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With Roger Federer aging, Murray and Nadal having injury problems, and Novak Djokovic expecting to become a father any day now, it isn’t that surprising that some guys like Cilic, Wawrinka or Nishikori are taking their chances and stepping up. Goran won his favorite slam, and he did that after being awarded a wild card since his results were insufficient for a placement in the final draw, which makes him the first and only wild card winner ever!
Marin Cilic didn’t have that kind of mileage behind him, since this was his first Grand Slam final, but his form oscillated a lot since he first entered the top 10, leaving him unable to take a step forward. Like Ivanisevic, Cilic won his first major title on the tournament which suited his game best. In the next tournament in Australia, he went a step further, and cruised to the semifinals, when he was beaten by Murray.
Cilic is an aggressive baseliner, with very strong shots from both ends, he has a great serve, but, until now, his game couldn’t stay consistent enough for him to win three set matches against top opponents. Aging Roger Federer and inconsistent Andy Murray could be in the line for some major trophy too, but, maybe Cilic and the others could step up and start beating the “big four” on all Slams.
However, even if Cilic doesn’t win another Slam, the future of Croatian tennis looks bright.
This week sees the stars of tennis in Winston-Salem for the last stop on the ATP World Tour before the culmination of the Grand Slam season, the US Open.  These quick-fire tournaments are designed to add points to players’ seed scores and get them ready for the American hard court grand slam, and are played weekly following Wimbledon.
It may be tedious to say this year that all eyes are on Roger Federer, but there is a fever pitch to Federer madness this year at the US Open, as his record in 2014 has had many ups and downs. In women’s play, the big ATP upset did not come from new blood as predicted, but from a seasoned veteran in the form of Venus Williams, who beat her sister Serena for the first time in many years in the Rogers Cup in Montreal. It is safe to say that in the women’s tournament, the title is truly up for grabs, as relative unknown Petra Kvitova won Wimbledon, while Maria Sharapova made a comeback to take the French Open. While women’s predictions are a mixed bag, Most fans and tennis experts are looking to Novak Djokovich and Roger Federer to reenact their French Open battle, as Rafael Nadal will sit out this year. With a year full of injuries, upsets and illness, the outcome for the US Open in both men’s and women’s play probably cannot be predicted with any certainty. View gallery.American Taylor Townsend hits a slice a€“ on purpose a€“ on her way to an upset over No. PARIS a€“ Through the first four days, the French Open women's draw has been turned upside down. The top two seeds already are out, victims of relative unknowns GarbiA±e Muguruza and Kristina Mladenovic. We include Townsend here because of her results, but in fact she's two years younger than the rest of the group and has only been a pro for a year and a half.
At the same time, the very uniqueness of Townsend's throwback game is what makes what she has done all the more surprising.
While the players these youngsters have been beating are undeniably better and more accomplished, the kids already are good enough that the top guns can't afford to have a bad day and still win.
A year ago, the American was here for the junior event, losing to Switzerland's Belinda Bencic, the first of three straight times she would lose to an even more highly touted youngster. Suddenly, Townsend is a thing, having beaten countrywoman Vania King, a solid pro, by reeling off 12 of the last 13 games of a 7-5, 6-1 victory then taking out No.
Gone are the hair ribbons and braces that were Townsend's teenage trademarks, replaced by a short, practical haircut and a Nike bandanna to keep it in place. But clearly Muguruza had believers long before she took to Court Suzanne Lenglen on Wednesday and trounced a shocking facsimile of Serena Williams. When she was gifted with a main-draw wild card into the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami two years ago, most people's reaction was, "Huh? An ankle injury sidelined her for the second half of 2013; she had surgery on it during Wimbledon.
