2014/08/31

Top Seed Radwanska Falls to Mattek-Sands in Sydney

MattekSands
By Dave Gertler

(January 7, 2014) Women’s top seed Agnieszka Radwanska has fallen 5-7, 2-6, in her first round of competition at the Apia International in Sydney, to American qualifier, Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

For Mattek-Sands, it has been a Herculean effort over five days where she has had to battle through qualifying matches played on outside courts, before entering Ken Rosewall Arena yesterday where she stunned Canadian rising star Eugenie Bouchard, also in straight sets. Relishing her first career win over Radwanska, she said, “I’ve played her a couple times and I’ve never beaten her, so it’s probably one of the best wins of my career.”

Having just come into press from a post-match ice-bath, Mattek-Sands joked about how cold it was in the room. When asked whether four consecutive matches on hot days leading up to this second-round match were a help or a hindrance to her cause today, she said, “Coming to Australia, you expect the heat and the sun, you know, I was ready for it. I wanted to get a lot of matches. I think that’ll be number 6 today. I hadn’t played a match since last September, so this has worked out great for me.”

Radwanska appeared composed in post-match press. Rather than dwelling on her inability to control the match against world No.22 Mattek-Sands, she attributed the upset to the aggressive play of her opponent, saying, “Didn’t matter if it was my first serve, second serve or anything, she was really going 100% for every ball.”

For her part, the world No.5 feels that despite her loss today, she is hopeful of her chances at the Australian Open starting next week. “I think every week is a different story. You start over and over again. You’re not winning every week every match. I think just a couple of guys can do it.” When asked if she was bothered by a shoulder issue she had at the Hopman Cup, Radwanska said it hurt, “Maybe a little, but I have very good painkillers.”

In her next match, Mattek-Sands will face compatriot Madison Keys. Giving her insight on what we can expect from the quarterfinal, she said, “We’ve played a few times. I think we’re 2 2 right now. We were just talking in the locker room. She’s a great upcoming player. Plays aggressive shots, big serve. You know, we’ve had some battles in the past, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I know she’s been playing great and she did well here last year too. You kind of get comfortable with the tournament, but I think it’ll be a really good match.”

Mattek-Sands said she is enjoying her great run of results in Sydney, saying, “You know what?  I love playing tennis.  I feel that’s just where I’ve been blessed with talent.  It’s something I’ve done since I’ve been young.”

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney covering the Australian summer of tennis for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his Twitter updates from the tournament @TennisNewsTPN, follow him on his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days .

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Mattek-Sands Stops Bouchard, Jankovic Ousted in Sydney

Bethanie Mattek-Sands

Bethanie Mattek-Sands

By Dave Gertler

(January 6, 2014) SYDNEY – American veteran Bethanie Mattek-Sands is fast becoming one of the stories of the 2014 Apia International tennis tournaemnts. After demolishing three opponents in qualifying, and now one in the main draw today, her next opponent will be defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska.

Radwanska was at her first all-access media appearance at Olympic Park Tennis Centre. She was surprised at the upset, saying she had expected her second round opponent would be Eugenie Bouchard, whose serve – followed by the rest of her game – had collapsed earlier in the day in sweltering conditions, against Mattek-Sands.

Bouchard’s loss was one of three remarkable upsets on Monday. High-profile Serbian former No.1 Jelena Jankovic lost 4-6, 2-6 to Ekaterina Makarova, unseeded against the fourth seed Jankovic. Popular Romanian Sorana Cirstea only won five games in two sets on an outside court against Bulgarian qualifier Tsvetana Pironkova.

With big names like Bouchard, Cirstea, Alize Cornet, Svetlana Kuznetsova as well as Aussie hope Jarmila Gajdosova all losing in the first round to qualifiers, hot weather conditions seem to be playing a part, as players are needing time to adjust to the heat. In fact, of the six women who had to tough it out in qualifying, only two have fallen in their main draw matches.

Two players who immediately adjusted to the conditions were Angelique Kerber and Dominika Cibulkova, who pushed each other throughout two highly entertaining sets, which Kerber won 7-6, 7-5, in from of an appreciative Grandstand Court crowd. Later in the afternoon on the same court, Caroline Wozniacki didn’t need matchplay practice to beat lucky loser Julia Georges 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.

