Friday, March 30, 2012

Fish flops in Sony Ericsson quarterfinals

   Patrick McEnroe put it succinctly.
   "Just a horrendous performance," the ESPN2 commentator and former U.S. Davis Cup captain told viewers after eighth-seeded Mardy Fish was throttled by No. 21 Juan Monaco 6-1, 6-3 Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Fla. "There's no other way to say it. He had no feel from the get-go."
   Fish told reporters that Monaco, an Argentine who turned 28 Thursday, "did a lot of things well today. I think more than anything else, he shrunk the court extremely well with his movement, and that's why I think you saw a ton of errors from me."
   Fish, who's scheduled to play two home matches for the Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis on July 12 and 13, conceded it was "a big, meaningful match for me."
   The 30-year-old Los Angeles resident, who attended high school in the Miami suburb of Boca Raton, fell one victory short of matching his 2011 performance at Key Biscayne. Ranked No. 8, he is in jeopardy of dropping out of the top 10 and being replaced by No. 10 John Isner as the top American. The new rankings will be released Sunday night.
   Fish now is being coached by Mark Knowles, one of the top doubles players of the Open Era (since 1968) and a longtime Capital. Knowles, 40, will continue to play part-time this year and return for his 11th season with the Capitals.
   "He's a huge help," said Fish, who before Key Biscayne hadn't won consecutive matches since reaching the Tokyo semifinals last October. “He's got his work cut out for him the past month or so trying to get me back on track. He's got a great tennis mind. He's been around for a long time. He's played in this era, obviously still plays. We played doubles in 2010 together."
   Monaco, an Argentine who turned 28 Thursday, reached his second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semifinal. He will face top-ranked Novak Djokovic, the defending champion and a two-time Sony Ericsson champion, today at 4 p.m. PDT (ESPN2). Djokovic downed fifth-seeded David Ferrer 6-2, 7-6 (1).
   In today's other semifinal, second-seeded Rafael Nadal, seeking his first Key Biscayne title, will meet fourth-seeded Andy Murray, the 2009 champion, at noon (ESPN2).
   Second-seeded Maria Sharapova will play fifth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska for the women's title Saturday at 9:30 a.m. (CBS). Both are looking for their first Sony Ericsson crown, although Sharapova has appeared in the final three times.
   Sharapova topped fourth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 in the semifinals, and Radwanska beat hobbling Marion Bartoli, seeded seventh, 6-4, 6-2. Bartoli, who on Wednesday handed top-ranked and defending champion Victoria Azarenka her first loss of the year, hurt her left thigh early in the match.
   In the men's doubles semifinals, top-seeded Bob and Mike Bryan fell to seventh seeds and reigning Australian Open champions Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek 6-4, 6-4. The 33-year-old Bryan twins won the Sony Ericsson Open in 2007 and 2008.
   Stanford men lose; Cardinal women roll -- The eighth-ranked Stanford men (10-4), playing for the first time in almost three weeks, suffered a 6-1 loss to No. 7 Pepperdine
(12-6) on Wednesday in Malibu. At No. 1 singles, ninth-ranked Sebastian Fanselow of the Waves defeated No. 84 Bradley Klahn, the 2010 NCAA champion, 6-4, 6-2.
   The fourth-ranked Stanford women (11-0) handed No. 51 UNLV (10-7) a 7-0 loss Wednesday in Las Vegas.
   Sierra College fundraiser -- The third annual Sierra College Women's Tennis Pro/Prep/Am is scheduled for April 21 at 10 a.m. on clay at 8582 Westin Lane in Orangevale. Donations are $125 for players and $25 for spectators or others. All proceeds go to the Sierra women's tennis team.
  Checks may be made out to the Sierra College Women's Tennis Team and mailed to Ben Combs at 8582 Westin Lane, Orangevale, CA 95662.
   For more information, contact Combs at or (916) 425-5889.

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