June 24, 2017

Petra Kvitova Makes an Emotional Return While Top Seed Angelique Kerber Makes Historical Exit at French Open

 

Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova Makes an Emotional Return While Top Seed Angelique Kerber Makes Historical Exit at French Open

 

(May 28, 2017) Day one of the French Open marked an emotional return for Petra Kvitova and an historic exit for top seed Angelique Kerber on Sunday.

Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon champion, returned to the court less than six months from defending herself against a home intruder in which she suffered knife wounds to her left hand, her playing hand. She had surgery to repair nerve damage to two of her fingers. The Czech, seeded 15th made a triumphant return to tennis with a 6-3, 6-2 win over American Julia Boserup in the first round of Roland Garros.

“This match was special to me,” she said after the match. “It wasn’t really about the game today. I’ve said before that I’ve already won the biggest fight, and now I won for the second time. It was such a heart-warming welcome on Chatrier, and everyone who helped me through the difficult time was there, including my family. Yesterday I was wondering what it would be like, and I couldn’t imagine it. I thought I might cry when I stepped on court, which I didn’t do. But at the end I didn’t have to control my emotions any more, so a few tears.”

Kvitova was undecided about playing the French until last week.

In her players box, her supporters wore black T-shirts with white capital letters on the front which read: “Courage. Belief. Pojd.” Pojd, is Czech for “Come on!”  A heart replaced the letter o.

 

Angelique Kerber became the first top-ranked woman in the Open Era to lose in the first round of the French Open. She lost to Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova, ranked 40th in the world, 6-2, 6-2.

 

Kerber moved up to No. 1 last month, passing Serena Williams who is off the tour due to pregnancy.

 

“This year, I mean, the expectations are much bigger, especially in the big tournaments and the Grand Slams. And the expectations are also, from me, really big, of course, because I know what I can do, what I did last year,” Kerber told media. “But right now, I think that I have to find myself again.”

Venus Williams

2002 Roland Garros Finalist Venus Williams, playing her 20th Roland Garros had to rebound from breaks in both sets to get past a hard-hitting Wang Qiang 6-4, 7-6(3) to reach the second round.

More to follow…

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Rome: Rafael Nadal Extends Win Streak, Angelique Kerber Loses

Rome: Rafael Nadal Extends Win Streak, Angelique Kerber Loses

(May 17, 2017) Rafael Nadal extended his winning streak to 16, while the top seed on the women’s side Angelique Kerber was knocked out of Rome on Wednesday.

Fourth seed Rafael Nadal advanced to the round of 16 when his opponent, fellow Spaniard and friend qualifier Nicolas Almagro injured his knee and was forced to retire with Nadal leading 3-0.

“He felt something on the knee,” Nadal said.  “It’s difficult to see what’s going on now just after what happened.”

 

 

Angelique Kerber

 

For the second day in a row, the world No. 1 failed to advance in Rome. Tuesday it was Andy Murray. On Wednesday Angelique Kerber failed to get past her first opponent in Rome, beaten by Estonian qualifier.  Anett Kontaveit 6-4, 6-0.

“I think it’s for sure not the easiest time right now for me, but I think that I have to looking for solutions right now,” Kerber said. “I think that my movement is not the best, especially on clay.

“I think my legs are always important for my game, but I really not feeling so good on clay court. But, yeah, right now I have — yeah, I will try to going back home and thinking what can I do to be back in Paris. I mean, this is the next big goal.”

“Everybody knows I’m not a clay court specialist,” Kerber said to media. I was not playing good last year, as well. I had a great year, but I mean, these few weeks I was not playing good.

“And, yeah, this year it’s the same. Of course, I mean, it’s a new situation also to being No. 1 but you cannot thinking about this. I mean, it’s still a big privilege, but I try to finding my way to coming back.

“It’s not the best time now, but you have always up-and-downs, and this is a challenge to coming back maybe stronger.”

Anett Kontaveit

 

It was a career match win for qualifier Kontaveit.

“It feels great” said a smiling Kontaveit. “My first time beating the No. 1 in the world, so, you know, I’m super excited.”

 

Venus Williams who won the Italian Open back in 1999 held back a determined Lesia Tsurenko 6-4, 6-3.

