News & Press

Monday, April 12, 2010

Pennetta beats Suarez Navarro in final

MARBELLA, Spain -- Second-seeded Flavia Pennetta has beaten Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 to win the Andalucia Open.

The 16th-ranked Italian player served up six aces and broke her Spanish opponent seven times on the outdoor clay to take her first title of the season in just over two hours Sunday.

Suarez Navarro took advantage of Pennetta's six double-faults to score four breaks of her own, but the eighth-seeded player failed to win the final for the second straight year.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Lindstedt-Tecau Clinch Casablanca Title

Third seeds Robert Lindstedt and Horia Tecau  captured their first ATP World Tour doubles title together at the Grand Prix Hassan II on Saturday as they defeated Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi 6-2, 3-6, 10-7 in the final of the ATP World Tour 250 clay-court tennis tournament in Casablanca.

The Swedish-Romanian duo, playing in just their second tournament together, only dropped one set throughout the week and collected 250 ATP World Tour ranking points and €21,650 in prize money.

After securing the first set with two service breaks, Lindstedt and Tecau were made to pay for squandering four break points in the second set as their opponents struck back to level the match. The third seeds recovered to win the Match Tie-break, though, and sealed victory after 81 minutes.

"This was a hell of a match today against Rohan and Aisam,” said Tecau. “They played very well and it feels great to win my second title here playing with Robert only for the second time.”

The 33-year-old Lindstedt won his first ATP World Tour title of the season, having finished runner-up at the Open 13 with Julian Knowle, and improved to a 7-7 record in finals. The 25-year-old Tecau clinched his second ATP World Tour title, adding to the trophy he lifted at the Heineken Open in Auckland with Marcus Daniell in January.

"This was my first time here in Casablanca and I'm very impressed with the organisation,” said Lindstedt. “Everything is very well run and they are doing a great job here. Also we played in front of impressive crowds, which makes it much more fun.”

Indian Bopanna and Qureshi of Pakistan were bidding for their second ATP World Tour title from four finals together. 

Monday, April 05, 2010

Unseeded Dulko, Pennetta take women's doubles title

When Gisela Dulko and doubles partner Flavia Pennetta saw the draw for the Sony Ericsson Open, their hearts sank.

Veterans Svetlana Kuznetsova and Alicia Molik in the first round, followed by a potential second-round match against No. 2 seeds Nuria Llagostera Vives and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez. Then, if they got past that, No. 4 seeds Lisa Raymond and Rennae Stubbs loomed.

But the unseeded Dulko and Pennetta said they played better round by round, and Sunday they surprised themselves in the final with a 6-3, 4-6 (10-7 super tiebreak) win over No. 3 seeds Nadia Petrova and Samantha Stosur.

``This is our first big title together,'' said Dulko, who before this year had advanced to the second round here only three times in eight visits. ``We won a few titles before, but this is the most important. It feels great. We enjoyed the week a lot.''

Dulko, of Argentina, and Pennetta, of Italy, are close friends. When they weren't playing, they were at the beach together, shopping together and eating almost all of their meals together.

``We were like sisters here,'' Pennetta said.

Petrova and Stosur seemed to have momentum on their side after winning the second set, but the super-tiebreak format allows both teams to start anew, and that worked in Dulko and Pennetta's favor.

``With the super tiebreak, anything can happen,'' Pennetta said. ``You always have to be ready to come back, because it is never finished. You can lose four or five games and still be in the match.''

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ukraine's Top Men's Tennis Star Sued

Ukraine's Top Men's Tennis Star Sued

            MIAMI, Florida: Sergiy Stakhovsky, Ukraine's top ranking men's tennis player and a member of the ATP international professional tour, has been sued in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and unjust enrichment.

            A companion lawsuit for tortuous interference with a contractual relationship also has been filed against Global Sports Management Ltd. and its president, Dirk Hordorff, the player's current manager.

