2014/04/16

Ana Ivanovic Wins Monterrey

Ivanovic stretch fh

(April 6, 2014) In an all-Serbian final Ana Ivanovic won the Monterrey Open on Sunday, defeating Jovana Jaksic 6-2, 6-1 for her second WTA title of the year. Ivanovic also won the Auckland tournament in January.

“I think we both enjoyed the final tonight – it was very special for our country, it was the first time two players from our country were in a WTA final together,” Ivanovic said after the match to WTAtennis.com. “It was also great to see Jovana doing so well this week. I think she definitely has a bright future ahead of her.

“Last year I lost very early here in Monterrey but I had so much fun that I wanted to come back, so to make it this far this year is amazing. And every title is so special. I had some tough matches this week but I feel so happy to get through each of them, and this title is definitely one of my favorites.”

It’s Ivanovic’s 13th title of her career

It was a career week for Jasic who reached her first WTA tour final, beating Kimiko Date-Krumm in the semis. Before this week she had only won one WTA Tour level match.

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Li Na and Maria Sharapova Advance While Angelique Kerber Falls at Indian Wells

 

 

Li Na

Li Na

(March 8, 2014) INDIAN WELLS, California – No. 1 seed Li Na beat Chinese countrywoman Zheng Jie 6-1, 7-5, while fourth seed Maria Sharapova began the defense of her title with an easy 6-1, 6-4 victory over Julia Goerges.

Two seeded German women fell – No. 5 seed Angelique Kerber was upset 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4 by Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor while Aleksandra Wozniack stopped No. 15 seed Sabine Lisicki 7-5, 1-6, 7-6 (5).

Former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic was a set and a break down before stopping Elina Svitolina.

“I just tried to fight her at every point,” Ivanovic said of the turnaround in the second set. It probably wasn’t the best game I had played. I had lot of unforced errors I tried to stick with it and play each point and not try to think about the errors that I made and just to put pressure on her forehand and that worked well for me. I was very happy to manage to come back.”

In the night session, Sloane Stephens ran off the last nine games in a 6-4, 6-0 win over Ajla Tomljanovic. Advancing easily were No. 8 seed Petra Kvitova, No. 11 Ana Ivanovic and No. 12 Dominika Cibulkova.

For Li Na, this is her second tournament since winning the Australian Open.

“This is the first match after Doha, two weeks, and of course for I cannot be 100 percent for the first match,” Li said. “But I was happy. At least I can learn something from today’s match.”

This also marks the first time that Li has been the top seed in a premier mandatory event.

“The first match always tough, because like I say before, you didn’t know what happen on the court,” Li said.  “All you can do is like to try to do your best.  If you cannot hit good tennis, only one way is running all the shots and to fight every point.”

“First time to be the top seed in a big tournament.  Yeah, at least I’m still in the tournament,” she said smiling.

Li will play Karolina Pliskova next in the third round, who took out No. 28 seed Klara Zakopalova 7-5, 6-2,

“The first matches are always a little bit tricky, especially having not played in a few weeks indoor or outdoor,” Sharapova said.

“Tricky opponent, and she’s capable of playing good tennis.  She hasn’t been as consistent as she probably would have liked recently, but she’s had her results.  She’s beaten top players before, so the first round, that’s never easy, but I thought I did what I had to do.  Certainly improvements that I could make.”

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Tennis Players and Celebrities Play Tennis for Charity at Desert Smash

 

(March 4, 2014) LA QUINTA, California – The 10th annual Desert Smash at the La Quinta Resort & Spa on Tuesday raised money for charity featured  actors Will Ferrell, Kevin Spacey and Rebel Wilson and tennis players Novak Djokovic, as well as the Bryan Brothers – Bob and Mike, Australian Open Champion Stanislas Wawrinka and 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic.

The two-day tennis and golf event will benefit Cancer for College, a 501c3, non-profit organization that provides college scholarships for cancer survivors. Since 1993, the charity has granted nearly $2 million to more than 1,000 cancer survivors.

Here are some photos from the event.

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“Rusty” Serena Williams Opens Dubai with a Win; Ana Ivanovic Squeaks by Angelique Kerber

Serena fistpump yell

(February 18, 2014) DUBAI -Wild Card and top seed Serena Williams was forced to save set points in her 7-6 (8), 6-0 win over Ekaterina Makarova at the Dubai Tennis Championships on Tuesday.