Frenchman Nicolas Mahut will be required need to adjust quickly to his best tennis if he wants to withstand the big weapons off the racquet of a match-fit Ryan Harrison, who won his third round qualifier today against Alex Bogomolov Jr in a thrilling three-setter on Court 5.

On that same court on Tuesday, Harrison’s American compatriot Madison Keys, who shut down Simona Halep in the first round, will face wildcard Ajla Tomljanovic. Five out of eight women’s round of 16 matches on Tuesday will feature Americans. Mattek-Sands and Christina McHale will be amongst the featured action on Ken Rosewall Arena, facing the top two seeds, Radwanska and Petra Kvitova.

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney covering the Australian summer of tennis for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his Twitter updates from the tournament @TennisNewsTPN, follow him on his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days .

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Serena Williams to Face Jelena Jankovic in Istanbul Semis

 

Serena Williams

(October 25, 2013) Serena Williams will face off against Jelena Jankovic in the semifinals of the WTA Championships in Istanbul on Saturday while Li Na will play Petra Kvitova.

No. 4 seed Li Na earned her semifinal berth with a 6-2, 6-1 win on Friday over Victoria Azarenka who was suffering from a back injury. Li won the White Group with a perfect 3-0 record.

2011 WTA Championships winner Petra Kvitova, came back against Angelique Kerber 6-7 (3), 6-2, 6-3.

Defending champion Serena Williams has a 7-4 career edge against Jankovic. Li and Kvitova are even at 3-3 in head-to-head meetings.

The Williams-Jankovic match-up will be just the second time that two thirty-somethings are in the final four of the year-end championships.

Not in  action on Friday, Williams accepted her award for finishing 2013 with the top ranking for the third time. Williams also finished as the year-end No. 1 in 2002 and 2009.

 

TEB BNP PARIBAS WTA CHAMPIONSHIPS – ISTANBUL
Istanbul, Turkey
October 22-October 27, 2013
$6,000,000/Season-Ending Championships
Hard/Indoors

Results – Friday, October 25, 2013
White Group
(4) Li Na (CHN) d. (2) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) 62 61
(6) Sara Errani (ITA) d. (7) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 64 64

Red Group
(5) Petra Kvitova (CZE) d. (8) Angelique Kerber (GER) 67(3) 62 63

Order Of Play – Saturday, October 26, 2013
Center Court (from 13.00hrs)
1. Petrova/Srebotnik vs. Hsieh/Peng
2. Li Na vs. Petra Kvitova (NB 15.00hrs)
3. Serena Williams vs. Jelena Jankovic
4. Errani/Vinci vs. Makarova/Vesnina

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Serena Williams First to Reach Istanbul Semifinals

SerenaWilliamsFaceoff112

(October 24, 2013) Serena Williams completed round-robin play at the WTA Championships in Istanbul with a perfect 3-0 record in the Red Group without dropping a set as she defeated Petra Kvitova 6-2, 6-3 on Thursday in 72 minutes. She improved her record against the Czech to 5-0.

 

Williams dominated Kvitova in every way. Williams hit 27 winners, hit 11 aces, fought off all four break points against her, won 15 straight points in one part of the match and won 18 consecutive points on her serve at one point.

 

The 32-year-old defending champion is three wins behind Martina Navratilova, who holds the record of 21 straight wins in the WTA Year-End.

Williams is having a career year going 76-4 with 10 titles in 2013. She trying to become the first woman to defend the year-end event title since Justine Henin in 2007. The world No. 1 is bidding to win her 4th WTA Championships crown. Henin was also the last women to win 10 titles, also in 2007.

Despite the loss, Kvitova who is 1-1 in the Red Group still has a chance to advance to the semis, should she defeat Angelique Kerber in group play on Friday.

