Andrea Petkovic Wins Family Circle Cup


(April 6, 2014) In a week full of surprises in Charleston, 14th seed Andrea Petkovic won the Family Circle Cup for her first WTA Premier level tournament title with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Jana Cepelova of Slovakia on Sunday. This is her third WTA tournament crown, first in three years since she won the Strasbourg title in 2011.

Petkkovic knocked out three top ten seeds on the road to the title – No. 4 Sabine Lisicki, No. 9 Lucie Safarova and No. 6 Eugenie Bouchard.

The German who was once No. 9 in the world before being beset by injuries, is currently at No. 40 in the world will move into the top thirty with the victory.

No. 78 Cepelova beat No. 1 Serena Williams in the second round of the tournament. She’ll see her ranking rise into the top 50 for the first time.

At the end of the match Petkovic dropped on the ground in celebrations before she came to the net and hugged her opponent.

“I don’t know why but I just sort of broke down,” Petkovic said. “I was happy. Normally I don’t cry when I’m sad – I cry when I’m happy, strangely, so it’s weird, but I don’t know. I was just so relieved and proud that I’ve come back from all these injuries, and I never thought I would play in the finals of the big tournaments again, and so I was just proud and happy and everything just sort of came together.”

Petkovic takes home $120,000 for the win.


Defending China Open Champ Victoria Azarenka Done in by Double Faults and Andrea Petkovic


(September 30, 2013) BEIJING – Double faults and erratic play were the undoing of defending China Open champion and No. 2 Victoria Azarenka on Monday. She lost to Andrea Petkovic 6-4 2-6 6-4 in first round play in Beijing.

To go along with 15 double faults, Azarenka hit 44 unforced errors and appeared to still be suffering from the effects of an illness she had during last week’s Tokyo event where she lost in the second round.

“I don’t take the last week even as a tournament,” she continued.

“If I’m going to be doing it again, I probably should have taken a longer break and just prepare myself.  I don’t feel like I was ready to play ‑‑ there is no excuse ‑‑ to be 100%, but the preparation wasn’t there enough, so I cannot deny that.

“It’s just my mistakes for not paying much attention after the US Open how I managed my time and how I managed my health.  I mean, today’s match is today’s match.  I felt good.  I didn’t have any issues, but overall, that comes maybe.  There is no excuses.”

“It was an awful match and very bad performance from me, so not much to say,” Azarenka said.

“It happens once, twice a year to every player, and happened to me today.”

Andrea Petkovic

Andrea Petkovic

Petkovic appeared ill in the second set when she had to take a medical time out. She lost seven games on the trot and the Belarusian evened up the match at a set all.

In the third set both women traded breaks but it was Azarenka’s 15th double fault coming on break point as she was serving in the ninth game which cost her the game. The German served out the match after that.

“I’m going to come back, reevaluate, practice more,” Azarenka said in response to the loss.  “I just needed more preparation, and that’s what I’m going to get now before the last tournament.”



Beijing, China
September 28-October 6, 2013

Results – Monday, September 30, 2013
WTA Singles – Second Round
(5) Sara Errani (ITA) d. (Q) Misaki Doi (JPN) 63 62
Lucie Safarova (CZE) d. Kaia Kanepi (EST) 63 63

WTA Singles – First Round
Andrea Petkovic (GER) d. (2) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) 64 26 64
(8) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) d. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 16 64 60
(14) Ana Ivanovic (SRB) d. Flavia Pennetta (ITA) 76(9) 61
Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) d. Hsieh Su-Wei (TPE) 61 61
Bojana Jovanovski (SRB) d. Sorana Cirstea (ROU) 63 62
(Q) Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) d. Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) 64 61
(Q) Polona Hercog (SLO) d. Monica Puig (PUR) 61 64
(Q) Galina Voskoboeva (KAZ) d. (Q) Sharon Fichman (CAN) 64 63
(WC) Zhang Shuai (CHN) d. Peng Shuai (CHN) 63 63

