long time pretty well.

“It’s everything I could have asked for. I feel like I can come here and get my work in. The facility and the courts have been great and the community really seems to support this event.

”You’re not dealing with the hustle and bustle of a massive city. I think before a major, that’s nice – a really positive week.

”The thing that makes sports great is there is no script. You can draw it up, and it rarely works out the way this week has.”

An interview with Tamira Paszek (23 June 2012)

News, Players, Tamira Paszek

2012winnerpaszekTamira Paszek | 23 June 2012

T. PASZEK defeated Angelique Kerber 5‑7 6‑3 7‑5

Q.  Have you studied the life of Houdini?
TAMIRA PASZEK:  I haven’t, no.  I don’t know.  It was just amazing feeling.  I don’t know what kept me going, how I kept going.  I was dead tired in the third set.  I could hardly move.  I just gave all I had left, and it just was enough.

Q.  Have you surprised yourself with the way you’ve managed to fight through these matches this week?
TAMIRA PASZEK:  I always knew I’m a fighter, I always believed in myself, but I’d say Andrei my coach really helped me to find my passion in the game, to find my belief in myself on court.

Because in practice everything has been working, and now it was just a matter of getting that aggression and pleasure to play on court.  It just all fitted together this week.

Q.  When she had five match points and she didn’t put any of them away, did you start to think this could be your day?
TAMIRA PASZEK:  It was kind of weird, because the game before I slipped on court, and I kind of hurt my Achilles and the ankle a bit, so I was like ‑ I didn’t even think about the score, what was going on.  She really played well that game.

I just said, Okay, I’ll just try a dropshot, why not, for a change?
So I kept going, won that game, and then I was just like, Okay, whatever.  Just keep playing, try to focus on every point.
To be honest, I did not realize that it was match point or like ‑‑ that was 5‑3 down.  She was serving for the match at 5‑4.  I was just like on court enjoying the atmosphere with this amazing crowd.  It was unbelievable.

Q.  Shortly afterwards you had your ankle strapped, and it was getting bigger by the minute.
TAMIRA PASZEK:  Yeah, it was getting bigger and bigger.  It was so tight, and I hate tight tape.  So it was like, Oh, that’s feeling a bit weird on court.  You have to manage to get on with things which aren’t perfect.  So I just tried to keep there and keep hanging there.

Q.  In the beginning, you were almost down 4‑Love.  Why the slow start?
TAMIRA PASZEK:  I had my chances in the first two games, I was playing well, but I was playing too reserved.  She just played her game and went for the shots.  Changed the tactics a little bit.  I played too much onto her body and on the same side all over again, so I just tried to move her a bit more and get my game going.  It worked out in the end.

Q.  How is your ankle now?
TAMIRA PASZEK:  I haven’t seen the doctor yet.  I’m going to meet the doctor afterwards.  We’ll have a look at that.

It’s feeling okay.  It’s a bit painful, but I’m walking, which is good.

Q.  Have you allowed yourself any thoughts about Wimbledon yet?
TAMIRA PASZEK:  Not really.  Today’s day of Eastbourne, Eastbourne final, you’re only once in the final here in 2012, so that was my day.  I tried to enjoy every moment out there.  I will enjoy the rest of the day, try to relax, review the whole week, and then from tomorrow focus on Wimbledon starts.

Q.  You’ve got some family connections in Eastbourne.  How special was it to win in Eastbourne for you?
TAMIRA PASZEK:  Amazing.  I mean, the feelings, I cannot describe them.  I was sitting on the couch at home a week ago, drive from Birmingham, played a horrible match there, no confidence.  I was like, Okay, just try to get at least one win under your belt before Wimbledon.
My godfather was joking.  He’s like, You’re going to bring me this cup home.

I’m like, Oh, my God.  That’s a lot of pressure.
I just took it step by step, day by day, and match by match it just went better and better and better.  I haven’t even met him yet.  He’s going to be over the moon.

I love Eastbourne I’m already looking forward to come back next week.

Q.  Is this the best week of your tennis life?
TAMIRA PASZEK:  It’s been one of the best, yeah.  Of course, winning a title, you know, everything has to fit together.  It was a pleasure to have all my family here, my coach here.  My dad came in from London this morning, which was a surprise for me.

So it makes it really special to win, first of all, the title on grass, one of my favorite surfaces, and secondly, in front of the family.  So many fans and family and friends back home were watching.  So I want to also thank everyone who was supporting me throughout the whole week.

Q.  What other family did you have here apart from your father and your Godparents?
TAMIRA PASZEK:  That’s it.

Q.  That’s it?
TAMIRA PASZEK:  That’s it.  Friends and people I have known since I’m like two years old.  I had a couple of them here.  My mom and my brother are home, but they were watching on TV.

Q.  What will this do for your career now, you think?
TAMIRA PASZEK:  I definitely think it gave me a big confidence boost.  Going into Wimbledon now, it’s just a different feeling than a week ago where I was low in confidence and just not sure whether I was doing the right things.

Now I just feel like everything fits together.  I’m happy on court.  I’m enjoying every moment out there.  I feel feet on court, ready to play three sets, been there three hours.  Just makes me happy to be healthy out there.

