May 25, 2016

No. 53 Federico Delbonis Surprises No. 2 Andy Murray in Third Round of BNP Paribas Open

Andy Murray

Andy Murray

(March 14, 2016)  INDIAN WELLS, California – No. 2 Andy Murray lost to No. 53 Federico Delbonis 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (3) in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open on Monday in a two-hours and 46 minutes.

The southpaw from Argentina trailed 1-4 to the Brit in the third set, won five of the next six games to serve for the match at 6-5. Murray broke Delbonis’ serve to get to a tiebreak which Delbonis won 7-3 to get the biggest victory of his career. Murray’s loss is the biggest upset of the men’s tournament so far.

“Obviously a tough one to lose in the end, having, you know, kind of fought hard to get myself in a winning position you know, 4-1-up,” Murray said.

“The 4-2 game that I got broken was a tough one in the third set. I was up 30-Love in the game and had a few volleys in that game. You know, he came out with some good passing shots. I could have done a bit more with the volleys maybe.

“But, yeah, I didn’t play a great tiebreak. That was disappointing. Obviously he had the chance to serve it out, and then I got back in there and didn’t play a great breaker.”

Murray has not had a great history at Indian Wells, with his best result coming in 2009 when reached the final. “I think it’s just the conditions here I have just struggled with throughout my career. I have never really felt that I played my best tennis here.

“I have tried and had many different preparations where I’ve got here early and spent a lot of time on the courts, and sometimes I arrive later, like this time from Davis Cup. You know, obviously it takes time to get used to new conditions regardless of where it is, but I have just never really found a way to get comfortable here throughout my career.

“It’s a shame.”

 

Asked if this was his biggest win, Delbonis said: “No, I have like a couple of big wins, but in situation was special, you know. For that tournament, for that surface, for me is the best win.

“And, well, I have — I was like quiet all the match that I know he wants to be aggressive in that third set. I don’t do it my job until the 4-1. I have to play it more to his forehand.

“That, when I do that, I can break. I can play from the 4-2 to the tiebreak and I get a big win for that, you know.

“I have another one (win). The title in Sao Paulo I think is the best one.”

Delbonis did beat Roger Federer when he was No. 5 in the world three years ago in Hamburg.

Asked about his strategy to hit to Murray’s forehand, the Argentine commented: I know that his backhand is pretty good when he’s quiet, you know, in one side. I know that I have to play, hit harder in his forehand to get a good hit or a good position the court, to be aggressive or to move it to him, because this is one of the keys to get a good point.”

“I feel good the surface because it’s not too fast,” he said. “For me, I can slice in that kind of court. I like it. Also, I like it in Australia. Every tournament I come this year I like it so much. I like to play in that kind of court, in that hard courts not so fast.

“For me it’s a good court to be aggressive.”

For Murray, this is the first tournament he has played as a father. February 7, his wife Kim gave birth to a baby girl named Sophia.

A couple of surprises on the women’s side of the draw included former French Open champion Ana Ivanovic, seeded 14 lost to 18th seed Karolina Pliskova 6-2, 6-0 and No. 7 Belinda Bencic was on the short end of a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 score to unseeded Magdalena Rybarikova. With all of the upsets on the women’s side, No. 9 seed Roberta Vinci, who beat 17th seed Elina Svitolina, remains the highest seed in the bottom half of the draw.

On the men’s side of the draw, No. 8 seed Richard Gasquet won 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 over Alexandr Dolgopolov. No. 12 seed Milos Raonic advanced when 17th seed Bernard Tomic retired with a right wrist injury down. 6-2, 3-0. Tomic’s injury puts a question mark on his participation at the Miami Open.

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Strycova, Garcia, Svitolina and Errani Reach Dubai Semifinals

(February 18, 2016) DUBAI – In a topsy-turvy tournament which saw the top 8 seeds knocked out of the tournament before the quarterfinals, Elina Svitolina will face Sara Errani and Caroline Garcia will play Barbora Strycova in the semifinals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

No. 47 Barbora Strycova came back from a 3-5 deficit in the first set tiebreak to defeat former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic 7-6(5), 6-3.

What made the difference for the Czech, who came in 0-3 against the Serb?

“I believed myself,” said Strycova. “And I changed a little bit some things before I went on court, because I lost the previous matches against Ana, so I had to change a little bit the return.

“I was trying to be aggressive because the conditions on this court is really fast, so you have to also play a little bit quick not to spin all the time the balls.

“So that was working well, and I think I was returning also very well.”

“I was 5-3 down (in the first set tiebreak). “I was playing very good four balls in a row. I told myself when I was 5-3 down I was playing a little bit like didn’t believe that I can do it, so I changed that. I played very well the last four balls. That gave me so much confidence for the second set.”