“The first couple of matches I am still kicking into competition, but I have always been a fast starter,” noted Williams. “I think I have had to be because I have never played as much as other players or in general. When I come to play, I’ve got to be ready to play or else, you know, I’m not going to get a lot of chances.

“So, yeah, mentally I am prepared to at least try to be in the tournament.”

Williams was asked in press about her sister Serena having a baby and becoming an Aunt again: “It’s all exciting. I mean, it’s so interesting because when you play this kind of, when you live the life of a professional athlete, you feel forever young,” she said.

Commenting on what she is looking forward to in becoming an Aunt: “I guess spoiling the kid and making Serena’s job harder .”

 

INTERNAZIONALI BNL D’ITALIA – ROME, ITALY

RESULTS – MAY 17, 2017
Women’s Singles – Second Round
[Q] A. Kontaveit (EST) d [1] A. Kerber (GER) 64 60
[2] K. Pliskova (CZE) d L. Davis (USA) 61 61
[3] G. Muguruza (ESP) d [Q] J. Ostapenko (LAT) 26 62 61
E. Makarova (RUS) d [4] D. Cibulkova (SVK) 16 61 63
[6] S. Halep (ROU) d L. Siegemund (GER) 64 64
[8] E. Svitolina (UKR) d A. Cornet (FRA) 64 76(11)
[9] V. Williams (USA) d L. Tsurenko (UKR) 64 63
[12] A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) d A. Sevastova (LAT) 76(4) 62
T. Bacsinszky (SUI) d [14] B. Strycova (CZE) 64 62
[15] K. Bertens (NED) d [Q] C. Bellis (USA) 64 60
[Q] D. Gavrilova (AUS) d C. Garcia (FRA) 75 36 63
J. Goerges (GER) d J. Jankovic (SRB) 26 76(2) 61
[Q] M. Barthel (GER) d [Q] Q. Wang (CHN) 63 64

Women’s Doubles – Second Round
[2] Y. Chan (TPE) / M. Hingis (SUI) d N. Hibino (JPN) / A. Rosolska (POL) 46 75 11-9
[3] S. Mirza (IND) / Y. Shvedova (KAZ) d [Alt] O. Savchuk (UKR) / E. Svitolina (UKR) walkover
[4] T. Babos (HUN) / A. Hlavackova (CZE) d [PR] L. Arruabarrena (ESP) / A. Parra Santonja (ESP) 62 75
First Round
K. Bondarenko (UKR) / K. Siniakova (CZE) d [7] G. Dabrowski (CAN) / Y. Xu (CHN) 76(6) 64
D. Jurak (CRO) / A. Rodionova (AUS) d K. Bertens (NED) / J. Goerges (GER) 63 36 12-10
A. Groenefeld (GER) / K. Peschke (CZE) d S. Kuznetsova (RUS) / K. Mladenovic (FRA) 26 61 10-8
[WC] S. Errani (ITA) / M. Trevisan (ITA) d C. Mchale (USA) / M. Niculescu (ROU) 26 64 10-8

Men’s Singles – Second Round
[3] S. Wawrinka (SUI) d B. Paire (FRA) 63 16 63
[4] R. Nadal (ESP) d [Q] N. Almagro (ESP) 30 ret. (knee)
[5] M. Raonic (CAN) d [PR] T. Haas (GER) 64 63
[7] K. Nishikori (JPN) d D. Ferrer (ESP) 75 62
[8] D. Thiem (AUT) d P. Cuevas (URU) 76(4) 64
[13] J. Sock (USA) d J. Vesely (CZE) 64 36 76(1)
R. Bautista Agut (ESP) d [15] P. Carreno Busta (ESP) 67(6) 61 64
[16] A. Zverev (GER) d V. Troicki (SRB) 63 64
S. Querrey (USA) d [Q] J. Struff (GER) 64 63
J. del Potro (ARG) d K. Edmund (GBR) 75 64

Men’s Doubles – Second Round
J. Isner (USA) / J. Sock (USA) d [3] J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA) 75 63
[8] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Granollers (ESP) d N. Mektic (CRO) / A. Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) 61 64