WTA Doubles – First Round
Lisicki/Medina Garrigues (GER/ESP) d. (5) Groenefeld/Peschke (GER/CZE) 64 16 103 (Match TB)
(8) Black/Mirza (ZIM/IND) d. Date-Krumm/Scheepers (JPN/RSA) 63 63
Chan/Huber (TPE/USA) d. (WC) Williams/Williams (USA/USA) 67(3) 64 119 (Match TB)
Soler-Espinosa/Suárez Navarro (ESP/ESP) d. (WC) Sun/Zhang (CHN/CHN) 76(4) 60
Chan/Zheng (TPE/CHN) d. (WC) Shvedova/Zhang (KAZ/CHN) 63 36 105 (Match TB)
Hantuchova/Raymond (SVK/USA) d. Kudryavtseva/Rodionova (RUS/AUS) 75 63
Dushevina/Parra Santonja (RUS/ESP) d. Husarova/Kalashnikova (SVK/GEO) 62 63

ATP Singles – First Round
[WC] L Hewitt (AUS) d [7] T Haas (GER) 76(6) 63
B Tomic (AUS) d [WC] Z Zhang (CHN) 76(4) 64
[Q] R Bautista Agut (ESP) d G Dimitrov (BUL) 64 62
F Fognini (ITA) d T Robredo (ESP) 75 46 63
P Kohlschreiber (GER) d A Montanes (ESP) 75 16 76(4)

ATP Doubles – First Round
[3] A Qureshi (PAK) / J Rojer (NED) d [WC] Y Lu (TPE) / D Wu (CHN) 64 63


Ivanovic and Petkovic Duel in Stuttgart

Ana Ivanovic


By Tumaini Carayol


(April 23, 2013) STUTGART – Despite what the order of play suggested, Monday evening marked the true beginning of the Porsche Grand Prix. As Andrea Petkovic and Ana Ivanovic marched the court, it was the first time the spectators filled the stadium to the absolute brim. The first time the sharp intake of one person’s breath was simultaneously mirrored by the rest of the grand stadium. And the first time that even the quietest mutter was met with a flurry of angry shushing noises.


It was understandably a highly-anticipated affair. On one side stood Andrea Petkovic who, despite her current ranking, has charmed the German crowds beyond repute since she rose to prominence during 2010 and 2011. Accompanying her was her Serbian friend who herself had enamored the entire tennis world and beyond five nostalgic springs ago.


Still, the result was never in doubt. In spite of a two-game interlude which saw Petkovic immediately seize a break to lead 2-1, suffocating the Ivanovic backhand with uncompromising depth before knelling the finishing blow off both sides, any positive play from Petkovic was merely a footnote in a match that was closer epitomized by the four errors in succession committed by the German from the very first point.


A smiling but disappointed Petkovic was quick to agree.

“I got a little overexcited and I was too aggressive,” she said. “I was going for the lines and I was missing everything a little. I didn’t really build up the points and Ana was consistent.”


Ivanovic once again dealt with her opponent superbly. In addition to serving at 73% and shutting the door on every possible entry back into the match for Petkovic, she was acutely aware of Petkovic’s struggles on high forehand and adjusted by ensuring that, whenever on the defensive, she simply looped the ball up to the German’s forehand and awaited the almost inevitable error.


The most noteworthy moment came at 6-3 4-1 to Ivanovic as Petkovic attempted to throw a spanner into the works with a successful net foray followed by an exquisite dropshot to force 15-30 on the Ivanovic serve. Two well-placed service winners and an ace later, Ivanovic had confidently held for 5-1, uncharacteristically dousing out the remaining fire in Petkovic with minimum hassle. That was to be Petkovic’s final stand. Five minutes afterwards, Ivanovic had closed her friend out and moved seamlessly into the second round.


For Petkovic, the loss brought immense frustration, but even in defeat she was still able to showcase her trademark sense of humor.


“I’m hopeful that everything will come together in the future and I’ll be as good as I was before. And if not, I’m going to shoot myself..I’m joking!”


Tumaini Carayol is in Stuttgart covering the Stuttgart tournament for Tennis Panorama News. He is a contributing writer at On The Baseline, and writes about professional tennis at his site Foot Fault.



