Ivanisevic Tops List of Ace Servers
31 October 2001
LONDON (Reuters) - There is no mystery to the source of Goran Ivanisevic's meteoric return to form -- latest figures reveal the giant Croatian is back atop the ATP Tour's list of ace servers.
After plumbing the depths of tennis mediocrity, the 30-year-old rewrote history this year by becoming the first wildcard to win the Wimbledon men's singles crown, avenging three defeats in the final there in the 1990s.
The keystone of his famous victory and subsequent vault back up the rankings has been his brutal left-handed serve, as figures released this week by the governing body of men's tennis show.
Ivanisevic has hit more aces this year than any other man on the Tour -- 715 in 44 matches, an average of more than 16 per match.
By contrast, Britain's Greg Rusedski, holder of the fastest-ever serve, has managed 622, but took 59 matches to amass that number.
Ivanisevic crashes out in opening round
30 October 2001
Goran Ivanisevic wasted two match points before losing 6-4 3-6 7-6 to Sweden's Andreas Vinciguerra in his opening match at the Paris Masters.
He conceded the second-round match with a wasteful forehand that he volleyed into the net.
Ivanisevic, served 27 aces against Vinciguerra, 14 of them in the final set.
At 4-6 down in the tiebreaker, the 20-year-old Swede saved match point with a winning crosscourt forehand.
He saved another with a forehand smash, and completed the match two points later.
He next plays either Karol Kucera of Slovakia or Russia's Safin, the reigning champion.
Ivanisevic Qualifies for Masters Cup in Sydney
30 October 2001
LONDON (Reuters) - Goran Ivanisevic has qualified for the Tennis Masters Cup, the sixth player to be named out of a total of eight places at the tournament in Sydney next month, the ATP said Sunday.
The Wimbledon champion joins American Andre Agassi, winner of the Australian Open, Brazilian Gustavo Kuerten, who won the French Open, U.S. Open winner Lleyton Hewitt, fellow Australian Pat Rafter and Spain's Juan Carlos Ferrero for the prestigious event from November 12 to 18.
"Having Ivanisevic in the line-up means that all four Grand Slam champions for 2001 have now qualified for the tournament," said tournament promoter Simon Baggs on the ATP's official Web site.
"Sydney has never seen a tournament like the Tennis Masters Cup before...The contests between the players are going to be tremendous," he said.
The 30-year-old Croat is no stranger to the Masters Cup, having been semifinalist three times and winning the Grand Slam Cup in 1995.
"It's a great honor to be there and whatever you do it's great," said Ivanisevic. "You can't leave the Tennis Masters Cup as a loser there because you are a winner already by qualifying and you leave there as a winner," he said.
The two remaining places will go to either Marat Safin or Yevgeny Kafelnikov of Russia, Britain's Tim Henman or American Pete Sampras.
Qualifiers are decided from the top seven finishers in the ATP Champions Race 2001 after the final tournament of the season -- the Tennis Masters Series in Paris this week -- with the eighth place reserved for the highest-placed Grand Slam Winner of the year.
Ivanisevic is ranked 13th in the ATP Champions race.
Of the remaining four possible qualifiers, ahead of the Paris tournament, Kafelnikov is ranked sixth, Sampras eighth, Henman 10th and Safin 13th.
Safin Sets Up Kafelnikov Clash
26 October 2001
By Gennady Fyodorov
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) - Defending champion Marat Safin overpowered Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic 6-3, 7-6 at the St. Petersburg Open on Friday to set up an all-Russian semifinal against Yevgeny Kafelnikov.
Safin, seeded number three, hammered 14 aces against the hard-hitting Croatian, who struggled for consistency on his first serve.
"I was serving well and my volley game was just as good," Safin said. "And as I play well my confidence goes up, so there was little problem for me tonight. The win also leaves me with a chance to make the Masters Cup in Sydney and I will fight to get there to the very end."
Safin broke Ivanisevic in the seventh game for a 4-3 lead, then took his serve again in the ninth game to clinch the first set.
In the second, the fifth-seeded Croat, dissatisfied with line calls on several occasions, started complaining to the umpire.
At one point, he climbed up the official's chair to make his point after a serve was called out.
Nevertheless, both players held serve until the second-set tie-break, in which Ivanisevic faltered again while Safin hit a couple of aces and service winners to blitz his opponent 7-0, finishing off the match in just 71 minutes.
"I know that it will be a very tough match tomorrow," Safin said of the highly-anticipated duel against his close friend Kafelnikov.