Men’s Doubles – First Round
J. Sousa (POR) / F. Verdasco (ESP) d D. Nestor (CAN) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) 67(6) 64 10-6
O. Marach (AUT) / M. Pavic (CRO) d [Alt] T. Huey (PHI) / M. Venus (NZL) 62 36 10-6
SCHEDULE – THURSDAY, 18 MAY 2017

CENTRALE start 12:00 noon
ATP – F. Fognini (ITA) vs [16] A. Zverev (GER)
WTA – [5] J. Konta (GBR) vs [9] V. Williams (USA)
ATP – R. Bautista Agut (ESP) vs [2] N. Djokovic (SRB)
Not Before 7:30 pm
ATP – [13] J. Sock (USA) vs [4] R. Nadal (ESP)
Not Before 9:00 pm
WTA – T. Bacsinszky (SUI) vs [2] K. Pliskova (CZE)

NEXT GEN ARENA start 11:00 am
WTA – [Q] A. Kontaveit (EST) vs [16] M. Lucic-Baroni (CRO)
Not Before 12:00 noon
ATP – [9] D. Goffin (BEL) vs [6] M. Cilic (CRO)
ATP – [12] T. Berdych (CZE) vs [5] M. Raonic (CAN)
Not Before 4:00 pm
WTA – J. Goerges (GER) vs [Q] J. Ostapenko (LAT) or [3] G. Muguruza (ESP)
Not Before 7:00 pm
ATP – [8] D. Thiem (AUT) vs S. Querrey (USA)

PIETRANGELI start 11:00 am
WTA – [Q] D. Gavrilova (AUS) vs [7] S. Kuznetsova (RUS)
WTA – [12] A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) vs [6] S. Halep (ROU)
Not Before 3:00 pm
ATP – [3] S. Wawrinka (SUI) vs J. Isner (USA)
ATP – [7] K. Nishikori (JPN) vs J. del Potro (ARG)
Not Before 5:30 pm
WTA – [8] E. Svitolina (UKR) vs [Q] M. Barthel (GER)

COURT 1 start 11:00 am
ATP – F. Mergea (ROU) / A. Qureshi (PAK) vs [5] L. Kubot (POL) / M. Melo (BRA)
ATP – [1] H. Kontinen (FIN) / J. Peers (AUS) vs J. Sousa (POR) / F. Verdasco (ESP)
ATP – B. Baker (USA) / N. Monroe (USA) vs [4] P. Herbert (FRA) / N. Mahut (FRA)
ATP – After Suitable Rest – A. Zverev (GER) / M. Zverev (GER) vs [2] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA)
ATP – After Necessary Rest – [7] F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP) vs R. Bopanna (IND) / P. Cuevas (URU)

COURT 2 start 11:00 am
ATP – [6] R. Klaasen (RSA) / R. Ram (USA) vs O. Marach (AUT) / M. Pavic (CRO)
WTA – [WC] J. Jankovic (SRB) / A. Petkovic (GER) vs K. Bondarenko (UKR) / K. Siniakova (CZE)
Not Before 2:00 pm
WTA – E. Makarova (RUS) vs [15] K. Bertens (NED)
WTA – After suitable rest – J. Konta (GBR) / L. Siegemund (GER) vs [WC] S. Errani (ITA) / M. Trevisan (ITA)

COURT 4 start 12:00 noon
WTA – [6] A. Spears (USA) / K. Srebotnik (SLO) vs E. Hozumi (JPN) / M. Kato (JPN)
WTA – A. Groenefeld (GER) / K. Peschke (CZE) vs B. Krejcikova (CZE) / S. Zheng (CHN)
WTA-After suitable rest – [1] E. Makarova (RUS) / E. Vesnina (RUS) vs D. Jurak (CRO) / A. Rodionova (AUS)

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Venus Williams Beats No. 1 Kerber; Nadal Moves into Miami Open Semis

Venus Williams

(March 29, 2017) Venus Williams produced her 15th win over a current No. 1 player on Wednesday at the Miami Open. The three-time Miami champion defeated the top seed Angelique Kerber 7-5, 6-3 to reach the final four in Key Biscayne.

 

For the 36-year old, 11th seeded Williams, it’s her first Miami semifinal since 2010.

