2014/10/24

Serena Williams Responds to Shamil Tarpischev Comments

 

(October 19, 2014) In her pre-tournament news conference at the WTA Finals in Singapore, Serena Williams responded to comments by Shamil Tarpischev, the head of the Russian Tennis Federation, who referred to Serena Williams and her sister Venus as the “Williams brothers.”

“I think the WTA did a great job of taking initiative and taking immediate action to his comments,” Williams said. “I thought they were very insensitive and extremely sexist as well as racist at the same time. I thought they were in a way bullying.

“I’ve done the best that I can do, and that’s all I can say. So I just wasn’t very happy with his comments. I think a lot of people weren’t happy as well.

“But the WTA and the USTA did a wonderful job of making sure that ‑‑ in this day of age, 2014 for someone with his power, it’s really unacceptable to make such bullying remarks.”

 

Maria Sharapova was also asked about Tarpischev’s comments.

“I think they were very disrespectful and uncalled for, and I’m glad that many people have stood up, including the WTA,” said the Russian, world No. 2. “It was very inappropriate, especially in his position and all the responsibilities that he has not just in sport, but being part of the Olympic committee. It was just really irresponsible on his side.”

 

On Friday, the WTA Tour levied a $25,000 dollar fine and a year suspension. They also called for Tarpischev to be removed from his post as Chairman of the Kremlin Cup for a year.

Update: WTA Fines and Suspends Shamil Tarpischev for Williams Sisters Comments

The comments were made on a late night Russian TV talk show.

The 33-year-old world No. 1 Williams begins her quest to “three-peat” at the WTA Finals on Monday when she begins round-robin competition in the Red Group against Ana Ivanovic.

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Beck Wins Luxembourg Open, First-Ever WTA Title

(October 18, 2014) Annika Beck became the 14th player on the WTA Tour to win her first title in 2014. The 20-year-old German ranked 60th in the world defeated the fourth seed, Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova in the final of the Luxembourg Open 6-2, 6-1 on Saturday. Beck did not drop a set on her way to her fist title.

“It’s an amazing feeling to win my first WTA title,” Beck said. “I played the final last year and I said I’d do anything to win the title this year, and it’s an unbelievable feeling to actually do it. I enjoyed every moment I had on the center court. It’s really exciting.”

Beck broke her opponent’s serve seven times in the 93-minute match.

“I’m sad today, but overall it was a great, great week,” said the runner-up. “I was playing well this week. I had my chances today too – unfortunately I couldn’t take them, but this is sport.”

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Top Seeds Ferrer and Murray Reach Vienna Open Final

David Ferrer

David Ferrer

By Florian Heer

(October 18, 2014) VIENNA – The final four met on Day 6 at the Erste Bank Open. Top-seeds David Ferrer and Andy Murray continued their push for a spot at the ATP World Tour Finals on semi-final day in Vienna, meanwhile US Open champion Marin Cilic has claimed the fifth spot to make his debut in London this year.

Andy Murray took on Viktor Troicki in the opening match on Centre Court for the sixth time. The world No. 11 had never lost to the Serbian qualifier before and was in total control in Saturday’s match, lost his service only once in the fourth game of the opening set and eventually sealed victory in 82 minutes winning 6-4, 6-3. Murray has reached his only second final of the year after winning the title in Shenzhen earlier this month.

“Every day it’s getting better here,” said the Scot. “I start to get used to the conditions more. All of my last opponents were big servers, so it was not easy to find my rhythm but I managed to get through. Today, it went pretty well but Viktor had his chances in both sets.”

I played well in Rome. I played well at the French Open as well as in Wimbledon with the exception of the match against Dimitrov. I played well at the US Open and in Canada, where I lost to Tsonga with a break up in the third set. I played some decent tennis in Asia and this week has also been good so far. The last three or four months were good,” said Murray reflecting on his performance during the season.

“Ferrer has been playing well for the last few weeks. He has got a lot of motivation because of London, so I expect a close match,” Murray is looking forward to his first final in Vienna. “Getting to thirty (titles) would be a nice number.”

Murray has already been aware of facing Jürgen Melzer in his first round match at the Valencia Open 500 next week. “I played well against Jürgen in the past but we also had some close matches. Normally I have enjoyed playing against left handers throughout my career. My brother is a leftie, so when I grew up, I got used to the spin and the way the play. It has never been a huge issue to me playing against them. Jürgen, however, is a tricky opponent with an unorthodox style hitting a lot of drop shots and he changes the pace of the ball well,” Murray said.