Another 6-footer, Mladenovic is the only one of the bunch who already has significant Grand Slam experience. Born in France to Serbian parents who passed along great athletic DNA (according to her WTA bio, which admittedly can exaggerate parents' accomplishments at times, her mother played pro volleyball and her father played pro handball), she was the French Open junior champion five years ago, defeating, among others, American Sloane Stephens in the semifinals. She was a Wimbledon junior finalist that year as well, with a solid list of next-generation conquests: Genie Bouchard in the first round (7-5 in the third set), American Sachia Vickery, Stephens again (6-1, 6-0 in the quarters). At the Australian Open, playing the deuce side with the lefty Nestor, we witnessed Mladenovic taking a pretty good serve from longtime men's doubles star Leander Paes and crush it across her body and right down the line, past a completely flabbergasted Paes. Like most French players, she has a solid idea of what to do on the tennis court, how to play tennis as opposed to just hit tennis balls, and every shot she needs.

The 19-year-old from Slovakia was as shocked as anyone when she ended up on Court Philippe Chatrier on Wednesday and defeated Venus Williams in three sets. She was bypassed last month during the Fed Cup, when the Slovaks traveled to Quebec City to face Bouchard and Team Canada without the presence of their top three players (Cibulkova, Hantuchova and Rybarikova).
Honoary mention on this list goes to Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia, another of the 1993-94 crop who turned 21 a few weeks ago.
Tomjanovic, who trains out of Chris Evert's Academy in Boca Raton, Florida, has defeated former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone and No.
She also defeated Muguruza in the first round in Miami in March and Mladenovic in the first round in Strasbourg, France, 10 days ago.
Serena Williams will play against 'the future of American tennis' in the first round of the U.S. Townsend had a breakout year in junior’s tennis in 2012, becoming the first American to be ranked the No. Sunday hosts the final game of the 2015-16 Premier League season, but for Tim Howard, it also marks his final game for Everton. Saturday was an exceedingly tough one on the greens for golfers at the 2016 Players Championship.
Karlie Kloss is a beauty in baby blue while arriving at the 2014 USTA Opening Night Gala at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday (August 25) in Flushing, N.Y.
Both Cilic and Wawrinka were huge underdogs in Australia and USA, but they managed to win the title with terrific games, both beating crowned Grand Slam champions on their road to glory. His coach, Goran Ivanisevic, was the first, and his win came in Wimbledon 2001, in his fourteenth attempt! After three disappointments in the Wimbledon finals in 1992, 1994 and 1998 and loses to Agassi in five sets, Sampras in three, and again Sampras in five, he won the final against Rafter, again in five sets, and wrote history for Croatian tennis. Many believed then that Cilic’s first Slam trophy would come soon enough, but after that his form went down, and he couldn’t cope with high expectations. Running into an opponent who could keep up with him during each point would usually mean that Cilic would break down and lose the match, and that was a common occurrence, as he is inconsistent. He showed signs of improved consistency on Wimbledon already – it took Djokovic five sets to beat him in the quarter finals, and the credit should be given to his coach Ivanisevic. Young Borna Coric stepped up into the big scene this season, beating some top 100 players in the tournament held in Umag, and here in US Open, cruising through the qualifiers, and then beating 27th seed Lukas Rosol in the first round.
He is 176th on the ATP list at the moment, and we expect that he will do well in the next season! With the US Open less than two days away, they serve as the final predictors of who will shine and who will fall. Federer may not have any Grand Slam titles yet this year, but he took the title in the ATP Cincinnati tournament and made the finals in Wimbledon. The 34 year old elder Williams sister has maintained her status as an elite player in doubles, however is seeded 26th in singles while her younger sister Serena is still ranked first in the world despite an injury and health problems which caused her to withdraw from doubles play at Wimbledon.
Hard court play was a little more predictable earlier in the season, with Li Na taking her third title in the Australian Open, so she may be the favorite going into the US Open, but not by a very wide margin.
John Isner and Jo-Wilfred Tsonga are also looking strong, however, and should not be discounted.
All of the major players have had their ups and downs throughout the 2013-2014 season, while some lower-ranked players have managed to shine through the usual suspects to show potential in the next generation of athletes.
