2014/09/20

DAVIS CUP: U.S. SHUTS OUT SLOVAKIA – Isner, Querrey victories give Americans a 5-0 win in the World Group Play-off

USDavisCup

DAVIS CUP: U.S. SHUTS OUT SLOVAKIA
Isner, Querrey victories give Americans a 5-0 win in the World Group Play-off

By Junior Williams

(September 14, 2014) HOFFMAN ESTATES, Illinois – John Isner and Sam Querrey closed out the Davis Cup World-Group Play-off by winning their respective matches, giving the United States a 5-0 victory over Slovakia at Sears Center Arena in suburban Chicago.

Both matches were dead rubbers, since the U.S. clinched a spot in the World Group for 2015 courtesy of Bob and Mike Bryan’s doubles victory on Saturday.

In the first match, Isner – the No. 1 American and 16th ranked player in the world – defeated Lukas Lacko 6-3, 6-0 in only 42 minutes, converting four out of eight break points and posting 22 total winners to Lacko’s four.

In the post-match interview, Isner said he was happy the match went “pretty quickly” and was looking forward to watching some football.

In the second match, Slovakia’s Norbert Gombos did his best to prevent his team from being shut out, but the world’s 126th-ranked player was outlasted by Sam Querrey 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in a hard-hitting, fast-serving contest.

After Gombos broke Querrey to win the second set — the only set Slovakia won during the three days of competition — the number-two American broke Gombos to go up 4-3 in the third set, and went on to close out the match with a service winner.

Here’s how close the match was: Querrey scored 96 points, Gombos 92.

Despite Gombos’ three defeats (including one to Isner in singles, another to the Bryans in doubles) , U.S. Davis Cup captain Jim Courier had nothing but good things to say about the Slovak during the post-match interview, expressing how impressed he was with Gombos’ play.

The U.S. victory marks the first time the Americans shut out their opponent in a Davis Cup tie since 2012 — a first-round victory in Switzerland against a team featuring 17-time major champion Roger Federer, and Stan Wawrinka — who has since gone on to win the 2014 Australian Open.

Slovakia is now 0-3 against the U.S. in Davis Cup competition and is headed back to Europe/Africa Zone Group I. Both countries will learn about their next opponents when the Davis Cup draw for 2015 takes place Thursday in Dubai.

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DAVIS CUP: U.S. IN CONTROL OVER SLOVAKIA Isner, Querrey lead Americans to 2-0 lead in World Group Play-off

john isner and sam querrey(courtesy of the USTA)
DAVIS CUP: U.S. IN CONTROL OVER SLOVAKIA
Isner, Querrey lead Americans to 2-0 lead in World Group Play-off
By Junior Williams

(September 12, 2014) HOFFMAN ESTATES, Illinois – Hours before the United States took on Slovakia at the Davis Cup World Group Play-off, U.S. captain Jim Courier was upbeat about his team’s prospects – telling a fan, “We’re ready for battle.”

Courier’s confidence in John Isner and Sam Querrey paid off, as both players achieved straight sets victories at Sears Centre Arena – giving the Americans a commanding 2-0 lead, putting them one win away from securing another year in the World Group.

Isner defeated Norbert Gombos – the 126th-ranked player in the world – 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-2. Many were surprised Slovakian captain Miloslav Mecir went with Gombos in the first match instead of 86th-ranked Lukas Lacko. Gombos battled Isner early in the first set, returning the American’s powerful serves and taking him to a tiebreak. But a Gombos volley at the net came up short, giving Isner a mini-break at 6-4. The former University of Georgia Bulldog won the set after Gombos’ return of serve went long.

Isner’s serve became a more potent weapon in the second set – including a “perfect game” with four aces that put him up 5-3. The world No. 16 finished the match with 29 aces.

“Going into a match like this three-out-of-five set match, it’s not surprising that I didn’t lose my serve,” said Isner. “I’ve done that before, for sure. Always going to be the biggest part of my game and it’s going to be the part of my game that I lean on the most.”

Gombos said of the 6-foot-9 Isner, “I know that he’s serving perfect from the Eiffel Tower, you know … I never returned a serve like his because it’s quite different from like the other players because he’s really tall. The ball is bouncing so high. It’s totally different like from the other players.”

The second match between Querrey and Slovakian Martin Klizan – ranked 51st and 57th in the world, respectively — started off as quite a battle. The first set lasted 66 minutes. It was Querrey’s serve versus Klizan’s powerful groundstrokes, which were low enough to cause problems for the 6-foot-6 American.

But it was Klizan’s serve that would prove to be the Slovakian’s undoing, with eleven double faults in the match. Serving for the first set up 5-4, he was broken after double faulting to end the game. Querrey won the first set tiebreak 8-6 after staving off a set point — and winning the final three points with the help of two aces.

“It was tough,” said Querrey. “But my serve is my biggest weapon. I just buckled down and I think I hit an ace at that 5-6 point. Just put the pressure right back on (Klizan).”

The American won the match 7-6 (6), 6-3, 6-3, hitting 20 aces in the process.

