2014/10/20

Cilic and Pavlyuchenkova Net Moscow Titles

Marin Cilic

Marin Cilic

(October 19, 2014) U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic won the Kremlin Cup on Sunday in Moscow defeating Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4, 6-4 for his 13th ATP World Tour title of his career and his fourth tournament win of the season.

“After winning such a big tournament as a Grand Slam you have a lot of emotions and it’s important to bounce back and keep going,” said the big-serving Croat. “I feel this is going to be a really good push for my career. All the titles are special but this one will definitely have an important spot. It is important for my progress.

“After winning big titles, players are very motivated to play better and they are playing more [risky]. I felt also that this week I had a lot of tough matches and I was able to stay in the battle and bring out my best tennis.”

On Friday Cilic qualified for the ATP World Tour Finals in London.

Cilci is the first Croatian to win Moscow since his coach Goran Ivanisevic won in 1996.

 

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova photo courtesy of Taste of Tennis

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova photo courtesy of Taste of Tennis

On the ladies side, Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova beat Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu 6-4, 5-7, 6-1 to win the women’s title.

“It’s just the best possible way to end the season,” the home town heroine Pavlyuchenkova said. “It was a really tough match. I just couldn’t have lost at home.”

She is the first Russian woman to win the Kremlin Cup since Elena Dementieva did it in 2007.

For Pavlyuchenkova it’s her seventh title of her career and the second of 2014, having also won at the Paris Indoors.

“After the second set I knew I had to be more energetic and intense out there,” said the Russian. “I knew I had to play my aggressive game and just do something, otherwise she’d be too good. She was playing so well the whole week. The surface really fit her game. I just needed to stop thinking about the score and go for it. I’m happy I could regroup in the third set and win this title at home. I’m extremely happy.”
“It was a great week,” said Begu. “I beat some really good players and this gives me a lot of confidence. She took her chances to step in and dictating the points, so it wasn’t my day. At the same time, I enjoyed the final and did the best that I could.”

 

Pavlyuchenkova and Begu are projected to rise in the ranking to No.25 and No.42 respectively when rankings are released on Monday.
Russian Tennis Federation president Shamil Tarpischev was absent from the trophy presentation. He was banned for a year by the WTA on Friday over comments about the Williams sisters. He attended the men’s trophy presentation.

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WTA Event Enters Its Fourth Year at Citi Open

Alison Riske at  Kid's clinic at Citi Open. Photo by Christopher Levy @tennis_shots

Alison Riske at Kid’s clinic at Citi Open. Photo by Christopher Levy @tennis_shots

By Dave Gertler

 

(July 28, 2014) Now in its fourth year, the WTA Citi Open event in Washington is hosting one of its most impressive fields to date, even with the withdrawal of tournament favorite Eugenie Bouchard. Now seeded at No.1, Lucie Safarova leads an exciting field of 32 women including some top European hard-courters as well as American up-and-comers.

 

For the last two years running, it has been Slovakian Magdalena Rybarikova who has capitalized on a line-up that has been improving from scratch since Washington began hosting the WTA International event in 2011. The world No. 37 is undefeated across ten straight matches at the tournament, and has defeated the top seed both years – Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in 2012, and Angelique Kerber in 2013. Russian Pavlyuchenkova was ranked 28 at the time, while this year all eight top seeds are within the WTA’s top 29. Rybarikova did not play the Citi Open’s inaugural tournament in 2011, when world No.24 at the time, Shahar Peer, reached the final as No.1 seed, losing to second-seeded Nadia Petrova.

 

While Rybarikova is back in 2014 to attempt to prolong her dynasty at the Citi Open, Bouchard, Peer, Petrova, Kerber and her opponent in the 2013 final, Germany’s Andrea Petkovic, are prominent names missing from this year’s player field. The impact of their absences on the tournament, however, will be heavily reduced by the fact of the players that ARE attending.

 

Sloane Stephens leads the camp of exciting ‘new-wave’ of WTA players that will be in attendance this year. The world No. 22 – known for being much more solid at majors than she is across the WTA Premier and International calendar year – first entered the Citi Open in 2011, when she was 18 years old and ranked outside the top 120, losing in the first round. The following year, ranked just inside the top 50, she would reach the Washington semi-finals, losing to the eventual champ Rybarikova. In 2013, as a top 20 player, she would lose in the first round once again. It would seem apparent, therefore, that she’s due for another enduring showing at the Citi Open this year.

 

Although Bouchard has withdrawn from the 2014 tournament as the top seed, citing a knee injury, her results have been mixed since the Citi Open initiated their relationship with the Canadian in 2011 when they offered her a wildcard into her first main draw of a WTA event. In 2012 she lost a quarterfinal to Stephens, while last year – ranked No.62 in the world – she lost in the first round. Having reached at least the semi-finals of all three grand slams since then, Bouchard’s ranking has shot up to No.7 at the start of the Emirates Airlines US Open Series.

 

While the tournament has secured the first-time attendance of its high-profile Czech top seed Lucie Safarova, this only serves to augment the returned appearance of Romanian Sorana Cirstea, France’s Alize Cornet and American Madison Keys.