No. 21 Svitolina defeated CoCo Vandeweghe 6-4, 1-6, 6-2.

“Good start. Then I was struggling a bit,” said Svitolina. “I think it was just something in my head. I was just somewhere not on the court. Was really happy that I could find a way to start third set well. Okay, 2-0 down but still I felt that I’m getting there.”

This is the first tournament with a new member of her coaching team – former No. 1 champion Justine Henin.

“I met her first time in her academy in Belgium after winning Roland Garros juniors,” said the Ukrainian. “And then, you know, she’s seven times a Grand Slam champion, so she was always on my mind and I was — you know, she had amazing game.

“She was not that tall, so, you know, there was always some things which I was trying to take from her. Yeah, it’s just amazing that she accepted.”

Sara Errani rallied to win in two hours 22 minutes to beat Madison Brengle 4-6, 6-1, 6-4. Errani led the first set 4-1 and lost the next five games.

“Really strange match, yes,” said the Italian said. “I don’t know. I mean, she had a game that she did not miss a ball sometime. She’s more aggressive. Sometimes she just wait more. So is not easy to play against her. I could have lost easily, so I don’t know why I won the match. There is no explanation to this. Just keep fighting.”

Caroline Garcia reached her first Premier-level semifinal beating Andrea Petkovic 6-3, 6-4.

“You always have to fight very hard and work hard against Andrea,” said Garcia. “She is big fighter, always trying to come back in the match. It was very difficult conditions, very windy, sometimes more than yesterday. So always have to be ready for the ball. Yeah, sometimes was not very nice tennis, not very rhythmic, but you have to stay focused and, yeah, just keep your tactics on.”

 

All photos by Nida Alibhai

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Jankovic Surprises Bencic in Dubai; Rio Open Results

Jankovic smiles in press

(February 16, 2016) Veteran Jelena Jankovic stunned fifth seed and new member of the WTA Top Ten Belinda Bencic 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 of in the Dubai Tennis Championships on Tuesday.

The former No. 1, now ranked 20th in the world took 2 hours and 31 minutes to defeat the new No. 9 player.

“Yeah, it was really difficult match,” said Jankovic. “Belinda is playing very well, and she’s in form and she’s coming from a final in St. Petersburg. Of course she was coming with confidence here. I just fought hard. I was hanging in there every point. So overall it was ups and downs. There was some good tennis but there was also tough times for me during the match. But the most important thing is that I won at the end.”

Another former No. 1 from Serbia, now 17th ranked Ana Ivanovic dismissed Daria Gavrilova 6-1, 6-0, and No. 21 Elina Svitolina advanced with a 6-3, 6-1 win over qualifier Jana Cepelova.

Ivanovic will face No. 2 in the world Simona Halep in the second round.

“I expected a very tough match because of the battle we had in Rome on clay,” said Ivanovic. “I really tried to step it up today and be aggressive. Especially here in desert I feel that the ball sometimes flies little bit through the air quicker, so I tried to use that in my advantage. So very pleased overall.

 

“I know I have done the work, and now it’s just about executing and also enjoying competition. Next match is going to be a tough one for me. Simona is a very tough, consistent player. She strikes the ball well, she moves well, so it’s going to be a good challenge.”

For Svitolina, it was her match with her new coaching consultant, seven-time major winner Justine Henin. “It’s great to have Justine in my team, and I worked with her in offseason for a little bit, and now she’s going to join us for some tournaments,” Svitolina said. “I’m looking forward to hard work. We are trying to do something new (to) refresh my game.”

 

Seventh seed Roberta Vinci who beat Bencic in Sunday’s St. Petersburg final, fell 6-0, 4-6, 6-3 to qualifier Yaroslava Shvedova.

 

DUBAI DUTY FREE TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS – DUBAI, UAE
$ 2,000,000
15-20 FEBRUARY 2016

RESULTS – FEBRUARY 16, 2016
Women’s Singles – First Round
J. Jankovic (SRB) d [5] B. Bencic (SUI) 46 75 64
[Q] Y. Shvedova (KAZ) d [7] R. Vinci (ITA) 60 46 63
A. Ivanovic (SRB) d D. Gavrilova (AUS) 61 60
B. Strycova (CZE) d [Q] T. Pironkova (BUL) 64 63
S. Errani (ITA) d [Q] S. Zheng (CHN) 75 63
E. Svitolina (UKR) d [Q] J. Cepelova (SVK) 63 61

