2014/08/30

Sara Errani Stuns Venus Williams in Third Round of US Open

Venus Williams

Venus Williams

(August 29, 2014) FLUSHING MEADOWS – Two points from the match 13th seeded Sara Errani, forced a tiebreak and rallied to beat the two-time US Open champion Venus Williams in a topsy-turvy match 6-0, 0-6, 7-6 (5).

Williams battled to come back from a break down twice in the final set, but in the end, 52 unforced errors and 8 double-faults were her undoing.

“It was a really tough match, even if I won the first set 6-0,” said Errani.  “She’s an amazing player. I just tried to focus on every point. I tried to keep going, not thinking too much about the score.”

“First set I start very good, very aggressive,” said the 27-year-old Italian. “I was playing very good. She didn’t put too many first serves, so maybe that was a bit the key. And the second set I start a bit down with the legs, not pushing too much the ball, and she was coming in the court. More first serves. So that was a big difference between the first and the second set. The third was very near. Many breaks.”

Before this match, Errani had never won more than 3 games in a set against the 34-year-old Williams in three previous matches.

Next up for Errant, she play a qualifier 121st- ranked qualifier, 32-year-old Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, who as a teenager reached the semifinals of Wimbledon in 1999, the last time she made the fourth round of a major.

More to follow.

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Simona Halep Falls to Former Teen Phenom Mirjana Lucic-Baroni

 

(August 29, 2014) FLUSHING MEADOWS – No. 2 seed Simona Halep has crashed out of the US Open falling to qualifier and former teen tennis phenom, 32-year-old Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia, ranked 121 in the world 7-6 (6), 6-2.

The Croat was down a break in the first set and won 11 of the next 15 games to close out the match.

Halep had some success in the majors this year, losing the French Open final and reaching the semifinals at Wimbledon.

Halep double-faulted 7 times and hit 23 unforced errors, while Lucic-Baroni 31 winners.

The winner is back into the fourth round of a major for the first time since 1999 Wimbledon when she reached the semifinal as a teenager.

“It’s amazing,” Lucic-Baroni said. “I finally been able to play the tennis that I love the way I love to play. You know, being really aggressive and consistent at the same time. Yeah, I mean, I keep playing better and better each round. Today was against one of the best players in the world. She’s amazing. I expected a really tough match. I didn’t think about anything except following the tactics and playing the way I was supposed to play. I was able to do that; it’s incredible.”

“I’m a little bit emotional now,” she said in press and began to cry. “It’s been really hard. Sorry. After so many years to be here again, it’s incredible. I wanted this so bad. So many times I would get to, you know, a place where I could do it. Then I wanted it so bad that I’m kind of burned out. And I apologize again. Yeah, I’m so happy.

Halep was trying to make the fourth round at Flushing Meadows for the second straight year.

“She played really well today,” Halep said. “After I had 5-2 and the two set points, she came back really well and she started to hit every ball. Everything was in for her. It wasn’t my best day, but still I did everything I could on court. She was better than me today, so I have to just to keep working every day hard and to look forward for the next one.”
“She was hitting the balls very strong,” Halep said of her challenger. She’s tall and she serves well. So I knew that she’s a good player. But still, like I said, I wasn’t in a good mood also. I didn’t play my best today. But she deserves to win.”

“I started pretty good the match,” the Romanian continued. ”I had 5-2 and two set balls. I started aggressive. I played well. But after that, after she came back really well. I couldn’t hit very long the balls. So was too short, my game. But it happened, and I have just to take like it was. Good mood I didn’t have because, you know, sometimes after you lose a set from 5-2 you lose a little bit of the confidence. But still I tried everything I could.”

“I feel goofy right now,” said the Croat. “I feel like I’m 15 now. I feel so excited. It’s crazy. I’m 32, but I don’t feel like that. My body is really great. That’s really important. I feel fit. I feel strong in my mind. I feel very excited, even after so many years on tour. That’s what I find really — exciting is not the word. Kind of surprising a little bit. I still have so much desire, so much to play. And what I meant today is when I said on the court I realized later what was I saying? I was saying I have such an amazing husband and such a happy life at home that I don’t need to do this, you know. I would be perfectly fine having a family. But people don’t realize how much I want this and how hard I worked for this. Yeah, it’s these moments in these last two weeks that are just — I mean, it’s what I work for. It’s just so fulfilling, so amazing.”

Lucic-Baroni will play Sara Errani next. The Italian knocked out Venus Williams 6-0. 0-6, 7-6(5).