When asked about failing to serve out the first set up 5-4, Klizan replied: “I wasn’t nervous. I was just pissed off of the line umpire because was a huge mistake from him the first point. Could be different story then, the game. But anyway, Sam was the better player on the court and I think he was better, so he won.”

In Saturday’s doubles match, the Americans will be counting on world number ones Bob and Mike Bryan to deliver the clincher. Fresh from winning the 2014 U.S Open Championship – their 100th – title. the twins are scheduled to face Lukas Lacko and Michal Mertinak, but there’s always the possibility that captain Mecir could alter his lineup.

Junior Williams is a long-time journalist and tennis fan.  At a moment’s notice he can give you a list of all the Davis Cup match-ups that would give the US home ties. He is in Illinois covering the Davis Cup first round World Group Play-off tie between the United States and Slovakia for Tennis Panorama News.

 

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USTA Eastern Junior Awards Gala

Junior player Matthew Gamble receives his award from Justin Gimelstob and Katrina Adams at the Junior Awards Gala on Day 1 at the US Open.

Junior player Matthew Gamble receives his award from Justin Gimelstob and Katrina Adams at the Junior Awards Gala on Day 1 at the US Open.

By Dave Gertler

(August 25, 2014) FLUSHING MEADOWS – The achievements of USTA Eastern juniors in tournaments over the last 12 months, and the dedication of their families, was celebrated at the Billie Jean King USTA National Tennis Center before the first ball was struck at the US Open on Monday, at the 2014 Junior Awards Gala. Future stars of American tennis gathered to hear guest speakers, including former professional player and current Tennis Channel broadcaster Justin Gimelstob, honor the achievements of 30 junior players, as well as present awards to the top three in each age group.

 

“As you see out there today, for the next 15 days, this is an incredible sport,” said Gimelstob, “This sport challenges you in a way physically, mentally, tactically, emotionally, that almost nothing else can compete with, in an individual way. To find enjoyment in that, you’re a unique bunch.”

 

First Vice President of the USTA, and former world No.8 doubles player Katrina Adams, also praised the dedication of the kids and their families. While the complete list of award-winners from each age group is listed below, there were a small group of players who won awards in multiple age categories.

 

“I play every day, try to get better every day,” said Matthew Gamble, who was the top achiever in the 16s Boys category, as well as third overall in the 18s. “It’s a big part of my life.” Gamble cites the interaction with other players as an important part of the sport for him, saying, “Lately I’ve done more and more team events, so the team aspect and just playing your best, giving 100%.”

 

The junior from Rochester doesn’t want to stop here. While his favorite player, Rafael Nadal, was absent from the US Open this year, perhaps Gamble might one day find himself facing his idol at his home slam. “I obvioiusly want to play college tennis,” said Gamble, “And then after college, I’m gonna try to go pro and make it on the pro tour.”

 

The USTA Eastern Section, based in White Plains, N.Y., is a not-for-profit community service organization whose mission is to promote and develop the growth of tennis. The section encompasses all of New York State, Northern New Jersey and Greenwich, Conn. It is one of 17 geographic sections of the United States Tennis Association, the governing body of tennis in the United States, and supports more than 49,000 members.

 

Exceptional players recognized at the Awards Gala:

 

Boys’ 10s:

1. Ty Switzer (New York, N.Y.)
2. Evan Wen (Morristown, N.J.)
3. Julian Wu (Tenafly, N.J.)

Girls’ 10s:

1. Stephanie Yakoff (Fort Lee, N.J.)
2. Amaya Goulbourne (Pelham, N.Y.)
3. Hailey Stoerback (Saint James, N.Y.)

Boys’ 12s:

1. Billy Suarez (Huntington, N.Y.)
2. Jeffrey Fradkin (New York, N.Y.)
3. Ronan Jachuck (Slingerlands, N.Y.)

Girls’ 12s:

1. Rosie Garcia Gross (New York, N.Y.)
2. Gabriella Price (Montebello, N.Y.)
3. Alexa Noel (Summit, N.J.)

Boys’ 14s:

1. Sean Wei (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.)
2. Ronan Jachuck (Slingerlands, N.Y.)
3. Michael Sun (Livingston, N.J.)

Girls’ 14s:

1. Rachel Lim (Braircliff Manor, N.Y.)
2. Lea Ma (Dix Hills, N.Y.)
3. Anna Brylin (Short Hills, N.J.)

Boys’ 16s:

1. Matthew Gamble (Webster, N.Y.)
2. Brenden Volk (Dix Hills, N.Y.)
3. Jordan Benjamin (Fairport, N.Y.)

Girls’ 16s:

1. Stephanie Schrage (Millburn, N.J.)
2. Rachel Lim (Braircliff Manor, N.Y.)
3. Sabrina Xiong (Fresh Meadows, N.Y.)

Boys’ 18s:

1. Daniel Grunberger (Great Neck, N.Y.)
2. Daniel Kerznerman (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
3. Matthew Gamble (Webster, N.Y.)