Vienna’s top seed David Ferrer had to fight hard finally overcoming Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 2-6, 7-6(3) after an exciting two hours and 26 minutes. The world No. 5 fought back from being 2-4 down in the final set.

“The tie-break in the third set was obviously the key today,” Ferrer said. I played aggressively and Philipp made more mistakes in the important moments. Step by step I’m getting used to the court here. The balls are very fast and difficult to control. I am still fighting to qualify for London, so it was an important victory for me.

“Tonight I will only have a rest. Playing Andy is always difficult, as he is a very good player. It is irrelevant that I defeated him in Shanghai in our last match. This was outdoors, now we are indoors and I have to serve better than today,” the Spaniard added.

Murray and Ferrer moved up one spot in the ATP Race to London next month. The Scot is now up to eighth and the Spaniard is in ninth position.

Tournament director Herwig Straka is more than happy presenting a “dream-final” to the spectators on Sunday. “Having the first and second seeds clashing each other in the final is great. It is very impressive, how both are playing throughout the week. Despite the nice weather here in Vienna, we hope for a lot of people coming to the Stadthalle tomorrow,” the Austrian said.

Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Future Circuit!  Follow his twitter account @Florian _Heer.

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Murray, Ferrer, Kohlschreiber and Troicki Reach Semis in Vienna

By Florian Heer

Andy Murray

Andy Murray

(October 17, 2014) VIENNA – In a bid for crucial points in the ATP Race to London, David Ferrer and Andy Murray took last minute wild cards into the 40th edition of the Erste Bank Open and both headlined the action on quarterfinal day in Vienna on Friday.

Andy Murray is making his Vienna debut as he continues his push for a Top 8 finish and a spot at the ATP World Tour Finals. It is the first time the Brit has played in four straight post-US Open tournaments since 2008. Murray started his week with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Vasek Pospisil on Thursday. In the quarterfinal he clashed German youngster Jan-Lennard Struff for the first time. Murray emerged victorious after 86 minutes winning 6-2, 7-5 but had to work hard for his points.

The world No. 11, who didn’t know much about the German before the match, didn’t seem to be surprised facing such a competitive opponent.

“I expected a good match,” Murray said. “He is a big guy, strong with a good serve. Playing against such a player on indoor courts is always difficult. I had to fight hard. Nonetheless, I was more solid than yesterday and made less mistakes. I changed rhythm and the variety in my shots as much as I could and tried to go for the winners,” Murray explained.

 

Top-seed David Ferrer went up against big-serving Croat Ivo Karlovic. The pair has met three times with the Spanish world No. 5 leading their head-to-head record 2-1 before Friday’s encounter. After taking the opening set without any break points, in the tie-break, Ferrer gained the decisive break in the third game of the second and served out by an ace winning 7-6, 6-4 after 84 minutes.

“It was very difficult today because Ivo has the best serve on the Tour,” said the relieved Spaniard afterwards.

“It is very nice to get the support from the people here in Vienna. You feel that the crowd loves tennis and this is very good for us players on the court,” Ferrer said about the Austrian audience, which backed the Spaniard in the important moments of the evening match.

Philipp Kohlschreiber will be the next opponent for the second seed, as he won the first ever all-German encounter against an in-form Benjamin Becker, who reached the stage of the final four in Tokyo two weeks ago, in straight sets winning 6-4, 7-6. The man from Augsburg, who turned 31 on Thursday, hit eleven aces and won 67 percent of his serves to advance to his third semi-final in Vienna after 2008 and 2009.

 

Viktor Troicki

Viktor Troicki

Great Britain’s No. 1 is going to face Viktor Troicki in the next round. The Serbian qualifier has reached his first semi-final since Moscow 2011 winning 7-6, 6-7, 6-2 over Tomaz Bellucci in two hours and 27 minutes.

“I’m happy to reach the semi-finals here in Vienna, a tournament with so many tough players,“ said the Serb. “It has passed a long time since I have reached this stage. I had some pretty close matches here in the qualifying and a long one today. Playing six matches is hard but I’m feeling good and fresh on the court. I felt physically more prepared in the third set. I also felt that Tomaz (Bellucci) was not at 100 per cent, and I took that opportunity to play on the offensive. It worked out well,” Troicki said afterwards.

“Against Andy you have to play smart. You need to play offensive and of course you have to use your chances,” the Serb is looking forward to the match, even though he has never been able to gain a victory against the Brit.”

Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Future Circuit!  Follow his twitter account @Florian _Heer.