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Bernard Tomic Withdraws from US Open with Hip Injury

Bernard Tomic

(August 29, 2014) FLUSHING MEADOWS – Bernard Tomic withdrew from his match AGAINST David Ferrer due to a left hip injury on Fridayat the US Open. With the withdrawal Ferrer advances to the third round.

Tomic had surgery on both hips back in January.

“I was sick for the last 10 days,” said the 21-yeae-old Australian. “It was difficult having the flu, but my hip’s a little bit not in shape. I’m feeling it inside. So I did the best thing not to play. You know, I don’t want to muck around with that area. For sure something is there. I’ve got to get it checked. Got to get it analyzed the next few days. I’ve got to look into it and see what’s wrong, because I’m definitely feeling something in that area. For me, it’s not good right now. It’s painful.”
Tomic said that the injury flared up during his first round doubles match with Nick Kyrgios. “I can’t afford to get on court and, you know, play against David and cause much more pain to myself, because, you know, I’m going to have to stay with him the whole match,” he said. For me right now I cannot do that. Who knows? I can potentially make it ten times worse. For me it’s the best thing not to go on court today. It’s a very difficult decision for me, but I have to do this.

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‘Age is Just a Number’ – 34-year-old Victor Estrella Burgos Beats 17-year-old Borna Coric at US Open

estrella burgos 1

(August 28, 2014) From a country more well-known for baseball shortstops than tennis players, Victor Estrella Burgos from the Dominican Republic has advanced to the third round of the US Open.

The 34-year-old Estrella Burgos, playing in his first US Open, took out 17-year-old Borna Coric 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

When I asked about playing someone half his age he said: “He half my half age, is true this. But I know he’s a very good player. I check him some video. I had to do some strategy how to play against him because he’s a really good player, he have a very good future. I need to see so much about how he play. I change my game every time because I know he’s younger. But how I said before, the age is just number. From his mind, is very older, I think.”

Despite this being his debut playing the US Open and being the first player from his country to compete in a Grand Slam event, the 80th ranked Estrella Burgos had plenty of supporters with thousands of Dominicans living in New York City and the surrounding areas – and they made their presence felt with loud cheering and chants.

“People from Dominican, I think they are in the party now,” Estrella Burgos said. “They are very happy. This is very special for me, to be came from very, very long way, you know, very down. Nobody play — I don’t have any idea before when I have 18 years old about this tournament, this kind of tournament. But now I’m enjoy so much. This make me like every day, doesn’t matter if I’m 38 whatever, make me strong. Every time when I get into the court, make me strong.”

“Have a big emotion when I serving for the match, serving match point,’” he said. “I cannot believe I’m in this situation. Like I going to make the third round in US Open. Was little nervous and very, very emotional for me. But thank God I got the point.”

Estrella Burgos first turned pro in 2002, but left the sport after having problems in getting money to play the tour. He returned to tennis in 2006 and thought about retiring after he hurt his elbow in 2012. He became the first Dominican to break into the top 100 back in March.

The win puts Estrella Burgos in the third round, his deepest run at ta Grand Slam event where he will play Canadian Milos Raonic, the fifth seed.

“I think I’m going to play stadium or grandstand, I don’t know where, said the 5-foot-8 Dominican who has played both of his matches on Court 6, a non-televised court.

“I think going to be in bigger court. We talking about like how many Dominicans going to come? Today was full, the court was full. I have like thousand coach because all of them, they coaching me,” he said with a big smile. “We are in the game. We going to take the towel. We hear like what they say every time. I don’t know. I don’t know how to word this, but I think they going to buy the ticket for sure to come Saturday to see me play in the stadium.”

 

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News

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Dominican Journeyman Victor Estrella Burgos Sets Sights on Career High Ranking as he Topples Eighth Seed Feliciano Lopez at Citi Open

An Interview With: Victor Estrella Burgos

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Q. We saw some tears after the match point. Must have been very emotional. Can you talk a bit about it.

VICTOR ESTRELLA BURGOS: Of course. Have a big emotion when I serving for the match, serving match point. I cannot believe I’m in this situation. Like I going to make the third round in US Open. Was little nervous and very, very emotional for me. But thank God I got the point. After that I get a bigger tear again.

Q. How did it feel coming into the match knowing you were playing someone half your age?

VICTOR ESTRELLA BURGOS: He have my half age, is true this. But I know he’s a very good player. I check him some video. I had to do some strategy how to play against him because he’s a really good player, he have a very good future. I need to see so much about how he play. I change my game every time because I know he’s younger. But how I said before, the age is just number. From his mind, is very older, I think.