Girls’ 18s:

1. Katharine Fahey (Fair Haven, N.J.)
2. Sabrina Xiong (Fresh Meadows, N.Y.)
3. Rima Asatrian (Tenafly, N.J.)

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2014 US Open Women’s Contender Profiles

Serena Williams

(August 24, 2014) Profiles of the top Women’s Singles contenders for 2014 U.S. Open. Note: Grand Slam records for main draw matches only.  – by Jack Cunniff     http://twitter.com/jrcunniff

 

1.Serena Williams

2014 Record: 38-6

Grand Slam Record: 252-39

U.S. Open Record: 72-9

U.S. Open Best Result: Won (1999, 2002, ’08, ’12, ‘13)

Fast Fact: Serena has lost only once at the U.S. Open to a player that was not a Grand Slam champion (Spirlea, 1998).

 

2. Simona Halep

2014 Record: 38-12

Grand Slam Record: 25-17

U.S. Open Record: 5-4

U.S. Open Best Result: 4R (2013)

Fast Fact: Halep has won more Grand Slam matches (18) than any other woman over the last 12 months.

 

3. Petra Kvitova

2014 Record: 30-12

Grand Slam Record: 63-23

U.S. Open Record: 10-6

U.S. Open Best Result: 4R (2009, ‘12)

Fast Fact: Kvitova has only one win at the U.S. Open over a Top 25 player – No. 1 Dinara Safina (2009).

 

4. Agnieszka Radwanska

2014 Record: 42-15

Grand Slam Record: 89-323

U.S. Open Record: 16-8

U.S. Open Best Result: 4R (2007, ’08, ’12, ‘13)

Fast Fact: Randwanska has lost to a player ranked lower than her in her last 10 Grand Slam events.

 

5. Maria Sharapova

2014 Record: 38-9

Grand Slam Record: 162-39

U.S. Open Record: 29-8

U.S. Open Best Result: Won (2006)

Fast Fact: Since winning the U. S. Open in 2006, Sharapova has only advanced past the Fourth Round once (2012).

 

6. Angelique Kerber

2014 Record: 39-18

Grand Slam Record: 46-27

U.S. Open Record: 12-6

U.S. Open Best Result: SF (2011)

Fast Fact: Kerber has reached at least the Fourth Round in nine of the last ten Grand Slam events.

 

7. Eugenie Bouchard

2014 Record: 37-17

Grand Slam Record: 20-6

U.S. Open Record: 1-1

U.S. Open Best Result: 2R (2013)

Fast Fact: Bouchard has the best record among all women in 2014 Grand Slam events, but has lost her opening round main draw match in 8 of 14 WTA Tour Events.

 

8. Ana Ivanovic

2014 Record: 47-13

Grand Slam Record: 97-38

U.S. Open Record: 20-9

U.S. Open Best Result: QF (2012)

Fast Fact: Ivanovic leads the WTA Tour in 2014 match wins (47).

 

9. Jelena Jankovic

2014 Record: 33-17

Grand Slam Record: 102-44

U.S. Open Record: 28-10

U.S. Open Best Result: RU (2008)

Fast Fact: Jankovic is the only woman in the field who has been seeded for each of the last 10 U.S. Open events (2005-2014).

 

10. Caroline Wozniacki

2014 Record: 34-14

Grand Slam Record: 73-30

U.S. Open Record: 22-7

U.S. Open Best Result: RU (2009)

Fast Fact: Prior to the 2014 Connecticut Open, Wozniacki had won at least three matches in her previous five consecutive events, her best stretch since August – October 2010.

 

11. Flavia Pennetta

2014 Record: 25-14

Grand Slam Record: 66-44

U.S. Open Record: 20-9

U.S. Open Best Result: SF (2013)

Fast Fact: Pennetta reached a Grand Slam semifinal at last year’s U.S. Open, her first time in 41 attempts; only two players took longer to reach a Grand Slam semi (Likhovtseva – 46, Tauziat – 42).

 

12. Dominika Cibulkova

2014 Record: 29-18

Grand Slam Record: 53-28

U.S. Open Record: 10-6

U.S. Open Best Result: QF (2010)

Fast Fact: A tale of two seasons: from January through April 2014, Cibulkova’s won/loss record was 24-7 (77.4%). From May through August 2014, Cibulkova’s won/loss record was 5-9 (35.7%).

 

16. Victoria Azarenka

2014 Record: 10-7

Grand Slam Record: 97-32

U.S. Open Record: 24-8

U.S. Open Best Result: RU (2012, ‘13)

Fast Fact: In her last three U.S. Open appearances, Azarenka has a 0-3 records vs. Serena Williams, and 14-0 record against all other players.

 

19. Venus Williams

2014 Record: 24-11

Grand Slam Record: 219-56

U.S. Open Record: 63-13

U.S. Open Best Result: W (2000, ’01)

Fast Fact: Venus hasn’t reached the Fourth Round of a Grand Slam in her last 10 attempts, her last appearance in the 4R was Wimbledon 2011.

