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     ASIA MUHAMMAD - Agassi protege- BRINGS IT HOME FOR VEGAS

Muhammad, who last year almost beat the #113 player in the world, but lost in the third set tie breaker, sailed into the second round of the Hilton Cup with a 6-4, 6-0 win over Hungarian Melinda Czink. She faces the seventh seeded Tatjana Malek of Germany in the second round. Asia, who has been traveling on the tour this past year with professional tennis coach and USTA-Nevada President Tim Blenkiron, has had incredible results. Months ago she reached the semifinals of one pro event, then weeks later won her first pro tournament in Houston. Muhammad then was chosen by the United States Tennis Association to be among the top 8 American pros to compete for the Australian Open Grand Slam wild card, where Asia beat the #115 girl in the world Bethany Mattek. This just weeks after reaching the US OPEN Jr doubles semi finals. Asia, a child helped and supported by the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation, is a high level student and player, thanks to the Agassi Foundations strong emphasis on academic excellence. Every child that has gone through their program has gotten a college scholarship, and at 16 Asia will do that at a minimum. Attending Laurel Springs, the private school of online learning, Muhammad is able to travel and still keep up with her grades which have always been A's and B's, thanks to the Agassi's Foundation tutoring program.
MORE FACTS ON ASIA:

1. Tennis Channel Open 2007, almost beats #113 in the world player, loses in third set tie breaker, with Andre looking on.
Article and photos here (Permission granted to anyone to use photos)
http://www.vegastennis.com/getarticlescreen.event?id=100005167

2. Few months later Asia reaches semifinals of pro tournament. A few weeks after that she wins her first pro tournament.
Article and photos here:
http://www.vegastennis.com/getarticlescreen.event?id=100020616

3. This past year she reached the semifinals of junior US Open in doubles. Few weeks ago Asia beat #115 in the world Bethany Mattek.

4. Asia has 3.6 gpa and boasts A's and B's at very challenging online "Laurel Springs Ivy League Prep School"

5. Asia is part of the Andre Agassi Foundation program and is coached by Tim Blenkiron, and supported by the Foundation

6. ITF Bio and player profile, including head to head
http://www.itftennis.com/womens/players/player.asp?player=100079003

http://www.tennischannelopen.com/video/video_player.html?videox=tennis_in_vegas.flv

TENNIS CHANNELS ONLINE VIDEO ABOUT LAS VEGAS TENNIS - Grass roots Tennis

http://www.tennischannelopen.com/video/video_player.html?videox=Grassroots_Tennis.flv

MONDAY VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS ONLINE

http://www.tennischannelopen.com/video/video_player.html?videox=monday_3.flv

TUESDAY VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS ONLINE

http://www.tennischannelopen.com/video/video_player.html?videox=tuesday_1.flv

WEDNESDAY VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS ONLINE

http://www.tennischannelopen.com/video/video_player.html?videox=wednesday_1.flv
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Thanks for making this event possible......
THOMPSON TWINS GET WILD CARD IN DOUBLES

Catrina and Christian Thompson have always been #1, in the US Juniors, then on scholarship at Notre Dame they obtained an NCAA #1 Doubles ranking. This past year they have won 3 pro tournaments and today was the first time they played under the pressure of a home crowd.

According to onlookers the girls did what Asia did her first year in front of a crowd, played tentative, tight, perhaps effected by the magnitude of the opportunity. This is to be expected as Asia took a big loss yesterday in doubles and shaking off those nerves with a loss is what may have helped her go out there swinging today. The Thompsons had the same revival, but not until the second set after losing the first and being down 5-0. Then many said the girls played their usual self and won 3 straight games before going down 6-3 in the second. The duop girls, who started with Craig Whitcher at Lorenzi and have been coached by Ken Shioi for years, could be among the best doubles team in the world, like their men counterparts who focused just on doubles, the Bryans.

Right now team Thompson is looking to win their fourth doubles pro title and a lot of that depends on getting some sponsors and supporters so the girls can tarvel and get the points needed to get the ranking that it takes to make a living on the tour. They have always found a way to become the best, from juniors , to college and now on the tour there is no reason why that can not be duplicated.