Q. I know your story for a long time. Some visitors came to us, from the Dominican Republic. They were celebrating your win as if they were in the finals themselves. They told us you really came from the dust. Do you know what I mean? It’s really an inspirational story you’re coming here.

VICTOR ESTRELLA BURGOS: First, this is make me very strong because I know where I coming from. I came from like very down. I come from Dominican Republic. I think I opening way to another player. This make me more hungry to do better and better. I’m in the winner, not just for today. I’m in the winner, I’m top 100, I have my enter to US Open. I’m a winner already. But now the winner is very different, it’s bigger. I’m in the third round. I’m very happy. People from Dominican, I think they are in the party now. They are very happy. This is very special for me, to be came from very, very long way, you know, very down. Nobody play — I don’t have any idea before when I have 18 years old about this tournament, this kind of tournament. But now I’m enjoy so much. This make me like every day, doesn’t matter if I’m 38 whatever, make me strong. Every time when I get into the court, make me strong.

Q. The crowd was crazy today. Do you expect to play in the stadium your next game?

VICTOR ESTRELLA BURGOS: Really the thing, I was talking with my physical coach, my physical trainer. We talking about if you play again, I think I’m going to play stadium or grandstand, I don’t know where. I think going to be in bigger court. We talking about like how many Dominicans going to come? Today was full, the court was full. I have like thousand coach because all of them, they coaching me, you know (smiling). We are in the game. We going to take the towel. We hear like what they say every time. I don’t know. I don’t know how to word this, but I think they going to buy the ticket for sure to come Saturday to see me play in the stadium.

Q. How much do you think these two matches have taken out of you physically and emotionally?

VICTOR ESTRELLA BURGOS: First physically, too much for me is not nothing. I feel like very good. Emotionally really big. I think is more bigger, emotionally is more bigger than physically. I feeling very good. I think I’m going to be ready for Saturday. I’m going to be so hungry to get into the court to play again.

Q. You had a bad line call that got you a little upset. Also when you took the injury timeout. You stayed focus. Is that one of your main strengths? How do you stay focused with so much distraction between the crowd, the player, the bad line call?

VICTOR ESTRELLA BURGOS: We are professional. We working in that, you know. He call the trainer. He was up 3-0. He call the trainer after I broke him. The match was 3-2. I get in very good time. He call the trainer. I don’t think he have anything because he running like crazy. But I just keeping focus in the court. I saw my coach. He tell me, Move, get focus. That’s the only thing. I don’t thinking what he have, what he doing, just thinking I have to be focus on keeping warm for make the next match.

Q. Why is it happening now at the latter stage of your career? Is there anything different?

VICTOR ESTRELLA BURGOS: I think is happening now because this had to happen now. I think when I have 20 years old, I tell you before, I don’t have any idea about the tournament. Because in Dominican, we don’t have this. I think for me this is the best time. This happen now. I had to get like very good, very simple for me. I think now is now. I cannot go back. I cannot start to thinking why this doesn’t happen when I have 20 or 22 or 24. Now it happening when I have 34, I very happy.

Q. You reached the third round. You’re living the American dream in New York. How do you think this will change your life and how do you want it to change your life?

VICTOR ESTRELLA BURGOS: No, I don’t think this going to change my life. Going the same life. Tennis player. Different level now, of course, because I get my new ranking, going to get very good ranking. But I think going to be the same Victor, the same Victor working every day very hard, happy in the locker. When I have challenger ATP, I going to be the same. Nothing going to change.

Q. I know you have quit your career already a few years ago. Do you feel less used because you were not playing for some years? Secondly, how far do you think you can go in the rankings?

VICTOR ESTRELLA BURGOS: I stop, I quit to play I think for four year and a half, like professional. I didn’t traveling. But I’m keeping in tennis because I play Davis Cup for Dominican. I think my dream was I want to make — with my team we talking about which ranking I want this year. I say I want to be top 50. This is what I want now. After that if I get, I have to start to next step. Now I going to get to the top 50. This is what I want now. I just thinking about that.

Q. Do you feel less used because you were not playing for those four years?

VICTOR ESTRELLA BURGOS: Yes, for sure, because I have like long time. Just play two times per year, like Davis Cup. Also physically I not used so much. I don’t have this before, like traveling 25 week per year. I don’t have this before.

Note: As website-only media covering the US Open as media,  Tennis Panorama News has special permission to post interview transcripts per the USTA.

