WTA Round-up; Pavlyuchenkova wins in Paris, Makarova in Pattaya City

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova photo courtesy of Taste of Tennis

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova photo courtesy of Taste of Tennis

(February 2, 2014 )Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova rallied to beat Sara Errani of Italy 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 to claim the Open GDF Suez in Paris, her sixth career WTA title.

In a topsy turvy match, Errani came back from a1-3 first set deficit winning seven games on the trot to take a 6-3, 2-0 lead. Pavlyuchenkova took the next seven games to even the match 3-6, 6-2, 1-0. The Russian broke the Italian in the eight game of the third set to take a 5-3 lead and served out the match.

Pavlyuchenkova’s title run saw her knock out three top 10 players in the same tournament for the first time in her WTA career – Maria Sharapova in the semifinals, Angelique Kerber of Germany in the quarterfinals and Errani in the final.

“When I lost seven games in a row I don’t really know what happened – maybe I was a little stressed because I was missing some shots and she was so solid,” said the champion. “Also, I was serving so well throughout the tournament and there were times today where I was struggling on serve. But I knew it was from my side, so if I just focused and kept fighting I could get it back.”

“I’m still very happy I could make the final,” said the losing finalist. “I had very good matches from the first round, from Knapp to Svitolina to Cornet, but I was a little bit more tired than normal in the match today because of yesterday. It was very tough to recover. But it was still a very good week for me.”

Ekaterina Makarova won her first title in in almost four years beating Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 7-6 (7) for the Pattaya Open crown on Sunday. The Russian ranked No. 28 won Eastbourne in 2010, her only other tournament victory.

“Today was a tough match,” said the Russian. “She was playing really good tennis and serving really well. I needed to be very focused on my return. I was a little bit nervous at the end, but I’m really happy to win my second title.”

Makarova was Pattaya City’s fourth Russian champion in the last six years.


Pavlyuchenkova Upsets Sharapova to Reach Paris Final

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova photo courtesy of Taste of Tennis

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova photo courtesy of Taste of Tennis

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova stunned top seed Maria Sharapova in the semifinal of Open GDF Suez topping her Russian countrywoman 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. Sharapova handed her opponent the win ending the match with a pair of double faults.

“I’m very happy with my performance today,” Pavlyuchenkova said. “Maria’s so tough and she’s always fighting until the end, so I’m happy I stuck with my game and kept fighting out there as well.

She’ll face Sara Errani in the final.

Paris, France
January 27-February 2, 2014

Results – Saturday, February 1, 2014
Singles – Semifinals
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) d. (1) Maria Sharapova (RUS) 46 63 64
(3) Sara Errani (ITA) d. Alizé Cornet (FRA) 76(3) 36 76(5)

Doubles – Semifinals
(4) Babos/Mladenovic (HUN/FRA) d. (1) Errani/Vinci (ITA/ITA) w/o (Errani: cramping)

Order Of Play – Sunday, February 2, 2014
Court Central (from 15.30hrs)
1. Singles Final: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs. Sara Errani
2. Doubles Final: Babos/Mladenovic vs. Groenefeld/Peschke


Pattaya City, Thailand
January 27-February 2, 2014

Results - Saturday, February 1, 2014
Singles – Semifinals
(4) Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) d. Andrea Hlavackova (CZE) 63 06 64
Karolina Pliskova (CZE) d. Julia Goerges (GER) 63 46 63

Doubles – Semifinals
(4) Peng/Zhang (CHN/CHN) d. (WC) Lertcheewakarn/Zvonareva (THA/RUS) 62 63

Order Of Play - Sunday, February 2, 2014
Court 1 (from 16.00hrs)
1. Singles Final: Ekaterina Makarova vs. Karolina Pliskova
2. Doubles Final: Peng/Zhang vs. Kudryavtseva/Rodionova



Stosur and Ivanovic Among Field for WTA Tournament of Champions in Bulgaria

(October 22, 2013) SOFIA, BULGARIA – Four of the world’s Top 20 ranked women, including former world No.1 and 2008 Roland Garros champion Ana Ivanovic and 2011 US Open winner Samantha Stosur will be among the eight-player field competing at the $750,000 Garanti Koza WTA Tournament of Champions, to be staged in Bulgaria’s capital city from October 29–November 3, 2013. This marks the second year of three that Sofia will host the annual season-ending championships for the WTA’s International tournaments.