"The semifinal will me much tougher than the final, but it will be good for the public to watch us play each other," he added.
Match Point Mirnyi
22 October 2001
Ivanisevic Strong at St. Petersburg
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) - Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic used his strong serve to beat Nicolas Massu 6-2, 6-3 Monday in the first round of the $800,000 St. Petersburg Open.
The fifth-seeded Ivanisevic put 66 percent of his first serves in and hit 14 aces.
The only other seeded player in action, No. 8 Nicolas Escude, lost to Vladimir Voltchkov 6-2, 7-6 (4).
Also, Fabrice Santoro defeated Michael Elgin, and Daniel Vacek eliminated Olivier Rochus in straight sets, while Alberto Martin outlasted Lars Burgsmuller 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Match Point Mirnyi
18 October 2001
Max Mirnyi continued his impressive run at TMS Stuttgart with a victory over Goran Ivanisevic.
Max Mirnyi saved match points for the third time this week when he defeated Goran Ivanisevic 4-6, 7-6(6), 7-6(8) to reach the quarterfinals of Tennis Masters Series Stuttgart.
Mirnyi, who saved match points in qualifying against Ö and then again when he played ATP Champions Race leader Gustavo Kuerten in the second round, will play Pete Sampras or Marcelo Rios on Friday.
After a classic match, the man known as 'The Beast' paid tribute to his tournament fan club, who shouted for him throughout.
"It was great to see a good crowd here tonight," said Mirnyi. "To present this type of tennis in front of them. It certainly makes it more exciting to play. You have some kind of special cheering going on there. They've got their songs down, so it makes it very exciting."
Defending champion Wayne Ferreira was another man to advance in exciting style. The South African did the Tennis Masters Cup chances of Sebastien Grosjean no good at all as he won through 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(7).
Ferreira will play Lleyton Hewitt in a re-match of their classic final of last year, if the Australian can find a way past tough Argentine Guillermo Canas.
Ivanisevic Overcomes Philippoussis
16 October 2001
Goran Ivanisevic moves into the third round with a three-set win over Mark Philippoussis.
In a bruising second round match, Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic came up with the shots when he needed them most to overcome Mark Philippoussis 7-6(1), 3-6, 6-3.
With both men serving enormously throughout, Ivanisevic squeezed through the first set, but had to withstand some inspired Philippoussis play to prevail. The Australian slammed down 20 aces to the Croatian's 16, but it wasn't enough.
Vienna seeds culled as Ivanisevic falls
10 October 2001
By Tom Armitage
VIENNA (Reuters) - Fifth seed and Wimbledon Champion Goran Ivanisevic tumbled out of the Vienna CA Trophy in the first round, losing 6-7 6-3 6-3 to an inspired Michael Chang.
Ivanisevic's departure followed the elimination of favourite Yevgeny Kafelnikov and was the latest in a series of first-round upsets for seeded players after Alex Corretja and Carlos Moya of Spain and Frenchman Fabrice Santoro all failed to progress.
The Croatian said he had fought hard to hold the first set against Chang but added the American's game in the final two sets was "unbelievable".
"I have played him 10 times and he has never played like that against me," Ivanisevic told reporters after the match.
But the Wimbledon Champion joined Wednesday's other defeated players, including Britain's Greg Rusedski, in criticising the choice of balls and the court conditions which they said had slowed the game down.
"It is very slow," Ivanisevic said. "And after three games the balls are so big and have so much hair they just do not go anywhere."
Number one seed Yevgeny Kafelnikov of Russia, who was defeated 7-6 6-3 by Czech Bohdan Ulihrach, also said he had not felt comfortable with the conditions at the $800,000 tournament.
"It felt like we were playing with hockey pucks, the balls were that hard," said Kafelnikov, who was fresh from winning his fifth consecutive Kremlin Cup title in Moscow last weekend.
"I felt fresh and I felt I was playing well enough to win another title but I was just unable to adjust to the conditions."
Earlier, Rusedski slumped to a 6-2 6-2 defeat at the hands of another Czech player, Jiri Novak, in just over an hour.
The British number two, who won this tournament two years ago, agreed with Kafelnikov that the conditions were not ideal, adding that the organisers' attempts to speed up the hard court surfaces this year had not worked.
"I played my usual indoor hardcourt match...but this is even slower than clay," Rusedski said.
Novak will next meet Germany's Tommy Haas, who went through after his first-round opponent, Frenchman Jerome Golmard, retired with a knee injury when trailing 3-0 in the opening set.