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Novak Djokovic Crushes Paul-Henri Mathieu to Reach US Open Third Round

DJOKOVIC

(August 28, 2014) FLUSHING MEADOWS – Novak Djokovic wasted no time on Thursday in dismantling French man Paul-Henri Mathieu at the US Open. The No. 1 seed earned a place in the third round by a 6-1, 6-3, 6-0 score in 87 minutes.

“I wanted to get my job done as quick as possible,” said the Serbian. “I don’t feel like I need to play long matches to get into the groove. I mean, I feel that I’m hitting the ball very well. Second match even better than the first one. Under the circumstances I think I came up with a very good performance. Stayed mentally tough and not allowed myself to get frustrated because of the wind and conditions that were obviously very tough for both of us.”
The 27-year-old Djokovic will face American Sam Querrey next. Querrey upset 28th seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.

Djokovic talked about the upcoming match against the American.

“Sam is playing in front of his crowd. I’m sure that he’s going to have some good support. But on the other hand, if we get to play on center court maybe night session, that’s where my experience kicks in, I think. I have had a lot of matches, night sessions if we get to play, as I said, and try to neutralize his serve that is his big weapon. If he serves well he’s very dangerous. I saw a little bit of his match today and he played great. He’s in good form, good shape, and has nothing to lose. It’s going to be a tough one.”

Djokovic is 7-1 against Querrey.

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Serena Williams Demolishes Vania King in US Open Second Round

Serena Williams

(August 28, 2014) FLUSHING MEADOWS - Serena Williams, getting over a poor serving start, demolished fellow American Vania King 6-1, 6-0 in the second round of US Open on Thursday. The win gives two-time defending US open champion Williams a 16-match win streak at the final major of the year.

“I’ve been working really hard,” Williams said. “The results just hadn’t been coming in the slams. I started to get some really good results this summer, and that’s given me a lot of confidence going into this last Grand Slam of the year.”
“She never let me in,” said King to media. “She’s played at such a high level for so long, and I used to watch when I was a kid, growing up. So it’s kind of surreal to see the person that you’ve been watching on TV in front of you and playing. It was difficult.”

Williams is just a major title away from equaling Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert at 18.

“I’ve had three tries to get to 18, and it hasn’t happened, so…,” the 32-year-old Williams explained. “We’ll see, you know. Hopefully I’ll get there one day. I’m kind of stuck right now at 17, which to be honest is not a bad number to be stuck at. It’s better than 16. I honestly am really proud of everything I’ve been able to accomplish in my career. I can’t really be upset about anything.”
Williams finished her day with a doubles win with her sister Venus to win their first round match.

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“My Rhythm Was Really Off,” Ivanovic Upset at US Open

Ana Ivanovic with media 08092012

(August 28, 2014) FLUSHING MEADOWS – Former No. 1 and 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic lost control of her serve and her groundstrokes to suffer a second round defeat at the US Open on Thursday to No. 42 Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic.

The Serbian hit seven double-faults along with 29 unforced errors in the 7-5, 6-4 loss.

“I had great leadups to every Grand Slam,” said Ivanovic. “I played a lot of matches and won lot of matches. And big matches, as well. At the Grand Slams I just haven’t performed that well. It’s something that I’m definitely going to work on and see where I can improve, because that’s definitely, you know, big aim for me for next season.”

“It was very tough out there for me today,” she said of the loss. “I really struggled to find my rhythm and made way too many unforced errors. Yeah, it was just really bad day. She served well, and she played good at important points, but I think I just did not play as well as I did.”

Ivanovic gave credit to her opponent: “She served very well. I also thought she actually moved quite well considering her height. She had a good reach. She does hit the ball quite flat. You know, she played well in important points and made some good shots.”

“My rhythm was really off,” said the 8th seed.. And, yeah, my forehand wasn’t working at all. I made quite a lot of unforced errors from that side and I couldn’t rely on it. I felt like I was not pushing her out wide enough and I was not opening the court, because I wasn’t confident enough. It was a little bit gusty out there. But like I said, I really feel like I was not pushing her enough.”

Pliskova moves into the third round and will face 29th seed Casey Dellacqua.

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Venus Williams Moves into US Open Third Round

Venus Williams

Venus Williams

(August 27, 2014) FLUSHING MEADOWS –  Nineteenth seed Venus Williams is into the US open third round for the first time in four years, stopping Switxerland’s Timea Bacsinszky 6-1, 6-4.

The 2000-2001 US Open champion who at 34 is the oldest woman left in the draw had been eliminated in the second round three straight years.

“I’m happy,” said Williams. “I won a match again. Finally I did something I couldn’t do the last couple years. That’s good stuff.