A 19-year-old named Anna Schmiedlova took care of Venus Williams on Court Philippe Chatrier. Generally, it takes players who have a variety of ways to win points more time to put all the pieces of the puzzle together and choose the right way, at the right moments. And the nationality (born in Venezuela and raised in Spain, she will make a decision who she'll represent in Fed Cup this fall) is to be determined. Muguruza took a different route, foregoing the junior circuit for the most part and not doing much of anything impressive when she did play it. In her only junior Grand Slam appearance, Muguruza qualified and lost in the second round in Paris four years ago to Lyudmyla Kichenok of Ukraine. Who?" But when she went on to defeat a top-10 player in her second-ever WTA Tour main-draw match, No. Her run with Canadian veteran Daniel Nestor a€“ old enough to be her father, although one might not want to bring that up to him a€“ already has produced a Wimbledon mixed doubles trophy and an Australian Open mixed trophy to display on her mantlepiece.

She lost to Noppawan Lertcheewakarn, who beat everyone in the juniors but has yet to break through in the pros. At nearly 34, dealing with Sjogren's disease, she's basically just happy to be there even if she obviously has designs to compete at the highest level.
Schmiedlova doesn't overdo things, which is a mature attitude many of her contemporaries don't share, and she moves absolutely beautifully for a player listed at 5-foot-9 and 140 pounds. We've always put her in that little group along with Muguruza and Mladenovic because the girl can serve. You can get excited about one good win, one good week, and be tempted to anoint any one of these players the next big thing.
20 Aliza Cornet at the French Open as a wild card entry on the day both Williams sisters lost. On his road he beat second seeded Andy Murray in the fourth round in straight sets, but then he fell to Juan Martin Del Potro, who then went on to win the title. It is interesting that Nishikori is coached by Michael Chang, also a former Grand Slam champion, and Murray won his only two Slams led by the legendary Ivan Lendl. He won this Slam in unique circumstances, playing against someone who, just like him, never was in a Slam final, and his only win against crowned champions was against Roger Federer. On the men’s side John Isner and David Ferrer also look to be players to watch, as Ferrer has done well all season and Isner is blowing through opponents in Winston-Salem. Tsonga did, after all, beat Federer to win the Rogers Cup in early August, and Isner is favored to win the ATP Cup at Winston-Salem this week. One thing is for certain: the weeks leading up to this year’s US Open seem to be less about practice for the last grand slam of the season and more about gaining insight into who will be the next champion in singles play.
And 18-year-old American Taylor Townsend, who earned her way to Paris by doing well at a series of minor-league events half a world away in the American south on a surface that isn't even true red clay, has announced her terre battue arrival with a big bang.
On the other hand, that very variety, that extreme level of comfort in the forecourt and the pressure it puts on the opponent, is what can allow her to move up quickly. After her victory over Serena Williams and in a press conference afterward that lasted nearly as long as the match, Muguruza got a chance to show off an impressive pair of dimples, and a sunny attitude that will serve her well in the more challenging moments to come. 9 Vera Zvonareva, then Flavia Pennetta on her way to the fourth round, it opened some eyes.
Also, a fearless player and a flashy shotmaker who will eventually figure out a€“ at least, you hope a€“ how to temper that a little bit with that basic tenet of tennis, which is to get the ball over the net one more time than your opponent.
10 in the ITF junior rankings and reached the French Open junior final two years ago, defeating Townsend in the third round and losing to Germany's Annika Beck in the final. But they have to do it in Baku, Azerbaijan, with five people in the stands and absolutely nothing familiar on the room-service menu.
Open champion Serena Williams’ first round match is against an American girl who one day may challenge her unbelievable records.
Now it is becoming obvious that the contributions of these former Slam winners are crucial to their young apprentices, especially when it comes to the mental side of their game. If Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal prepare themselves well for the next season, both physically and mentally, they will be the favorites of all Slams for sure. Though there may be less uncertainty about the outcome of the men’s final than the women’s, there still may not be a clear runaway candidate for the US Open final this year. Mladenovic and Muguruza are tall ones who can actually serve a€“ that this is an accomplishment that needs to be highlighted is a sad fact, but another discussion entirely.
It was a good junior career, not great, and that's pretty much where it ended as she headed out on the pro circuit. Flashy, platinum blonde and full of charisma in five languages, Mladenovic wants the spotlight badly, but as yet she's still to understand exactly how much daily work goes into earning it, getting it, and keeping it.
OpenModels Lindsay Ellingson & Tyson Beckford Bring Their Significant Others to US Open!

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