            Each lawsuit seeks damages in excess of $1 million. They were filed by Renaissance Tennis Management (RTM), Stakhovsky's manager. Stakhovsky began living and training with RTM in late 2006, working with RTM's coaches at various South Florida locations.

            "Sergiy Stakhovsky would not be the player he is today without the help and the financial support provided for him by Renaissance Tennis Management," said Adam Kenner, RTM's attorney. "Mr. Stakhovsky simply did not honor his end of a business relationship, and must believe he is not bound by his contractual obligations."

            The lawsuits assert that Stakhovsky failed to pay RTM for its training and management services, and that Hordorff and Global Sports Management interfered with RTM's management of Stakhovsky while the player was still under contract with RTM.

            Stakhovsky, a Ukrainian citizen, currently is ranked No. 70 in the world and is playing at the Sony Ericsson Open tournament beginning this week in Miami. He currently resides in Bratislava, Slovakia.

            Global Sports Management is a tennis management company based out of Malta and Bad Homburg, Germany. It represents some of the top players on the ATP tour. Hordorff has coached Rainer Scheuttler for the past eight years, and previously has managed other top players from Europe including Novak Djokovic, Mikhal Youhzny, Ivan Ljubicic, Janko Tispsarevic and others.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


In honor of our dearly missed and beloved client

Federico Luzzi

24 March – 7:30 PM  RSVP-


162 Alcazar Street

Gaetano’s Restaurant

Hotel St. Michel

Corner of Alcazar & Ponce de Leon

Coral Gables

$75.00 per ticket all inclusive.

Antipasto Tipico Italiana

Scialatielli Ai Frutti Di Mare

Paccheri Con Ragu Di Carne

Viennese Table

Pannacotta, Tiramisu, Tarte tatin, Gelati E Tartufi

About Chef Gaetano Ascione (Owner of Gaetano Ristorante)

Chef Gaetano Ascione, a native of Naples, Italy, began his expansive culinary career in 1970 with a degree in Hotel Training from State Professional Hotel Management Institute in Salerno, Italy. He immediately started working as a Chef de Partie in Italy and continued onto Germany, England and the Bahamas.

His career as Executive Chef began in 1979 including working at the Georgetown Club in Washington D. C. where he served two U.S. Presidents (Mr. Carter and Mr. Reagan).      

He held the same position in countries such as Italy (Executive Chef for the Allied Officers Club NATO in Naples), South Korea (Paradise Beach Hotel and Casino), South Africa and Singapore.

After a stint in Singapore, he joined The Palace Hotel, Sun City in South Africa as Executive Chef, as well as being named the Executive Chef for the Inaugural Ceremonies of President Nelson Mandela in Pretoria, South Africa.

In 1996 he was affiliate with two 2 Star Michelin Restaurant in Cannes-France: Belle Otero at The Carlton-Hotel under Chef Francis Chaveau and at the Palm d‘Or at the Hotel Martinez under Chef Christian Willer

Prior to opening his own restaurant in 1997, Gaetano took the post of Executive Chef at Tanglin Club (the oldest Private Club in Singapore). Owner and Executive Chef of two very upscale Restaurant in Singapore (Gaetano Restaurant and Petrus Wine Bar, La Stella Restaurant and Life)

In 2001, he was a finalist for "The Chef Of the Year" for The World Gourmet Summit in Singapore.

Served as a Consultant to Taj- Mahal Group of Hotel in India, Hilton Seoul in South Korea, Marchese Piero Antinori of Antinori Winery in Florence, Italy.

Quattro Restaurant at the Four Season Hotel in Houston welcomed Chef Gaetano in 2006, and he has proved to be an invaluable asset with his simplistic approach to authentic Italian dining.

Married with three children, holder of two nationality (US and Italian) Permanent Resident of Singapore.

Later he went on to become Executive Chef of the Biltmore Hotel, Executive Chef of Gaia, and now owns Gaetano's Ristorante, located inside of the Hotel St. Michel.

Fluent in 5 languages (Italian, english, spanish, german, french).