“I feel like I’m playing well. I feel like I play my best when my opponent pushes me really. Once we start to, you know, really start to get into a slugfest, I feel like I really relax. Sometimes I feel like when they aren’t pushing me as much maybe I’m a little too passive at times. I don’t know. But I do feel like, you know, when things get tight, I feel like I can rely on myself to compete really well. So that’s a good feeling.”
Next up for the 7-time major champion will be Sara Errani, a former French Open finalist. Williams says she’s ready for the challenge.

“Really just focus because she’s so focused,” Williams said. “She does everything well on the court clearly, because she’s a great singles player and a doubles player. Every time I’ve played her, I’ve had to be focused on every single point, because she does not let up on any point no matter what the score is. If she’s down 5-Love, 40-Love and never won a game in the match, she is in there still to win the match. That’s my main thing: to stay focused and play my game.”

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Sharapova Rebounds to Gain US Open Third Round

 

(August 27, 2014) FLUSHING MEADOWS – Last year Maria Sharapova sat out the US Open with a shoulder injury. This year the Russian found herself battling to stay in a second round match against Alexandra Dulgheru, down a set and facing a break point.

Sharapova came back to take the second set and outlasted the Romanian 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

The world No. 5 felt that fitness was the key to her victory over No. 95.

“She played really well, “Sharapova said “Although I started off really good in the first couple of games, didn’t take the opportunity to go up 3-0. After that she started getting a little bit of a rhythm. It was difficult. Obviously the conditions were tough. You start in the sun; you finish under the lights. It was a very long match. Overall I felt like in the end I was in much better shape than she was and I could have played another few sets. Mentally that helped me a lot.”
In the end, the inflammation in the Romanian’s right wrist which limited her play in the past five weeks, resurfaced.

“I think you always expect yourself, no matter who you’re playing, the conditions, you always want to play well, win the match easy, Sharpaova said. “Sometimes it’s good to kind of look back and think in these types of situations, conditions, all of that. It’s really good to get through, put yourself in a really tough position, but then you’re able to find a way to get back and finish really strong.”

Sharapova is in for a major test in the third round when she faces 2013 Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki, who just this past July hit the fastest serve for a woman at 131MPH.

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Seeds Radwanska and Stephens Fall at US Open

 

Radwanska bh

 

(August 27, 2014) FLUSHING MEADOWS – In the biggest upset of the US Open so far, China’s Shuai Peng beat fourth seed Agniezska Radwanska 6-3, 6-4 in the second round of the tournament on Wednesday. The Polish woman is the first top 10 player dismissed from the US Open.

No. 21 seed American Sloane Stephens added to the seed carnage when she fell to No. 96 Johanna Larsson 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Radwanska came into the match with a 3-1 head-to-head record against Peng, but the Chinese woman was the better of the two in long rallies.

“She’s very solid player, very consistent from both side(s), very good from the back,” Radwanska said.

Coming into the match, Peng had a 3-22 career record against the top five.

“Every game was pretty tight and a lot of rallies. Even the serve wasn’t really the big in the weapon in that match, so every game could go either way. But I think in the imRadwanskaportant moments I think she was just playing a little bit better.”

For Radwanska, Flushing Meadows has never been her best major. The best she’s ever done was to reach the fourth round in 2007.

Shuai Peng

Shuai Peng

“ Beginning of match actually I also really nervous, because when the first set start is not like — first game is not really good,” Peng said. “But actually it’s good. I come back into match after two games really good. And then the end I think I just really want to win. My mind, you know, like when I get to match point is really, tight, I just thinking like, you know — I go through again for the Australia Open, to happen again, so like tell myself, you know, like I have to hit the ball. You know, even maybe I missed it I still have to go for my shot because this is my weapon. And then finally the serve I made it.”

For Sloane Stephens Wednesday’s loss was her first loss before the third round in four US Opens. Her Swedish opponent rallied from a set and a break down to get the victory. She lost in the first round of the US Open on four previous occasions.

“Things just got a little shaky,” Stephens said of the match. “Obviously she played some good games after that. Start of the third set I tried to just put it behind me and came out swinging. I did. Today she played a solid game, and it was just unfortunate. I had many opportunities, but just couldn’t convert.

Stephens could not seem to keep the ball in play, committing 63 unforced errors.

“Everyone works at their own pace, and you just kind of — I mean, I’m not gonna dwell on this,” the American talking about the early loss. “I’m just gonna keep improving and getting better and looking forward to the next tournaments.”

 

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