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University of Florida Repeats as USTA Tennis on Campus Fall Invitational Champions

Photo by Peter Staples / USTA TOC

Photo by Peter Staples / USTA TOC

By Steve Pratt

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C., Oct. 12, 2014 – University of Florida became the first repeat winner at the USTA Tennis On Campus Fall Invitational as the Gators defended their 2013 title with a 25-18 win over Auburn University on Sunday at the Palmetto Dunes Tennis Center.

 

Captained by sophomore Max Koller of Daytona Beach, Fla., Florida showed its strength in doubles and won four out of the five matches in the World TeamTennis format final, including all three in doubles, at the fifth annual event that serves as the kickoff to the popular Tennis On Campus season.

 

“It was a long tournament and all the teams were really good,” Koller said. “The talent level was extremely high and we are happy to repeat as champions.”

 

Koller did not play on last year’s championship team, joining the squad in November. “After they won I saw a post on Facebook that they had won the big Fall Invite and I knew they had a really good team,” Koller said. “I wanted to be part of that and had heard how fun Tennis On Campus is.”

 

Both Florida and Auburn earned an automatic bid to compete for the national title at the 2015 USTA Tennis On Campus National Championship, to be held April 9-11, 2015, in Cary, N.C.

 

Auburn’s men’s singles player Mitchell Vegas of Spanish Fort, Ala., had the only set win in the final for Auburn, beating Florida’s Joey Rudy of Boynton Beach, Fla., 6-1.

 

“They had stronger doubles play today,” said Auburn Captain Christian Lyerly. “This is the farthest we’ve ever gotten so we were excited to be in the final.”

 

Past winners of the event include: University of Alabama (2010), University of Virginia (2011) and Duke University (2012).

 

Earlier in the day, Florida just got past University of Georgia’s “B” team in one semifinal as the match went to a supertiebreaker with the Gators prevailing, 23-22. Auburn beat N.C. State “A”, 23-16 in the other semifinal.

 

In the third-place match, N.C. State “A” was down by two points going into the final mixed doubles match but pulled out a 6-3 set win for a 22-21 narrow victory over the University of Georgia “B”.

 

“We played really well and we won most of our matches by one or two points,” said N.C. State captain Phillip Cardella, whose team was beaten by Georgia “B” in pool play on Friday. “I think our girls are a lot better than last year so we should be pretty good this year.”

 

It was the second consecutive year the Wolf Pack has finished third at the Fall Invite. N.C. State won the Bronze title at the TOC Nationals in April.

 

Forty-eight teams competed in the tournament. Alabama won the Silver Bracket; Ohio University won the Bronze and Indiana University captured the Copper.

 

Individual Results Final Match

Women’s Doubles

Florida’s Natalie Boruk (Clearwater, Fla.) /  Anna Rachman (Daytona Beach, Fla.) def. Auburn’s Jennifer Costigan (Naples, Fla.) / Holly Maxey (Stockbridge, Ga), 6-0

Florida leads 6-0

Men’s Doubles

Florida’s Adam Decker (Panama City, Fla) / Joey Rudy (Boynton Beach, Fla). def. Auburn’s Danny Hester (Nashville, Tenn.) / Jonathan Hibbert (Montgomery, Ala), 6-4

Florida leads 12-4

Women’s Singles

Florida’s Barrie Eisenberg (Weston Fla.) def. Auburn’s Courtney Johns (Mobile, Ala.), 6-4

Florida leads 18-8

Men’s Singles

Auburn’s Mitchell Vegas (Spanish Fort, Ala.) def. Florida’s Rudy, 6-1

Florida leads 19-14

Mixed Doubles

Florida’s Decker / Eisenberg def. Auburn’s Vegas / Johns, 6-4

FINAL: Univ. of Florida 25, Auburn 18

 

Other Auburn players included: Captain Christian Lyerly (Birmingham, Ala.), Jake Muller (Windermere, Fla.) and Michael Feirer (Milton, Ga). Other Florida players included: Koller (Daytona Beach, Fla.), Spencer Ong (Tampa, Fla.) and Stephanie Cruz (Palm Harbor, Fla.).