This was Williams’ first match since she lost in the fourth round of Australian Open where she was dealing with a back injury which she has been recovering from ever since.

The world No. 1 admitted to being rusty.

“I felt a little rusty, but it was OK,” Williams said. “Body is fine. I just had to get my feet moving, but it was OK.”

Williams saved two set points against the 24th ranked Makarova in the first set tiebreak.

“Today was really difficult for me,” she continued. “I felt so rusty out there and a little frustrated – I’ve been practicing, but I was like, ‘Gosh, this isn’t what I practiced. But I was just really excited to get through that. I was really telling myself to stay positive, because I was making a lot of unforced errors that I don’t normally make, and my serve wasn’t popping the way it usually does.

“I’m happy for the win, but I’m going to have to play better if I want to do better here.”

Ivanovic in press 1

In an earlier match in the evening session Ana Ivanovic saved a match point and knocked out sixth seed Angelique Kerber 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (6).

It was difficult match for Ivanovic to close. She could not take advantage of three break point against Kerber to end the match in the 12th game of the final set. Also Ivanovic built a 5-1 lead in the tiebreak but Kerber came back to have a match point of her own at 6-5. Ivanovic win the next three points to win the contest.

“I’m just so happy to be through,” said the Serbian.

 

 

Related stories:

Caroline Wozniacki Battles Past Sabine Lisicki in Dubai; Talks Engagement Ring in Press

Simona Halep Retires with Injury in Dubai Opening Match

DUBAI DUTY FREE TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS
Dubai, UAE
February 17-February 22, 2014
$2,000,000/Premier
Hard/Outdoors

Results – Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Singles – Second Round
(1/WC) Serena Williams (USA) d. Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) 76(8) 60

Singles – First Round
(5) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) d. (Q) Maryna Zanevska (UKR) 64 63
Ana Ivanovic (SRB) d. (6) Angelique Kerber (GER) 36 63 76(6) (saved 1mp)
Alizé Cornet (FRA) d. (7) Simona Halep (ROU) 61 11 ret. (right ankle injury)
(8) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. Sabine Lisicki (GER) 26 63 63
Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) d. (Q) Karolina Pliskova (CZE) 61 75
(Q) Flavia Pennetta (ITA) d. Kaia Kanepi (EST) 75 64
(Q) Annika Beck (GER) d. Samantha Stosur (AUS) 16 61 64

Doubles – First Round
(1) Errani/Vinci (ITA/ITA) d. Pavlyuchenkova/Petrova (RUS/RUS) 64 64
Hlavackova/Safarova (CZE/CZE) d. (4) Black/Mirza (ZIM/IND) 76(5) 57 119 (Match TB)
Kudryavtseva/Rodionova (RUS/AUS) d. Jankovic/Kleybanova (SRB/RUS) 76(4) 62

Order Of Play – Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Centre Court (from 14.00hrs)
1. Flavia Pennetta vs. Agnieszka Radwanska
2. Ana Ivanovic vs. Venus Williams
3. Sorana Cirstea vs. Sara Errani (NB 19.00hrs)
4. Petra Kvitova vs. Carla Suárez Navarro

Court 1 (from 14.00hrs)
1. Caroline Wozniacki vs. Annika Beck
2. Lucie Safarova vs. Jelena Jankovic
3. Kirsten Flipkens vs. Alizé Cornet
4. Williams/Williams vs. Makarova/Vesnina

Court 3 (from 16.00hrs)
1. Peschke/Srebotnik vs. Pennetta/Stosur

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Canada Dominates Serbia to Win Fed Cup Tie

Bouchard 2 9 3

By Brodie Elgin

(February 9, 2014) On Saturday, Canada took a commanding lead in their Davis Cup tie as Aleksandra Wozniak toughed out an emotional win over Vesna Dolonc, and Eugenie Bouchard routed Jovana Jaksic in front of an ecstatic Canadian crowd in Montreal. Sunday featured the reverse singles, meaning both team’s top ranked players would face off to start the day, giving Bouchard the opportunity to sweep the Serbians as she took on Dolonc at the Claude Robillard Sports Complex.

 

The Canadian stormed out of the gate once again, taking the first set emphatically, 6-0, and in just 18 minutes. Despite some better serving from the Serbian and needing to save break points early in the second set, Bouchard stayed composed and went on to win 6-0, 6-3 in just 50 minutes. “I played two solid matches this weekend and I am happy that I was able to help the team win,” the 19th ranked Canadian said after her victory. “I love playing for my country, I am very patriotic.”