TEB BNP PARIBAS WTA CHAMPIONSHIPS – ISTANBUL
Istanbul, Turkey
October 22-October 27, 2013
$6,000,000/Season-Ending Championships
Hard/Indoors

Results – Thursday, October 24, 2013
Red Group
(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. (5) Petra Kvitova (CZE) 62 63
(8) Angelique Kerber (GER) d. (3) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) 62 62

White Group
(4) Li Na (CHN) d. (7) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 63 26 63

Order Of Play – Friday, October 25, 2013
Center Court (from 17.00hrs)
1. Victoria Azarenka vs. Li Na
2. Petra Kvitova vs. Angelique Kerber
3. Sara Errani vs. Jelena Jankovic

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Serena Williams Sails, Jankovic Shocks Azarenka in Istanbul

 

Jelena Jankovic

Jelena Jankovic

(October 23, 2013) Top seed Serena Williams remained undefeated in Red Group play while No. 2 Victoria Azarenka fell to former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic in the White Group on Wednesday at the WTA Championships in Istanbul.

 

Williams was too much of a force for Agnieszka Radwanska as she dismissed her 6-2, 6-4 in the last match of the day. Williams increase her perfect record over Radwanska to 8-0. Williams has only ever lost one set to Radwanska and that came in the 2012 Wimbledon final.

 

Williams who is 2-0 in round-robin play will match up against undefeated Petra Kvitova next. Williams is 75-4 for 2013.

 

The upset contest of the day belonged to Jelena Jankovic who downed Azarenka 6-4, 6-3, breaking a four-match losing skid against the Belarusian. Jankovic is coming back into the form that made her a top 10 player. She’s back in the top ten for the first time since 2011, currently ranked No. 8.

 

Azarenka has struggled since reaching the finals of the US Open, falling in the opening rounds of Tokyo and Beijing. She also struggled in her first round-robin match in Istanbul, a three-set win over Sara Errani.

 

In more White Group action, Li Na opened up Wednesday’s play with a 6-3, 7-6(5) win over Sara Errani. Li was forced to rally from a 1-3 deficit in the second set, as well as the tiebreak to move past Errani. Li’s record against Errani is now 6-0.

 

The top two records in each group  will advance to the semifinals.

 

TEB BNP PARIBAS WTA CHAMPIONSHIPS – ISTANBUL
Istanbul, Turkey
October 22-October 27, 2013
$6,000,000/Season-Ending Championships
Hard/Indoors

Results – Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Red Group
(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. (3) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) 62 64

White Group
(7) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) d. (2) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) 64 63
(4) Li Na (CHN) d. (6) Sara Errani (ITA) 63 76(5)

Order Of Play – Thursday, October 24, 2013
Center Court (from 17.00hrs)
1. Li Na vs. Jelena Jankovic
2. Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Angelique Kerber
3. Serena Williams vs. Petra Kvitova

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Serena Williams Crushes Kerber in Opening Match in Istanbul

Serena Williams

(October 22, 2013) No. 1 Serena Williams demolished Angelique Kerber 6-3, 6-1 to begin her quest to defend last year’s WTA Championships title and to win her fourth year-end title. Kerber is one of only a few women to beat Williams in the last two years when she bested the American in Cincinnati in August of 2012.

Kerber told media that Williams was playing “unbelievable” and that she had no chance.

Williams is having a banner year going 74-4 with 10 titles so far in 2013. She trying to to be the first woman to defend the year-end event title since Justine Henin in 2007. Henin was also the last women to win 10 titles, also in 2007.

Williams has passed the $10 million mark in prize money for the year. Should she defend the title and go undefeated she would surpass the $12 million dollars for the year.

In the final match of the day, 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova beat Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 6-4.

 

TEB BNP PARIBAS WTA CHAMPIONSHIPS – ISTANBUL
Istanbul, Turkey
October 22-October 27, 2013
$6,000,000/Season-Ending Championships
Hard/Indoors

Results – Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Red Group
(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. (8) Angelique Kerber (GER) 63 61
(5) Petra Kvitova (CZE) d. (3) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) 64 64

White Group
(2) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. (6) Sara Errani (ITA) 76(4) 62

Order Of Play – Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Center Court (from 17.00hrs)
1. Li Na vs. Sara Errani
2. Victoria Azarenka vs. Jelena Jankovic
3. Serena Williams vs. Agnieszka Radwanska

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Azarenka Pushes Past Errani to Lead Off WTA Championships

Azarenka

By Andrew Jones

(October 22, 2013) After the first seven games of the match in the first match at the WTA Championships in Istanbul, it seemed Sara Errani was ready to show again to any of her critics why their negative comments about her are still unbelievably foolish.