OTHER FORMER LOCAL SAM QUERREY STAYS IN DRAW

Sam Querrey (U.S.) beat 8-Nicolas Kiefer (Germany) 6-3 6-1, showing why he is names as the next American super star. Latino's taking charge - Guillermo Canas (Argentina) beat Chris Guccione (Australia) 6-2 7-5 and Amer Delic (U.S.) beat 5-Potito Starace (Italy) 6-3 3-0.


WEDNESDAY NIGHT HIGHLIGHTS

YELLOW AND WHITE OUT - raised over $30,000 for cancer research

Rob Kinas put on one of the best charity events tied to a tennis tournament ever done, according to Wayne Bryan. Thousands wore yellow and white shirts to show solidarity in the fight to cure cancer. Kinas garnered the support of countless people in the tennis community, the Tennis Channel, Bryan Brothers, City Councilman Larry Brown and Ricki Barlow. Benefiting and partners with the Tennis Channel for this event is the Lance Armstrong Foundation and the American Cancer Society.

Hewitt moves aside for Baghdatis, Gonzales, Canas and phenom Querrey

Unseeded Julien Benneteau upset defending Tennis Channel Open champion Lleyton Hewitt 6-3, 7-5 to advance to the third round in Las Vegas. Hewitt had a hard time making most of his first serves and seemed off from the start. The former #1 champion is still in the tournament though in doubles, as well as Marat Safin.

Benneteaut, who got much support from local Frenchman Stephane Mathue-Cambas and Romain Massaro, had an extrordinary night. His next challenge is American Sam Querrey who breezed past fourth-seeded Nicolas Kiefer 6-3, 6-1 earlier in the afternoon. Australian Hewitt, a three-times winner of the tournament, had reached the final in five of his six previous appearances in the event. Fifth seed Potito Starace and number eight Nicolas Kiefer were also knocked out. Benneteau, the world number 61, failed on his first attempt to serve out the match but broke Hewitt again and held to set up a clash with unseeded American Sam Querrey who needed less than an hour to eliminate Kiefer.

“It’s a good win,” Benneteau told reporters after reaching his second quarter-final of the year. “I’m very happy about this match and I hope to be fit like this in the quarter-final on Friday.”

The top-seeded doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan eased into the second round with a comprehensive 6-2, 6-1 win over Guillermo Canas and Sergio Roitman. The two-time Tennis Channel Open champions will face the Australian Davis Cup team of Lleyton Hewitt and Chris Guccione in round two.

THURSDAY HIGHLIGHTS

Fabulous Las Vegas Night – hosted by Mayor Oscar B. Goodman

First 500 fans will receive a blanket or bobblehead courtesy of the City of Las Vegas

- Showgirls, Marilyn Monroe

- Show Tunes by Ellie Smith in the plaza

- Aaron Fatheringham, Hard Core Sitting Demonstrations at 5:00PM and 6:45PM

- National Anthem by The Fabulous Las Vegas Tenors (Las Vegas Hilton)

- Iouri & Nikolai from V Variety Theatre will perform between the first and second match

- Wheelchair Tennis Exhibition

THURSDAY DAY SESSION - GREAT MATCHES TO WATCH

1. HILTON CUP has great womens pro tennis matches starting at 10am

2. LOCAL PHENOM - 11:30am - Asia Muhammad plays singles in her second round, attempting to repeat today's victory, followed by another junior phenom Coco Vandeweghe

3. Fernando Gonzales vs Korolev at noon

4. Super tall American super star John Isner plays after Gonzales match, around 1:30pm

THURSDAY NIGHT - GREAT MATCHES TO WATCH

1. Bryan Brothers vs Lleyton Hewitt/Chris Guccione

2. Singles Marcos Baghdatis vs Robby Ginepri

ARTICLES

Wednesday recap

By Ed Ureta

SECOND SEED LLEYTON HEWITT KNOCKED OUT BY FRENCHMAN BENNETEAU!