 

“It was an interesting match,” the former No. 1 Williams said to media. “I was controlling it. I had more errors than I like and lower first serve percentage than I would like. For me, I’m looking at it from a standpoint of how can I get better.

“I have to play well against the No. 1 in the world. She’s on top of her game and she played well, so I had to find a way to play a little better.”

 

Sitting in the stands for the match was her father Richard Williams. After the win she thanked her dad in her on-court interview: “My dad is one of the loves of my life and the reason I’m here in this game.”

 

“He has always loved popcorn,” Williams said. “We always ate popcorn together when I was a child. That’s a great childhood memory.”

 

“I think last year Charleston was his last event, so he’s kind of sticking to the tournaments in the States now,” Williams commented.

“I could hear him on the sidelines. He really wanted it for me. So it’s a happy moment when you come off the court.

“Even if I lose he’s still very happy, but to see the joy and the pride and the excitement, I could win the match just for that.”

Williams will take on Johanna Konta who defeated Simona Halep.

 

 

Williams spoke about her upcoming match against the Brit: “She played well, served well. Tomorrow is an opportunity for me to come out and play hopefully better than today. There are a few things I would like to work on. Outside of that, just come out fresh eyes, fresh feet, and big shots. That’s my plan.”

Johanna Konta

Konta had a comeback victory over the No. 3 seed Halep 3-6, 7-6(7), 6-2. Konta was down a set and 5-2.

 

“I guess I really didn’t think too much of what the scoreline was,” noted Konta. “I think it was important for me to keep fighting and to keep — yeah, to stay very present.

“I think there wasn’t that much momentum at that point in that match necessarily in her corner, so I think I also just stayed very aware that although she was serving for the match there, there was still — I was still very much in there. I really tried to just fight every single point and stay very present.”

 

“Whoever I’m playing I’m going to have a battle on my hands, that’s for sure. I’ve obviously played Venus a few times and Angie, so I think they’re going to have a tough battle tonight.

“Yeah, looking forward to playing either of them. I think either will be a great opportunity for different reasons. Yeah, we get to have a night session tomorrow.”

 

Rafael Nadal

In men’s play, Rafael Nadal is a step closer to his winning his first Miami Open. The Spaniard saved four break points to prevent himself from going down a double break in the second set and won 6 out of the next seven games to close out the match 6-2, 6-3 over 13th seed Jack Sock in the last night match on Stadium court.

Nadal on the match: “In the first set I think I was under control during the whole set, because was so important for me to have the break in the first game that I was returning, no?

“So, yeah, in the second was so important to save that game, the 2-Love, 15-40. Another break point for him was decisive on the match, that game, and then confirm that save having the break back in the next game.

“So was two straight positive things and two straight games that probably create a lot of damage on the opponent, no?”

 

Nadal will play nemesis Fabio Fognini in the semifinals. Fognini beat a wobbly second seed and 2016 finalist in Kei Nishikori  6-4, 6-2.

 

 

Kei Nishikori

Nishikori admitted that he “wasn’t 100%.”

“I think he played good enough. I don’t think he played extremely well today. I think for me, I had too many unforced errors and my serve wasn’t there today, so I think that’s cost most of the match.”

 

“At the moment I’m just happy,” said the Italian. “Of course it’s a big, big tournament for me at the moment; feeling really good on court and other times, so this is the best thing that we can have this week.

“Happy about my performance. Of course the result, it’s positive. It’s like a dream maybe. I play next match Rafa or Sock, so going to be really, really tough match.

“Try to be focus on my game, try to do my best, and then if it’s dreaming coming true, I’m here.”

Nadal on playing Fognini:  “Well, I know him very well; he know me very well. We played couple of times; he beat me couple of times, too.

“So, yeah, it’s a tough match. He’s playing well, so will be a good tennis for me, too, and a good challenge. Happy to be in the semifinals. I’m excited about play that semifinals match against a player who’s playing very, very well during the whole week.

“Going to be a tough one. I need to play my best, keep playing aggressive like I did today, and hope to have my chances.”

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Rafael Nadal Begins Another Quest for First Miami Title; Venus Williams Wins Late Night Match

Rafael Nadal

(March 24, 2017) Rafael Nadal began his quest for his first Miami Open with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Israel’s Dudi Sela on Friday at the Miami Open in Key Biscayne, Florida.