Member of various professional associations including Chaine de Rotisseurs, American Culinary Federation, Gruppo Virtuale Cuochi Italiani, etc...

When Chef Gaetano Ascione, is asked about the type of food served at the restaurant, always replies that he serves "only good food".
He's all about using only Italian ingredients—everything, including the cheese, olive oil and pasta, is imported from the Boot

Saturday, March 06, 2010

This blog has moved

This blog is now located at
You will be automatically redirected in 30 seconds, or you may click here.

For feed subscribers, please update your feed subscriptions to

Friday, February 26, 2010

On the Tennis Tour with Benjamin Becker

onthetourbenjaminbecker.jpgBenjamin Becker (left) with doubles player Jeff Coetzee (right) at the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships. Photograph courtesy of the A.T.P. World Tour.
The professional tennis circuit isn’t just about the Grand Slams. In the “On the Tennis Tour” series, goes behind the scenes at the many tournaments that lead up to the U.S. Open, in August.
One of 32 men playing in this week’s Delray Beach International Tennis Championships, in Delray Beach, Florida, is Benjamin Becker, currently ranked No. 40 on the A.T.P. World Tour. You might remember this big-serving German as the guy who knocked Andre Agassi out of the 2006 U.S. Open, in what turned out to be Agassi’s final career match. Born in Merzig, Saarland, then part of West Germany, 28-year-old Becker turned pro in 2005.
DELRAY BEACH DIFFERS FROM THE REST OF THE TOURNAMENTS because it’s not usually common that you have a basketball court as a players' lounge and eating area.
MY FAVORITE TOURNAMENT is Helle, first of all because it’s in Germany, second of all because the hotel is on-site and the food is amazing.
THE MOST MEMORABLE TOURNAMENT I’VE PLAYED IN is the U.S. Open ’06. A close second is Holland, where I won my first tournament.
MY BIGGEST CAREER WIN is beating Nikolay Davydenko in the first round of Wimbledon, in 2008.
I USUALLY TRAVEL WITH my coach, but sometimes by myself. I have two bags that I check and carry one little backpack.
I’VE NEVER HAD A TRAVEL DISASTER and I’ve been very lucky because I haven’t really missed many planes. And I haven’t really lost my bags. I usually check my tennis racket, so as soon as I lose my tennis racket once, I won’t check it again. My tennis bag only came late once, but it didn’t hurt my match.
THE HARDEST PART ABOUT TRAVELING FOR WORK is checking in and waiting at the airport.
THE BEST PART ABOUT TRAVELING FOR WORK is seeing many different places and getting to know different cultures.
—By Jessica Flint

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Benjamin Becker looking to make name for himself at ITC tennis event in Delray

DELRAY BEACH — For Benjamin Becker, it's always been a case of the company he keeps.

Early in his career, he was "Benjamin Becker (no relation to Boris)."

Although he still gets asked about that, oh, every day, he also has to deal with The Andre Agassi Question, since he's the guy who sent Agassi into retirement.

It's tough for anyone in that position to make a name for himself, but at least Benjamin Becker is understanding. He can put himself in fans' shoes because he once was one of them, growing up idolizing — wouldn't you know it? — Boris Becker and Andre Agassi. Even now, Benjamin Becker has mixed feelings about being the qualifier who bounced Agassi out of the third round of the 2006 U.S. Open, his final tournament.

"People talk to you and say, 'I hated you for this,' " Becker said Tuesday after his 6-3, 1-6, 6-0 victory over Kei Nishikori in the opening round of the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships.

"Obviously, I understand because I would be the same. I was a big Agassi fan and somebody else who was a nobody would come and beat him, I would be, 'Who is this guy? What is he thinking?' "

Well, what was Becker thinking?

"It wasn't easy for me because I couldn't be too happy," he said of the four-set victory. "It was tough to accept that I was the one who did it on such a big stage, but you know, looking back, for me it was a great experience that I'll always look back on and enjoy."