Women’s Doubles – First Round
[2] C. Garcia (FRA) / K. Mladenovic (FRA) d R. Atawo (USA) / A. Spears (USA) 62 63
A. Klepac (SLO) / K. Srebotnik (SLO) d [3] A. Hlavackova (CZE) / L. Hradecka (CZE) 57 76(3) 10-8
C. Chuang (TPE) / D. Jurak (CRO) d C. Liang (CHN) / Y. Wang (CHN) 46 62 10-4
[PR] G. Dabrowski (CAN) / M. Martínez Sánchez (ESP) d [PR] V. Dushevina (RUS) / K. Siniakova (CZE) 75 63
A. Groenefeld (GER) / C. Vandeweghe (USA) d [WC] P. Kvitova (CZE) / A. Rosolska (POL) 63 60

ORDER OF PLAY – WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2016
CENTRE COURT start 2:00 pm
[3] C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) vs C. Garcia (FRA)
M. Brengle (USA) vs [4] [WC] P. Kvitova (CZE)

Not Before 7:00 pm
[1] [WC] S. Halep (ROU) vs A. Ivanovic (SRB)
E. Svitolina (UKR) vs [2] G. Muguruza (ESP)

COURT 1 start 2:00 pm
B. Strycova (CZE) vs J. Goerges (GER)
[Q] Y. Shvedova (KAZ) vs S. Errani (ITA)
C. Vandeweghe (USA) vs K. Mladenovic (FRA)
A. Petkovic (GER) vs J. Jankovic (SRB)

COURT 3 start 2:00 pm
A. Klepac (SLO) / K. Srebotnik (SLO) vs C. Chuang (TPE) / D. Jurak (CRO)

Not Before 4:00 pm
B. Strycova (CZE) / R. Vinci (ITA) vs [4] T. Babos (HUN) / J. Goerges (GER)
S. Errani (ITA) / C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) vs Y. Xu (CHN) / S. Zheng (CHN)

 

 

RIO OPEN PRESENTED BY CLARO – RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL
USD 250,000 (WTA)
15 – 21 FEBRUARY 2016

RESULTS – FEBRUARY 16, 2016
Women’s
Singles – First Round

P. Martic (CRO) d [1] T. Pereira (BRA) 63 75
[2] J. Larsson (SWE) d L. Domínguez Lino (ESP) 75 64
[6] L. Arruabarrena (ESP) d R. Peterson (SWE) 60 63
M. Erakovic (NZL) d M. Torró-Flor (ESP) 76(8) 67(5) 62
S. Soler-Espinosa (ESP) d R. Oprandi (SUI) 61 62
[Q] P. Goncalves (BRA) d J. Glushko (ISR) 63 61

Women’s
Doubles – First Round

[WC] A. Lim (FRA) / F. Schiavone (ITA) d [3] D. Kovinic (MNE) / C. Mitu (ROU) 64 61
[4] V. Cepede Royg (PAR) / M. Irigoyen (ARG) d L. Pous-Tio (ESP) / S. Shapatava (GEO) 63 67(4) 10-6
M. Duque-Mariño (COL) / T. Maria (GER) d E. Bogdan (ROU) / M. Buzarnescu (ROU) 46 63 12-10
C. Mchale (USA) / A. Tatishvili (USA) d G. Ce (BRA) / E. Kostova (BUL) 64 75
T. Moore (GBR) / C. Perrin (SUI) d C. Burger (NED) / L. Pigossi (BRA) 62 61

ORDER OF PLAY – WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2016
QUADRA GUGA KUERTEN start 2:15 pm
ATP – [3] J. Tsonga (FRA) vs [WC] T. Monteiro (BRA)

Not Before 5:00 pm
ATP – [5] D. Thiem (AUT) vs D. Schwartzman (ARG)

Not Before 6:30 pm
ATP – A. Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) vs [2] D. Ferrer (ESP)
ATP – S. Giraldo (COL) vs G. Pella (ARG)

QUADRA 1 start 2:30 pm
WTA – [Q] M. Duque-Mariño (COL) vs F. Schiavone (ITA)

Not Before 4:00 pm
ATP – [7] F. Fognini (ITA) vs [Q] D. Gimeno-Traver (ESP)
ATP – [1] M. Melo (BRA) / B. Soares (BRA) vs [WC] F. De Paula (BRA) / O. Luz (BRA)
ATP – After suitable rest – A. Bedene (GBR) / A. Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) vs T. Bellucci (BRA) / M. Demoliner (BRA)

QUADRA 2 start 2:30 pm
WTA – [5] P. Hercog (SLO) vs [WC] S. Cirstea (ROU)

Not Before 3:30 pm
WTA – S. Rogers (USA) vs V. Cepede Royg (PAR)
ATP – P. Mathieu (FRA) / J. Tsonga (FRA) vs [4] N. Monroe (USA) / J. Sock (USA)
ATP – After suitable rest – D. Lajovic (SRB) / D. Thiem (AUT) vs A. Dolgopolov (UKR) / D. Munoz de la Nava (ESP)