 

Cornet last year reached semi-finals on her first appearance at Citi Open. While the third seed will be vying for her fifth career WTA title, many Washingtonian tennis enthusiasts will have their eye on rising American talent, Madison Keys, who will be taking her career-high No.27 ranking into the Citi Open draw for her second appearance there. Despite retiring injured from her most recent match, a third-rounder at Wimbledon, Keys has been one of the big movers since clay season ended, going 8-2 on grass, and taking her first WTA title at Eastbourne along the way. Keys’ big serving game is a force to be reckoned with on hard courts, and has already ushered her to two WTA Tour semi-final appearances over the past year.

 

While unseeded Magdalena Rybarikova has managed to upset the field for the past two years straight, this year she faces a much tougher task if she’s to three-peat, considering the elevated level of play that will be coming off the racquets of top seeds with whom the Citi Open has been developing strong relationships over the past few years.

 

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

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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.

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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.

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Agnieszka Radwanska Beats Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova for Korea Open Title

Aga Radwanska slides to a ball

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.
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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.

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After a Good Week Ivanovic Betrayed by Ankle Injury, Saturday Round-Up From Cincinnati

By Megan Fernandez

Ana Ivanovic’s summer turned cruel Saturday afternoon at the Western & Southern Financial Group Women’s Open in Cincinnati. With her ranking south of 60, her request for a Montreal wild card denied (and later offered, and declined), and pundits convinced she should play challengers to gain confidence, Ivanovic arrived in Cincinnati this week in desperate need of something good to happen. And it did. In the first round, she came back from a set and a break down to beat world number 11 Victoria Azarenka, who was leading the Olympus US Open Series at the time. Ivanovic won three more matches to reach her first semifinal of the year. If she wasn’t all the way back, she was at least on a roll.

And then, at 1-2 against Kim Clijsters, a routine sidestep to the forehand side. An audible “crack.” A medical timeout. And too much pain to continue the match. An MRI later showed that Ivanovic suffered strained ankle ligaments, and the recovery time has yet to be determined. Just like that, she was back to leaving the court in tears.

Thanks to the Montreal flap, the 23-year-old Serbian is off next week and is scheduled to play the Pilot Pen Championships in New Haven, Connecticut.

Clijsters, who went jogging after the abbreviated semi, was also on a roll when the match ended abruptly. “I was really into it,” she said. “The contact I had with the ball was a lot better than my previous matches. A little disappointed not to have that rhythm, whether I would have won or lost.”

Rain interrupted the doubles match between top seeds Liezel Huber and Nadia Petrova and fifth seeds Lisa Raymond and Rennae Stubbs. When play resumed with Raymond-Stubbs leading by a set and two breaks, they took advantage of their opponents’ miscommunication and subpar volleying to close out the match 6-4, 6-2.




Maria Sharapova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova squared off in the all-Russian second semifinal, getting just a bit of a late start shortly after 7 p.m. Pavlyuchenkova, the winner at Istanbul two weeks ago, stayed with Sharapova until she was serving at 4-4 in the first set. A pair of double faults gave Sharapova the break, and she served out the set.

Pavlyuchenkova took a medical timeout for a sore right shoulder between sets. In the second set, the lights on Center Court malfunctioned, and the players took a 20-minute break. Afterward, Sharapova dialed back the aggression and Pavlyuchenkova began stepping into her shots. She broke Sharapova’s serve twice to even the match at one set all.

At 2-3 in the third set, the match started to slip away from Pavlyuchenkova. Sharapova’s shots pierced the baseline, and several times the younger Russian started to stop play and challenge, but thought better of it. But those tiny hesitations left Sharapova in charge of the rallies, and she earned double break point. Pavlyuchenkova held on, fought off a third break point, and finally reached game point. Again, she threw in a pair of double faults. Sharapova went on to break, and didn’t lose another game. The final score was 6-4, 3-6, 6-2—and Sharapova remains undefeated in Cincinnati for her career

Sunday’s draw card of Clijsters and Sharapova playing for the singles title (following the doubles final with Azarenka and Maria Kirilenko taking on Raymond and Stubbs) may finally draw a full house to the Lindner Family Tennis Center, where attendance has been surprisingly low for even the biggest matches this week. The ATP’s main draw begins Sunday evening, which will put a few more bodies in the stands. At least the tournament organizers won’t have to focus-group their way to a solution for next year: In 2011, the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters and Women’s Open will become a combined event over eight days.

Andy Roddick arrived in Cincy and cleared up the mystery of h... on Twitpic
Quote of the Day:

“I got some blood work done in Washington, and then again in Texas. I guess I’ve been dealing with a mild, mild case of mono for the last couple months that I wasn’t really sure about. I opted out of four or five workouts this summer; I’ve never done that before. It was just me wondering if I was out of shape or why there was this lethargic feeling. The good news is [I’m] ready to rock.” Andy Roddick at a press conference before Sunday’s start of the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters 1000 tournament.

Megan Fernandez is covering  both the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters and Women’s Open for Global Village Tennis News. She’ll also be posting updates, commentary and photos on our twitter account – @GVTennisNews .

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