Becker is the third seed at the Delray Beach Stadium & Tennis Center, still fighting for a taste of the fame his German compatriot enjoys. The former standout at Baylor is now 28, living in Fort Lauderdale and ranked 40th, just two spots off his all-time high.

Tuesday's outing was an up-and-down affair against Nishikori, coming off an elbow injury.

"I knew it's tough for him to come back," Becker said. "I don't know if he's going to break down physically or mentally — it's his first match — so I just really tried to stay calm. I came out right after the changeover in the third set and I felt good, was a little bit more aggressive and attacked the ball and that helped me at the end."

One thing that isn't helping anyone in this tournament is name recognition.

The only defending champion left in the field is Mardy Fish, formerly of Boca Prep. Champions here before Fish were Nishikori ('08), Xavier Malisse ('07 and '05) and Tommy Haas ('06). Haas was upset Monday; Malisse lost Tuesday to No. 4 Jeremy Chardy 6-3, 7-6 (5).

Fish was neck-and-neck with Belgium's Christophe Rochus when Rochus retired at 3-3 in the third set with a back injury. Rochus won the first set 7-5; Fish took the second 6-3. Fish, coming off an injury-plagued year, is unseeded.

Vincent Spadea, another fixture both in Boca Raton and at the Delray tournament, was eliminated by Santiago Giraldo 6-2, 6-3. At 35 years, 7 months, Spadea was the oldest player on the draw sheet.

Second-seeded Ivo Karlovic defeated Philipp Petzschner 6-3, 7-6 (3), but No. 8 Michael Russell, formerly of the University of Miami, lost to Mischa Zverev 6-4, 3-6, 7-5. Zverev will face Fish in tonight's highlight match.

No. 7 James Blake played Taylor Dent late Tuesday in a match delayed by rain.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Glimpsing Flavia