QUADRA 4 start 2:30 pm
ATP – F. Delbonis (ARG) / P. Lorenzi (ITA) vs M. Gonzalez (ARG) / A. Sa (BRA)
WTA – To be finished – [1] A. Rodionova (AUS) / S. Vogt (LIE) vs B. Haddad Maia (BRA) / T. Pereira (BRA) 76(5) 00
WTA – T. Moore (GBR) / C. Perrin (SUI) vs [2] M. Erakovic (NZL) / S. Soler-Espinosa (ESP)
ATP – After suitable rest – [3] P. Cuevas (URU) / F. Fognini (ITA) vs [WC] R. Dutra Silva (BRA) / J. Souza (BRA)

QUADRA 5 start 2:30 pm
ATP – M. Daniell (NZL) / A. Sitak (NZL) vs [2] J. Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL)

Not Before 3:30 pm
WTA – [Q] C. Burger (NED) vs [Q] E. Kostova (BUL)
ATP – P. Petzschner (GER) / A. Peya (AUT) vs [Q] P. Carreno Busta (ESP) / D. Marrero (ESP)

Not Before 5:30 pm
WTA – After suitable rest – [4] V. Cepede Royg (PAR) / M. Irigoyen (ARG) vs P. Goncalves (BRA) / S. Marand (USA)

 

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Murray Wins, Ivanovic Loses as Nigel Sears Collapses in the Stands

 

(January 23, 2016) Nigel Sears, father-in-law to Andy Murray and coach of Ana Ivanovic became ill during Ivanovic’s match against Madison Keys on Saturday. Ivanovic lost to Keys 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, while Murray defeated Joao Sousa 6-2, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 to reach the fourth round.

The No. 2 seed Murray will play Bernard Tomic in the round of 16.

Ivanovic was leading Keys 6-4, 1-0 when he collapsed and was taken to a nearby hospital. The match was delayed for almost an hour and the players went off court until play resumed.

Keys evened up the match be taking the second set. Ivanovic jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the final set, but Keys rebounded winning six of the next seven games to close out the match.

Andy Murray, Ana Ivanovic and Madison Keys in lieu of having news conferences gave statements after their respective matches. There were no on-court interviews:

 

Ana Ivanovic:

What would you like to say?
ANA IVANOVIC: Obviously it was a tough match. I played so well. First set, I won it. I felt like I produced some good games, created some opportunities. But she came back strong with a very powerful game.

I thought the third set she served better than me. She could get more on the first shot because of the serve. I felt that was the big difference in the third set.

Obviously the atmosphere and the crowd throughout the whole match was definitely supporting you a lot. Did you feel that?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, definitely. As soon as we walked on the court, that was amazing feeling. Yeah, I really wanted to win and have a chance to come back. The crowd was just really amazing don’t.

Despite not winning the match, have you been encouraged by the form you’ve shown here?
ANA IVANOVIC: Definitely it was a good match from the beginning on. It was a high level. Like I said, she came out with some firing strokes towards the end of that match. She stepped it up. It went her way.

Obviously a little bit disappointed but a lot to look forward to.

 

Madison Keys:

Great comeback. Talk us through how that match went for you.
MADISON KEYS: Yeah, I had chances in the first set. Wasn’t really able to convert. Had one bad service game. Then kind of just a battle throughout the whole second set. A little bit of slow start in the third.

I managed to kind of get it back and figure it out, fight back and get the win.

What did you tell yourself towards the end of the second set when you were down?
MADISON KEYS: I think it was just, you know, try to get one more ball, one more ball; just stay in it; make her win it and not give it to her.

You love playing in Australia. You did well here last year. Great crowd support. What is it about the Australian Open that makes you perform so well?
MADISON KEYS: You know, I love whenever I come here, every city I visit. It’s one of my favorites. I just think Australians are so welcoming. I think after last year, I kind of created somewhat of a fan base.

Coming back to that is always great. Even tonight, even playing Aussie Ana, I definitely had some of my own fans.

Talk about your potential two opponents, Zhang and Lepchenko.
MADISON KEYS: You know, Lepchenko, I’ve played her a couple of times. We’re both from the States. I know her well. I don’t know if we’ve ever played a match. Yeah, we have. She beat me. She can be tough and crafty.

Zhang, we’re so happy for her now. She’s won not only one, but two main draw matches. That’s great for her. I haven’t played her since three, four years now. Obviously she’s playing well if she’s had the upsets that she’s had, so either match will be tough.

 

Andy Murray:

How do you feel the match went?
ANDY MURRAY: I thought I struggled. At the beginning I think he was extremely aggressive, very intense.