 

20. Svetlana Kuznetsova

2014 Record: 20-12

Grand Slam Record: 131-45

U.S. Open Record: 33-10

U.S. Open Best Result: W (2004)

Fast Fact: Since winning the title here ten years ago, Kuznetsova has compiled a 1-4 record vs. Top Twenty players at Flushing Meadow (d. No. 6 Chakvetadze, 2007 SF)

Related article:

2014 US Open Men’s Contender Profiles

 

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2014 US Open Men’s Contender Profiles

Djokovic

(August 24, 2014) Profiles of the top Men’s Singles contenders for 2014 U.S. Open. Note: Grand Slam records for main draw matches only.  – by Jack Cunniff     http://twitter.com/jrcunniff

 

1.Novak Djokovic

2014 Record: 39-6

Grand Slam Record: 175-32

U.S. Open Record: 45-8

U.S. Open Best Result: W (2011)

Fast Fact: Djokovic is looking for his fifth consecutive U.S. Open Final, tying Connors for third place in the Open Era (Lendl – 8, Federer – 6).

 

2. Roger Federer

2014 Record: 49-9

Grand Slam Record: 274-44

U.S. Open Record: 67-9

U.S. Open Best Result: Won (2004-’08)

Fast Fact: With 67 U.S. Open match wins, Federer could pass both Sampras (71) and Lendl (73) at the 2014 U.S. Open. Connors (97) and Agassi (79) have the most U.S. Open match wins.

 

3. Stan Wawrinka

2014 Record: 31-10

Grand Slam Record: 79-37

U.S. Open Record: 23-9

U.S. Open Best Result: SF (2013)

Fast Fact: Wawrinka’s only loss to a Top Ten opponent in 2014 came in the Wimbledon quarterfinals against Federer. He has compiled a 6-1 record vs. Top Ten opponents for the year.

 

4. David Ferrer

2014 Record: 43-16

Grand Slam Record: 120-47

U.S. Open Record: 27-10

U.S. Open Best Result: SF (2007, ‘12)

Fast Fact: On August 11, 2014, Ferrer celebrated 200 consecutive weeks ranked in the ATP Top Ten, dating back to October 10, 2010.

 

5. Milos Raonic

2014 Record: 34-12

Grand Slam Record: 32-15

U.S. Open Record: 6-3

U.S. Open Best Result: 4R (2012-‘13)

Fast Fact: Raonic will pass $6 million in career earnings after the U.S. Open. He has earned 46% of his prize money ($2.75M) over the last 12 months.

 

6. Tomas Berdych

2014 Record: 37-14

Grand Slam Record: 99-44

U.S. Open Record: 24-11

U.S. Open Best Result: SF (2012)

Fast Fact: Berdych is attempting to win his 100th Grand Slam match in the first round of the U.S. Open. In nine of the last ten years, Berdych has lost at least one first round match at a Grand Slam, but he has not in 2014.

 

7. Grigor Dimitrov

2014 Record: 38-12

Grand Slam Record: 17-16

U.S. Open Record: 0-3

U.S. Open Best Result: 1R (2011-‘13)

Fast Fact: In 2014, Dimitrov has a 9-3 record in Grand Slam events (75% winning pct). Prior to 2014, Dimitrov had an 8-13 record in Grand Slam events (38% wining pct).

 

8. Andy Murray

2014 Record: 34-14

Grand Slam Record: 130-32

U.S. Open Record: 33-8

U.S. Open Best Result: W (2012)

Fast Fact: If he fails to reach the U.S. Open final, it will be the first year since 2009 that Murray does not reach a final in a Grand Slam event.

 

9. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

2014 Record: 30-14

Grand Slam Record: 81-27

U.S. Open Record: 12-5

U.S. Open Best Result: QF (2011)

Fast Fact: Tsonga is the only player in 2014 to defeat four top ten players in the same event (Toronto, defeated Djokovic, Murray, Dimitrov, Federer)

 

10. Kei Nishikori

2014 Record: 34-9

Grand Slam Record: 31-20

U.S. Open Record: 7-5

U.S. Open Best Result: 4R (2008)

Fast Fact: Nishikori is the last player to reach the second week of the U.S. Open at 18 years old (2008).

 

11. Ernests Gulbis

2014 Record: 35-15

Grand Slam Record: 26-28

U.S. Open Record: 6-7

U.S. Open Best Result: 4R (2007)

Fast Fact: Gulbis needs only three more wins this season to break his personal record of most match wins in a season (37 wins, 2013).

 

12. Richard Gasquet

2014 Record: 25-13

Grand Slam Record: 72-39

U.S. Open Record: 19-8

U.S. Open Best Result: SF (2013)

Fast Fact: Gasquet hasn’t defeated a Top Ten opponent since David Ferrer in Beijing (October, 2013).

 

13. John Isner

2014 Record: 31-15

Grand Slam Record: 35-25

U.S. Open Record: 15-7

U.S. Open Best Result: QF (2011)

Fast Fact: The last event that Isner played where he didn’t contest a tiebreak was Nice, France (May 2013), a streak of 31 consecutive events.

