2014/08/28

Victoria Azarenka said it was a “smart decision” not to play Cincinnati

 

Azarenka

(August 23, 2014) FLUSHING MEADOWS – Victoria Azarenka has been struggling with injuries this year and has seen her ranking fall out of the top 10 to No. 17. As defending champion at Cincinnati, the 25–year-old withdrew from the tournament.

“I think it was a very smart decision to not play there, which was very unfortunate,” said the Belarusian who pulled out with a knee injury. “But I feel better. You know, I don’t need to tape my knee that much anymore. I have just been working hard to get strength in there and just to be stable. During practice it doesn’t bother me, so I’m ready to go.”

 

Now that she back on court, she adjusting. “It’s just a matter of getting it back into the rhythm. You know, you’re always used to playing matches and tournaments, so you go from one place to another. Once you stop, it’s just a matter of getting that timing back. A little bit of reaction. But really just building that base of kind of a consistent playing. So I think that’s the toughest part that takes always a longer time, and it’s a process. When you come back you expect the result to be right there just where you kind of finished, but sometimes it takes a little longer.”

The 16th seed will begin her quest for a title against Japan’s Misaki Doi. Azarenka was the runner=up the last two years at the US Open to Serena Williams.

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Roger Federer Family Man Has Some Advice for Future Father Novak Djokovic

Federer fistpump

(August 23, 2014) FLUSHING MEADOWS – Father of four and holder of five US Open titles, No. 2 seed Roger Federer was asked by reporters on US Open media day on Saturday if he has any advice for future father and No. 1 player Novak Djokovic.

“Advice is different than just saying something,” Federer said. I mean, I would wish him well. That’s it,” Federer said with laughter filling the room.

“Now you want advice, then it’s totally different. Then we can go into this like endless talk of how I did it, which worked and which didn’t work. I have spoken to him a little bit in the past. It’s normal I think when you’re entering the whole family thing that many people you talk to, all you talk about is babies and how to prepare for it mentally. I think it’s a very exciting time. So I think he must be quite excited about what’s going to happen soon. And with the wedding and everything, I’m sure he’s, you know, going through a great spell at the moment with winning Wimbledon, top of it, so things are great for him. But I think he’s got to figure it out himself really, because I don’t know his wife very well. I don’t know where he lives exactly. So I think that all has an impact. Are they going to travel or not.

“But the good thing, he sees with me with four, so with one it should be a piece of cake.” Federer said as laughter filled the interview room again. “Honestly I wish him the best. I think it’s wonderful he chose to create a family, and, you know, have kids with his wife.”

The five-time champion will face off against Australian Marinko Matosevic  in the first round of the US Open.

The Swiss spoke about his mental approach to his first round match at a major: “It’s not necessarily just the first round, it’s just for the tournament, managing the first sort of the preparation week with press, sponsors, practice, treatment, you know, enough sleep, all that stuff. Just getting through it in a way that you’re really eager to play the tournament and you don’t want to get ahead of yourself. Really give the proper respect to your first-round opponent that he deserves and the danger of not quite knowing the conditions yet, because you can’t simulate a match situation in a practice. You can get used to the speeds of the courts, the way the ball flies, the wind, the humidity, all those things. But the tension you do feel on a match court, it’s just totally different. That can really either block you for playing great or sometimes it frees you up. That’s the unknown, and that’s why that first-round match is always crucial.”

 

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama

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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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Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are Top Men’s Seeds at US Open

Djokovic and Federer shake hands

From the USTA -FLUSHING, N.Y., August 19, 2014 – The USTA announced today that world No. 1 and reigning Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic,of Serbia, has been named the top seed in men’s singles at the 2014 US Open, and five-time US Open champion Roger Federer, of Switzerland, has been seeded No. 2. The 2014 US Open will be played at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y., August 25 – September 8. The US Open Men’s Singles Championship is presented by Mercedes-Benz.