You know, so he was getting into position to dictate a lot of points with his forehand. Once I started to hit the ball a little bit cleaner towards the end of the match I was able to get him in his backhand corner and dictate more of the points.

It was tricky. I didn’t feel great. You know, the match against Groth, though I returned well; I didn’t get to hit that many groundstrokes; didn’t feel I was in a great rhythm; wasn’t hitting the ball clean at the start.

He was hitting the ball great, close to the lines, and making me do a lot of running.

Yeah, I just tried to keep fighting. At the end I was actually hitting the ball well and felt better at the end. It was good to get through that one.

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WTA All-Access at 2015 Rogers Cup

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By Brodie Widdifield

(August 10, 2015) TORONTO, Canada – The beginning of August always represents one of the most exciting times of the year for Canadian tennis fans with the Rogers Cup tournament getting underway. For players on the WTA, it represents the beginning of the North American hard court swing, and the end of a short but enjoyable post-Wimbledon holiday.

It’s definitely my favourite time of the season,” said Caroline Wozniacki. The Dane has dealt with a back injury this season and stressed the importance of fitness for this difficult yet important part of the season. “The most important thing is to stay healthy.”

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Petra Kvitova has been less lucky with her health, unfortunately. “I spent a few days off in Monaco as a vacation. I was trying to practice a little bit, but unfortunately I was diagnosed with mono.” The Czech emphasized that she was working with her team to properly schedule her practicing in order to conserve energy. “I probably got it during the spring time and I still have a little bit of it. I’m still going to play, but I need to worrying about the practicing, and I’ll try to be ready for the matches.”

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Ana Ivanovic also took some time off, and emphasized switching to hard courts would not be a challenge. “It’s not such a difficult change. A lot of players take time off, which was the case with me. The hardest transition is clay to grass, so I look forward to playing on the hard courts here in the United States and Canada.”

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Romanian Simona Halep was one of the stand out players of 2014, but has found success more difficult to come by in 2015. She seemed excited to get her hard court season under way in Toronto after deciding late to enter the tournament on a wild card. “I need some matches.” However, she enjoyed her time off after Wimbledon and is looking forward to getting back on court. “It was really good. I stayed calm, all four weeks, with my family, with my friends. Now I feel good, I feel confident, and I hope to have good matches here.” “I was a little bit tired after Indian Wells and Miami.”

 

The other hot topic on the lips of reporters and players was the continued success of the world’s best player, Serena Williams. With the season’s first three grand slams in her pocket, she will look to complete what was originally known as “The Grand Slam” – winning all four majors in a calendar year.

Not even Serena Williams herself could say it would be business as usual in New York. “It definitely feels different. Winning the Serena Slam this year took some pressure off.” Even at age 33, the world number 1 has no intentions of slowing down as she enjoys one of the best years of her career. “I feel like every year that goes by I start to love the game more than I did the previous year.”

Other players were genuinely happy for the success of Williams this year. Ana Ivanovic even said she would like to see her win the US Open. “I really hope she can do it. She’s been working really hard, she’s been on top of the game so long so I think she deserves it. We’re so lucky to have someone like her in our sport, and I don’t think she gets enough credit for what she has achieved.”

Simona Halep shared her views. “For me she is the best player in the world. She has a lot of power, and also mental power. I think she can do all four, and win the US Open this year.” But when asked if it was frustrating to constantly have such a dominant player, the Romanian only laughed. “For me it is not. It’s really nice to have a player [like her]. She’s very competitive and she loves to be number one.”

Finally, Garbine Muguruza was perhaps one of the most engaging interviews on the afternoon. Now in the top 8, the Spaniard invites all the attention that comes along with reaching a grand slam final at just 21. “Obviously things are changing, media, people are looking more at what I’m doing, but I’m enjoying it. You have to be ready, you have to be more mature. The good moments go so quickly, and the bad ones are so slow.” She mentioned that she learned a lot from the Wimbledon final, but laughed when asked if she had watched any of the match again. “I just watched the two minute highlights. No more than that.”

Brodie Widdifield is the author of the tennis web site mindtheracket.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @MindTheRacket. He is covering the Rogers Cup in Toronto for Tennis Panorama News, follow @TennisNewsTPN for updates.

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Serena Williams Rallies to Reach French Open Final

(June 4, 2015) Sick with the flu and moving slowly around a hot center court, Serena Williams came back from a set and a break down to reach the French Open final for the third time defeating 23rd seed Timea Bacsinszky 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 on Thursday.

Down 6-4, 3-2 the world No. 1 won the next 10 straight games to knock out her Swiss opponent and reach her 24th major final.