 

The Spaniard is playing in this tournament for the 13th time in his career. Although the 14-time major winner has never taken home the Miami trophy, he’s been a finalist four times – in 2005, 2008, 2010 and 2014 coming within two points of the title against Novak Djokovic.

 

“I think I was four times in the final. Probably I should win the first one.”

“Then I have another good chance, but I was in the final against Novak (Djkokovic).

 

“6-5, 15-30, didn’t happen,” Noted the fifth seed, and the other two finals I didn’t play very well, no?”
“I think probably even if I was not in the final, the year that I was closer to win was the year that I got injury against (Andy) Roddick in that semifinals. Was winning – never easy against Andy, no – but I have the match a little bit under control and I get injury of my knee, no, and then I lost in three sets.

“I was playing great that year. I thought that was my year. But in tennis is always the same. Life the same. “You have opportunities. If you don’t convert these opportunities, then it’s tough, no?

“But I am still playing tennis and I am still here fighting for the things that motivates me. My motivation is play enough well to have chances here.”

 

The top two players in the world, combining for 8 Miami titles, will give someone else a chance to win this year as both six-time champion Djokovic and two-time champion Andy Murray, withdrew with right with elbow injuries.

 

Venus Williams

In the women’s field, 23-time major champion Serena Williams pulled out of both Indian Wells and Miami with a knee injury, but older sister Venus, the 11th seed opened her tournament with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Beatriz Haddad Maia in the last match on center court during evening session.

 

Top seed Angelique Kerber bested Ying-Ying Duan 7-6(3), 6-2 while third seed Simona Halep also advanced with three-set win over Naomi Osaka 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.

 

Sixth seed Garbine Muguruza saved a match point to get past Christina McHale 0-6, 7-6(6), 6-4 in match which carried over to Friday when rain suspened the match on Thursday night.

 

“I think I had a second chance probably with the rain and stuff,” said Muguruza.

“It was a very — it had everything in the match. She started playing well the first set yesterday and I think my game was not exactly how I wanted to be of I was missing by a little and then she was not missing at all.

‘Then I just forgot about it. I woke up today and said, Hey, this is not over. Went to the court, I fight, and I got it again.”
Last week’s winner at Indian Wells, was an upset victim on Friday. Elena Vesnina, seeded 13th lost her second-round match to wildcard Ajla Tomljanovic 3-6, 6-4, 7-5.

 

Vesnina’s Russian countrywoman, seventh seed Svetlana Kuznetsova who lost to Vesnina in the Indian Wells final, moved into the third round with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Mandy Minella.

 

Other seeds losing on Friday included: [19] Anastasija Sevastova, [20] Carla Suarez Navarro, [21] Caroline Garcia, [22] Kristina Mladenovic, [24] Timea Babos, [25] R. Vinci, [28] I. Begu, [31] D. Kasatkina and [32] Ekaterina Makarova.

American qualifier Taylor Townsend, ranked 111th in the world defeated No. 25 Roberta Vinci 6-3, 6-2.

 

Upsets on the men’s side included: [7] Marin Cilic, [9] Grigor Dimitrov, [11] Lucas Pouille, [15] Pablo Carreno Busta, [19] A. Ramos-Vinolas, [20] Gilles Simon, [21] Pablo Cuevas, [23] Steve Johnson, [28] Mischa Zverev and [30] Joao Sousa.

 

Kei Nishikori

Second seed Kei Nishikori beat Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-3 to reach the third round. So did third seed Milos Raonic, playing his first event since late February when a right leg injury put him on an injury hiatus.

 

“I have to be very happy with just the outcome, that I was able to get the win today, that I have another chance to play in two days,” said the Canadian.

“Hopefully I can continue to progress throughout this tournament.”

 

“I’ve prepared the best I can for this tournament,” Raonic said. “I’m not necessarily in the best position right now, but fortunately it’s a long tournament. Doesn’t mean things can’t change and I can’t get better throughout this event.”