 

Sunday’s Results

GOLD BRACKET RESULTS

Final

Univ. of Florida 25, Auburn 18

Semifinals

Univ. of Florida 23, Univ. of Georgia (B) 22

Auburn 23, N.C. State (A) 16

Third Place

N.C. State (A) 22, Univ. of Georgia (B) 21

Consolation Final

Harvard 26, Kentucky 17

Consolation Semifinal

Kentucky def. Wisconsin (withdraw)

Harvard 25, UNC-Charlotte 21

Consolation

Georgia Tech (A) 26, Boston College 19

Georgia (A) 24, Virginia 16

Georgia (A) 25, Georgia Tech (A) 23

Clemson (A) 28, William & Mary 19

Cornell 21, Ohio State 20

Cornell 21, Clemson (A) 19

Boston College 23, Virginia 19

 

SILVER BRACKET RESULTS

Final

Alabama 22, South Carolina (A) 19

Semifinals

South Carolina (A) 28, Tennessee (A) 18

Alabama 24, Cincinnati (A) 22

Third Place

Cincinnati (A) 27, Tennessee (A) 13

Consolation Final

Elon 27, UNC-Charlotte 15

Consolation Semifinals

Elon 27, Duke 14

UNC-Charlotte 26, Wake Forest 24

Consolation

Georgia College 21, Villanova 17

Cincinnati (B) 30, Ferris State 28

Georgia College 24, Cincinnati (B) 9

Virginia Tech 24, College of Charleston 17

Georgia Tech (B) 24, Virginia Tech 18

NC State (B) 28, College of Charleston 17

Georgia Tech (B) 27, NC State (B) 21

 

BRONZE BRACKET RESULTS

Championship

Ohio University 25, Connecticut 19

Third-Place

Vanderbilt 30, South Carolina (B) 17

Consolation Final

Colorado School of Mines 25, Furman 24

Consolation

Old Dominion 26, Coastal Carolina 11

 

COPPER BRACKET RESULTS

Championship

Indiana 28, Ohio State 16

Third Place

Clemson (B) 30, Tennessee (B) 21

Consolation Final

Dayton 11, Armstrong Atlantic State 11

Consolation

Mercer 24, Middle Tennessee State 16

 

Past USTA Tennis On Campus Fall Invitational Champions

2010 – University of Alabama

2011 – University of Virginia

2012 – Duke University

2013 – University of Florida

2014 – University of Florida

 

ABOUT USTA TENNIS ON CAMPUS: The USTA TOC program features more than 37,000 college students competing nationwide in intramural coed club play. Developed by the USTA in partnership with NIRSA (National Intramural Recreational Sports Association), World TeamTennis and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association  the program gives college students the opportunity to build leadership skills, network in a coed sports environment and compete on a college team without the rigors of playing in a varsity program. With year-round match play, and sectional and national championship competition, students maintain active and healthy lifestyles through their college years. Since its inception in 2000, Tennis On Campus has grown significantly and today has programs on more than 640 college campuses across the country.

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Karolina Pliskova Saves a Match Point to Claim Second Title of the Year in Linz

Generali_Ladies_Linz_logo

(October 12, 2014) Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic came back from a match point down before defeating Italy’s Camila Giorgi of Italy 6-7 (4), 6-3, 7-6 (4) to win the Generali Ladies event on Sunday.

Pliskova served for the match twice in the third set and saved a match point at 5-6 in the third set.

“It’s an amazing feeling to come back from a match point,” said the Czech. This was Pliskova’s third WTA title, second in as many months. She has three career WTA titles.

“It could have been a little easier, but I’m still happy I won the title!,” Pliskoova said. “After I was 5-1 up and she came back and had match point, I was already thinking I would lose, and that I would cry afterwards! But she was playing so well in that part of the third set. Before that she was making so many mistakes, but she stopped doing that and calmed down, and she played so much better there.”

The 30th ranked Pliskova was the only seed left in the tournament after the first round. The top two seeds Eugenie Bouchard and No. 2 Ana Ivanovic withdrew with injuries, while Dominika Cibulkova, Andrea Petkovic and Sabine Lisicki all lost.

Pliskova is now 16-3 since the US Open.

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“Lucky” Federer Wins Shanghai Masters for Fourth Title of the Year

Federer wins with arms raised

(October 12, 2014) Roger Federer defeated Gilles Simon 7-6 (6), 7-6 (2) to capture his first Shanghai Masters title on Sunday, his fourth tournament win of the season, 81st of his career.

Down five match points in his opening match against Leonardo Mayer just four days ago, who would have thought that Roger Federer would be the champion of the Shanghai Masters.

“I got very, very lucky,” Federer said after the match. “I know what a privilege it is to be here today.”

Federer had his serve broken to begin the match, but brought the match back on serve breaking his French opponent as Simon was serving for the first set at 5-4.

Simon had a set point in the first set tiebreak, which the Swiss fought off with an unreturnable serve.