“I tried everything,” Williams said in an on-court interview after the match. ”I thought if I lose, I will lose with a fight. I tried, I tried. I found the energy. I don’t know where, but I found it. And I won. I hope that on Saturday, I hope”

She’ll face No. 13 Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic in Saturday’s final for a chance to win her 20th major title.

Safarova defeated two former Roland Garros champions on the way to the final – defending champion and No. 2 Maria Sharapova in the fourth round, 2008 titlist and seventh seed Ana Ivanovic 7-5, 7-5 in the semifinals earlier in the day on Thursday.

Safarova rebounded from a 2-5 first set deficit to win the next five games in a row.

“I started a little bit slower in the match and wasn’t swinging as much as I should. I was a little slow on my feet,” Safarova said to media. “Ana was playing well right away and going for her shots, too, but I slowly started getting into the rhythm, into the game. Then right away I took the set, took the momentum.”

She had to serve for the match twice in the second set to finally close it out.

“In the second set, when I realized I could finally be in the finals, I got a little bit tense there. And the game at 5-4, I was really overthinking and couldn’t really concentrate to be there in that moment.

“But when I lost serve, I shook it off and started to play aggressive again, and I served it out.”

After 12 years on tour, this will be Safarova’s first singles final of a Grand Slam tournament.

 

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Federer Falls to Countryman Wawrinka at French Open

Stan Wawrinka

Stan Wawrinka

(June 2,2015) Stan Wawrinka defeated his Swiss countryman and No 2 seed Roger Federer for the first time at a major on Tuesday to reach his first French Open semifinal with a 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (4) victory. This was only the third time in 199 matches between than that Wawrinka came out with the win.

This is the third straight year that Federer has been knocked out in the quarterfinals or earlier. Federer was unable to break his Davis Cup teammate’s serve.

“I played my best match in a Grand Slam tournament,” said Wawrinka after the match, “and my best match on clay.”

“I know that when I play good tennis, when I play my best tennis, I can play so heavy from both sides that it’s really tough for the opponent to play,” said Wawrinka. “That’s why Roger was struggling today. It’s because I was playing so well.”

Wawrinka will play No. 14 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga next.

Tsonga defeated Kei Nishikori 6-1, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3

After the match, the Frenchman wrote on the red clay using his sneaker “Roland, je t’aime,” and got laid down on the court under the writing

This will be Tsonga’s second semifinal at Roland Garros, and his sixth at a major.

 

Earlier in the day, the first women’s semifinal was set up when 2008 French Open winner Ana Ivanovic and Lucie Safarova won their quarterfinal matches.

Ivanovic is back in the semifinals since winning the French Open seven year ago, beating Elina Svitolina 6-3, 6-2.

“I don’t know if I should feel very old or very happy,” said the seventh seed.

The 13th seed Safarova, who upset Maria Sharapova on Monday, defeated Garbine Muguruza 7-6 (3), 6-3 to advance to just her second Grand Slam semifinal. Safarova reached the Wimbledon semifinals last year.

 

More to follow……….

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Former French Open Winners Roger Federer and Ana Ivanovic Reach Fourth Round

(May 29, 2015) Former French Open champions Roger Federer  Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic reached the round of 16 in Paris on Friday.

2009 winner, second seed Federer defeated world No. 88 Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 to move into the fourth round of Roland Garros for an 11th straight year.

The match lasted 88 minutes. For Dzumhur, this was his second time in the third round of a major. He is only man from Bosnia/Herzegovina to compete in a major championship.

Federer will face Gael Monfils for a spot in the quarterfinals.

“I think, No. 1, it’s an interesting matchup, Cuevas and Gaël,” Federer said. “I think both look really good on clay, feel comfortable on clay. I felt Cuevas was really strong in Istanbul and also in Rome. Gaël, I played him in some tougher conditions, I guess, for me potentially. Davis Cup was rough, you know. Monaco was so early in the clay court season it was always going to be tough, even though I wasn’t hitting ball so bad, but still not quite understanding how passive or aggressive I needed to play. I thought he played a good, solid match, and me, too. It came down to a few points. It was a pity for me not to get through that one. He’s played me tough, you know, throughout my career, I thought. Especially the last four, five years now. He’s been tougher for me to play against. We have played against each other here on a few occasions as well. Semis, quarters, some of my big years here. So clearly I’d love to play against him, as well. Pablo is also a great guy. I will watch that clearly with a lot of interest.”

Supported by the French crowd, Monfils rallied past Pablo Cuevas 4-6, 7-6 (1), 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 to reach the fourth round. Monfils now is 10-3 in five set matches at Roland Garros, tied for the record in wins with former player Harold Solomon.