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Vandeweghe Upsets No. 1 Kerber, Venus Williams Reaches Australian Open Quarterfinals

 

(January 22, 2017) Defending champion Angelique Kerber has joined fellow No. 1 seed Andy Murray as both top seeds lost on Sunday. Kerber lost to American American CoCo Vandeweghe 6-2, 6-3 in the night session at the Australian Open.

CoCo Vandeweghe

Vandeweghe moves into the quarterfinals against Garbine Muguruza, who beat Sorana Cirstea 6-2, 6-3. Murguruza won last year’s French Open.

“It’s really special to play a No. 1 player at any stage in any round,” Vandewege said in her on-court interview with Renee Stubbs. “I believe this is my first number one win, so I will take that.”

“It was a tough match, and of course I’m disappointed,” Kerber said. “But I was not feeling the ball at all tonight. I was not playing good from the first point.

“So, yeah, it was not my day and not my match, for sure.”

“I was trying tonight, as well, everything. But, yeah, I missed a lot and I make a lot of unforced errors. So this was not my game like I play normally.”

“It’s the first time I’ve ever beaten a world No. 1. And especially at a Grand Slam, I think it makes it that much sweeter,” Vandeweghe said.

?I just felt like I was really executing my game well, keeping her on the back foot, and just kind of playing within myself. So that’s what I felt was going on on the court.”

“We’re two totally opposite players. I would expect myself to have more winners as well as more unforced errors than she would have. So in that fact, I mean, that’s kind of an expected stat that I would have more than she would.

“I mean, what the number would end up being is kind of up to how well I’m hitting my spots and how well I’m playing out there against an opponent.”

“We’ve played a lot, a couple of times,” Muguruza said about playing the American in the quarterfinals. “It’s 1-1 head-to-head. She’s a tricky player. She has a lot of power, full shots, serve, everything. She can play very well.”

“It’s an interesting matchup because she holds a different aspect to a playing style of she’s an aggressor, as well,”  Vandeweghe commented. “She is going to play that way, and no other way.”

“For me it depends on if I can match it, as well as if I can beat her to that punch of getting first strike, first play.”

With Kerber’s loss, should Serena Williams win the tournament, she would move back up to the No. 1 ranking.

Andy Murray lost to No. 50 Mischa Zverev in four sets earlier in the day.

No. 50 Mischa Zverev Beats No. 1 Andy Murray at Australian Open; Roger Federer Advances in Five Sets

Venus Williams, reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open for the second time in the last three years by beating qualifier Mona Barthel 6-3, 7-5 on Sunday in Melbourne.

 

The 36-year-old American, seeded 13th, the oldest player female singles player left in the draw, has not dropped a set entering the final eight.

 

“I was born to play tennis,” Williams said in her on-court interview. “I found my calling. I was meant to do this.”

This will be the 37th career major quarterfinal she has played.

 

 

Williams will play 24th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova who was the first player to reach quarterfinals defeated Russian countrywoman and 8th seeded two-time major champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 6-3 in 68 minutes.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova photo courtesy of Taste of Tennis

This will be the Russian’s first-ever Australian Open quarterfinal.

 

“It feels amazing,” she said. “I’m really happy with my first quarterfinal here in Australian Open.”

 

“I have a lot of memories, because I, yeah, won it twice in juniors and was showing some good tennis, as well, also in the pros, but never achieved something, like, big here.”
“I feel much fitter, as well. And again, I repeat like I’m enjoying a bit more, like I take it a bit differently now.

“Yeah, I feel like I’m showing some good tennis at the same time, as well, and so just trying to put everything in pieces.

“Yeah, but again, I’m not going, like, super excited about it. I just take match by match, and, you know, I want to do even better.”

“Today I played a qualifier, and she hardly ever missed,” Williams said. “So it doesn’t matter who you come up against, they are coming and they want to win, too. They have nothing to lose.
“I’m going to be focused on winning one round at a time and focus on doing what it takes to be there.”

“I know her game,” Williams said of her next opponent. “I have played a lot of matches this tournament kind of not knowing what to expect. That can be a little — it’s a whole different approach.

“Now I have played her. I know what to expect. So I can almost already be settled in before I get to that match. So it’s a good thing.”