Rains Prevail Over Play in Charleston on Thursday

Raining in Charelston
By Stephanie Neppl
(April 4, 2013) CHARLESTON, SC -

Rain was forecast, and it delivered as the entire day session was wiped out. Play didn’t begin until 6.30pm, when Jelena Jankovic took on young American Jessica Pegula.

Jankovic had battled long and hard to win her first two rounds, but tonight she came out strong and bagelled Pegula in the first set. The second set was a tighter contest, with the young American going up a break and led 3-1 before Jankovic fought back to take the set and the match 6-0, 6-4. Jankovic was much less vocal on court tonight and said she wanted to stay focused and get her match completed in case the weather packed up again.

“I really wanted to come out and stay really focused and try to play some good tennis so that I could be finished before the rain,” she said. “Because you never know; it could start raining again and we’re going to be here all night.”

Jankovic was the second player through to the quarterfinals, but No. 2 seed Caroline Wozniacki didn’t have to play a single point when her opponent Andrea Petkovic withdrew. The German wild card has just returned from a few month layoff with a knee injury, and she said she’s had a right calf injury the past few days.

Petkovic later tweeted, “I had to pull out from my match with Caroline because of my right calf. It’s been troubling me for the past days and it got worse this morning. Thank you for your understanding and I truly hope it’s just a matter of days before I get better.”

That withdrawal left Julia Goerges as the only German left in the draw. Her match was moved from one court to another and back again due to weather and court issues. Eventually Goerges and Stefanie Voegele played their match on Althea Gibson Court and the Swiss came from behind to win 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 to advance to the quarterfinals of a premier tournament for the first time. She’ll face Wozniacki on Friday in the night session.

Sam Stosur and Genie Bouchard were forced to endure a lengthy start to their match as well due to issues with Billie Jean King court. The players finally stepped on the court just after 9pm and the Australian, who won the title here in 2010, was clearly still hampered by her calf injury. She quickly lost the first set 6-1 and had the trainer come out afterward to try and reinforce the taping on her calf. She tried to keep on but down 0-2 Stosur retired, sending Bouchard into the quarterfinals to face Jankovic on Friday.

The Friday schedule of play is packed with matches as the tournament tries to catch up after all matches on the top half were cancelled. Play gets underway at 11am on Friday with Venus Williams against Vavara Lepchenko, followed by Serena Williams versus Mallory Burdette.

The Friday schedule of play is packed with matches as the tournament tries to catch up after all matches on the top half were cancelled. Play gets underway at 11am on Friday with Venus Williams against Vavara Lepchenko, followed by Serena Williams versus Mallory Burdette.

Stephanie Neppl is in Charleston covering the Family Circle Cup for Tennis Panorama News. She spends all her spare funds traveling to tennis tournaments and has played since her teen years. She has worked as Social Media Manager for Tennis Auckland’s ATP and WTA tournaments. Follow her live updates on Twitter at @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal Twitter @stephintheus and her blog  http://ihaveatennisaddiction.blogspot.com.

$ 795,707.00
MARCH 30 – APRIL 07, 2013

RESULTS – APRIL 04, 2013
Singles – Third Round

[2] [WC] C Wozniacki (DEN) d [WC] A Petkovic (GER) walkover
[Q] E Bouchard (CAN) d [3] S Stosur (AUS) 61 20 Retired
[9] J Jankovic (SRB) d [Q] J Pegula (USA) 60 64
S Voegele (SUI) d [10] J Goerges (GER) 36 61 63

Doubles – Quarterfinals

[1] A Hlavackova (CZE) / L Huber (USA) d H Chan (TPE) / O Govortsova (BLR) 63 63

BILLIE JEAN KING start 11:00 am
[12] V Lepchenko (USA) vs [5] V Williams (USA)

Not Before 1:00 PM
[1] S Williams (USA) vs [Q] M Burdette (USA)
[WC] B Mattek-Sands (USA) or M Keys (USA) vs [12] V Lepchenko (USA) or [5] V Williams (USA) – POSSIBLE COURT CHANGE
[1] S Williams (USA) or [Q] M Burdette (USA) vs [11] S Cirstea (ROU) or [6] L Safarova (CZE)