Serbian star Ivanovic, a two-time champion of the event when it was held in Bali, was awarded a wildcard into this year’s field. For her part Australian Stosur is among the six highest ranked winners of International Series tournament winners eligible to compete in Sofia, along with Simona Halep of Romania, Russians Maria Kirilenko, Elena Vesnina and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, and Alizé Cornet of France. Bulgaria’s own Tsvetana Pironkova has again received a wildcard to compete in front of her home fans, and will be looking to produce another strong showing following her semifinal run last year. Initially the players will be split into two groups of four for round robin competition, with each group’s top two players advancing to the semifinals.


“I would like to congratulate this wonderful group of players on their respective successes in 2013 as they eagerly await the start of the Garanti Koza WTA Tournament of Champions,” said Stacey Allaster, WTA Chairman and CEO. “Between them they have won 13 WTA singles titles this year and tennis fans in Sofia are in for a week of incredible tennis as our very special 40 Love season draws to a close.”


This year’s ‘Road to Sofia’ comprised 30 WTA International events held on six continents. The 2012 WTA Tournament of Champions attracted more than 30,000 fans over six days of competition, with host broadcaster BNT reporting average daily viewership of nearly 2.8 million households in a country with a population of 7.4 million. Matches were broadcast to more than 25 countries and Russia’s Nadia Petrova was crowned champion, defeating Caroline Wozniacki in the final. Turkish construction company Garanti Koza was recently announced as the event’s new title sponsor.


Garanti Koza WTA Tournament of Champions – Sofia 2013 Participants:


Simona Halep, Romania, No.14 

Halep is one of the WTA’s 2013 breakthrough stars, winning five titles from all five finals played, having previously been a runner-up on three occasions. Only Serena Williams has won more singles titles this year (10) and Halep holds the distinction of being the only player to win events on all three major playing surfaces (hard, clay, grass). Her debut win came at the International-level Nürnberger Versicherungscup in Germany and this was followed by victories at the Topshelf Open (‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands) the following week and the Hungarian Grand Prix (Budapest). She then captured her first Premier-level title at the New Haven Open at Yale (d. Kvitova in final) and arrives in Sofia having won her second event at that level, last week’s Kremlin Cup (d. Stosur in final). Her win in Moscow saw the 22-year-old rise to a new career-high ranking of No.14, up from No.47 at the start of the season. She is making her Tournament of Champions debut.

Ana Ivanovic, Serbia, No.16

Ivanovic is making her third WTA Tournament of Champions appearance, having won the event in back-to-back years when it was held in Bali (2010-11). The winner of 11 singles titles to date, she has reached three Grand Slam finals so far in her career, famously winning 2008 Roland Garros and rising to No.1 in the world rankings. More recently the 25-year-old Serb was runner-up to Angelique Kerber at the Generali Ladies Linz, while other 2013 season highlights have included semifinal showings at the Mutua Madrid Open and the Southern California Open (Carlsbad); she also posted strong runs to the round of 16 at three of the four Grand Slam tournaments – the Australian Open, Roland Garros and the US Open.

Maria Kirilenko, Russia, No.18

After a memorable 2012 that saw her collect the doubles bronze medal at the London Olympics as well as win the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships (both with fellow Russian Petrova), Kirilenko will remember 2013 as the year she made her singles Top 10 debut following a run to the quarterfinals at Roland Garros. A wildcard at Sofia last year, the 26-year-old booked her return visit with an early-season title – the sixth of her career, and first in five years – at the PTT Pattaya Open in Thailand, where she defeated Sabine Lisicki in a hard-fought final. Her other notable results this year have included semifinal finishes at the BNP Paribas Open (Indian Wells) and the Monterrey Open and a run to the round of 16 at the Australian Open.