 

Djokovic has reached the last four US Open men’s singles finals, winning the title in 2011, and won his seventh Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon this summer, and Federer, a 17-time major champion who pushed Djokovic to five sets in the Wimbledon final, are joined in the top four seeds by No. 3 Stanislas Wawrinka, of Switzerland, the 2014 Australian Open champion and No. 4 David Ferrer, of Spain. Great Britain’s Andy Murray, the 2012 US Open champion, is seeded eighth.

 

World No. 2 and reigning US Open champion Rafael Nadal, of Spain, withdrew from the US Open men’s singles tournament yesterday with a right wrist injury.  2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, from Argentina, currently ranked No. 13, withdrew earlier, as did No. 23 Alexandr Dolgopolov, of Ukraine, No. 28 Nicolas Almagro, of Spain, and No. 34 Tommy Haas, of Germany.

 

Federer is seeded at the US Open for the 14th straight year, tying Ivan Lendl for the second longest streak in the Open Era behind only Jimmy Connors’ 18 consecutive years.

 

For 2014, the US Open followed the Emirates ATP Rankings released Monday to determine the men’s singles seeds. This is the 13th consecutive year that the US Open will seed 32 players in singles.

 

Djokovic, 27, is 39-6 this year and reclaimed the No. 1 ranking from Nadal in July following his Wimbledon victory. Federer, meanwhile, is ranked No. 3 and won his 22nd ATP Masters 1000 title last week at the Emirates Airline US Open Series’ Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.

 

The singles draws for the 2014 US Open will be revealed live during an official draw ceremony on Thursday, August 21, at 12 p.m. ET at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The draw will be streamed live on USOpen.org.  Defending US Open champion Serena Williams will make an appearance at the event.

 

2014 US Open Men’s Singles Seeds

 

1.    Novak Djokovic, Serbia

2.    Roger Federer, Switzerland

 

3.    Stanislas Wawrinka, Switzerland

4.    David Ferrer, Spain

 

5.    Milos Raonic, Canada

6.    Tomas Berdych, Czech Republic

7.    Grigor Dimitrov, Bulgaria

8.    Andy Murray, Great Britain

9.    Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, France

10.  Kei Nishikori, Japan

11.  Ernests Gulbis, Latvia

12.  Richard Gasquet, France

13.  John Isner, United States

14.  Marin Cilic, Croatia

15.  Fabio Fognini, Italy

16.  Tommy Robredo, Spain

17.  Roberto Bautista Agut, Spain

18.  Kevin Anderson, South Africa

19.  Feliciano Lopez, Spain

20.  Gael Monfils, France

21.  Mikhail Youzhny, Russia

22.  Philipp Kohlschreiber, Germany

23.  Leonardo Mayer, Argentina

24.  Julien Benneteau, France

25.  Ivo Karlovic, Croatia

26.  Gilles Simon, France

27.  Santiago Giraldo, Colombia

28.  Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, Spain

29.  Lukas Rosol, Czech Republic

30.  Jeremy Chardy, France

31.  Fernando Verdasco, Spain

32.  Joao Sousa, Portugal

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Former U.S. Open Champ Tries to Recapture Form at Connecticut Open

 

By Jack Cunniff

(August 18, 2014) NEW HAVEN – It has been a tough summer for Samantha Stosur. The Australian, who won the U.S. Open Ladies Singles Championship in 2011, suffered three straight opening round losses in Eastbourne, Wimbledon, and Stanford. The loss in Stanford was a low point, as she fell to a Japanese qualifier, Naomi Osaka, who was ranked outside of the Top 400. As a result of the slump, Stosur’s WTA ranking dropped to No. 25, and she finds herself outside the Top Twenty for the first time in five years. And as a result of her ranking drop, she now enters most events unseeded, facing tougher draws. That scenario played out over the last two weeks when Stosur faced world No. 1 Serena Williams in the second round of both Montreal and Cincinnati.