Not Before 7:00 PM
S Voegele (SUI) vs [2] [WC] C Wozniacki (DEN)
A Barty (AUS) / A Rodionova (AUS) vs [2] R Kops-Jones (USA) / A Spears (USA)

ALTHEA GIBSON start 11:00 am
[WC] B Mattek-Sands (USA) vs M Keys (USA) 00
[11] S Cirstea (ROU) vs [6] L Safarova (CZE)
[9] J Jankovic (SRB) vs [Q] E Bouchard (CAN) or [3] S Stosur (AUS) – POSSIBLE COURT CHANGE
[4] J Goerges (GER) / Y Shvedova (KAZ) vs M Moulton-Levy (USA) / S Zhang (CHN)
K Mladenovic (FRA) / L Safarova (CZE) vs [3] V King (USA) / L Raymond (USA) – AFTER REST IF NECESSARY


Petkovic Withdraws from Charleston


Andrea Petkovic

By Stephanie Neppl
(April 4, 2013) CHARLESTON – Persistent rain is delaying the start of Day 4 of the Family Circle Cup in Charleston, and there has already been a withdrawal.

Andrea Petkovic of Germany was forced to withdraw from the tournament due to a right calf injury. Petkovic injured her knee in late December during Hopman Cup play and just returned to the WTA Tour in March at Indian Wells.

The German won two rounds in Charleston and lost a first round doubles match with partner Jelena Jankovic, but Petkovic said she experienced calf pain during the past few days and decided to withdraw.

Petkovic stated, “I’m very happy that I came here – it is a very beautiful tournament and I loved every part of it here, so I hope to come back again under better conditions. I’m really sorry that I had to pull out but it was just too dangerous and I don’t want to risk anything.”

The withdrawal sends Caroline Wozniacki into the quarterfinals.

Stephanie Neppl is in Charleston covering the Family Circle Cup for Tennis Panorama News. She spends all her spare funds traveling to tennis tournaments and has played since her teen years. She has worked as Social Media Manager for Tennis Auckland’s ATP and WTA tournaments. Follow her live updates on Twitter at @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal Twitter @stephintheus and her blog  http://ihaveatennisaddiction.blogspot.com.


Checking in with the Germans at Family Circle Cup


By Stephanie Neppl

(April 3, 2013) CHARLESTON, SC – A talented German contingency is in Charleston for the 2013 Family Circle Cup, but it has been a mixed week for its top stars.


A year ago, four Germans were in the top 20: Andrea Petkovic (11), Sabine Lisicki (13), Julia Goerges (15) and Angelique Kerber (16). Mona Barthel was also on the upswing and was ranked No. 36. Fast forward a year, and Petkovic is out of the top 100 due to injury, Goerges and Lisicki have seen their form and rankings dip, and Kerber found herself the highest ranked German and cracked the top 5 in 2012.


Rankings – April 2, 2012                             Rankings – April 1, 2013

11 – Andrea Petkovic                                             6 – Angelique Kerber

13 – Sabine Lisicki                                                 29 – Mona Barthel

15 – Julia Goerges                                                 30 – Julia Goerges

16 – Angelique Kerber                                            41- Sabine Lisicki

36 – Mona Barthel                                                  139 – Andrea Petkovic


All but Kerber played in Charleston this week, with mixed results thus far. Barthel and Lisicki were upset early, while Goerges and Petkovic have each survived two rounds. Here’s a look at how the German quartet are looking at the start of the clay season.



In August 2011, Petkovic become the sixth German to ever crack the WTA Top 10 but injury after injury came her way in 2012 and she dealt with a lower back injury and ankle injury last year. Petkovic returned to the tour again in late 2012 at the Hopman Cup and suffered another injury, this time a rupture of the medial meniscus. She started on the comeback trail again at Indian Wells this year, and her ranking has dipped to No. 137 due to her many absences.


She was handed a wildcard for the Family Circle Cup, and she’s put it to good use with two wins, first over fellow wildcard Taylor Townsend of the US, and another over American Vania King. She next faces 2011 Family Circle Cup champ Caroline Wozniacki. The pair have faced each other three times, with the Dane leading 2-1, including a win on their only match on the clay.