 

The win for Canada sees them advance to the World Group playoffs in April, where a win would see them advance to the 2015 Fed Cup World Group which consists of only eight elite teams from across the world. The win represents another massive victory for tennis in Canada after the men advanced to the Davis Cup semifinals in 2013.

 

“We are doing good things in Fed Cup because everyone is working together,” said Canadian Fed Cup captain Sylvain Bruneau. “We are very motivated to get to World Group I with the eight best countries in the world. That’s where we want to be, that’s our goal.”

The growing success of Canadian tennis was a common theme of the weekend, as the entire tie was broadcast nationally on the country’s largest television sports channel, Sportsnet. “I hope the popularity of tennis gets bigger in Canada, and if I’m part of that, well that makes me happy,” Bouchard said.

 

The draw for the World Group I and World Group II Fed Cup playoffs will be held Tuesday, February 11th in London.

 

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Favorite Canada Lead by Bouchard Take 2-0 Advantage over Serbia in Fed Cup World Group 2 Play

 

Aleksandra Wozniack

Aleksandra Wozniack

By Brodie Elgin

(February 8, 2014) It has been an exciting time for Canada in the past several years. From the break out of Milos Raonic as the first Canadian to win an ATP title and reach the top 10, to the Canadian team’s success in Davis Cup and the emergence of Vasek Pospisil all the way to Eugenie Bouchard‘s semifinal run in the Australian Open – the first Canadian women to advance to the final four of a major tournament in 30 years. After the Canadian team failed to advance past the first round of Davis Cup in Tokyo, the women took center stage as they got under way against Serbia in Fed Cup at in Montreal.

 

The Canadian team looked to be heavy favorites to advance out of the World Group II as Serbia’s top three ranked players, Jelena Jankovic, Ana Ivanovic, and Bojana Jovanovski were all absent. Serbia called upon Vesna Dolonc in the first rubber to take on the previously top ranked Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak in front of a large crowd at the Claud Robillard Sports Complex.

 

Before the match, the crowd appeared ready to cheer on the Canadians, but were quickly stifled as the Serbian raced out to a 5-1 lead. Wozniak, who is still returning from a series of serious injuries, looked a step slow and failed to properly impose herself in the match.

 

However, things quickly changed as the Canadian found her feet and started to find more consistent depth that caused problems for Dolonc. The Serbian did not make matters easier for herself, as she double faulted four times in two service games, including once on break point, and Wozniak fought all the way back, winning six straight games and taking the first set 7-5.

 

A disheveled Dolonc left the court with her coach’s arm around her in an attempt to regain her composure, and it worked as she broke in her first return game, and took the second set decisively, 6-2.

 

The beginning of the third set featured some of the best tennis of the match, as both players raised their level and fought out several long games on serve. But it would eventually be Wozniak who would break in the middle of the set and hold on, taking her first match point and the match, 7-5, 2-6, 6-4.

 

“It was an emotional win for me. I wanted so badly to get back on the Fed Cup team,” said Wozniak, who was brought to tears after her hard fought win. “It was a tough match with a lot of long points, so I had to stay focused. The crowd was amazing and really helped me get through. It’s special to play at home.”

 

Eugenie Bouchard'

Eugenie Bouchard’

Next up was young star Eugenie Bouchard, now ranked at a career high number 19, versus 20 year-old  Jovana Jaksic, ranked 149. Clad in red and featuring a fake Canadian flag tattoo on her right cheek, Bouchard turned the match into an exhibition as she routed the Serbian 6-1, 6-0.

 

The 19 year-old showed off not only why she managed to make the Australian Open semifinals, but why so many are hyping her game for the future. She mixed in plenty of effective net play and her forehand was particularly dominant as she hit 16 winners and won 85% of points behind her first serve en route to a 50 minute victory that puts Canada in a commanding position.

 

Sunday’s matches will include the reverse singles at 11am EST time as Wozniak will now take on Jaksic and Bouchard against Dolonc. If necessary, the doubles will feature Gabriela Dabrowski and Sharon Fichman for Canada against Aleksandra Krunic and Nina Stojanovic for Serbia.