Samantha Stosur, Australia, No.19

Stosur qualified for Sofia by winning the HP Open in Osaka, Japan, her second title of the season after victory at the Southern California Open (Carlsbad) where she overcame Victoria Azarenka in the final.  Indeed, this year marks the first time in her career the 28-year-old Australian has won two singles titles in a season and she went close to capturing a third just last week at the Kremlin Cup, where Halep ended her nine-match winning streak in the final. Stosur’s biggest title to date is of course the 2011 US Open, where she defeated Serena Williams in the final to become the first Australian woman to win a major since Evonne Goolagong at Wimbledon in 1980. In addition to her singles successes Stosur is also a former world No.1 and two-time Grand Slam champion in doubles, winning her 24th career title last week in Moscow with Svetlana Kuznetsova. She competed at the inaugural staging of the Tournament of Champions in Bali in 2009, going 1-1 in round robin play.

Elena Vesnina, Russia, No.25

Vesnina has enjoyed a career season in 2013, achieving a string of breakthroughs at the age of 27.  After finishing runner-up in six WTA finals she finally won her first title at January’s Moorilla Hobart International, which made her an early contender on the Road to Sofia. More success was to come when she won her first Premier-level title at the Aegon International (Eastbourne) where she defeated the likes of Ivanovic and Li Na en route. Now 2-6 in singles finals, Vesnina has continued to enjoy success in doubles, capturing her first Grand Slam title at Roland Garros with Ekaterina Makarova. The Russian duo was also victorious at Indian Wells and qualified for the four-team TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships in Istanbul, where Vesnina will compete before arriving in Sofia.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Russia, No.26

Pavlyuchenkova is making her second appearance at the Tournament of Champions, having competed in Bali in 2010. Still just 22, the former top-ranked junior reached four singles finals in 2013, winning her fourth career title at the Monterrey Open (an event she has now won in three of the past four years) and fifth at the Portugal Open in Oeiras. At January’s Brisbane International it took Serena Williams to stop Pavlyuchenkova in the final and last month at the KDB Korea Open in Seoul she was edged for the winner’s trophy by Agnieszka Radwanska in three sets. She arrives in Sofia in good indoor form having reached the semifinals at her home event, the Kremlin Cup.

Alizé Cornet, France, No.27

Having made the trip to Sofia in 2012 as second alternate – she did not get to play a match – Cornet put herself in the running again this year by winning on home soil at the Internationaux de Strasbourg in May. All three of the 23-year-old Frenchwoman’s WTA singles titles have now been won on red clay, but it is consistent results on all surfaces this year, including two semifinals, two quarterfinals and solid third round runs at Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open (where she pushed Azarenka to three sets) that have seen the former world No.11 firmly re-establish herself in the Top 30.

Tsvetana Pironkova, Bulgaria, No.118

Pironkova, the first Bulgarian to reach the semifinals at Wimbledon (2010) and also a quarterfinalist at the All England Club in 2011, will be bidding for her first WTA title in Sofia. In 2013 the 26-year-old was again at her best on Wimbledon’s lawns, where she reached the fourth round before falling to Radwanska in three sets. Other season highlights for the native of Plovdiv, Bulgaria have included quarterfinal efforts at the Moorilla Hobart International and the Topshelf Open in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Last year she advanced to the semis in Sofia before falling to Wozniacki.


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.

Seoul, Korea
September 16-22, 2013

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


Pavlyuchenkova Earns First Clay Court Title at Portugal Open


Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova photo courtesy of Taste of Tennis

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova photo courtesy of Taste of Tennis

(May 4, 2013) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova won her first clay court event of her career by defeating Carla Suarez Navarro for the Portugal Open title. It’s the Russian’s fifth title on the WTA tour and second on tour this year as she won in Monterrey.


“I definitely had a slow start,” Pavlyuchenkova said.  “I was a little bit disappointed about that, it was the third match this week I started like that. Also, Carla was playing really well – it wasn’t easy to play my game because she was holding me back on the baseline, putting a lot of spin on the ball and moving me around. But I just tried to start playing point by point, fighting every point. It wasn’t easy, but I just tried to dig deep and fight and that really helped me in the end.”


“Today I had chances to win the first set but Nastia was playing so well at those moments, and then she played really, really well in the second set,” Suarez Navarro said. “She just kept getting better as the match went on and deserved to win today. But it was a really good week for me – I’m very happy I was able to make another final here.”