Wozniacki said Petkovic is a dangerous opponent. “Petkovic is a good player.  She has been very unlucky with her injuries and she is obviously a player that does play on a very high level.” The two will kick off the day session at 11am Thursday.



Goerges’ two career titles are both on clay (Bad Gastein in 2010 and Stuttgart in 2011) but her 2012 season saw her go 5-5 on the dirt and she’ll be looking to improve that record. On Wednesday in Charleston, Goerges managed to come back after dropping a bagel set to Olga Govortsova to advance to the third round. She’ll next face Stephanie Voegele of Switzerland, who upset No. 7 seed Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain in the second round. Goerges said she was pleased to get the win despite not playing her best. “It’s good when you get tested right away on the clay,” she said. “It’s good to have those wins under your belt and when you’re not always playing your best and winning it’s a good feeling.” Goerges and Voegele are second on Althea Gibson Court on Thursday.


Sabine Lisicki

Sabine Lisicki


Sabine Lisicki has also had her share of injuries and illness, and her ranking has dropped from #13 a year ago to its current No. 41. Lisicki made the final in Memphis in February, but retired from the match with illness after dropping the first set to Marina Erakovic of New Zealand. Lisicki loves the green clay of Charleston and it’s where she captured her biggest title back in 2009. In her first match on Tuesday, Lisicki double bageled Anna Tatishvili in just 41 minutes. Today she was a heavy favorite to beat Mallory Burdette of the US, who is ranked #99 but the Georgian pulled out the upset 3-6, 7-6, 7-5 to advance to a contest against Serena Williams.


Mona Barthel photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images AsiaPac

Mona Barthel photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images AsiaPac


Barthel is actually the lone member of the group to have a title in 2013 and the win in Paris is the biggest of her career. Barthel also finished runner-up in Hobart and she has had wins over top 10 players Sara Errani, Angelique Kerber and Marion Bartoli. She’s now the second highest ranked German, with a current ranking of No. 29. She faced the US’ Jessica Pegula in the second round on Tuesday, but the 8th seed was upset 7-6 (4), 6-1.


Stephanie Neppl is in Charleston covering the Family Circle Cup for Tennis Panorama News. She spends all her spare funds traveling to tennis tournaments and has played since her teen years. She has worked as Social Media Manager for Tennis Auckland’s ATP and WTA tournaments. Follow her live updates on Twitter at @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal Twitter @stephintheus and her blog  http://ihaveatennisaddiction.blogspot.com.


Spain and Australia Open Hopman Cup With Wins; Petkovic Injured


Spain has secured the first victory of Hyundai Hopman Cup 2013 with a tense two rubbers to one win over South Africa at the Perth Arena.

The  Spanish pair of Anabel Medina Garrigues and Fernando Verdasco combined well to dispose of South Africa’s Chanelle Scheepers and Kevin Anderson in three sets, 6-4 6-7(3) [10-8].

Earlier in the session Anderson gave South Africa the lead defeating Verdasco in straight sets, 7-6(5) 6-4. Spain hit back to level the tie at one all with Medina-Garrigues proving too strong for Scheepers, 6-4 6-2.

A gutsy performance from Bernard Tomic and a knee injury to a tearful Andrea Petkovic saw Australia take a 3-0 victory over Germany in Saturday night’s Hyundai Hopman Cup 2013 at Perth Arena.

Tomic fought to defeat world No.21 Tommy Haas 7-6(6) 3-6 7-5 in the singles..

Petkovic won the first set 6-4 over 16-year-old Queenslander Ashleigh Barty in the opening set of the women’s singles rubber.

But the former world No.9 was then forced to make a tearful retirement due to a right knee injury.

“It’s unfortunate for Andrea, she’s a great player,” Ashleigh Barty said.

“I hope Andrea has a speedy recovery so she can play in the Australian Open.”

Petkovic’s withdrawal meant Australia was handed a 6-0 6-0 win in the mixed doubles, giving the eighth seeded nation a 3-0 tie win ahead of Wednesday night’s clash with top-seeded Serbia.

