Monday, November 28, 2011

Federer wins 6th ATP Finals; USTA 40 Hard Courts set

   A disappointing year ended on a high note for Roger Federer.
   After failing to win a Grand Slam title for the first time since 2002, the fourth-seeded Federer defeated sixth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 6-7 (6), 6-3 Sunday for a record sixth title in the ATP World Tour Finals in London.
  "I know it's one of my greatest accomplishments," Federer, who earned $1.63 million, told reporters. "This definitely is an amazing finish again to the season. I've never finished so strong."
   The 30-year-old Federer, who had shared the record with Ivan Lendl and Pete Sampras, played in his 100th career final and won his 70th title. He ended the year with a 17-match winning streak that also included titles in his hometown of Basel, Switzerland, and Paris.
   In this year's Wimbledon quarterfinals, Tsonga became the first player to beat Federer after trailing two sets to none. It appeared the 26-year-old Frenchman might pull off another comeback in London when Federer failed to serve out the match at 5-4 in the second set and squandered a match point in the tiebreaker.
   But Federer -- who also blew a two-sets-to-none lead, and wasted two match points, against Novak Djokovic in the U.S. Open semifinals -- broke for 5-3 in the third set and served out the match at love.
   "He's the best player indoors for the moment," said Tsonga, who pocketed $740,000. "He's maybe the best player ever, because he's really quick. He's playing well. That's it."
   Third-seeded Max Mirnyi of Belarus and Daniel Nestor of Canada beat eighth-seeded Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski, both of Poland, 7-5, 6-3 for the doubles title.
   Mirnyi and Nestor, who went undefeated in the elite tournament and split $287,500, both have Sacramento ties. Mirnyi once worked with Sacramento State men's coach Slava Konikov, and Nestor was named World TeamTennis' Male Rookie of the Year in 2003 as a member of the Sacramento Capitals.
    Nestor, 39, won his fourth doubles title in the ATP World Tour Finals in five years. He triumphed with longtime Capital Mark Knowles in 2007 and Nenad Zimonjic in 2008 and 2010. Mirnyi, 34, won the 2006 crown with Jonas Bjorkman.
   Fyrstenberg and Matkowski, who divided $140,000, became the first Poles to reach the singles or doubles final of the year-end tournament since Wojtek Fibak, the runner-up in singles in 1976 in doubles in 1978 and 1979.
   USTA 40 Hard Courts -- Three players from the San Francisco Bay Area are seeded in the USTA National Men's and Women's 40 Hard Court Championships, which begin today in the San Diego suburb of La Jolla, Calif.
   Oren Motevassel of Sunnyvale is seeded second in singles, Jeff Greenwald of Corte Madera third and Curtis Dunn of San Francisco eighth.
   Defending champion Jeff Tarango, 43, of Manhattan Beach is seeded first. The former Stanford All-American reached No. 10 in the world in doubles in 1999 and No. 42 in singles in 1992.
   Tarango is perhaps best known, however, for walking off the court during his third-round match at Wimbledon in 1995 in a dispute with chair umpire Bruno Rebeuh. As if that wasn't bizarre enough, Tarango's wife at the time, Benedicte, then slapped Rebeuh twice.
   San Diego's Gretchen Magers, the top seed and defending champion in women's singles, seeks her sixth title in the tournament. Magers, 47, climbed to No. 13 in the world in singles in the 1980s.
   Brett Joelson, who played for the Capitals last year, and Brian Joelson of Beaverton, Ore., will try to win their ninth consecutive title in father-son doubles.

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