 

14. Marin Cilic

2014 Record: 40-16

Grand Slam Record: 56-27

U.S. Open Record: 13-5

U.S. Open Best Result: QF (2009, ’12)

Fast Fact: Only two players in the US Open draw have more match wins than Cilic in 2014 (Federer – 49, Ferrer – 43).

 

16. Tommy Robredo

2014 Record: 29-19

Grand Slam Record: 99-50

U.S. Open Record: 30-12

U.S. Open Best Result: QF (2013)

Fast Fact: Milestones: Robredo is attempting to win his 100th Grand Slam match in the first round. If he reaches the fourth round, he will play in his 800th professional match.

 

Related article:

Serena Williams

2014 US Open Women’s Contender Profiles

 

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Flipkens No Fluke

Flipkens photo by Cristiano Andujar/Foto Arena

Flipkens photo by Cristiano Andujar/Foto Arena

By Jack Cunniff

(August 21, 2014) NEW HAVEN – Samantha Stosur continued to improve her 2014 form with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 quarterfinal win over Kirsten Flipkens in the Connecticut Open. It was a competitive match throughout, with Stosur pulling ahead at the end by capturing the final three games. But she had her hands full with Flipkens. The 28-year-old Belgian is a rarity on the WTA Tour, a player who relies on change of pace and placement, frequently looking to end points at the net. She has a solid serve, that troubled Stosur most of the evening, and is dangerous from all places on the court. Flipkens, best known as a 2013 Wimbledon semifinalist, has struggled through the majority of 2014. Her solid play in New Haven shows that Flipkens is no fluke, and will continue to be a tough opponent for the top players.

 

Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters put women’s tennis on the map for Belgium. As they began their success in the pro ranks, Flipkens was right behind, winning the Junior Girls titles at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 2003. Results on the pro tour did not come immediately. Her career was beset by injuries, although she achieved moderate success to earn a career-high ranking of No. 59 in June, 2010. Her lowest point came in April, 2012. Diagnosed with blood clots in her calf, she was forced off the tour for two months. Shortly after, the Flemish Tennis Foundation pulled their funding for Flipkens. Her ranking dropped to No. 262, too low to enter Wimbledon qualifying. Flipkens was able to play qualifying for the Wimbledon grass court warmup in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, and she made the most of it. She qualified then reached the semifinals without dropping a set. Along the way, she defeated Roberta Vinci and Stosur.

 

This was the spark Flipkens needed. She won two ITF tournaments in the summer of 2012, then qualified for the U.S. Open before falling to No. 1 Victoria Azarenka in the second round. After the U.S. Open, she won her first WTA event in Quebec City, defeating four Top Sixty players. Throughout this period, without the support of her federation, Flipkens was on her own with no coach, no hitting partners, and no on-site support system. She relied on support from her home base, including her good friend Clijsters.

 

After Quebec City, Flipkens was on a roll. In her next four events, she reached two semifinals and one quarterfinal. At the 2013 Australian Open, she reached the Round of 16 at a Grand Slam event for the first time. Strong results continued, and her ranking was No. 20 entering Wimbledon. The next two weeks at the All England Club were the pinnacle of her career, culminating in a quarterfinal Wimbledon win over the 2011 champion Kvitova. A few weeks later, a win over Venus Williams in Toronto pushed her ranking to No. 13, which remains a career high.

 

This year has not been as successful for Flipkens. Her best result remains a semifinal in Auckland, the opening event of 2014. Her defeat of No. 19 Petkovic in the second round of the Connecticut Open was her best win of the year, and three sets against an in-form Stosur shows that she’s not ready to fade from view quite yet.

 

Around the grounds… It was a rematch of the Wimbledon quarterfinal between Petra Kvitiova and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, with the same result. Kvitova was down a break early, but swept through ten of the last eleven games to advance 6-4, 6-1… Magdalena Rybarikova withstood a second set 6-0 drubbing at the hands of American Allison Riske, and reached the semifinals 7-5, 0-6, 6-4. Riske battled throughout the third set, but three double faults in the sixth game didn’t help her cause… Camila Giorgi wasn’t as dominant in the quarterfinals, as she dropped serve six times in her match against Garbine Muguruza. But the Italian played her game of all-court aggression to reach her second semifinal of the year, 6-4, 6-7, 6-2.

 

CONNECTICUT OPEN PRESENTED BY UNITED TECHNOLOGIES – NEW HAVEN, USA
$ 710,000.00
17-23 AUGUST 2014

RESULTS – AUGUST 21, 2014
Women’s
Singles – Quarterfinals

[2] P Kvitova (CZE) d B Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) 64 61
M Rybarikova (SVK) d A Riske (USA) 75 06 64
C Giorgi (ITA) d G Muguruza (ESP) 64 67(4) 62
[WC] S Stosur (AUS) d [WC] K Flipkens (BEL) 63 46 63

Women’s
Doubles – Quarterfinals

C Garcia (FRA) / M Niculescu (ROU) d [1] C Black (ZIM) / S Mirza (IND) 76(2) 64
M Erakovic (NZL) / A Parra Santonja (ESP) d [5] A Medina Garrigues (ESP) / Y Shvedova (KAZ) 16 75 10-7