 

With her all court skill and savvy at just 5’4, Errani’s level of shotmaking and versatility became the main story of the first set instead of Victoria Azarenka‘s search to reclaim her top two form. But as the case with Errani, having even two breaks leads in a set against the elite is not a guarantee for her, as the Belarusian came back to score a satisfying opening win, 7-6 (4), 6-2.

 

Down 5-2 in the first set, Azarenka found her consistency with her usual depth that was absent the first seven games. It came in the nic of time, as she started to anticipate Errani’s top class dropshots and raise her own level of serve to turn around the match.

 

Errani was clearly crushed that she couldn’t serve out the first set with two opportunities, as she ended the first set tiebreak with a brutal second double fault of her serve to give Azarenka the full escape out of trouble. That was a precursor to how the second set would go, as Errani’s ailing calf and achilles on her right leg were prevalent to all. She called for the trainer twice and received one medical timeout, but the 5th ranked player did not have any plans to retire from the match.

 

It will be interesting to see if Errani will play her remaining two matches in the White Group, especially with her having the first match again Wednesday against Li Na. With her and Roberta Vinci in the doubles’ semifinals, it would not be a surprise to see Caroline Wozniacki replace Errani as the first alternative.

 

Meanwhile for Azarenka, it was the type of tricky test she needed in order to end her three match losing streak. Errani is as eclectic as any top 10 player (and that includes Agnieszka Radwanska), and the world number two is fully cognizant of the fact that she won’t face anyone else as capricious as the diminutive Italian. She showed terrific movement and no signs of any ailments and showed, even on the notoriously slow indoor surface at the Sinan Erdem Dome, that she is still the favorite right after Serena Williams.

 

Andrew Jones is a freelance sports, political, and music journalist. He is also the founder and publisher of The Whole Delivery (twd4u.com). Follow him on twitter.

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Agnieszka Radwanska Beats Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova for Korea Open Title

Aga Radwanska slides to a ball

(September 22, 2013) Agnieszka Radwanska rallied to beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-7 (6), 6-3, 6-4 to win the Korea Open on Sunday.

“Especially after a great match, almost three hours of great tennis at a really high level, of course I’m very happy,” said the Polish player. “It was a very close match – tight sets, all of them – but I was just a little bit better in the important moments today. And at the end of the third set I think I was playing a little bit more aggressively than she was, and I managed to win a couple more points than her in the end.”

“I’m actually proud of myself. I had a great week. I showed some good tennis and it was a great final. And I was pretty tired – not only after a few tough matches, but even coming into the tournament after being in the States and the jet lag. So I’m proud to be in the final and come so close to the title.”

Radwanska won the match in 2 hours, 45 minutes at Olympic Park tennis stadium in Seoul. It was her 13th tournament tile of her career, her first tournament win since January when she captured the event in Sydney in January.

KDB KOREA OPEN
Seoul, Korea
September 16-22, 2013
$500,000/International
Hard/Outdoors

Results – Sunday, September 22, 2013
Singles – Final
(1) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. (3) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 67(6) 63 64

Doubles – Final
Chan/Xu (TPE/CHN) d. (1) Kops-Jones/Spears (USA/USA) 75 63

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Taste of Tennis Brings Tennis Stars and Culinary Celebrities Together for Pre-US Open Soirée

 

Serena Williams photo by Josh Meiseles

Serena Williams photo by Josh Meiseles

By  Vito Ellison  and Josh Meiseles Special to Tennis Panorama News

(August 22, 2013) NEW YORK, NY – There are few tennis events that reveal players’ personalities and exhibit their creativity outside the court quite like the Taste of Tennis. An annual pre-US Open event in midtown Manhattan, the Taste of Tennis serves as an amalgam of tennis, fashion and a premier culinary showcase from some of New York’s finest restaurants.

Venus

The 14th annual BNP Paribas Taste of Tennis was held Thursday evening with proceeds benefitting the James Beard Foundation, an organization that helps develop the culinary arts. Serena Williams hosted a star-studded event, featuring former ATP Top-10 talents James Blake and Janko Tipsarevic, as well as WTA stars Victoria Azarenka, Agnieszka Radwanska, Ana Ivanovic, Jelena Jankovic and Venus Williams.