Both women will remain at No. 19 and No. 23, respectively when the rankings come out on Monday.

Oeiras, Portugal
April 29-May 5, 2013
Red Clay/Outdoors

Results – Saturday, May 4, 2013
Women’s Singles – Final
(3) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) d. (4) Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP) 75 62

Women’s Doubles – Final
(2) Chan/Mladenovic (TPE/FRA) d. (4) Jurak/Marosi (CRO/HUN) 76(3) 62

Men’s Singles – Semifinals
[1] [WC] D Ferrer (ESP) d [3] A Seppi (ITA) 61 64
[2] S Wawrinka (SUI) d [Q] P Carreno-Busta (ESP) 63 36 61

Men’s Doubles – Semifinals
[1] A Qureshi (PAK) / J Rojer (NED) d [4] D Bracciali (ITA) / F Fognini (ITA) 64 46 10-6


CENTRE COURT start 12:30 pm
[1] A Qureshi (PAK) / J Rojer (NED) vs [3] S Gonzalez (MEX) / S Lipsky (USA)

Not Before 3:30 PM
[1] [WC] D Ferrer (ESP) vs [2] S Wawrinka (SUI)


Tennis Players and Chefs Serve Up a Feast for Charity at Taste of Tennis


Taste of Tennis1

By Jaclyn Stacey

(January 10, 2013) MELBOURNE, Australia – A service game of a different kind was on the menu for the tennis stars who attended the 4th Annual Melbourne Swisse Taste of Tennis event held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel on Thursday night.


Players joined with chefs from Melbourne’s top restaurants to serve up gourmet treats to A-list guests in the name of charity.


Many top 20 ATP and WTA players featured among the guests at the event which raised money for Diabetes Australia and the National Institute of Integrative Medicine. Top ten players Janko Tipsarevic and Richard Gasquet graced the red carpet, along with other notable players including Marion Bartoli, Marin Cilic, Kevin Anderson, Lucie Safarova, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Ivo Karlovic.


Former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt paired with celebrity chef George Colombaris to kick off the evening with a special presentation on stage before chefs and players combined to act as food servers, handing out small gourmet delights throughout the night.


Celebrities and chefs began arriving at the venue from 6.30pm sporting a wide variety of outfits based on the ‘elegantly casual’ dress theme. Many of the men came smartly dressed in jeans, while Marion Bartoli and the Rodionova sisters glammed up the red carpet in sky high heels and sleek dresses.


British Fed Cup captain Judy Murray is known to tweet her love of desserts to her 49,000 plus twitter following, and expressed her delight at the event’s offerings. She said “we’ve had a great time because to be able to go around and try small amounts of lots of different things is great. I think the trick is to pace yourself so that you have enough room left for desserts.”


Murray also spoke of her hope for the British girls at the Australian Open starting on Monday and said she is hopeful for a good run from Heather Watson and Laura Robson who have both recently broken into the top 50 singles rankings for the first time.


Swedish doubles specialist Robert Lindstedt enjoyed the social aspect of the evening and said it’s a welcome break from the day to day. “It’s great. It’s nice for the people to turn out where most of the guests are not players so it’s quite nice.” He said that on tour “we enjoy good food. We always try to find maybe not always the nicest restaurants because they’re a bit expensive but we always try to eat well so food like this is what we look for.”


Serbia’s Nenad Zimonjic said he loves eating out at restaurants. “It’s something that I enjoy doing and also traveling around the world I have the chance to try different cuisines. But when I’m at home I like a home cooked meal and I’m really lucky that my wife cooks really well so I enjoy that as well.”


Silent auctions were held throughout the night to raise money for the elected charities. Items up for auction included signed memorabilia of international sporting stars such as Tiger Woods, Sebastian Vettel and Cristiano Ronaldo, as well as experiences including dining packages and the opportunity to have a personal chef serve you at your home.


The Norman Brookes Challenge Cup and the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup were also a popular attraction on the night, with guests lining up for the chance to hold and have a photo taken with the Australian Open championship trophies.