 

All photos by Marc-André Gauthier

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Desert Smash Celebrates Tenth Anniversary

Desert Smash Showdown

The tenth anniversary of the Desert Smash Showdown, hosted by Will Ferrell will be taking place on March 3rd-4th 2014 at the La Quinta Resort & Club.


Leading into the neighboring BNP Paribas Open, the two-day tennis and golf event will benefit Cancer for College, a 501c3, non-profit organization that provides college scholarships for cancer survivors. Since 1993, the charity has granted nearly $2 million to more than 1,000 cancer survivors.

To kick off the event on Monday, March 3, 2014, “The 21st Annual Will Powered Golf Classic” will take place on at the Bighorn Golf Club in Palm Desert, CA.  The tournament will be played in a shamble format with planned ceremonial tee off at 12 noon featuring Ferrell and Cancer for College Founder Craig Pollard.

March 4th, 2014, marks Day 2 and the 10th Anniversary of the Desert Smash, and tennis portion of the Showdown.  The day kicks off with The Desert Smash Pro/Celebrity-Am Tennis Tournament, where donating amateurs pay to play with celebrity players and WTA/ATP Tour Pros.  Following the Pro/Celebrity-Am Tournament, the fan favorite, Pro-Tennis Exhibition will kick off at 2:15pm on La Quinta’s intimate Stadium Court.  Early players scheduled to appear at this year’s exhibition include: past participant ATP World No. 2 Novak Djokovic, and 2013 Australian Open Doubles Champions and ATP World No. 1 Doubles Team Bob & Mike Bryan. Players that have participated in the past include: WTA World No. 10 Caroline Wozniacki, Andre Agassi, Stefanie Graf, Marat Safin, Victoria Azarenka and Mardy Fish.  Last year’s big celebrity battle with Novak Djokovic & Jeremy Piven vs. RedFoo and Mardy Fish was an entertaining, fun match that the crowd loved!

 

Ferrell spoke about the reason for his involvement in the Smash: “Cancer for College is an amazing cause.  To see these cancer survivors realize their dream of a college education is inspiring. You know what else is inspiring?  Me embarrassing Kevin Spacey on a tennis court in front of a thousand people. Those Academy Awards aren’t going to help him one bit when I’m raining fire on him from the baseline.  It’s going to be a sight to behold. If an exhibition of pure athletic prowess does not make you want to give to this great cause, I don’t know what will.”

 

Kevin Spacey said he’s been training for months with premier coaches for his Pro/Celeb match against Ferrell.  He sounds off taunting, “Will, I have long admired you, as I hope you know; but there will be no mercy in Palm Springs. I have taken this assignment like the greatest method actor who ever walked the face of the boards of the most inspired playhouse of all time . . . Za Actor’s Studio (and not just Inside but Outside too!)  I’m ready, excited and very, very pumped to head out on the court and KILL YOU AT THE NET!!!!!”

 

The Desert Smash Celebrity/Pro-Am Tournament will have currently ranked WTA and ATP Tour players and some of the best known celebrity players.  One of this year’s participants will be Ana Ivanovic. Past participants include: Stan Wawrinka, Ivan Ljubicic, Dinara Safina, Ernests Gulbis, Daniela Hantuchova, Paul Henri Mathieu, Xavier Malisse, James Blake, Jack Sock and Grand Slam Champion Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Celebrities scheduled to appear this year include event host and “Anchorman” star Will Ferrell, two-time Oscar winner and current House of Cards star Kevin Spacey, Kaley Cuoco (Big Bang Theory), Justin Chambers (Grey’s Anatomy), Kevin McKidd (Grey’s Anatomy, Brave), Timothy Olyphant (Justified, Live Free or Die Hard), RedFoo (LMFAO), Jeremy Piven (Entourage, Old School), Lance Bass and Boris Kodjoe.

 

Past celebrity attendees included: Michael B. Jordan, Christian Slater, Gavin Rossdale, Gwen Stefani, Ryan Kwanten, Joe Pesci, Justin Chambers, Timothy Olyphant, Boris Kodjoe, Michael Vartan, Lance Bass, Joanna Garcia, Eliza Dushku, Jennifer Morrison, and Kirk Fox.

 

Capping off an epic two days of fundraising and tennis, the celebration will continue into the night with the 10th Anniversary Desert Smash Player Party, which will give supporters and attendees the chance to rub elbows with both Hollywood celebrities and tennis stars while supporting Cancer for College through an exciting live auction all the while enjoying cocktails, a fun selection of food and a surprise live musical performance.