 

In Cincinnati, Stosur finally showed signs of life. While she lost to Williams in the second round, it was two close tiebreak sets, significantly better than the 6-0, 6-2 drubbing at the hands of Serena the week earlier in Montreal. Encouraged, Stosur took a wild card to The Connecticut Open, the final event leading into the 2014 U.S. Open.

 

In her opening round in New Haven, Stosur battled past a game opponent in Kurumi Nara. Nara is relatively new to the scene. “I never played her before, never seen her hit a ball, to be honest with you,” Stosur admitted after the match. But the Japanese player has had recent success, reaching the finals of Washington D.C. a few weeks ago, propelling her to a career high ranking of No. 32, not that far from Stosur’s own ranking. It was an up and down match: Nara grabbed an early lead, Stosur came from a 1-5 deficit to win the first set, Stosur lost match point opportunities in the second set, and finally took hold of the match in the final set. Stosur was happy to come through with the win. “Anytime you can battle through a match like that, it’s great for your confidence and belief… you can’t work on those things in practice.”

 

Like Montreal and Cincinnati, the road in New Haven gets much tougher for Stosur in the second round. Genie Bouchard, the Canadian success story who has risen to No. 8 in the world with her Wimbledon runner-up result, awaits. Stosur beat Bouchard in a tournament final in Japan last October, but they have been on separate paths since then. Stosur acknowledged the battle ahead against Bouchard: “She’s obviously improved a lot in the last ten or twelve months, and (she’s) putting consistent results together especially in grand slams. Two semis [Australian and French Opens] and a final [Wimbledon], you’re doing something well.” A win over Bouchard would be the best win for Stosur over the last 12 months, and could put her back on the road to the Top Twenty.

Around the grounds… Four time New Haven champ Caroline Wozniacki overcame a slow start to defeat Timea Bacsinszky, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2… Bouchard nabbed her first win since Wimbledon, crushing Bojana Jovanovski, 6-1, 6-1… Caroline Garcia of France lost in the final round of qualifying, but advanced to the main draw when the No. 8 seed, Carla Suarez Navarro, withdrew with a gastrointestinal ailment. Garcia’s first round opponent? Irina-Cameila Begu, who defeated her in qualifying. Garcia turned the tables, winning 7-6, 7-6… Sara Errani, seeded No. 7, became the first seed to tumble, losing to Garbine Muguruza, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1.

 

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 18, 2014
Women’s
Singles – First Round

[3] E Bouchard (CAN) d B Jovanovski (SRB) 61 61
[4] C Wozniacki (DEN) d [Q] T Bacsinszky (SUI) 46 61 62
[WC] A Petkovic (GER) d [5] [WC] D Cibulkova (SVK) 76(2) 63
G Muguruza (ESP) d [7] S Errani (ITA) 62 36 61
M Rybarikova (SVK) d [Q] S Soler-Espinosa (ESP) 64 63
[Q] S Peng (CHN) d E Svitolina (UKR) 64 63
[WC] K Flipkens (BEL) d [Q] M Doi (JPN) 63 46 62
[WC] S Stosur (AUS) d K Nara (JPN) 76(5) 67(10) 62
[LL] C Garcia (FRA) d [Q] I Begu (ROU) 76(4) 76(4)
B Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) d [Q] B Bencic (SUI) 64 57 63

Women’s
Doubles – First Round

[5] A Medina Garrigues (ESP) / Y Shvedova (KAZ) d S Peer (ISR) / K Piter (POL) 64 61
C Garcia (FRA) / M Niculescu (ROU) d A Groenefeld (GER) / K Koukalova (CZE) 60 57 14-12
C Dellacqua (AUS) / S Voegele (SUI) d O Kalashnikova (GEO) / A Rosolska (POL) 76(3) 61