Former number one player in the world Hewitt was upset by Julien Benneteau in two straight sets tonight. Benneteau cliched the match close to two hours of match play and took it in a astonishing score of 6-2,7-5. Benneteau went against all ods in winning the match, first the whole crowd was with Hewitt, two Benneteau has been struggling in the rankings lately. As soon as the match was over i spoke with the public to get feedback. Glad,impressed,happy, and excited were some of the many words that the public felt about the Frenchmans performance against Hewitt. Two days ago i took a poll and only 8 percent of this years public believed that Hewitt was going to win the whole tournament. 47 percent said Gonzalez and 43 percent said Baghdatis, and only two said Kiefer. This tournament is still fully alive with many entertaining Foreigners, and it could be that Baghdatis could meet Gonzalez this Saturday on court for the semifinals!

LOCAL PLAYER MUHAMMED WINS FIRST ROUND MATCH


The 16 year-old sensation from Las Vegas, Nevada beat the 149 player in the world to get into second round. Asia ended up winning the match in two straight sets 6-2,7-5. The seats in Stadium two where she was playing were practically full and people like Kevin Janeson(Channel 3 Weather Man) and Daren Cahill(Lleyton Hewitt's coach and ESPN commentator) were watching this match. Asia knew there were many tough competitors in this challenger which is why she came into this match playing every point tough. "I knew that i had her frustrated by the second set, which is why i made her hit more balls towards the end of the match", commented Muhammed. Muhammed is also very proud to finally have her first win in her home town. Muhammed next plays the 4th seed somewhere around tomorrow close to twelve in the afternoon.
A NIGHT FULL WITH SUCCESS GOING TOWARDS CANCER


People like Larry Brown,Ricky Barlow, Julia Pessani, David Edges, and Rob Kenis were all a huge part in putting this event together. Carina Moralio a former tennis professional who played with Lindsay Davenport and was a number one player in the world was once diagnosed with cancer but with the help of doctors with new prescription drugs and positive influence from friend and family was able to fight it off. Moralio stated at the end that this would have never been able to have been made possible without Rob Kenis. Another present tennis player who was diagnosed with cancer Lucas Arnold Ker from Argentina was out for an entire year from playing tennis. This man thanked American doctors and prescription drugs for his well state of being. Arnold Ker is presently playing doubles with Fernando Gonzalez and are schedule to play tomorrow afternoon. At the end over 85 percent of tonights spectators who came to the event wore white or yellow which was way over the cancer foundations goal.
COUNCILMEN LARRY BROWN AND RICKY BARLOW DELIGHTED WITH TENNIS CHANNEL OPEN


Both of these men are a huge part of having a say to both the city and community. They also helped with a large amount in assisting the cancer foundation for tonights event in center court.I had the chance to interview both of these men. Larry Brown stated "This is a dream come true, this week so far has been fantastic". " We had over a thousand kids here yesterday for kids night, and tomorrow is vegas night so im looking forward to it", stated Brown. Ricky Barlow also commented towards this tornament and this is what he had to share with me."This tournament is wonderful in many levels, one of them is to have yougsters having the luxury of having top players in the world in their own backyard" said barlow. Las Vegas is the entertainment capital in the world and as everyday goes by this tournament gets bigger and bigger.
TENNIS CHANNEL'S JOEL DRUCKER- GREAT TENNIS WRITER

Morning Line - Thursday, March 6th
By Joel Drucker

John Isner vs. Kevin Anderson
Two giants continue a rivalry from college, Isner winning both times they played last year. Still in his freshman year as a pro, Isner is working hard to build an all-court game that parleys his big serve into smart attack and appropriate defense. Anderson's also has a big serve, so this one's going to come down to who can strike the returns and take charge. Isner's maturity should be enough to get him to the quarters in three.

Fernando Gonzalez vs. Evgeny Korolev
An impressive semifinalist here a year ago, Korolev can rip the ball off both sides. Like most Russians, the backhand in particular is a sleek, brute of a shot, timed nicely and deceptively elegant. Per usual, Gonzalez will come out smoking, looking to speak loudly with his forehand and neutralize Korolev with variety on the backhand. Serving quality will be telling, and though Korolev will strike his share of whoppers, the cumulative consistency of Gonzalez will make the difference. Gonzalez in two.

