— Organizers of an exhibition tennis event are hoping the rising star power of Milos Raonic and Genie Bouchard will help fill the Bell Centre for a night.
Raonic, Canada’s top-ranked men’s player of all time at No. 15, and Wimbledon junior champion Bouchard will take on opponents yet to be determined at the Montreal Rendez-Vous on March 18.
“It was a delightful opportunity because I’ve tried to do the same thing in Toronto to help the sport grow,” Raonic said at the announcement on Monday. “Tennis is difficult.
Players and organizers spoke of top talent like Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or even Roger Federer as possible opponents for Raonic and Serena Williams or Maria Sharapova for Bouchard, but it remains to be seen who they will face.
“Anyone’s special,” said 18-year-old Bouchard, the Westmount, Que., native who won junior titles in singles and doubles at Wimbledon and is now tackling a pro career. “I’ll see how I do against an opponent like that.
“After the off-season, I’ll start again in January and play lots of pro tournaments and hopefully I’ll be a better player than I am now.”
The event is run by StarGames, Madison Square Garden and local promoter Evenko. The event started last year with former stars like Andre Agassi and Ivan Lendl and drew 8,200 fans.
“We know that the 2013 version, headlined by Milos Raonic, will be even more compelling to the Montreal market,” StarGames president Jerry Solomon said.
“It’ll be top level, world class players. Some of them are players who have played for us in other events. It’s a great date on the international tennis calendar. They have a few days off between Indian Wells and Miami, so it works well for them.”
Solomon said a similar event is going into its sixth year in New York and he plans to announce a third one in another city on another continent soon.
Milos Raonic wanted a dominating win Sunday after what he felt was a lax effort two days earlier.
He did exactly that and in dominant fashion, beating Izak van der Merwe 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 to clinch the Davis Cup best-of-five series over South Africa.
The victory secures Canada’s spot in the elite World Group, while South Africa is relegated to zone play.
Raonic was happy he won his opening singles match but wasn’t pleased with his performance. With the World Group spot in sight, the 21-year-old from Thornhill, Ont., took to the court hungry to finish on top.
“I came out with more of an accomplished goal, other than winning. I came out, did a lot of things well, played on my terms and did what I wanted to do,” he said. “The other day I waited for him to lose to me. Today, I played.”
Vasek Pospisil won the other singles matches in straight sets Friday, but the Canadians missed a chance to clinch Saturday at Uniprix Stadium when Toronto’s Daniel Nestor and Vancouver’s Pospisil lost to van der Merwe and Raven Klaasen in doubles.
South Africa entered the tie matches down two of its top players. Kevin Anderson didn’t travel to Montreal and Rik de Voest was forced to withdraw on the eve of the tournament with a wrist injury.
“We came here wanting to win but unfortunately things didn’t work out the way we planned. Obviously Rik getting injured didn’t help our cause,” South Africa captain John Laffnie de Jager said. “Two of our top guys didn’t play. The team that was here did their best. . .We’ve just got to keep fighting.”
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain rallied to beat Russian wild card Evgeny Donskoy 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 Monday in the first round of the St. Petersburg Open.
The seventh-seeded Spaniard struggled with his serve early, dropping the first set and trailing 3-1 in the second, but his form picked up and he broke the 121st-ranked Donskoy twice to even the match at one set apiece.
Garcia Lopez broke decisively in the fourth game of the third set and finished the match by serving out to love.
In other first-round action, Italy’s Flavio Cipolla advanced with 7-6 (4), 7-6 (6) win over qualifier Andrei Vasilevski of Belarus and Rajeev Ram of the United States beat Matthias Bachinger of Germany 6-4, 6-4.
Ram broke Bachinger early in the first set but fell 4-1 down in the second before winning five consecutive games.
Mikhail Youzhny, the 2004 champion and a two-time runner-up, is the top-seeded player in the 18th edition of the tournament.
News from 37 week 2012 : 10 September to 16 September
Sunday, September 16, 2012
Saturday, September 15, 2012
Friday, September 14, 2012
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Monday, September 10, 2012
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