Asked about playing Federer next, he said:

“Honestly, I don’t know. Is like, I just play my game. You know, somehow sometime, because some matches Roger kill me. Somehow I just maybe find a couple stuff, you know, in my game, to put him in trouble and to actually move him — I think Roger is very comfortable on couple of shots or couple, you know, area that I try to manage to put him out of this comfort zone. And then also I try, you know, to find a rhythm also with Roger that I’m happy with, because Roger always wants to dictate the match the way he wants, the way he make you wait or speed up the match, the way he will select his shot. And me, I really try to change out of him, and sometime Roger get pissed a little bit. And also, whether I will — and I know he will respect it, but when he’s good — actually, when I saw it the most it was in US Open, you know, Roger was very unhappy when the crowd is not behind him. And that will help me a lot, for sure,” Monfils said smiling.

 

Defending champion Sharapova is into the second week of the French Open reaching the fourth round after beating Samantha Stosur of Australia 6-3, 6-4. Next she takes on Lucie Safarova.

 

After challenges in the first two rounds, Ana Ivanovic moved quickly past Croatian Donna Vekic 6-0, 6-3 to reach the second week of the tournament in 53 minutes.

The Serb who won the French Open title in 2008 talked about her growing confidence.

“The first two matches I really felt like I had kind of a slow start, and I spoke to my coach, to Mats about it, and to my team and everything. This is something I really wanted to change today. I was happy I did that, because it’s not easy playing late and then playing first. Also today conditions were a little bit heavier, it was colder in the morning. I was really happy I was able to change that.”

“After first two matches, I really started to get a little bit of feeling and groove, and yesterday I had easy day, she said. “Today I really had strict game plan. I had an idea what I wanted to do, and obviously confidence from first two matches helped me in today’s performance, too. I really knew I was working hard for few weeks now, and I spoke about it even last few weeks. You know, when you know you are working the right direction, it always gets results. Today I did some things better than I did in my first two matches, which I was happy about.”

She’ll play No. 9 seed Ekaterina Makarova next. Makarova defeated Elena Vesnina 6-2, 6-4.

Stan Wawrinka moved into the fourth round of Paris with a 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 victory over American Steve Johnson in 89 minutes. He’ll play Gilles Simon, who beat fellow Frenchman Nicholas in five sets.

Frenchwoman Alize Cornet advanced reach the fourth round of her home major for the first time match with a 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 win over Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.

Cornet celebrated the victory as though she had won the tournament.

“At last, I’m into the second week at Roland,” Cornet said. “I’ve been waiting for this for 11 years.”

“The crowd was amazing, once more, today. It really helped me getting through tough time on the court. Mirjana was playing very aggressive, and I was playing with all my heart. The crowd being behind me like this was helping me a lot, giving me a lot of energy to keep going, not to let go. Yeah, I owe them a lot today, because I think I went over my limits. And the fact that it was in Roland Garros was definitely a big help for me today. It’s a pleasure to play here on the center court especially because I love this court. So I’m really glad.”

More good news for the home country as Richard Gasquet completed his match halted due to darkness 3-6, 6-3, 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 over Carlos Berlocq and advance to the third round.

The 20th seed will play 15th-seeded Kevin Anderson for a place in the 4th round.

Also advancing were No. 13 Lucie Safarova and No. 19 Elina Svitolina.

 

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For the Good of the Sport

Serena Williams

Serena Williams

(March 18, 2015) The women’s side of the draw flipped on its head once more as the young up and coming pack started to fall away after some famous wins this week. Gone was Caroline Garcia, who felled Ana Ivanovic, while Jelena Jankovic hit one more for the oldies when she dispatched Belinda Bencic to book her place in the quarter-final.

 

But perhaps the biggest surprise was Lesia Tsurenko defeating Genie Bouchard, whose come-back had been going quite swimmingly until that point. And she’s going to be one to watch as she faces the 2010 champion Jankovic next. The Serbian is playing some really solid tennis at the moment, perhaps buoyed by a great win over the very hard-hitting Madison Keys, but she can also come undone fairly spectacularly when she’s up against a player she has not played before. We could expect all kinds of potential tantrums on court, but it still will have been her best result for quite some time.

 

Serena Williams finally ended the great run of Acapulco and Monterrey champion Timea Bacsinszky, and while she admitted she could almost see the trophy in her hands (the first American to win it since her victory in 2001) she acknowledged that she had still a way to go.

 

She said: “I think it will be really good. It’s a good surface for her. I feel like she can definitely come out here, and when we play, play really well. Hopefully I can start playing better. “

 

Andy Murray

Andy Murray

But maybe, and perhaps disappointingly, the focus at the start of the day was more on the news that Wayne Odesnik had been caught again on a doping charge, despite protesting his innocence. He was caught in two samples, and in light of his two year ban in 2010-2011 for being caught with a growth hormone and medical materials in his possession, he was banned for 15 years, and thus announced his retirement from the sport.