Q.  A lot of people might look at your first‑round match now as one of the most exciting now.
TAMIRA PASZEK:  I heard about that already.  Well, Caroline’s tough opponent, former world No. 1, amazing competitor out there.  Doesn’t give you a free point.

So from tomorrow I will just try to, you know, do my work with Andrei, go on court, try to adapt my game, get used to the courts, the atmosphere for Grand Slam again, and then we will see.  I will go out there and enjoy every moment and try to do my best.

Q.  What’s your head‑to‑head with Caroline?
TAMIRA PASZEK:  Oh, well, we know each other since we are like 10 years old.  I have a picture at home.  We’re like both (indicating short height)?

We played the final when we were Under 12 or something like that.  But I think on tour she beat me once.  That was the only time we played on tour, if I remember.  Juniors many times.

 

Roddick Eyes Up Title

Andreas Seppi, Andy Roddick

2012 Final Preview by Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

Title chaser Andy Roddick

On the ball: Andy Roddick

Andy Roddick, a last-gasp wildcard entry, is set to claim his first ATP Tour grass title since winning at Queen’s Club in 2007.

The 29-year-old has this term been hampered by a hamstring injury and then a loss of form – he arrived at Eastbourne with six successive defeats.

The American ace, seeded at next week’s Wimbledon although was world no33 when the seeds were announced, has lost 20 career finals. And he has lived up to SW19′s confidence in their three-time runner-up, who has been demonic at Devonshire Park and dropped just one set in the tournament as the no6 seed.

But defending champion Andreas Seppi, who had an opening round bye, has an even more impressive record this week as he has not dropped a set this week.

Seppi has stormed to his fourth ATP Tour final and is brimming with confidence to retain the Eastbourne crown and add to Belgrade title picked up last month.

The 28-year-old, since collecting his maiden title last season at Devonshire Park has been on a terrific run – and this is his best season so far.

The Italian ace took world no1 Novak Djokovic to five sets at the 2012 French Open to climb to a career high world ranking of no24.

The only time these players have met was at the 2008 US Open final, when Roddick saw off Seppi 6-2 7-5 7-6.

If Roddick can prise the crown off Seppi then he will match Swiss maestro Roger Federer on the ATP Tour with his title streak to 12 years on the bounce – the best among current players on the circuit.

Black Ball Controversy

EXCLUSIVE

EXCLUSIVE by Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

Black tennis balls were handed out to willing passers-by near Devonshire Park today as part of a demonstration against tennis sponsor AEGON.

Dutch dock workers were mindfully watched by Sussex Police after they gathered outside the main gate to the AEGON International on pavement near to the Towner Art Gallery.

Those gathered from Holland were protesting against the AEGON Insurance pension scheme, and were handing out black tennis balls along with leaflets explaining their angst.

However, visitors to Eastbourne annual tennis tournament has these fancy balls confiscated, with the reasoning that the officials did not wish for any of these black balls to be thrown on Centre Court and disrupt today’s final.

Roddick on a mission

Andreas Seppi, Andy Roddick, Denis Istomin, Fabio FOGNINI, Philipp KOHLSCHREIBER

Friday 2012 Round-Up by Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

Roddick races through to final

Final countdown: Andy Roddick

Andy Roddick squares off against reigning champion Andreas Seppi in the Eastbourne final, having only been served one difficult match on his Devonshire Park debut.

The world no33 collected much-needed grass court practice to capture his 600th ATP Tour victory courtesy of back-to-back wins.

With rain delaying the quarter-finals by a day, the eight competitors had their work cut out – especially with the blustery weather conditions – as the semi-finals needed to also be played.

Italian Seppi was first to step onto the stage and began delivering a perfect act when leading 7-5, 2-1, only for German Philipp Kohlschreiber to be forced to retire because of an ankle injury.

Seppi next opponent was 20-year-old American Ryan Harrison, was held off Denis Istomin in the opening tiebreak 7-5 to register a slender 7-6 6-4 triumph.

But despite his youthfulness Harrison was outplayed by wily Seppi, the contest completed in 75 minutes with Seppi soaring through to his second Eastbourne final on the bounce with a comfortable 7-5 6-1 success.

Roddick squeezed through to the semi-final stafe with a fiercely fought contest against Fabio Fognini.

The Italian handed the 29-year-old a number of scares before succumbing to the three-time Wimbledon finalist 6-3 3-6 7-5.

Belgian Steve Darcis saw off Australian qualifier Marinko Matosevic courtesy of winning the second set tiebreak 7-4, booking a showdown with Roddick after sealing a 6-2 7-6 triumph.

American ace Roddick appeared untroubled by the windy weather, and marched through the games as though it was a practice match. But Darcis was forced to retire with a back injury when trailing 6-3 3-1.

Roddick confessed:

It was tough out there, some of the toughest conditions to play in. But you know you’re going to have some lucky points.

“I can’t remember much tougher that I’ve played in. That wind out there is frightening. It’s not as much as about tennis today as just getting through it.

“This week has worked out. Regardless of what happens in the final I will go into Wimbledon with some wins behind me and some confidence on a surface I’m very comfortable on – so I got my game back a little this week.”