 

Ferrell notes: “This event is going to be huge. I believe, between the golf and tennis alone, we’re expecting over 12 million people at the Desert Showdown this year.  It might be a record for attendance. It’s gonna make Coachella look like a pancake breakfast. Look, I’m not going to sugarcoat it. It’s going to be a lot of work, but there’s nothing easy about cancer.  It can devastate a family physically, emotionally and financially. It’s what makes Cancer for College so important.  They make a college education a reality for these survivors who have been through so much. Helping these families after all they have been through is the absolute least we can do.

For more event details, to participate, buy tickets or to make a donation, please visit: www.desertsmash.com

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Bouchard Upsets Ivanovic to Gain Spot in AustraliaA Open Semis

Eugenie Bouchard volley

 

By Alana Mitchelson

(January 21, 2014)MELBOURNE – With the Genie Army on court side cheering her every move, 19-year-old Eugenie Bouchard upset former world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic in three sets, 5-7, 7-5, 6-2, which should boost her ranking up into the top 20 come the end of the tournament.

 

The first Canadian to have reached a Grand Slam quarterfinal since Patricia Hy-Boulais in 1992, Bouchard worked towards disturbing the momentum of an ever so confident Ivanovic following on from the Serbian’s shock upset of No. 1 Serena Williams earlier in the week.

 

The two women had encountered one another previously, on which occasion Bouchard had clinched the match in straight sets. So the mature, young Canadian was fairly confident that sticking to her own game while playing more aggressively would enable her to pose a significant threat to Ivanovic despite her opponent’s recent success.

 

“I think it was really just staying with her, battling,” Bouchard said, reflecting upon the key aspects which led to her winning the match.

 

“I played her once last year. I feel like she’s playing at a much higher level right now. I know she won a tournament early this year. She was playing really well. I just had to stay with her and try to control the point a little bit more. I think late in the second set I decided to use my forehand a little bit more and I think that worked well.

 

“I tried to be aggressive. Obviously it’s good to mix it up, but I think I just really try to take the ball early. I think that’s good because it takes away time from the opponent. She has less time to guess where I’m going or try to read where I’m going. I think that’s an advantage I try to use on the court.

 

“​In the point, I really just want to play my game, be aggressive, take it to my opponent and not just wait around for opportunities. I think it’s a good thing to take my chances when I’m on the court.”

 

Upon losing the first set where Ivanovic squeezed in a break at the very last minute while the Canadian made a string of poorly timed unforced errors, Bouchard maintained composure and exhibited poise beyond her years to rise to a 3-1 lead in the second.

 

Up a break, Bouchard did not allow even a brief medical timeout – during which Ivanovic received massage treatment to her thigh from her trainer – to distract her from her purpose. While the Serbian was determined to prevent the match from progressing into three sets, Bouchard seized three break point opportunities at 5-5. She followed through by launching a forehand winner, setting it up perfectly to serve out the set. Ivanovic double faulted under the pressure of set point to hand Bouchard the second, 7-5.

 

It was not until the third decider, however, that Bouchard really upped the ante. A star quality was brought out in her game, presenting a rather similar aura to that which had shone through in Ivanovic’s game earlier that week when rising to the occasion against Williams.

 

​”There are crazy ups and downs in matches all the time. You never know. Even if you’re up, you can still lose. ​I think I handled it well today, being up. I just kept trying to play and kept trying to put pressure.

 

​”I think the matches I had last year on the big, centre courts, like Sharapova at the French Open and Ivanovic at Wimbledon, just being on those big stages gave me a lot of experience. Now walking out on centre court in Australia, I feel like I’ve been here before. I’ve been able to perform on big stages well. It gives me that extra confidence.”

 

Bouchard next faces the world No. 4 Li Na in the semifinals, who cruised through her own quarterfinal match against Flavia Pennetta in straight sets.

 

“She’s a great champion,” Bouchard said.

 

“She’s won a slam, as well. It’s going to be really tough. I played her once in Montréal two years ago and we had a close match. But it was one of my first bigger matches, so​ it will be interesting to play her again. I know she’s very solid, very good from the back. It’s going to be hard, but I’m looking forward to it.

 

“I’m just going to try my best. Even if I’m down, I always fight.”