South Africa is in action again in tomorrow’s day session, up against number two seeded United States while Spain returns to the court on Sunday night to tackle France.

Venus Williams versus Chanelle Scheepers will open the day session on Sunday, followed by John Isner against Kevin Anderson.

World No.8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga versus Fernando Verdasco will open the night session, followed by Mathilde Johansson up against Anabel Medina Garrigues.


Hyundai Hopman Cup Schedule Set for 2013

The provisional schedule for Hyundai Hopman Cup 2013 has been set following the announcement of the player field at the event launch in Perth.

The event schedule is as follows:*


The field, ranked according to combined ATP and WTA rankings (as at 1/10/2012), is as follows:

1. Serbia Novak Djokovic and Ana Ivanovic

2. USA John Isner and Venus Williams

3. Italy Andreas Seppi and Francesca Schiavone

4. Spain Fernando Verdasco and Anabel Medina Garrigues

5. Germany Tommy Haas and Andrea Petkovic

6. South Africa Kevin Anderson and Chanelle Scheepers

7. France Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Mathilde Johansson

8. Australia Bernard Tomic and Casey Dellacqua

*Schedule is provisional only and subject to change


Tsonga Joins Hopman Cup Field

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will join the line-up for the twenty-fifth Hyundai Hopman Cup, the official mixed teams competition of the ITF, from December 29 2012 to  January5, 2013.

Hopman Cup also includes Novak Djokovic, Ana Ivanovic, Tommy Haas, Andrea Petkovic, Bernard Tomic and Venus Williams. Tsonga will make his first trip to Perth for the Hyundai Hopman Cup, this year being played at the new Perth Arena. The 27-year-old reached the final of the 2008 Australian Open he defeated a few seeds, including Rafael Nadal along the way.

“It’s really good because I will arrive really early to Australia (and) I will be able to play three matches to prepare for the Australian Open,” Tsonga said. “I heard that they built a new arena similar to Rod Laver Arena, so it’s going to be just perfect for me to play, it’s going to be fun.”

Tsonga will team with Mathilde Johansson who broke through this year to reach the third round at the French Open and the final at Båstad. The pairing represents a career milestone for Tsonga who won a silver medal in men’s doubles with Michael Llodra at the 2012 Olympics games and will play mixed doubles for the first time in Perth.

Fernando Verdasco, will again team with Anabel Medina Garrigues to represent Spain. This is the second consecutive appearance at Hyundai Hopman Cup for the popular team who narrowly missed out on reaching the final this year.

“It was a great experience last year,” said Verdasco of his 2012 debut. “We reached the semifinals, beat Australia (sorry about that) we beat China and then we lost to France. It was a great week and I really enjoyed it there.

“Last year we didn’t really get into Perth but we enjoyed watching the other ties against the other countries. This year I want to go to the beach and try to enjoy the city more. I’ve heard it’s a new big stadium and it’s going to be unbelievable so I’m really looking forward to coming back.”

Event Director Steve Ayles says the addition of Tsonga and Verdasco to the playing roster makes the Hyundai Hopman Cup 2013 field one of the strongest ever. “With nine of the 16 players either currently or formerly ranked in the top 10, and with three men in the ATP World Tour top 12, this tournament will showcase some of the world’s most talented and charismatic players,” he said.

“The stars have traditionally come to Perth as a springboard for their summer of tennis and the world-class facilities at the Perth Arena, with its retractable roof, will allow the players to make the best possible start to their 2013 campaigns and the first Grand Slam of the year,” Ayles continued.

Among them, Olympic gold medallist in doubles Venus Williams and John Isner, who recently reached a career high ranking of No.9, will represent the United States, with current world No.2 Novak Djokovic and former world No.1 Ana Ivanovic combining for Serbia in their second appearance together at the Hyundai Hopman Cup.

Djokovic says he and Ivanovic will have their eyes firmly on the prize at the Perth Arena. “I’ve played Hopman Cup three times in the last five years and I love the competition there; I love the atmosphere,” said the former world No.1 and three-time Australian Open champion. “I’ve reached the finals on two previous occasions so I sincerely hope that now this time, with Ana, we can actually win a trophy.”