USONP
Men’s
Singles
Championship – Finals

[1] S Singh (IND) d [2] J Dadamo (USA) 62 62

USONP
Women’s
Singles
Championship – Finals

C Whoriskey (USA) d M Gordon (USA) 26 62 61

ORDER OF PLAY – TUESDAY, AUGUST 19, 2014
STADIUM start 12:00 noon
WTA – A Riske (USA) vs [6] F Pennetta (ITA)
WTA – [LL] C Garcia (FRA) vs B Zahlavova Strycova (CZE)
WTA – [Alt] A Riske (USA) / C Vandeweghe (USA) vs [WC] N Gibbs (USA) / G Min (USA)

Not Before 7:00 pm
WTA – [1] S Halep (ROU) vs M Rybarikova (SVK)
WTA – E Makarova (RUS) vs [2] P Kvitova (CZE)

GRANDSTAND start 2:00 pm
WTA – [1] C Black (ZIM) / S Mirza (IND) vs K Pliskova (CZE) / K Pliskova (CZE)
WTA – G Muguruza (ESP) / C Suárez Navarro (ESP) vs M Erakovic (NZL) / A Parra Santonja (ESP)

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Mats Wilander to Host Second Foundation Tennis Pro-Am to Benefit Epidermolysis Bullosa

Wilander Playing Tennis

(August 18, 2014) Mats Wilander and debra of America return to the West Side Tennis Club on Wednesday, August 27, 2014 for the 2nd Annual Mats Wilander Foundation Tennis Pro-Am. Play with former No. 1 player, Mats Wilander, Cameron Lickle of Wilander on Wheels, and other current and former tennis pros. Past pros have participated have included: John McEnroe, Jim Courier, Jonas Björkman, Thomas Blake, Thomas Johansson, Mikael Pernfors and Karel Nováček.

The Tennis Pro-Am is open to guests of all ages and playing levels. All proceeds benefit debra of America’s fight against Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) – The Worst Disease You’ve Never Heard Of.™

DATE: Wednesday, August 27, 2014
TIME: 8AM – 4PM
VENUE: The West Side Tennis Club, 1 Tennis Place, Forest Hills, Queens, NY
BENEFITING: debra of America and the “Butterfly Children” with Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB)
BUY TICKETS AND LEARN MORE AT: www.debra.org/Tennis

YOUR TICKET INCLUDES:
- Playing with Mats Wilander, Former #1 Tennis Player in the World, 7 Grand Slam Singles Titles, & International Tennis Hall of Fame Member
- Hitting with Former & Current Tennis Pros on 3 Court Surfaces – Including Grass!
- Instructional Clinics, Competition Drills & Round-Robins
- Team Competition for Prizes (NEW!)
- Pro Meet-and-Greet
- Viewing a Professional Exhibition Match
- Continental Breakfast
- Barbecue Lunch with Beer, Wine & Cocktails

EXCLUSIVE ACE CHALLENGE – NEW!
Fundraise $500 or more using our Personal Fundraising Pages and get the exclusive opportunity to ace Mats Wilander at the Pro-Am. When you register for the event, you will automatically be set up with a Personal Fundraising Page to send to your friends and supporters. It’s that easy! If you raise $500 or more, you will win 2 serves to try to ace Mats Wilander. If you succeed, you will win a 15-minute private singles match with the 7-time Grand Slam Singles winner! (Email events@debra.org or call 212-868-1573 for more details.)

WHAT IS EB?

Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) is a rare connective tissue disorder with many genetic and symptomatic variations. Yet, all of the variations share a common symptom of extremely fragile skin that blisters and tears with even the slightest friction or trauma and that is why children with EB are often called “Butterfly Children.” Because the disease also affects internal organs and bodily systems, the list of complications and symptoms from EB can be long and may require multiple interventions from a range of medical specialists. EB affects both genders and all racial and ethnic backgrounds equally. As of today, there is no cure or treatment.