 

Alana Mitchelson is a Melbourne-based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her tournament updates on Twitter @TennisNewsTPN and read her personal website.

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Ana Ivanovic Upsets Serena Williams at Australian Open

Ana Ivanovic

Ana Ivanovic

(January 19, 2014) For the first time in her career Ana Ivanovic has beaten Serena Williams. The Serb stunned the world No. 1 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 to move into the quarterfinals of the Australian Open on Sunday.

The victory ended Williams’ 25-match win streak. The last time the American lost was back in August to Victoria Azarenka in the final on the Cincinnati tennis event.

Coming into the match, Williams was a perfect 4-0 against the Serb and failed to yield a set in those wins. Williams also came into the match only losing one match out of 52 after winning the first set.

Ivanovic said that the difference between playing Williams this time and the other four times was her belief:

“I had some confidence coming into today’s match.  I really did certain things extremely well, you know, and I kept her under pressure I felt throughout the whole match.

“I just, I think, you know, I just stayed in the moment physically.  I didn’t think much about the occasion and who I was playing, because it can get overwhelming.

“You know, I just stick with my things and it paid off.”

Williams visibly seemed hampered in her movement. There had been some media speculation that she had injured her back in practice between her second and third round matches. In her news conference, Williams confirmed that she was injured and said that she almost pulled out of the tournament in the second round but did not.

USA Today reporter Doug Robson tweeted after the match that Williams’ coach, Patrick Mouratoglou told him that his charge had been injured her back in practice between her second and third round.

Williams commented:”So he’s the one that’s snitching?”

The American’s lack of footwork showed up in her error count – 31 unforced errors and 9 double faults while Ivanovic cracked 33 winners, with 20 on her forehand side.

“I made a tremendous amount of errors, shots I missed I normally don’t miss,” Williams said.  I haven’t missed since the ’80s.  I’m just not used to missing those shots.

“She made some good shots, and I just made way, way, a lot of unforced errors.

“I keep stressing that Ana played really well,” Williams said. “I don’t want to make an excuse because she played such a great match.”

“I was just trying to do the best I could today.  Maybe I wasn’t the best physically, but that had nothing to do with it.

“I think Ana just played a really good match.  She did what it takes to win.”

Ivanovic was not aware of William’s back injury.

“I didn’t hear about it,” she said.  “I mean, I think she didn’t serve as fast as in her previous matches, but, you know, I really hope she can recover fast.”

She’s such a great player,” said the world No. 14. “Going on to the court today, I really just tried to give my best.  I tried to make it a good match.  I was very competitive till the last moment, and I’m just very thrilled, obviously.”

 

Williams discussed how she felt out on the court playing with her injury: “I obviously wasn’t hitting the way I normally would hit and wasn’t moving the way I normally would move and making a lot of errors that I normally would not make and I haven’t made in a couple of years.

“But it’s okay.  You know, I feel like I know for a fact I can play so much better than what I did today, so with that, knowing that, I’m not disappointed or anything.  I just know that I can play ten times better than what I did today.”

Williams took the first set breaking Ivanovic for a second time in the 10th game after the women exchanged breaks in the 5 and sixth games.

In the second set, Ivanovic again broke Williams in the fifth game and again in the ninth game for 6-3.

Ivanovic zoomed out to a 3-0 lead winning 8 out of the previous 9 games. She held the rest of the way to win the match.

Serena Williams

Serena Williams

“At the end of the day it’s not the end of the world, and I keep stressing that I feel like Ana played really well,” the American said of her shocking loss.  “I think she played a really good match.

 

“You know, I don’t want to sit here and make an excuse when she played such a great match.

 

“I always feel like I can do better and how I can improve.  You know, as I fell at Wimbledon, I was able to get myself back up.  Like I said, sometimes it’s good when I lose because it takes my head out of the clouds.  Not that they are ever there, so to speak.  I just work as if I’m ranked 1000 in the world.”

Asked if Ivanovic can win the tournament, Williams said; “I think if she played like she did today she’ll have a good chance to do well.  You never know.  People are playing really tough.  Everyone in this competition is really hard and everyone is playing really tough, namely against me.

“So, you know, you have to be able to be ready to play every match.  I think she can do extremely well, and I hope she does well.