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Kerber Advances in Three Sets, Venus Williams Moves Into Third Round at Australian Open

(January 18, 2017) No. 1 seed Angelique Kerber gave herself a birthday gift on Wednesday, a hard-fought 6-2, 6-7(3), 6-2 win over German countrywoman Carina Witthoeft.

The 29-year-old defending champion looked as though she was going to close out the match in straight sets,
but after taking a 3-2 lead in the second set tiebreak, her opponent amped up her game, while Kerber’s serve
vanished. Witthoeft won the next five points to send the match into a third set.

The two-time major winner had to overcome a break in the first game of the third set, but won four straight games to control the set. The fifth game saw Kerber having to fight off break points in long rallies to keep her edge.

“I was a little bit too defensive today, so I think that was the problem,” Kerber said. “When I was trying, I did, like, few more mistakes.

“So, yeah, I mean, I will try for the next round to really focusing on playing consistent from the first until the last point and not having too much up and downs during the match.

“I was doing I think a lot of mistakes like in the important moments. But at the end, I’m happy that I won the match. It was not so easy. The conditions were, like, also a little bit difficult today.
“At the end, I won, and this is all that counts for me.”

“Of course it was not so easy, especially also with the sun from the one side. But at the end, I was try my best. I’m through the next round, so, yeah, I’m looking forward to being now in the third round.”
During her on-court interview, the crowd serenaded her with the “Happy Birthday” song.

No. 13 seed and 2003 finalist Venus Williams advanced to the third round of the Australian Open, beating Swiss veteran Stefanie Voegele 6-3, 6-2 on Wednesday.

Venus, who was scheduled to play doubles with her sister Serena later in the day, pulled out of the doubles with an elbow injury.

“I was really disappointed not to be able to play in New Zealand. I was hoping to have the capacity to play both events here, but at this point I just need to be careful and just try to maintain myself.”

Venus will play Ying-Ying Duan in the third round.
“I don’t know anything about her,” Williams admitted. “I have never seen her play. Zero, like zero. So I’m going to have to, yeah, see how it goes. Like, maybe get a scouting report in the warm-up when we hit the five minutes and kind of see how it feels.”

Other women’s seeds advancing on the day included eighth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, No. 11 Elina Svitolina and No. 24 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. American Alison Riske upset No. 20 Zhang Shuai 7-6 (7), 4-6, 6-1.

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Singles Draws Made at Australian Open

 

(January 13, 2017) Friday saw the singles draws made for the first major tournament of the tennis year, the Australian Open in Melbourne.

Top men’s seed Andy Murray will open his campaign to try and win his first major down under against Ukrainian Illya Marchenko. Second seed, defending champion and six-time winner Novak Djokovic faces a tricky opponent in Fernando Verdasco. The Serb beat the Spaniard in Doha last week, saving five match points. Verdasco upset Rafael Nadal in the first round of last year’s Australian Open.

Third seed Milos Raonic will play German Dustin Brown, while fourth seed Stan Wawrinka faces Slovakian Martin Klizan.

Men’s Singles Draw

Potential round of 16:

Andy Murray-Lucas Pouille

Tomas Berdych- Kei Nishikori

Stan Wawrinka-Nick Kyrgios

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga- Marin Cilic

Gael Monfils- Rafael Nadal

Roberto Bautista Agut – Milos Raonic

Dominic Thiem- David Goffin

Grigor Dimitrov- Novak Djokovic

Roger Federer, the 17th seed could meet Tomas Berdych in the third round.

 

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In the women’s draw, top seed and defending Angelique Kerber drew Ukraine’s  Lesia Tsurenko, to open her title defense. Serena Williams, the No. 2 seed and six -time Australian Open champion, who is seeking her 23rd major, faces a challenge from former Top Ten player Belinda Bencic of Switzerland.

Third seed  Agnieszka Radwanska plays Tsvetana Pironkova, who upset her at last year’s French Open. Fourth seed Simona Halep of Romania, matches up against American Shelby Rogers.