ORDER OF PLAY – FRIDAY, AUGUST 22, 2014
STADIUM start 1:00 pm
WTA – M Rybarikova (SVK) vs C Giorgi (ITA)
WTA – D Jurak (CRO) / M Moulton-Levy (USA) vs A Klepac (SLO) / S Soler-Espinosa (ESP)

Not Before 7:00 pm
WTA – [WC] S Stosur (AUS) vs [2] P Kvitova (CZE)
WTA – C Garcia (FRA) / M Niculescu (ROU) vs M Erakovic (NZL) / A Parra Santonja (ESP)

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A Former Number One Faces an Uphill Climb

Wozniacki-001

By Jack Cunniff

 

(August 20, 2014) NEW HAVEN – Caroline Wozniacki lost to Camila Giorgi in the second round of the Connecticut Open, 6-4, 6-2. Giorgi, a hard-hitting Italian player, used a strong serve and aggressive groundstrokes to keep Wozniacki on her heels from the start of the match. Wozniacki dropped serve in the opening game, and failed to convert two break points in the second game, her only break opportunities of the day. Giorgi, who also ushered Wozniacki out of the 2013 U.S. Open, gave no rhythm, going for broke on almost all of her shots. It was a decisive loss for Wozniacki in the venue of her most dominant performances.

 

It was only three years ago, August 2011, that Wozniacki was ranked No. 1 in the world, holding that spot for all but one week of the previous 10 months. She was in the process of winning her fourth consecutive Connecticut Open, and had won seven other titles over the last twelve months. Aside from the growing criticism about her failure to win a Grand Slam event, she was on top of the world. Preparing for the 2011 U.S. Open, Caroline liked her chances: “Well, definitely I feel like I’m hitting the ball well. I’m on a good roll. I’m looking forward to the Open next week.”

 

But there were signs of rust in Wozniacki’s game. In July 2011, she had to retire from a second round Swedish Open match against Sofia Arvidsson. Following that, she suffered back-to-back opening round losses for the first time in two years, losing to Roberta Vinci in Toronto and Christina McHale in Cincinnati. Wozniacki’s downward slide had begun. After beating Petra Cetkovska to defend her New Haven title, it would be over a year before her next title in Seoul, Korea, September 2012. She began losing to lower-ranked players, such as Tamira Paszek and Irena-Camelia Begu. In the process, she would tumble from No. 1 to No. 11.

 

Her struggles continued in 2013 through Wimbledon 2014. She made sporadic appearances in­­­­ finals and semifinals, usually at smaller events. Her record against Top Ten players was a dismal 2-9. She hired and dismissed a couple of different coaches during that period, while retaining father Piotr as a primary coach. Her personal life was fodder for the tabloids, culminating in a broken engagement in May.

 

But something clicked after Wimbledon this past June. She won the Istanbul Cup in July, her first title in nine months. She reached the quarterfinals in Montreal, taking world No. 1 Serena Williams deep in a three set loss. The following week in Cincinnati, she defeated Top Ten players (Angelique Kerber, Agnieszka Radwanska) in back-to-back matches for the first time since the WTA Tour Championships in October 2010. Cincinnati provided another tight three set battle against Williams, this time in the semifinals. Heading into the Connecticut Open, Wozniacki assessed her form: “My confidence is high. I feel like I’ve played really well, I’ve had some good wins and I’ve had a lot of matches, which is great leading up to the Open.”

 

The result in New Haven, long considered Wozniacki’s home away from home, is a half-step back. Wozniacki was disappointed with the loss, and that she could never get into the match. But she wouldn’t let one match result derail her successful summer results, and is expecting success at the U.S. Open.

 

In other play Wednesday at the Connecticut Open, 2011 U.S. Open champ Sam Stosur easily dismissed a hobbled Genie Bouchard. Bouchard, the third seed, had her left thigh wrapped, and could never make an impression on the Stosur serve, falling 6-2, 6-2… Kristen Flipkens won a see-saw battle over Andrea Petkovic, 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. Petkovic served for the match twice in the second set, Flipkens was up a break through most of the third set, but it all came down to a third set tiebreak. When Petkovic saved three match points to even the tiebreak at 6-6, Flipkens held her nerve. A successful serve and volley on match point puts her in the quarterfinals against Stosur… Next for Camila Giorgi is Garbine Muguruza. Muguruza, best known for her dismissal of Serena Williams in the 2014 French Open, came from a break down in the third set to win over Shuai Peng, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2.

 

Jack Cunniff is covering the Connecticut Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his updates on twitter @TennisNewsTPN. His personal twitter is @JRCunniff.