A veteran of two previous Hyundai Hopman Cup campaigns Ivanovic agreed: “I always love it and I’m sure it’s gonna be even more spectacular having it in the city centre.


“You can play mixed doubles and you get to hang out with other players so it’s really relaxing and a great way to start the year. I think it’s amazing that we can actually play outdoors … so it’s going to change up a little bit,” she said.

On the comeback trail after an injury-affected 2012 season, former world No.9 Andrea Petkovic will team with former world No.2 Tommy Haas for Germany, and 2010 French Open champion and former world No.4 Francesca Schiavone and Andreas Seppi will represent Italy.

Hometown hopes will rest on the shoulders of Bernard Tomic and Perth’s own Casey Dellacqua who will team up for the first time at Hyundai Hopman Cup 2013, looking to recapture the title for Australia for the first time since 1999.

“I am really excited to be playing for Australia with Bernie in the 2013 Hopman Cup”, Dellacqua said. “It will be great to kick start my 2013 season off in my hometown. I love Perth and can’t wait to play in front of all my family and friends and the Perth public. I really enjoy the Hopman Cup format – it’s great to get the guaranteed singles matches and I enjoy playing mixed doubles and I’ve had a bit of success, so I see that as a bonus,” continued Dellacqua, the 2011 French Open Mixed Doubles champion.

“It is also very exciting to be playing at the new Perth Arena. I have driven past it many times when I have been back home and it looks like a fantastic venue.

“I love representing my country any chance I can get and I am thrilled that I will get the opportunity to team up with Bernie for Australia at the Hopman Cup.”

This will be the twenty-fifth staging of the Hyundai Hopman Cup, one of the milestones in the ITF’s Centenary Year in 2013 and the seventeenth time in the tournament’s history that the field has boasted a reigning Grand Slam champion.

“Everyone at the ITF is looking forward to the 25th edition of the Hyundai Hopman Cup with its new home in the Perth Arena and outstanding field of players,” ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti,said.

“We are certain that the new venue will further enhance what is already one of the most successful events of the Australian summer.

“Tennis Australia, working closely with us to deliver the Hyundai Hopman Cup, has put together a great line-up of players and it is clear the fans in Perth will see something very special this year.

“The ITF is celebrating its Centenary in 2013 with several milestones including the 100th Davis Cup Final, 50 years of Fed Cup as well as the 25th Hyundai Hopman Cup. My trip to Perth is already booked and I look forward to seeing the new Perth Arena in action and a wonderful week of Hyundai Hopman Cup.”

The field, ranked according to combined ATP and WTA rankings (as at 1/10/2012), is as follows:

1. Serbia Novak Djokovic and Ana Ivanovic

2. USA John Isner and Venus Williams

3. Italy Andreas Seppi and Francesca Schiavone

4. Spain Fernando Verdasco and Anabel Medina Garrigues

5. Germany Tommy Haas and Andrea Petkovic

6. South Africa Kevin Anderson and Chanelle Scheepers

7. France Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Mathilde Johansson

8. Australia Bernard Tomic and Casey Dellacqua

Stats on the field

  • Nine of the 16 players are current or former top 10
  • Two top 10 players: Novak Djokovic, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
  • Four top 15 players: Novak Djokovic, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, John Isner, Ana Ivanovic
  • Four current/former Grand Slam singles Champions: Novak Djokovic, Ana Ivanovic, Venus Williams, Francesca Schiavone
  • Five Grand Slam singles finalists: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Venus Williams, Novak Djokovic, Ana Ivanovic, Francesca Schiavone
  • Eight returning players: Djokovic 2006, 2008, 2011; Ivanovic 2006, 2011; Verdasco 2012; Medina Garrigues 2012; Dellacqua 2009; Isner 2010, 2011; Haas 2005; Schiavone 2002, 2005, 2011
  • Eight players will make their Hyundai Hopman Cup debut: Bernard Tomic, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Mathilde Johansson, Venus Williams, Andrea Petkovic, Kevin Anderson, Chanelle Scheepers, Andreas Seppi.