Jaclyn Stacey is a Melbourne based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open tournament as media for Tennis Panorama News.  Follow her Australian Open updates on @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her persona @JackattackAU.
All photos by Melinda Samson who runs the site Grand Slam Gal. Follow her on twitter @Grandslamgal.

Serena Williams Wins Brisbane, Murray, Dimitrov Into Final

Serena Williams smiling in post match news conference

(January 5, 2013) Serena Williams captured her 47th  career title by dominating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2, 6-1 in less than an hour in the final of Brisbane International. Williams has won 35 of her last 36 tour matches with triumphs at Wimbledon, the Olympics, the U.S. Open, the WTA Championships.


Pavlyuchenkova who  along with Williams, trains at the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy said to Williams during the trophy ceremony, “I always feel like I don’t know how to play tennis when I play against you.” Both women were on a recent training trip to Mauritius but did not practice together.


“When she’s on fire, well, I feel like there is not much I can do. I mean, she’s a great player and she deserves to win.”


Williams says she’s on top of her game, “I was looking at a lot of old matches on YouTube, and I feel like right now I’m playing some of my best tennis….I feel like I want to do better and play better still.”


“Everything just came together with the right timing with me wanting to do better, with me wanting to work hard, (Mauratoglou) being there and having everything to work hard, and having the same mind frame of playing matches for the way I like to play,” Williams said. “So I think life is about timing, and it was just good timing.”

“Today was really good. I kind of zoned, where I’m in a really calm place and not panicking, I’m not overthinking it and not just blasting every ball. I get really calm and kind of serene. It was a really good week in Brisbane, for sure. I definitely worked hard for this week, and I’m going to do a little more work so I can be ready in eight days,” Williams added.

Williams, currently at No. 3, can move into the top spot in the rankings by winning the Australian Open. This would make her at the 31, the oldest woman to have the No. 1 ranking since Christ Evert was a month shy of her 31st birthday in 1985.

Andy Murray moved into the final when his opponent Kei Nishikori was forced to retire with a left knee injury while trailing 6-4, 2-0. No. 3 Murray enters his second straight final in the Brisbane and will face Grigor Dimitrov in the final. Dimitov stopped Marcos Baghdatis 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (5).



Brisbane, Australia
December 30, 2012-January 5, 2013


Results – Saturday, January 5, 2013
WTA Singles – Final
(3) Serena Williams (USA) d. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 62 61

WTA Doubles – Final
Mattek-Sands/Mirza (USA/IND) d. (4) Groenefeld/Peschke (GER/CZE) 46 64 107 (Match TB)


ATP Singles – Semifinals
[1] A Murray (GBR) d [5] K Nishikori (JPN) 64 20 ret. (left knee)
G Dimitrov (BUL) d M Baghdatis (CYP) 63 57 76(5)

ATP Doubles – Semi-finals
M Melo (BRA) / T Robredo (ESP) d G Dimitrov (BUL) / K Nishikori (JPN) W/O (Nishikori – left knee)

PAT RAFTER ARENA start 1:00 pm
[1] E Butorac (USA) / P Hanley (AUS) vs M Melo (BRA) / T Robredo (ESP)

Not Before 2:00 PM
[1] A Murray (GBR) vs G Dimitrov (BUL)


Azarenka Withdraws, Murray Moves Into Brisbane Semis

Victoria Azarenka sits China Open

(January 4, 2013) No. 1 Victoria Azarenka withdrew from her Brisbane International semifinal match-up with Serena Williams with an infected right big toe on Friday.  The defending Australian Open champion pulled out about 30 minutes before the match began.

“I tried everything. We tried medication with taping, and I was playing through the pain for quite a while,” said Azarenka. “It’s just something that I had to do to make sure that I can be fully recovered and ready for Australian Open. It’s that sort kind of compromise I had to take.

“It’s just very unfortunate timing, because I was really looking forward to playing and excited.”

Williams can totally relate since she recent had surgery on her toe. “I had that toe problem just a couple weeks ago and it’s painful … it’s so painful,” noted the 15-time major champion. “Doesn’t sound painful, but it is. You can’t walk with that. I hope she gets better fast.”

Williams will face Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the final.