Marcos Baghdatis vs. Robby Ginepri
Highly attractive match between an engaging shotmaker and resurging grinder - each also with deceptive fine motor skills. Once Baghdatis got through a tight opening set in the first round versus Vincent Spadea, he started to flow as only he can, taking balls early, striking shots into the corners. Under the guidance of guru Jose Higueras, Ginepri's been playing solid tennis, calibrating patience and offense. He'll need more of the latter if he's to dent Baghdatis. Not an easy task, but if the elements are distracting Baghdatis it could get quite spicy. It's the best matchup of the tournament to date. Baghdatis in three.


- Joel Drucker

ATPTOUR.COM News

Argentine Guillermo Canas, the No. 4 seed, booked his place in the Tennis Channel Open quarterfinals with a 6-2, 7-5 win over Australian qualifier Chris Guccione on Wednesday in Las Vegas.

He was the only seeded player to advance Wednesday, as No. 2 and defending champion Lleyton Hewitt, No. 5 Potito Starace and No. 8 Nicolas Kiefer all tumbled out in second round action.

Canas broke Guccione's serve four times in 14 chances to reach his first ATP quarterfinal since early October at Metz. He will also be making his first appearance in the event quarterfinals after failing to advance past the second round in his previous two visits, in 2001 and '02 when the tournament was held in Scottsdale.

"When you play with these tough players or big serve players, it's always dangerous," said Canas. "But I feel very confident in my game; I'm returning very well, I'm moving very well. It was great and I'm very happy."

The World No. 20 is contesting his second event of the 2008 season, having been sidelined the first part of the year with left wrist tendonitis.

He will next face American qualifier Amer Delic, who advanced when Italian No. 5 seed Potito Starace retired with a back injury while trailing 6-3, 3-0.

Delic said about the windy conditions on court: "I think it bothered him a little, but I think the fact that I played here on Sunday and won the qualifying matches in wind that was probably five times worse than today probably helped me out. This was just a breeze today."

The 25-year-old Delic, who defeated last year's runner-up Jurgen Melzer in the first round, will be making his first career appearance in an ATP quarterfinal. He is currently ranked No. 126 and had won just two ATP-level matches coming into Las Vegas.

"Definitely feels good to get through for the first time," he said. "No better place to get lucky than in Vegas, I guess."

Benneteau fights through, Querrey feeling good

American Sam Querrey needed just 58 minutes to get past eighth-seeded German Nicolas Kiefer 6-3, 6-1. He converted on five of his six break point opportunities against the 2004 runner-up to reach the Las Vegas quarterfinals for the second straight year.

"I played really well today," said Querrey. "I started off a little sluggish, went down a break 2-1, but then just played solid and kept the ball to his forehand - kinda break him down a little bit - and just played aggressive, especially when I was returning his second serve."

The 20-year-old reached the Delray Beach semifinals in early February, but had won just one match since coming into Las Vegas. He fell in the first round at San Jose, and reached the second round last week in Memphis.

In the final match Wednesday, Frenchman Julien Benneteau (pictured) upset Aussie Lleyton Hewitt, 6-3, 7-5. He failed to serve out the match on his first opportunity, but broke Hewitt for the fifth time in the next game and successfully held serve to close out the win in one hour, 45 minutes.

It marked the earliest event exit for three-time event champion Hewitt; he had reached the final in five of his six previous appearances, only failing to do so in 2001 when he fell in the semifinals.

World No. 61 Benneteau will be playing in his second ATP quarterfinal this season; in his first appearance, he defeated then-World No. 5 David Ferrer en route to a semifinal finish at Auckland.
Gonzalez Avenges Davis Cup Defeat; Baghdatis Wins

Top seeded Chilean Fernando Gonzalez won in his Las Vegas debut, defeating Israeli Dudi Seal 6-2, 7-6(2) on Tuesday at the Tennis Channel Open.

With the victory, he avenged his five set loss to Sela last September in Davis Cup action, through which Israel clinched its place in the 2008 World Group.

World No. 13 Gonzalez is making his first appearance since winning the Vina del Mar title in early February, and now improves to a 7-1 season record. He next faces 2007 Las Vegas semifinalist Evgeny Korolev, whom he defeated in their only previous career meeting last year at the Australian Open.