ABOUT EPIDERMOLYSIS BULLOSA (EB)

Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) is a rare genetic disorder in which children do not produce a vital protein to allow their skin to adhere to itself. Because their skin is so fragile, they are often known as ‘Butterfly Children.’ EB affects 1 out of every 20,000 live births in the United States and afflicts both genders and all racial and ethnic backgrounds equally. The most well-known and prominent manifestation of EB is blistering or tearing of the skin from any friction. That means taking off a shirt or a hug from a loved one is incredibly painful and causes the skin to peel away. Imagine your child suffering from a disease where more than 70% of their body is covered in open sores and blisters. There is no treatment or cure. Daily wound care, pain management and protective bandaging are the only options available. Learn more at debra.org

 

ABOUT THE MW FOUNDATION

SAVE IT. SEND IT. SHARE IT. are the ideals that the MW Foundation stands for, not only while on a tennis court but for everyday life. Mats Wilander started the Foundation in association with Wilander on Wheels, when his 15 year old son, Erik, was born with a mild form of Epidermolysis Bullosa. Mats has been instrumental in helping debra of America raise awareness for Epidermolysis Bullosa and funds for research and the supportive services and programs.

 

ABOUT DEBRA OF AMERICA

The Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa Research Association of America (debra of America) was founded in 1980 and is the only national nonprofit dedicated to funding research for treatments and a cure, while providing supportive services and programs for those who suffer from the rare and painful genetic disorder, Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) – The Worst Disease You’ve Never Heard Of.™ Visit debra.org

 

For more on last year’s event:

From  the December 2013 issue of Tennis Magazine, Mats Wilander helps lead the charge against what’s described as The Worst Disease You’ve Never Heard Of by Andrew Friedman

 

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Defending Champ Rafael Nadal Withdraws from US Open with Wrist Injury

Nadal at changeover

(August 18, 2014) NEW YORK, NY – The USTA has announced that reigning US Open champion Rafael Nadal, of Spain, has withdrawn from this year’s US Open men’s singles tournament due to a right wrist injury.

 

Statement from Rafael Nadal:

 

“I am very sorry to announce I won’t be able to play at this year’s US Open a tournament on which I’ve played 3 consecutive finals in my last participations. I am sure you understand that it is a very tough moment for me since it is a tournament I love and where I have great memories from fans, the night matches, so many things… Not much more I can do right now, other than accept the situation and, as always in my case, work hard in order to be able to compete at the highest level once I am back.”

 

“Siento anunciar que no podré participar en el US Open, torneo en el que en los últimos años he tenido muy buenos resultados. Entenderéis que es un momento duro para mi porque es un torneo que me encanta y en el que tengo muy buenos recuerdos, de los fans, de los partidos nocturnos, de tantas cosas. No me queda otra que aceptar que no puedo competir este año y como siempre trabajar para que cuando vuelva esté preparado de la mejor manera para competir.”

 

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Kvitova, Wozniacki, Bouchard and Halep “Meet the Press” in New Haven for All-Access Hour at Connecticut Open (Podcast)

 

(August 17, 2014) NEW HAVEN – Top seeds for the Connecticut Open – Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova,  Eugenie Bouchard and Caroline Woznacki met the media on Sunday.

Petra Kvitova3

Petra Kvitova – The 2012 winner of the New Haven event is just off her second title at Wimbledon back in early July. She said the the second win at the All England Club is even more special.

Wozniacki-001

Caroline Wozniacki – A four -time champion at New Haven, the Dane says she’s very happy with her current form on the court and is looking forward to running the New York Marathon in the fall to raise money for charity.

 

bouchard-001

Eugenie Bouchard – The world No. 8 and recent Wimbledon finalist evaluated her season so far and spoke about what separates the Top 50 players is the mental side of the game.

 

Halep-001

Simona Halep – Last year’s champion, the top seed and world No. 2 discussed her rise over the past two years and that she likes to eat chocolate.

(Note – due to the news conferences being held outside, there is background noise from the wind and crowd sounds in the recordings.)

 

 

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Connecticut Open – Day 1

Connecticut_Open_logo

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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