 

CONNECTICUT OPEN PRESENTED BY UNITED TECHNOLOGIES – NEW HAVEN, USA
$ 710,000.00
17-23 AUGUST 2014

RESULTS – AUGUST 20, 2014
Women’s
Singles – Second Round

[WC] S Stosur (AUS) d [3] E Bouchard (CAN) 62 62
C Giorgi (ITA) d [4] C Wozniacki (DEN) 64 62
G Muguruza (ESP) d [Q] S Peng (CHN) 62 36 63
[WC] K Flipkens (BEL) d [WC] A Petkovic (GER) 46 76(4) 76(6)

Women’s
Doubles – Quarterfinals

D Jurak (CRO) / M Moulton-Levy (USA) d [Alt] A Riske (USA) / C Vandeweghe (USA) 76(4) 16 10-8
A Klepac (SLO) / S Soler-Espinosa (ESP) d C Dellacqua (AUS) / S Voegele (SUI) 63 26 10-6

ORDER OF PLAY – THURSDAY, AUGUST 21, 2014
STADIUM start 1:00 pm
WTA – B Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) vs [2] P Kvitova (CZE)
WTA – M Rybarikova (SVK) vs A Riske (USA)
WTA – C Giorgi (ITA) vs G Muguruza (ESP)

Not Before 7:00 pm
WTA – [WC] K Flipkens (BEL) vs [WC] S Stosur (AUS)
Men’s Legends – J Blake (USA) vs A Roddick (USA)

GRANDSTAND start 1:00 pm
WTA – [5] A Medina Garrigues (ESP) / Y Shvedova (KAZ) vs M Erakovic (NZL) / A Parra Santonja (ESP)
WTA – [1] C Black (ZIM) / S Mirza (IND) vs C Garcia (FRA) / M Niculescu (ROU)

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Connecticut Open – Day 1

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Connecticut Open – Day 1

 

By Jack Cunniff

 

(August 17, 2014) NEW HAVEN -First Round Action: Sixth seed Flavia Pennetta advanced to the second round of the Connecticut Open defeating Klara Koukalova. Koukalova was a semifinalist here last year, and had defeated Pennetta in New Haven in 2011 …Ekaterina Makarova scored a routine win over Roberta Vinci, 63 63, setting up a second round match against No. 2 seed Petra Kvitova. Makarova defeated Kvitova two weeks ago in the third round of Montreal. Makarova has compiled a very consistent record in 2014; the lowest ranked player she’s lost to this year was No. 26 Svetlana Kuznetsova in Washington, D.C…. Alison Riske defeated Casey Dellacqua in straight sets, snapping a four match losing streak that dated back to her third round Wimbledon loss to Maria Sharapova… Camilla Giorgi, ranked No. 37, defeated Coco Vandeweghe ranked no. 38. Only 3 points separated the two players in the August 11, 2014 rankings.

Qualifying: Sunday’s play at The Connecticut Open saw six players advance to the main draw from the Qualifying event: Belinda Bencic, Shaui Peng, Silvia Soler-Espinosa, Timea Bacsinszky, and by winning third set tiebreaks, Misaki Doi and Irina-Camelia Begu.  Qualifiers have had great success in New Haven. In three of the last five years, a qualifier has reached at least the quarterfinals. The most successful qualifier in recent years was Petra Cetkovska, who reached the New Haven final in 2011, defeating Li Na, Marion Bartoli, and Agnieszka Radwanska en route.
All Access Hour: Petra Kvitova, comparing her 2011 and 2014 Wimbledon wins: “I enjoyed it a little bit more the second time. I feel it is more special a little bit…This year, I felt like I was the favorite for the matches, so it was more difficult.” Kvitova enjoys playing in New Haven, comparing it to the calm before the storm that is the U.S. Open… Simona Halep is attempting her first successful title defense in New Haven. There’s pressure involved in defending her title and the ranking points that come with it, but Halep is quietly confident about her chances: “I’m also relaxed because I played good last week and I’m 100%”… Caroline Wozniacki Is happy with her current form, and feels her close matches to Serena Williams in the past two weeks is proof that her play is on the upswing. But she is concerned about one thing: cookies. “The worst part about (New Haven) is they’ve opened up this cookie shop right around the corner… that is very dangerous.” Wozniacki is doing a lot of running off-court, not only to work off the cookies, but to prepare for the New York Marathon. She will be running for the charity Team For Kids., which raises funds for health and fitness programs for kids… Genie Bouchard breaks down the top 50 players: “The most important thing at this level is the mental side. It’s really about who can play their best in the high pressure situations or on big stages.” When asked about setting Canadian tennis records, Genie cited her Junior Wimbledon title (2013) and becoming the first Canadian to win a Singles Slam “It was huge for me. I made history for my country.”

Jack Cunniff is covering the Connecticut Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his updates on twitter @TennisNewsTPN. His personal twitter is @JRCunniff.

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Roger Federer Takes Sixth Cincinnati Crown for 80th Career Title

By Dave Gertler

(August 17, 2014) MASON, OHIO – After making the final of four Masters 1000 events this year, Roger Federer has finally broken through to win his first title at that level since 2012. After beating fellow top 10 players Andy Murray and Milos Raonic to reach the final, Federer’s opponent at the Western & Southern Open in Mason, Ohio, was world No. 6 Spaniard David Ferrer, who has troubled the world No .3 lately, but had not beaten Federer in their 15 career matches.