 

 

ESPN analyst and former World No. 4 Brad Gilbert made an appearance, along with doubles legend Mark Woodforde. Two-time Winter Olympic medalist Nancy Kerrigan also took part in the festivities.

“I had two or three different sushis, the little slider was good. Very good food,” the always animated Gilbert exclaimed. “This event I think I’ve gone every single year for 15 years and the lady behind it Judy Lerner is good people right there.”

Among the chefs that participated, Top Chef Masters champion Marcus Samuelsson joined fellow alums Harold Dieterle, Dale Talde, Jesse Schenker and Jonathan Waxman. World-renowned chef David Burke was also on hand.

IMG_0132

There was plenty of tennis discussion on the red carpet, with Tipsarevic discussing the grind of the ATP Tour and the current state of his game. “You really need to be focused every single day of your life, because you have other younger and better guys who are working to take your spot. I kind of lost my focus a bit and you can see the results. But I’m feeling good now, I’m playing good, it’s not the end of the world and I hope I’ll be back in the Top-10.”

Aga

Blake also commented on whether the J-Block will be out in full force at the US Open. “I think they’ll be here. They might not be as big as they used to be, because my friends had to go out and actually get real jobs, so some of them can’t make it out to the day matches. If there’s a night match, there’ll be plenty of J-Blockers.”

The evening also included some breaking news as 39-year-old Jill Craybas, who reached a career-high singles ranking of 39 in 2006, revealed that she will be retiring from professional tennis following the US Open.

“It’s a really tough decision to make because it’s been part of your life for so long,” Craybas said. “But I feel like lately my priorities have been starting to change, I’ve been starting to want other things in my life. I really struggled this past year with my tennis and how I was doing. I started pursuing some other things and started getting interested in other things, but it’s never an easy decision. You never know when you want to stop, but you kind of come to terms with it sooner or later.”

The BNP Paribas Taste of Tennis benefited the James Beard Foundation. The event was produced by AYS Sports Marketing.

 

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Stosur, Tomic, Radwanska and Janowicz to Play Hopman Cup

Janowicz 88

Jerzy Janowicz

(August 19, 2013) Australia’s top ranked players Sam Stosur and Bernard Tomic  have confirmed they will play at Hyundai Hopman Cup 2014.

 

Current world No.4 Agnieszka Radwanska and Wimbledon semifinalist Jerzy Janowicz are also set to team up as Poland makes its debut at the event.

 

World No.13 Stosur is excited to return to Western Australia for the first time since 2010.

 

“I just wanted to get back to Perth. I thought this year I’d try something different again,” said Stosur, the 2011 US Open champion.

 

“It will be nice to be able to play. You know that you’re going to get three matches … and maybe that’s going to be good for me going into the Aussie Open.

 

“Hopefully that’s going to be the secret formula to me doing well,” added Stosur.

 

Tomic, 20, and the youngest player currently in the top 100, will pair with Stosur as he looks to continue his unbeaten record at Perth Arena.

 

“I had some success there earlier this year so hopefully I can do well again in 2014,” said the world No.42, who recently reached the fourth round at Wimbledon.

 

“The event always attracts strong teams so you know you’re going to get some tough matches against high quality players.

 

“The local crowds love their tennis and it’s always exciting to play in front of them,” added the Queenslander, who won his first ATP singles title in Sydney in January.

 

Radwanska and Janowicz will be looking to make their mark when Team Poland makes its first ever appearance at the event.

 

“I’m really excited to play the Hopman Cup for the first time,” said Radwanska, who holds 12 WTA singles titles at just 24 years of age.

 

“I’ve never played mixed doubles with him [Jerzy] before.  Actually my last mixed doubles match was I think five years ago so that will be fun for sure.”

 

Twenty-two-year-old Janowicz has climbed up the rankings by 73 places to be just outside the top 10 in the past 12 months.

 

“We decided it might be a lot of fun to play together at Hopman Cup,” said Janowicz.

 

Hyundai Hopman Cup Event Director Steve Ayles is delighted with the signing of the top Australian and Polish pairs.

 

“Sam and Bernie, Australia’s highest ranked players, have committed to play this event, which shows the strength and value of the Hyundai Hopman Cup. The players look at the event as a solid starting point for the new season.

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