“Li Na/Pennetta?  I think Li Na is always a favorite, but I don’t think anyone, as we can see, can underestimate Pennetta, because she was in the semifinals of US Open just recently and she’s obviously backed that up with the minimum of a quarterfinal here.”

Since last year’s Australian Open, Williams is now 77-4.

Since winning the 2008 French Open, Ivanovic had reached the quarterfinals of a major only once – the 2012 US Open.

“It’s amazing,” Ivanovic said.  I mean, this victory means so much to me.  And, you know, I worked so hard and all the hard work, you know, it’s paying off.

“Like I said, you know, I had very tough fourth round matches in a Grand Slam, and this was probably the tough of toughest.  I just went out there to play.  I had nothing to lose, as well.

“I just kept swinging.  Even when I made errors I really, you know, believed in it.  So to have that victory, you know, it’s amazing.  We all know what kind of champion she is.  When we were starting the match and they were talking about all her Grand Slam titles, it was quite impressive.”

Asked if she’s ready to win the Australian Open after so many up and down years, the Serb said:

“I think all the struggles were just for moments like this.  You work hard and you never know what’s going to happen, you know.  I just really enjoy competing.

“Like I said, I’m not afraid going deep against these top players.  You know, I feel ready, and I want to challenge, you know, everyone out there.  I know there are going to be a lot of tough matches.

“It might not be quarterfinal; might be maybe second round, third round, but you always get tough matches.  I’m ready for the battle, and hopefully I can show this game all the way.”

Ivanovic will play win winner of the Eugenie Bouchard – Casey Dellacqua match in the quarterfinals.

 

 

More to follow…

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Serena Williams Nets Record 61st Match Win at Australian Open

SerenaWilliamsIstanbul

(January 17, 2014) Serena Williams extended her current win streak to 24 with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Daniela Hantuchova to move into the fourth round of the Australian Open on Friday.  With the victory, the No. 1 player has surpassed Margaret Court’s record of 60 wins at the Australian Open.

It was another hot day in Melbourne as the heat wave continued, during the 1 hour and 20 minute match the temperature reached 102F.

“I feel good to have gotten through that one because it was tough conditions out there, but I was happy to win,” said the five-time champion.

“It’s definitely a lot of physical, but you have to be ready.

“Today actually wasn’t as hot.  I think it was more hot yesterday.  So it wasn’t as bad today.

“Honestly, on the one end I felt it was like a cool breeze coming over, so that was a good sign.”

Williams announced during her post-match news conference that she and sister Venus were pulling out of the doubles, due to her sister’s lower leg injury.

In an exchange with a reporter who alluded to Indian Wells, Williams said that she was thinking about it, a tournament she has not played in over a decade, due her treatment by the crowd during the 2001 final.

Here is the transcript of the questions posed:

Q.  You love to laugh but you also have a serious side.  You have your schools in Africa and have read Mandela closely.  Mandela’s message was pretty much forgiveness and reconciliation.  Work with the springbox for reconciliation, put his jail in the front row of the inauguration.  Do you think that spirit could affect your thoughts about what happened in the desert?  There is a new generation of people who would love to see you there.  Would that ever cross your mind as a possibility?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, it actually crossed my mind a couple days ago, or after I saw the movie.

Q.  Do you think you would?  It would be such a wonderful event for American tennis and for your career.  Do you think that’s something you might consider in the future?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  Like I said, it crossed my mind not too long ago when I went to see the movie.  I thought about it.

Williams will take on either 2011 US Open winner Samantha Stosur or 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic in the fourth round.

“Either player will be very tough,” Williams said.  “Ivanovic, I think is doing really well.  She’s on a little winning streak herself.

“Stosur has the home crowd behind her.  She’s the fan favorite.  Obviously she’s beaten me a few times.

“It will be an interesting, whoever I play.  I think it will be a great match for me to really start to try to play better in this tournament.”

“I definitely look forward to playing in the cooler temperatures,” Williams said about the weather forecast which predicts a break in the heat wave. “I think, you know, the players that I have played, they have done really well in the heat.

“I just look forward to some cooler weather.”

 

Third seed Li Na saved a match point, stopping Lucie Safarova 1-6, 7-6, 6-3 to advance to the fourth round.

“I think the five centimeters save my tournament,” Li said.  “If she hit in, I think, Whole team on the way to the airport.

“Yeah, I mean, at least I win the match, so still in the tournament.  I was really happy the way is fight on the court from first point until the last point.”

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