 

Like their quarterfinal played out in Toronto last week, their meeting at the Lindner Family Tennis Center today also went three sets, with 33-year-old Federer giving away the middle set to his 32-year-old opponent.

 

With Federer serving first, both players held easily until Ferrer – serving at 3-4 – double faulted twice to hand Federer the break. Although Federer consolidated for 6-3, it was not before he went down 0-40 and proceeded to save four break points, perhaps a sign of what was coming in the following set.

 

“Let’s not talk about the second set,” Federer joked after the match, perhaps offering some insight into the kind of mentality that brought his title count to 80 today. “I can dwell on it for like 30 minutes if you want and then the press conference is over and we talked about the second set rather than the good stuff.”

 

The second set saw Ferrer tighten up his return game, find his rhythm and apply pressure on Federer’s serve, breaking the Swiss twice for a 6-1 second set. However, said Federer, “I did get some momentum back I think at the end of the second set, even though I did end up losing it 6‑1. I really thought I was feeling better again towards the end of the second set, like he felt better at the end of the first.”

 

Federer, who has reached 8 finals in 2014, compared to a total of 3 in 2013, led with his serve in the third set, when he served 4 of his 6 aces in the match. “The third set he serve unbelievable,” said Ferrer, who was unable to make his opponent save any break points in the final set, while Federer broke him twice for a final score of 6-3, 1-6, 6-2. Federer remains unbeaten in Cincinnati finals, and holds a record 6 titles there.

 

“We’ve never played each other in slams,” said Federer when asked about his one-sided rivalry against Ferrer, “So from that standpoint, like I mentioned the other day, head‑to‑heads don’t mean everything.”

 

Having played ten matches in 13 days, Federer said that on Monday, he considered not playing the Western & Southern Open, in order to conserve energy for next week’s US Open. “I could have just not played here,” said Federer, “And gone into the Open feeling good about my chances, now I feel even better, you know. On the flip coin, what was the other plan? Practice? Take a few days off? But then I have to grind out in the practice. I still believe matches are the best practice right now.”

 

For Federer it was his 80th career singles title.

 

Earlier, Serena Williams beat Ana Ivanovic 6-4, 6-1 to claim her first Cincinnati title, while Bob and Mike Bryan ended Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock’s 14-match winning streak when they beat them in the doubles final 6-3, 6-2 for their fifth title in Cincinnati. Americans were also winners in the women’s doubles, where Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears played Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic, who retired injured from the match trailing 1-6, 0-2.

 

The Western & Southern Open also set new attendance records, drawing 191, 752 fans over 16 sessions to the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio.

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney who was covering the Western & Southern Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days

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Serena Williams Wins First Cincinnati Title

By Dave Gertler

(August 17, 2017) MASON, OHIO – Serena Williams proved on Sunday she’s in slam-winning form, by taking out Ana Ivanovic 6-4, 6-1 in the final of the Western & Southern Open, her last match before the US Open begins in New York.
Williams only dropped one set the whole week, on the way to a 62nd WTA title, and was convincing at the Lindner Family Tennis Center, serving 12 aces and only being broken once – in the first game of the match – on her way to a straight-sets win which took just over an hour.

 

Ivanovic joked after her loss that it “Felt like way more” than 12 aces were being fired at her by the world No.1. “She served a lot bigger and was placing it a lot better. It was very hard for me to read her serves too.” The Serbian world No. 11 had raced out to a 3-1 lead, using her cross-court forehand to dictate points from the baseline, before the world No. 1 was able to assert herself in the match. “She was obviously at that point playing so well,” said Williams, “It was good for me to just kind of get through that moment.”

 

The 32-year-old American did exactly that by jumping on Ivanovic’s first and second serves, hitting clean winners off the return of serve and breaking in the 6th game to level the score. Serving to stay in the first set, Ivanovic hit two consecutive double faults to lose the set 4-6.

 

“That’s something that you cannot do,” Ivanovic said of her two double faults, “Especially against Serena when she’s at her best, like I thought she was today. Then serve fell apart because I tried to force it a little too much. She makes you go for more. That’s when the unforced errors creep in, too.”

 

After Ivanovic held for 1-1, Williams closed out the match in dominant form, losing a total of 5 points on her way to 6-1, hitting two aces in her final service game. “My first day of practice here something just clicked,” said Williams, “I was playing better and I was serving better.”

 

“This is definitely a level that could take me to the title,” said Williams, referring to the US Open which begins next week, a couple of weeks before her 33rd birthday on September 26. “I feel great I think at 32,” she said, “I’m in some of the best shape I’ve been in. I can play long points and be ready to go again. I feel really fit. 32 is the new 22, right?”
Ivanovic, whose previous best result in Cincinnati was a semifinal which she lost to Kim Clijsters in 2010, will begin next week in the WTA’s top 10 for the first time in 5 years. “It’s the biggest final I’ve been in in a while,” said the 26-year-old, “It feels good to be part of it. I just want now to keep working hard and keep improving the areas that I can. There are still few points in my game that I feel I need to work on for the US Open and also for the end of season. Definitely exciting times.”

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney and was covering the Western & Southern Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow him on his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days .

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