Fp It was a weekend of small surges and modest triumphs. Lucie Safarova flashed across the radar screen again in Paris, her Selesian bashball game and preposterously youthful features unchanged since we last saw her. Sam Querrey returned to form in San Jose, where, by extending Andy Roddick to a third-set tiebreaker in the semifinals, he showed that he might just be ready to challenge the guys at the top in 2010. Robin Soderling silenced any murmurs of a post-breakthrough slump by winning in Rotterdam. Fernando Verdasco produced a rare victory over a Top 10 player—Roddick—in the San Jose final. And most significantly, Israel’s Shahar Peer won two matches in Dubai, where she had been denied entry a year ago. I wrote about that development, and who might have the most to gain the most from it, over at earlier today.
For me, though, the small triumph of the weekend was the chance to see another woman briefly flash across the radar screen before vanishing again, the way she always does. That was Italy’s Flavia Pennetta, who made a strong run in Paris before finally getting out-bashed by Safarova 6-4 in the third in the semifinals. This is the way it works with Pennetta. She shows up on the fringes of my tennis-viewing life—saving multiple match points in a dramatic win over Vera Zvonareva at the U.S. Open before losing in the next round, upsetting Maria Sharapova in Los Angeles, belting out a victory song with her teammates after their Fed Cup title victory, and giving the chair umpire the finger in another Fed Cup match (I think it’s the same ump who did the Serena-tirade semi at the Open, ironically enough). Maybe it’s because my sightings of Pennetta are so limited that makes them such a pleasure.
Or maybe it's something more, something slightly indefinable about her and the way she carries herself. Like all Italian players, from Adriano Pannatta and Antonio Zugarelli in the 1970s to Francesca Schiavone and Potito Starace today, the pleasure begins with the musical quality of her name. But what’s striking about Pennetta is that, compared to most of her peers, she makes you feel like you’re watching a woman rather than a girl play tennis. This is partly a function of her age—she’ll be 28 on Thursday—but it’s a quality she’s had for a while now. It’s also a function of her nationality; rather than being limited to a fist-pump and a pony-tail flip, Pennetta expresses a wide range of emotions on court without ever getting depressingly negative. It may even be partly a function of her dress; I always liked the clean, elegant white Tacchini number that she’s sported over the years. 
But what Flavia offers as much as anything else is a change of pace from the WTA norm, circa 2010. She has black hair rather than blonde. She isn’t rail thin, 6-feet tall, or a physical specimen. Like the rest of the women, she’s a baseliner with a two-handed backhand, but she’s not a flat-hitting basher, either. There’s a satisfying straightforwardness and simplicity to her game, but it never appears one-dimensional. If Pennetta lacks killer power from behind the baseline, she can nevertheless hit every shot with authority. It may be meat and potatoes tennis, but it has flavor and low-key flair. Watch Pennetta set up to serve; instead of Sharapova-esque calculation, she does it with the fluid little strutting ball bounce of the born jock. She’s a link to the women’s game before the more programmatic Eastern bloc brigade was loosed on the sport.
That’s also why Pennetta, despite playing virtually every week and working her way up from No. 292 in 2001 to No. 11 at the end of 2009, will remain on the tour’s fringe. Against Safarova in Paris, she hung with the younger player by defending well and taking her opportunities to attack when they came. But in the middle of the third set, the Czech took control with the depth and flat force of her strokes, particularly her service returns. Pennetta couldn’t defend against that forever. Having come up in the late-90s, before the Russian revolution and the consequent spike in power and athleticism, she doesn’t hit with the same abandon as the women ahead of her in the rankings. Pennetta may not melt down too often, but there’s a ceiling to her game.
After 13 years as a pro, she knows it. Pennetta can show deep anger and histrionic frustration on the court—witness the aforementioned middle finger—as well as despair, which is often accompanied by a weird gesture where she holds her racquet strings a centimeter from her face. It’s hard to tell whether she wants to hide behind them or smack them straight into her forehead, à la Mikhail Youzhny. Either way, you feel her pain. But she doesn't let it drag her all the way down, like, say, Zvonareva does at her worst. There's a sense of stability to Pennetta that may paradoxically allow her to show as much emotion as she does. And when the pain and the match are over, there’s her smile, full, toothy, genuine.
Last week, I talked about how tennis is often reduced to a single either/or—Roger or Rafa, Chrissie or Martina. The tours are often reduced in a similar way—10 years ago, it was “all the men can do is serve”; today it’s “all the women can do is bash and shriek.” But again, the diverse, individualistic, world-spanning nature of the pro game always comes back to prove otherwise, to prove that with each match you might just see something different, something you like. And then it might be gone again, off the radar screen, the way Pennetta disappeared before I could see her play a full set on Saturday. Before she left, I had time to notice, with some dismay, that she had ditched the classic Tacchini for a more standard yellow-and-black Adidas get-up. I also had time to notice that, like everything else with Flavia—her name, her age, her rage, her wins, her losses, her smile, her career-long struggles to improve—she wore it well.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Pennetta advances to Paris semifinals

PARIS — Flavia Pennetta and Lucie Safarova advanced Friday to the semifinals of the Open GDF Suez.

The second-seeded Pennetta cruised past Tathiana Garbin 6-1, 6-3 in an all-Italian matchup and will face Safarova, who defeated sixth-seeded Shahar Peer 6-3, 6-0.

"It was not easy because we know each other very well," Pennetta said. "We are friends, we spend time outside the court. But when you go in the court, you just have to concentrate on your game and try to forget there is a friend on the other side."

Garbin saved four match points at 5-2 after Pennetta had took a 3-0 lead in the second set. But Pennetta converted her fifth match point in the next game when Garbin netted a forehand.

Pennetta broke Garbin three times in the first set.

Peer held serve to lead 3-2 but Safarova won 10 straight games to clinch the first set and the match.

Safarova lost the 2007 final to Nadia Petrova.

"I have really good memories from 2007," Safarova said. "The crowd was great in supporting me. I was really surprised that they remembered me from three years ago."

Later on Friday, top-seeded Elena Dementieva faces Andrea Petkovic, while American teenager Melanie Oudin will play 2008 finalist Agnes Szavay.