New Haven Open Preview: Wozniacki’s Drive for Five is Alive

By Jack Cunniff

NEW HAVEN – For the fifteenth straight year, several of the top Women’s Tennis Association professionals will be at the Connecticut Tennis Center in New Haven the week prior to the U.S. Open.  And defending New Haven Open champion, Caroline Wozniacki from Denmark, hopes to be holding the winner’s trophy for the fifth straight time.  As always, the path to the title has a lot of obstacles, with eight of the Top Twenty ranked women entered in the draw.

When Wozniacki defended her title last year, she was holding seven other tournament titles and ranked No. 1 in the world.  Her form has dropped off in the last 12 months; she’s been unable to win a title since the 2011 New Haven Open.  As a result, her ranking has dropped to No. 8, and she’s seeded third.  But Wozniacki still has to be considered a title contender.  She holds a perfect 17-0 record at the event, and nine of those wins have come against opponents ranked in the Top Twenty.  Is that enough to snap a streak of twenty straight events that Wozniacki has lost? She will make history if she can win her fifth title; only three other women in tour history have won an event in five consecutive years, Chris Evert (Charleston), Steffi Graf (Hamburg), and Martina Navratilova (Wimbledon, Eastbourne, and Chicago).

The top seed at the 2012 New Haven Open is Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland.  Radwanska had her best career result just a few weeks ago, reaching the finals of Wimbledon before losing to Serena Williams in three sets.  She’s improved her world ranking to No. 3 on the strength of five titles in the last 12 months, including three Premiere events (Miami, Tokyo, and Beijing).

The hottest player coming into this year’s event is Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic.  She is the only woman who has reached the quarterfinals at each of the 2012 Grand Slam events.  More recently, she won the Canadian Open in Montreal last week, and reached the semifinals in Cincinnati this week.  But on the downside, that’s a lot of tennis for Kvitova, and she could be feeling the effects here.

Rounding out the Top Four seeds in New Haven is the Italian who made a surprise run to the French Open final a few months ago, Sara Errani.  Since moving off of clay courts, Errani has found things more difficult, winning only four matches on grass courts or hard courts since June.  She has been able to show winning form on hard courts earlier this year, reaching the quarterfinals of the Australian Open.

In looking at title contenders, recent history in New Haven shows that you must look past the seeded players.  While the first nine New Haven finals did not feature an unseeded player, there has been an unseeded surprise finalist in four of the last five years.  Some names who could continue that trend in 2012 include Andrea Petkovic, Sloane Stephens, and Laura Robson.  Petkovic, the entertaining German player, reached No. 9 in the world last year, but has played only a few events this year because of injury.  New Haven marks her return to the tour after a four month absence.  Stephens, from the United States, has made her breakthrough this year reaching the fourth round of the French Open.  She is also the youngest player ranked in the Top 50, at age 19. Robson is even younger, at 18, and is coming off a silver medal win in the London 2012 Summer Olympics, where she partnered with Andy Murray in Mixed Doubles.

It’s a difficult field to handicap, but one thing is for sure: whoever is holding the trophy next Saturday will have a great chance of making a run at the U.S. Open title as well.  In the last fourteen years, the New Haven champion has reached at least the semifinals on ten occasions.

Around the Grounds – Saturday August 18th: Nicole Gibbs, the Stanford sophomore who swept the NCAA singles and doubles title this year, defeated her first Top 100 opponent Saturday, dispatching No. 77 Lourdes Dominguez-Lino of Spain in the second round of qualifying… Melanie Oudin, the surprise 2009 U.S. pen quarterfinalist, continued her comeback by ousting Silvia Soler-Espinosa in three sets.  After her win, Oudin confirmed that she and Jack Sock would be attempting to defend their 2011 U.S. Open Mixed Doubles title… Andrea Petkovic isn’t the only player on the comeback trail at New Haven; 2007 runner-up Agnes Szavay of Hungary is playing in her first WTA main draw of 2012. Szavay also played in The London Summer Olympics this month as she returns from a career-threatening back injury.

Jack Cunniff is covering the New Haven Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his updates on twitter @TennisNewsTPN. His personal twitter is @JRCunniff.