 

Needless to say there are not many offering to give him a handshake for his “achievements” (if a world ranking of No. 77 and no titles are to be celebrated).

 

Andy Murray tweeted “Good riddance” and called into question, quite reasonably, if one had been caught once, why would you do it again?

 

He said: “He’s been linked to a number of people that have been involved in doping presently and in the past and surrounded himself with those people, so I can’t say I’m surprised.   To have three separate issues is ridiculous. It’s good that he’s off the tour now.”

 

 

Rafael Nadal was a touch surprised to hear the news but broadly agreed, saying: “I really don’t know about him, so it’s difficult to say one or another thing. But obviously when that happens twice, you don’t deserve to be on the tour.”

 

Quarter-final action continues on Thursday.

 

Ros Satar is a British sports journalist and a writer at Livetennis.com.

 

 

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Upstarts and Upsets in the second week at Indian Wells

Caroline Wozniacki

Caroline Wozniacki

(March 16, 2015) INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA – As the women’s draw started to fill the brackets for the last of the round of 16, we saw some of the old guard fall foul to the up-and-comers.

First in (and indeed out) was Caroline Wozniacki who met her end to Belinda Bencic. The last time the pair played was in Istanbul last year. Wozniacki was at the start of a tear through the tournaments after an upsetting summer with the collapse of her impending nuptials to Irish golfer Rory McIlroy, and it was the making of the latter half of her tennis year.

However in the way was Bencic who was battered off court that day 6-0, 6-0 in just 44 minutes. In fairness the Swiss had hardly been on a roll since the start of the year, winning just one match in Dubai but she could at least gleefully poke fun at her Istanbul outing.

“The difference was that I won a game!” Bencic joked. “No, I was really happy after the first game I won, obviously, but I think I played more solid today. In Istanbul I had maybe too much respect and I was afraid, nervous. Today I really had a good game plan. I did what I had to do out there. I served well and had some easy points on my serve because of that. It was a solid match.”

Wozniacki had to acknowledge that on the day she had just come across a better player, saying: “Honestly, it was two completely different matches,” Wozniacki told reporters. “She was steady, she took the ball early and she served well, but I just didn’t put three balls in play today. But hats off to her – she took advantage of that and she played well during the important points in the match today.”

Jelena Jankovic

Jelena Jankovic

There was almost another grand old lady of the tour on the ropes as Jelena Jankovic had to fight from a set down to get past the power hitting of Madison Keys 5-7, 6-4, 6-3. As always with Jankovic, humour got the better of her, and why not? She was feeling god, and quite possibly dealt a bloody nose to one of the WTA Rising Stars that felt this had been a winnable match.

Keys smacked Petra Kvitova off the court at the Australian Open, and Jankovic could certainly see why as she explained in her press conference.

“It was like bombs or bullets constantly coming at me for about two‑and‑a‑half hours. I mean, her ball is so strong. It’s such a heavy ball. I think she’s probably, I mean, maybe with Serena. Probably the hardest hitting player out there in this moment.”

At times Jankovic tried to slow the pace down by taking her time to get ready between points, and she joked: “But you would take your time too when those balls are coming at you. What else am I supposed to do?”

316Keys-001

Madison Keys

 

For Keys though, while it was a tough loss she was at least able to find some slight vein of amusement at her tactics against Jankovic who, on her day, can mix up and disrupt play with the best of them, as she assessed her failing backhand.

Ruefully smiling, she said: “Yeah, I’m that person, Oh, I didn’t make it? Let me try it again 37 times.”

She continued: “Because it’s one of those things that as soon as you hit it, That was so dumb; why did I do that? The crosscourt is completely open, yet I try to hit it an inch other the net and I missed it. Again. Let me try it again next point. It’s not smart, for sure. I really wish I could tell you, you know, it’s just because I’m stubborn and I just wanted to make one. If I ever figure it out, you’ll be the first one that I can tell.”

Another seed to fall by the wayside was Ana Ivanovic, who lost for the second time in a row, in as many weeks to Caroline Garcia 6-2, 5-7, 6-2. After a brisk start to the year, Ivanovic has had to deal with a broken toe (from slamming her foot against the shower door) and now an inflamed elbow.

She said: “I have to work because I haven’t been playing lots of matches and so on. I feel like I need to get back in shape. It’s getting better but I feel like there’s a lot of work to be done and then yet I have these niggles here and there that are stopping me.”

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova

With Maria Sharapova restoring some sense of order, dispatching one of the trickier names in the draw, Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 6-3, we close out a day which more or less saw the honours split evenly between the old ladies of the tour and the chasing pack of Rising Stars.

Ros Satar is a British sports journalist and a writer at Livetennis.com.

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