Kevin Fixler
    Sport Matters

9 August 2015

Kei Nishikori up to world No. 4 after downing John Isner in Citi Open final

On Saturday, after a tight semi-final victory in Washington DC, John Isner told the crowd that he’d need them out in full force the next day to win the title. They did their part on Sunday, showing up and providing him with backing in the championship match against world No5 Kei Nishikori, but it was not enough as the top-ranked American lost in a hard-fought three-setter, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.

In a match where Nishikori was only a little better than his opponent, the final outcome was never obvious until late in the match. That’s in part because it featured just three breaks of serve. The first was for Isner, but it was the latter two for Nishikori that were ultimately the difference.

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23 June 2015

He courted Wimbledon wins and controversy

After losing the first set to the reigning Wimbledon champ on July 3, 1920, the upper-crust Pennsylvanian looked destined for defeat. But the American hadn’t devoted those many months to honing his backhand to be disgraced by his well-built Australian opponent. So instead of matching stroke for stroke to overcome his rival, this “consummate tactician” relied on his brains.

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26 August 2014

Serena Williams and the Decline of American Tennis

The parking lots are full, but there’s only a sparse crowd this afternoon in Center Court of the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio, when the chair umpire of this Cincinnati Open semifinal calls time. Serena Williams, wearing a violet sleeveless top and black miniskirt, with a bright yellow headband over her flowing, highlighted hair, moseys to the right baseline, settles atop it, and begins to sway back and forth awaiting the first serve of the match.

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28 August 2013

‘The Battle of the Sexes’ is Back: Serena vs. the Men

“If I were to play Andy Murray, I would lose 6-0, 6-0 in five to six minutes,” Serena Williams told David Letterman on the Late Show last week. “I wouldn’t do Billie Jean any justice, so Andy, stop it. I’m not gonna let you kill me.”

The No. 1-ranked women’s tennis player was responding to a challenge that Wimbledon champion Murray issued in June. Williams indicated the debate over arguably the greatest female player of all time versus the men should remain exactly that—a debate. “Yeah, maybe we can have a little bit of a showdown,” Williams joked at Wimbledon. “I get alleys. He gets no serves. I get alleys on my serves, too. He gets no legs, yeah.”

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30 November 2012

Does tennis have a doping problem?

After the revelation of Lance Armstrong’s systematic doping offered yet one more example of widespread performance-enhancing-drug use in professional cycling, another popular international endurance sport is under heavy scrutiny: Tennis.

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16 June 2011

Stewart Cink gears up for the U.S. Open

The 111th edition of the U.S. Open Championship teed off Thursday, and without Tiger lurking, the American portion of the field is feeling quite confident, though because of golf’s global expansion, they are still not quite out of the woods.

One such hopeful is 38-year-old Stewart Cink, an Alabama native and six-time winner on the PGA tour. He enters the season’s second major tournament, which is being held at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., ranked 71st according to the Official World Golf Rankings, having already accrued what is approaching $1 million in earnings this season after making 12 of 14 cuts. But if he is going to accomplish the vaunted feat, nerves are something he’ll need to manage.

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