Forward to the tightly contested second set where Simon had set points on Federer as the 17-time major champion was serving at 5-6 in which he could not take advantage. Federer dominated the tiebreak 7-2 to close the match.

Federer leads the men’s tour this year in match wins with 61, top ten wins with 13 and final appearances with 9.

“It makes me very happy winning here because this tournament means a lot to me,” Federer said. “I’ve always enjoyed coming here. I’ve come close a couple of times, but I’ve always wanted to win it as a Masters 1000.

“I feel unbelievable prestige to win this event. Especially putting my hands on the trophy for the first time is a good feeling, I must say. I’m very happy with the way I’m playing. Overall I’m just extremely happy right now.”

Playing a more aggressive game, Federer won 24 of 35 points at net.

“He still has the same strengths, this fantastic serve and this huge forehand,” Simon said. “He’s always showing you that he is ready to be really aggressive on every shot. So he keeps you under pressure.”

Federer will move past Rafael Nadal into the No. 2 spot in the rankings on Monday. Nadal who lost in Shanghai in his opening round match against Feliciano Lopes, is dealing with appendicitis.

Simon, currently No. 29, will move up to No. 19 in the world.

The Bryan Brothers, who won the doubles title, became the first pair to clinch a career golden Masters – winning all of the Masters Series events at least once. For Bob and Mike it was their 101st career title as a team.

“It’s another great milestone,” said Bob Bryan. “This week was full of them for us. To come and get in the title match, have a shot at winning the tournament that’s eluded us, complete the Golden Masters, is amazing.”

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Riske Wins Tianjin for First WTA Title

Alison Riske photo by Steve Fogleman

Alison Riske photo by Steve Fogleman

(October 12, 2014) Sixth seeded Alison Riske defeated third seed Belinda Bencic 6-3, 6-4 in the final of the Tianjin Open on Sunday for her first WTA Tour title.

“It’s a huge accomplishment for me to win my first WTA title, and I was here by myself, which made it even more special, just to know that I was able to do it by myself,” said the American Riske. “I hope I can keep up the momentum and try to compete every week as best as I can. Obviously there was a little momentum change in the second set. But that was because Belinda upped her level at that point. She’s been playing so well this year and has a really bright future ahead of her. I knew coming into the match that it would be a battle and it really was.”
Benic, the 17-year-old Swiss, playing in her first final, was trying to become the youngest woman to win a tournament since 15-year-old Tamira Paszek won the Portoroz title in 2006.

 

Riske is now the fifth American to win a WTA title in 2014, joining  Serena Williams  Venus Williams, Madison Keys and Coco Vandeweghe.

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Stosur Wins Third Japan Open Title

(October 12, 2014) Defending champion Sam Stosur won her third Japan Women’s Open title on Sunday, pushing back Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan 7-6 (9-7), 6-3.

“Zarina played very good match today,” said the 30-year-old Australian Stosur who saved two set points in the first set. “She managed to put me under a lot of pressure and returned serve really well. She gets to a lot of balls and can put you under pressure. You have to be out there and try to attack.”

“It was my first final so I am happy with how I played, said the 20-year-old. “She served very well and it was tough, especially on those set points. But this was a great experience for me.”

“Trying to serve out a set in a final, I don’t know if maybe she was a little nervous but I tried to play a little bit more aggressive or put a bit more on my shots to make her come up with something else, Stosur said.”

It’s Stosur’s sixth career title and half of them have come in Osaka.

Sam Stosur

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Federer Ends Djokovic’s 28-Match Win Streak in China to Reach Shanghai Final

Federer fist pump 2

(October 11, 2014) Roger Federer upset top player Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-4 in the semis of the Shanghai Masters on Saturday to reach the final Federer’s win halts Djokovic’s 28-match win streak in China. Regardless of the outcome of the final between the Swiss and the Frenchman Gilles Simon, who defeated Feliciano Lopez 6-2, 7-6(1),  Federer will move to No. 2 in in the rankings on Monday.

Federer played an aggressive serve-and-volley game against the Serb hitting 35 winners, winning 20 of 35 points at net.

“If you come to net, you have to be agile and explosive,” Federer said in press.

“I had it all today. I’m very happy that I’m feeling so good every single day.”

“He played a perfect match,” Djokovic said. “Definitely one of the best matches he has played against me, that’s for sure.”

“He’s playing as good as ever.”

Federer will be trying to capture his 23rd Masters 1000 events leads 4-2 head-to-head against Simon.

“I’m not going to come into the match and play terrible,” said Federer after his semifinal win. “It just won’t happen – not in the finals, not against Simon. That’s the confidence I have right now.”

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