Third seed Marcos Baghdatis needed just 70 minutes to get past 2004 titlist Vince Spadea, converting on three of his eight break point chances to close the 7-6(5), 6-1 win. Baghdatis, currently ranked No. 17, is also making his first appearance at the tournament. The Cypriot will face another American, Robby Ginepri, for a spot in the quarterfinals.

"I feel confident at the moment," said Baghdatis. "I'm playing good tennis so I knew what to do - be aggressive, serve well - and that's what I did on important points. I'm very happy that I won today, and that's why I'm in the second round."

Italian Potito Starace, the No. 5 seed, secured his place in the second round by defeating Argentine Carlos Berlocq 7-6(5), 6-0. Starace reached the quarterfinals in his two tournament appearances this season, in Buenos Aires and Acapulco, both times falling to Argentine David Nalbandian.

A pair of Americans, wild card John Isner and qualifier Amer Delic (pictured), won their first round matches. Isner came back to post the 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over Colombian Alejandro Falla, while Delic ousted last year's finalist Jurgen Melzer, 7-5, 7-6(2).

Australian qualifiers Peter Luczak and Chris Guccione both advanced in early Tuesday action. Luczak held a 6-2, 1-0 lead when lucky loser Mischa Zverev retired with a knee injury. Meanwhile, Guccione prevailed 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(5) against Romanian Victor Hanescu.

South African Kevin Anderson became the fourth qualifier to claim a win his opener as he upset sixth-seeded Frenchman Michael Llodra, 6-2, 7-6(2). It marked the 21-year-old Anderson's first career ATP win in his third tournament. Llodra was coming off of the title effort in Rotterdam, his second ATP title this season.

Frenchman Julien Benneteau set up a second round clash with defending champion Lleyton Hewitt as he dismissed Swedish veteran Jonas Bjorkman, 6-4, 7-6(4). Benneteau lost in the second round in his previous two event showings.

Latvian teenager Ernests Gulbis also moved through as he outbattled Chilean Nicolas Massu, 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 in one hour and 53 minutes.






UNDERDOGS TAKE OUT THE BIG DOGS

Australian qualifiers Peter Luczak and Chris Guccione both advanced in early Tuesday action. Luczak held a 6-2, 1-0 lead when lucky loser Mischa Zverev retired with a knee injury. Meanwhile, Guccione prevailed 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(5) against Romanian Victor Hanescu.

South African Kevin Anderson became the fourth qualifier to claim a win his opener as he upset sixth-seeded Frenchman Michael Llodra, 6-2, 7-6(2). It marked the 21-year-old Anderson's first career ATP win in his third tournament. Llodra was coming off of the title effort in Rotterdam, his second ATP title this season.

Frenchman Julien Benneteau set up a second round clash with defending champion Lleyton Hewitt as he dismissed Swedish veteran Jonas Bjorkman, 6-4, 7-6(4). Benneteau lost in the second round in his previous two event showings.

Latvian teenager Ernests Gulbis also moved through as he outbattled Chilean Nicolas Massu, 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 in one hour and 53 minutes.



UNDERDOGS TAKE OUT THE BIG DOGS

Australian qualifiers Peter Luczak and Chris Guccione both advanced in early Tuesday action. Luczak held a 6-2, 1-0 lead when lucky loser Mischa Zverev retired with a knee injury. Meanwhile, Guccione prevailed 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(5) against Romanian Victor Hanescu.

South African Kevin Anderson became the fourth qualifier to claim a win his opener as he upset sixth-seeded Frenchman Michael Llodra, 6-2, 7-6(2). It marked the 21-year-old Anderson's first career ATP win in his third tournament. Llodra was coming off of the title effort in Rotterdam, his second ATP title this season.

Frenchman Julien Benneteau set up a second round clash with defending champion Lleyton Hewitt as he dismissed Swedish veteran Jonas Bjorkman, 6-4, 7-6(4). Benneteau lost in the second round in his previous two event showings.

Latvian teenager Ernests Gulbis also moved through as he outbattled Chilean Nicolas Massu, 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 in one hour and 53 minutes.



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