Top seed Andy Murray advanced to the semifinals with a 6-4, 7-6 (3) win over Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin.

Murray dusted off some of the rust from his three-set opening match and adjusted well to Istomin’s game.

“For the most part it was pretty good quality,” said Murray of his quarterfinal contest. “He served well for the majority of the first set, and especially well at the beginning the second. So I didn’t really have that many chances on returns, so I needed to serve well today. That helped.”

He’ll play fifth-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan who took out former Brisbane finalist Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-4, 7-6 (3).

The other semifinal will showcase  2006 Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis, who beat third seed Gilles Simon of France 6-3, 6-4 versus Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, who topped Jurgen Melzer of Austria 6-3, 6-2.

Results – Friday, January 4, 2013
WTA Singles – Semifinals
(3) Serena Williams (USA) d. (1) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) w/o (right toe injury)
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) d. (LL) Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) 46 61 62

WTA Doubles – Semifinals
(4) Groenefeld/Peschke (GER/CZE) d. (1) Errani/Vinci (ITA/ITA) 64 61

ATP Singles – Quarter-finals
[1] A Murray (GBR) d D Istomin (UZB) 64 76(3)
M Baghdatis (CYP) d [3] G Simon (FRA) 63 64
[5] K Nishikori (JPN) d [4] A Dolgopolov (UKR) 64 76(3)
G Dimitrov (BUL) d [7] J Melzer (AUT) 63 62

ATP Doubles – Semi-finals
[1] E Butorac (USA) / P Hanley (AUS) d M Baghdatis (CYP) / J Nieminen (FIN) 62 63


PAT RAFTER ARENA start 12:00 noon
M Baghdatis (CYP) vs G Dimitrov (BUL) – ATP
[1] A Murray (GBR) vs [5] K Nishikori (JPN) – ATP

after suitable rest
G Dimitrov (BUL) / K Nishikori (JPN) vs M Melo (BRA) / T Robredo (ESP) – ATP

Not Before 7:00 PM
[3] S Williams (USA) vs A Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) – WTA
[4] A Groenefeld (GER) / K Peschke (CZE) vs B Mattek-Sands (USA) / S Mirza (IND) – WTA


Serena, Djokovic, Wozniacki, Federer Advance, Schiavone, Fish Upset on Day 8 of the U.S. Open

Serena Williams of the U.S. returns to Ana Ivanovic of Serbia during their match at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, September 5, 2011. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT TENNIS)


FLUSHING MEADOWS, New York – Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer move on through, Francesca Schiavone and Mardy Fish ousted on day 8 of the US Open.


Serena sails through wind and Ivanovic

Not even the wind could stop Serena Williams from dominating Ana Ivanovic 6-3, 6-4 to advance to the quarterfinals of the US Open.

“I thought she played really well, said Williams.  “I think we could have both played a little bit better ’cause of the conditions.  But I think we were just both trying to do our best.”

Today was kind of wind(y), said Ivanovic.  “I mean, it was really gusty out there, and in the wind it’s always gonna be even tougher. In those kind of conditions, serve is the shot that it’s gonna go away from both players because of the conditions.  You know, it did a bit.  My serve broke down little more than hers did.  I still created lots of opportunities and I felt I was stepping up a lot, and I just felt that was the biggest difference today.”

“My goal is always just to win the tournaments and the ranking will come, said Williams, ’cause for me it’s about titles and stuff like that.  You know, the ranking will be there.  I’ll get there.  You can’t take the ranking with you when you retire, but you can definitely take the titles and the trophies.

“I’m still here in the tournament, so that’s pretty good.  You know, I just came in here, you know, just trying to do my best.  I definitely don’t want to peak too soon.

“I think my movement has been pretty good, but other than that, I can improve a lot of the different things.”

“As I said even before the match,“ noted Ivanovic, I think she’s the favorite for the tournament.  She’s been playing really well, and it’s gonna be tough, you know.  But also, you know, the conditions are different and every match is different, so you have to raise your level.  She’s doing that, so, yeah, I think she has good chance.”

No. 1 seed Caroline Wozniacki rallied from 6-7, 1-4 to stop Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-7, 7-5, 6-1 moving on to the quarterfinals.

