Tag Archives: Ivan Ljubicic

2012 Sony Ericsson Open – Miami, FL

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Our tennis expert Toni Headley expects Rafael Nadal (pictured above) to flex his muscles in Miami as he takes home the Sony Ericsson Open title.

By Toni Headley

Toni Headley is a tennis expert who worked at ESPN for 10 years and has been a freelance writer there for the past 2 years.  She also previously worked at CBS Sports and has covered every major tennis tournament in the world multiple times.

Tournament Preview:

From the California desert to the beaches of Miami, tennis continues to dominate North America for two more weeks. As the players try to deal with the Indian Wells – Miami double, which is one of the toughest stretches in the tennis season, I am reminded how hard it is to win both. Victoria Azarenka, a two-time champion and the current champion is trying to do just that. She won her first title in 2009 when she defeated Serena Williams. After a dominating win at Indian Wells, Azarenka is the favorite to win here in Miami. She is perfect on the year at 23-0 and has won four titles.  She has become the convincing number one player on the women’s tour.

Roger Federer has won two titles in Miami, defeating Rafael Nadal in 2005 and Ivan Ljubicic in 2006. Federer is the definite favorite to win here after his red-hot start to the year.  He is currently on a 16-match win streak, winning three titles in Rotterdam, Doha, and last week in Indian Wells.  This was his 19th Master Series 1000 title tying Rafael Nadal for the most all time. Since a semifinals lost to Novak Djokovic at the US Open last year, Federer has won 39 of his past 41 matches. Could Roger Federer become the number one ranked player again this year? If he can continue his hot play at the Grand Slam, he very well could. Continue reading

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“Welcome Ryan Harrison”

The American dream of bringing home a title in Flushing looks all but finished as America’s top player, Andy Roddick, went down in a tough loss to Janko Tipsarevic last night. Though there is still a glimmer of hope with Mardy Fish, John Isner, and Sam Querrey all left in the draw.  And have no fear, Ryan Harrison is here. Harrison is an 18-year-old (American) stud out of New Braunfels, Texas.  Could he be the next big thing in American tennis? 

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=5520935&categoryid=2491545 (Harrison ESPN interview with McEnroe)

Harrison defeated the 15th seeded and 17th ranked player in the world, Ivan Ljubicic in his first round match.  This was Harrison’s first time winning a match in a Grand Slam and he accomplished the feat with great grace and ease.  He had the look of a savvy veteran.  In winning this match, Harrison became the first American teenager to defeat a top 20 player in a Grand Slam tournament in over 9 years.  The last American to do this was Andy Roddick.  At the age of 19, Roddick burst onto the scene with a big time victory over the 11th seeded Alex Corretja (at the US Open).  Could this kid be the second coming of ARod? 

Ryan Harrison quietly burst onto the scene a couple of years ago when he won an ATP level match against the world #130 at the time, Pablo Cuevas.  This was at the 2008 US Clay Court Championships.  He became the 3rd youngest player to win a match at this level since 1990 (Nadal, Gasquet were younger), and the 10th player in the history of the ATP to have won a match on tour before the age of 16.  This kid has been a long time coming.  He has just been vastly overlooked until now.  

 I personally saw Harrison play in 2004 when I attended John Newcombe’s Tennis Academy in New Braunfels, Texas (Harrison’s old training grounds).  While walking into the camp that first day, there was a kid out hitting with his father and his little brother (Christian, who is an internationally ranked junior player). The kids were absolutely amazing demonstrating a phenomenal consistency level, outstanding conditioning, and a drive like I had not seen on a tennis court.  Well I got a further taste of the Harrison brothers later in the week during drills and match play.  These kids hit the ball with pace, kept it deep, never missed, and refused to give up on a single point during the course of an 8 hour training day.  I have seen many very strong tennis players in my time, but I knew this kid was the real deal.  Could he finally be realizing his potential now? 

Currently Harrison is the 220th ranked player in the world and rising.  Could he win another match or two this year in Flushing?  I do not see why not.  His next opponent is the 36th ranked player on the tour, Sergi Stakhovsky.  Ryan Harrison is a name to remember now when discussing American tennis.  He brings some hope back to American tennis  connoisseur. 

I know I will be pulling for the youngster to go deep in Flushing. 

Say hello to the world, Ryan Harrison. 

Ryan Harrison provided American tennis with some excitement with a major first round victory yesterday. Could he be another big time American tennis player like the man he is pictured with above, the legendary Pete Sampras?

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze. 

-TheSportsKraze