Djokovic stops Dologpolov after a “crazy” tiebreaker

Number one Novak Djokovic survived an epic 16-14 first set tiebreaker to win in straight sets 7-6 (14), 6-4, 6-2 over Alexandr Dolgopolov.

“It was an interesting first set, said Djokovic.  “I think it was exciting for the crowd to watch because it was very close.  But I think it was game wise an ugly first set because I wasn’t happy with the way I played.  You know, he was changing pace a lot.  He was always sending me a different ball.  It was really hard for me to adjust to it because of the conditions that we played in.  So that’s why it was crucial for me to win the first set.  You know, after I felt a bit more relaxed and I served well when I needed to, you know, played okay, played enough to win. ”

“I think he wear me out in the first points and I was a bit tired,” said Dolgopolov.  “When I was serving for it on 4-1, I got an unlucky call.  I mean, I was leading in points and attacking.  One unlucky call, and then it turned around and it was a tough tiebreak for me.  You know, I was trying to play steady because I saw he wasn’t comfortable with the rhythm.  You know, I wear myself out, as well, for the match.  I mean, it was a really tough tiebreak.”

“But in the end it was more mental just to hang in there, commented Djokovic. “Try to play right shots at the right time.  This is one of the longest tiebreaks I ever played.  It was certainly exciting to be part of it.  But, you know, I knew that I need to win that set.  Yeah, I had a lot of opportunities.  I missed a lot of easy balls.  I think I wasn’t moving well at the start.  But, you know, on the brighter side, I lift up my level better in next two sets.”

“There is this expectations from the top players to get far in any event, especially Grand Slams noted Djokovic. “And I’ve been carrying this burden, let’s say, for a while because I was top three in the last four years and I know how it feels to get on the center court in any Grand Slam.  I know how it is to play the top guys in the big tournaments.  I’ve got this, you know, necessary experience in order to know how to start a match and play well.  But, you know, with this experience and with the success that you have over the years, you obviously have a certain psychological advantage over your opponents in the opening rounds especially.  You know, after, it gets tougher because you’re playing top guys, and that’s where just a couple points decide the winner.”

Djokovic will face Serbian countryman Janko Tipsarevic in the quarterfinals.

Tipsarevic defeated Spain’s Juan Carlos Ferrero 7-5, 6-7 (3), 7-5, 6-2 in 3 hours and  43 minutes.

Roger Federer glided past Juan Monaco 6-1, 6-2, 6-0 in the evening session to earn a berth in the quarterfinals against Jo-Wilfred Tsonga. Tsonga upset Mardy Fish 6-4, 6-7 (5), 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.


Pavlyuchenkova ousts Schiavone

No. 17 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova  advanced to her second Grand Slam quarterfinal on Monday in  a 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 win over seven seed Francesca Schiavone.

“I tried to be excessive aggressive” said Pavlyuchenkova. ” I tried not to let her play her game, because she’s very smart and she makes me run a lot.  She puts a lot of spin, so, you know, as soon as I slowed down my rhythm, my power, she’s just there and she controlled the point.

“Definitely I was a bit nervous at the start.  After I got a little bit angry because I had some chances, and I was just — like I felt like I wasn’t playing good enough, you know.  After I got angry, especially with my serve; it wasn’t going well.  Then I thought, Okay, the match in three sets.  If I lose the first set nothing gonna happen.  I’m gonna continue fighting. Then and it was a bit kinda easier mental of me, because, you know, I was set and 4-1 up in the French and I lost.  She’s always coming back, so I thought maybe I try to do the same thing here.”

At 20 she is the youngest woman left in the US Open draw and  will face Serena Williams in the quarterfinals. “I don’t know what to say much about her, said the Russian.  She’s just awesome and a great athlete and she’s showing so good tennis so far.  So I don’t know what to say really.  I’m just gonna go out there and –  I’m gonna say that I don’t want to go out there and enjoy just being on the center court playing against Serena.  I would like to do well, try to fight, and with my effort I try to beat her, you know. But of course I respect her a lot, as well.  She’s just great.”

Seeds Advancing

(1) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. (15) Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 67(6) 75 61
(17) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) d. (7) Francesca Schiavone (ITA) 57 63 64
(10) Andrea Petkovic (GER) d. Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP) 61 64
(28) Serena Williams (USA) d. (16) Ana Ivanovic (SRB) 63 64

[1] N Djokovic (SRB) d [22] A Dolgopolov (UKR) 76(14) 64 62
[3] R Federer (SUI) d J Monaco (ARG) 61 62 60
[11] J Tsonga (FRA) d [8] M Fish (USA) 64 67(5) 36 64 62
[20] J Tipsarevic (SRB) d J Ferrero (ESP) 75 67(3) 75 62
Seeds Upset

(17) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) d. (7) Francesca Schiavone (ITA) 57 63 64
[11] J Tsonga (FRA) d [8] M Fish (USA) 64 67(5) 36 64 62


Bartoli, Jankovic, Kuznetsova Fall in Upset Filled Monday in Toronto

By Brodie McPhee

TORONTO, Canada – Main draw action got under way on Monday at the Rogers Cup. It was a day filled with surprises and upsets as seeds Marion Bartoli, Jelena Jankovic, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Svetlana Kuznetsova all fell in the opening matches of their respective campaigns.

Perhaps the most surprising result was Galina Voskoboeva defeating Marion Bartoli 6-3, 6-3. “I think I just played pretty successful this year, and I’m pretty confident right now”, said the Kazakh. It was a different story from the French woman, however, who has had an incredibly successful year, including runs to the French Open semis and Wimbledon quarters. “It was really just one of those days where nothing [was] working.” “When you commit so many mistakes like I did today, it’s really hard to win a match, to be honest. It was really like my game was not at the level I’m supposed to play regarding my ranking.”


Seeded Russian Pavlyuchenkova also fell in the first round, this time on the grandstand to Spaniard Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 3-6, 6-4, 6-1. Despite taking the first set with her signature powerful ground strokes combined with some excellent passing shots, Martinez Sanchez’s variety and impressive net game managed to overwhelm and frustrate the 14th seed.

Julia Goerges of Germany celebrates a point against Jelena Jankovic of Serbia during their match at the Rogers Cup women’s tennis tournament in Toronto, August 8, 2011. REUTERS/Mark Blinch (CANADA – Tags: SPORT TENNIS)


In the night session, number 15 seed Jelena Jankovic was also stunned by rising German star Julia Goerges in the first match of the evening session. Goerges’ powerful serve and forehand, along with her excellent movement and defense proved too much for the Serbian. “If you play a player like Jelena, you have to play your best to beat those players. That’s what I knew before. I went for my shots and I went for my game, and, yeah, it went pretty well today.” Jankovic admitted to being “rusty” and not match fit. She remained positive, however, citing her past 3 weeks of training, and that practice is never the same as real matches.

The last match of the night featured home town favorite Rebecca Marino up against Ekaterina Makarova of Russia. It was a difficult night for the Canadian, who fought back from being down 0-5 in the first set tiebreak to even it up at 6-6, only to drop the next two points and the set, 7-6(6).

The second set followed a similar pattern. Marino looked excellent on serve, relying on her powerful first serve and driving forehand to stay on the aggressive side of the ball. The return proved much more difficult. Makarova used her lefty serve to her advantage, often kicking it out wide on the ad side of the court, and mixing up her speeds effectively. This kept Marino guessing and often left her behind from the first stroke. “Her serve was actually quite difficult. That second serve, I know it may have looked easy, but it’s difficult, because there was kind of no pace on it. So it’s hard to actually create your own. She used the angles very well generally and moved me around a lot. Very smart player, I guess, is the difference.” Unable to earn any break points in the match, Marino was broken herself at 4-5 in the second set after saving three match points, losing to Makarova 7-6(6), 6-4.

Tenth seeded seeded Samantha Stosur was the only seed to advance Monday. Greta Arn, Lucie Safarova, Simona Halep and Jie Zheng all won.

Brodie McPhee is the author of the tennis web site Mind the Racket. He’s in Toronto this week covering the Rogers Cup WTA edition for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his updates on twitter at @GVTennisNews and his personal twitter @MindTheRacket.