Women’s Singles Draw 

Potential round of 16:

Angelique Kerber- Roberto Vinci

Carla Suarez Navarro-Garbine Muguruza

Simona Halep-Venus Williams

Elina Svitolina- Svetlana Kuznetsova

Karolina Pliskova-Timea Bacsinszky

Elina Vesnina- Aga Radwanska

Dominika Cibulkova-Johanna Konta

Barbora Strycova-Serena Williams

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Angelique Kerber and Andy Murray named 2016 ITF World Champions

Angelique Kerber

(December 13, 2016) The ITF announced today that Andy Murray of Great Britain and Angelique Kerber of Germany are the 2016 ITF World Champions. This is the first year that either player has received this honour.

 

In an historic year for the Murray family, Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares of Brazil become Men’s Doubles World Champions, while French pair Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic are Women’s Doubles World Champions. This is the first time that two brothers have been named as men’s singles and men’s doubles World Champions in the same year.

 

Gordon Reid becomes the third British player to be honoured in 2016, being named as ITF Wheelchair World Champion, with Jiske Griffioen of Netherlands becoming women’s World Champion for the second year running. Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia and Anastasia Potapova of Russia are named ITF Junior World Champions.

 

The ITF World Champions will receive their awards at the 2017 ITF World Champions Dinner on Tuesday 6 June, in Paris, during Roland Garros. Nine of the ten players are being honoured for the first time.

Andy Murray

Andy Murray sealed the year-end No. 1 ranking in the final match of the season after defeating his great rival Novak Djokovic to win the ATP World Tour Finals. He won a total of nine titles during a milestone year, including his second Wimbledon triumph, and became the first player in history to win two Olympic singles gold medals with victory over Juan Martin del Potro at Rio 2016.

 

Murray said: “It means a lot to me to be named ITF World Champion. I have had such a memorable year, winning again at Wimbledon, retaining my Olympic title, and clinching the year-end No. 1 ranking in the last match of the season. It is particularly special with my brother Jamie also becoming World Champion.”

 

Angelique Kerber becomes Germany’s first World Champion since Steffi Graf received the last of seven awards in 1996. The 28-year-old enjoyed a stunning season, defeating Serena Williams to capture her first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, before going on to win the US Open. She was also a silver medallist at the Olympic Tennis Event and runner-up at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals.

 

Kerber said: “I’m truly honoured to be named ITF World Champion and to line up with all these past champions. This year was by far the best of my career with so many unforgettable experiences and emotions. I am grateful for the recognition and I’m looking forward to the upcoming challenges.”

 

Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares clinched the year-end No. 1 team ranking in the very last event of 2016 at the ATP World Tour Finals. The British-Brazilian duo enjoyed a breakthrough first season together, capturing their first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, and going on to win the US Open. These were the first major men’s doubles titles for both players.

 

Murray said: “We are very proud to receive this award. It’s been an incredible year for us, winning two Grand Slams and finishing as the No. 1 team in just our first season together.”

 

Soares said: “As a new team coming into the season there is a lot of expectation and belief, but also some doubts and uncertainty, so for us to finish the year as the No. 1 team winning two Slams was amazing. It gives us a lot to look forward to in the future.”

 

Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic also enjoyed an outstanding first season together to end 2016 as the No. 1-ranked team, and help France reach the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Final. They captured their first Grand Slam title at Roland Garros, and went on to reach the final at the US Open. This is the second honour for Mladenovic, who received the ITF Junior World Champion award in 2009.

 

Garcia said: “We really had an exceptional year with great victories on the court, even though we only started playing together at the beginning of 2016. Winning Roland Garros at home was definitely the culmination of the year. It is an incredible success to finish the No. 1 team in the world, and an honour to receive this ITF trophy.”

 

Mladenovic said: “It is a great achievement for Caroline and I to win this trophy after having played only one season together. The highlight of the year was definitely winning the French Open in our own country. We get on very well both on and off court and are looking forward to more success next year.”

 

ITF President David Haggerty said: “Andy Murray and Angelique Kerber have both been rewarded for their hard work and dedication with exceptional years that see them worthy recipients of the ITF World Champion awards. Our two doubles World Champions, Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares, and Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic, have shown impressive teamwork in their first season together. All these players have taken great pride in representing their country, and are fine ambassadors for our sport.”

 

The ITF’s selection of its senior World Champions is based on an objective system that considers all results during the year, but gives special weight to the Olympic Tennis Event, Grand Slam tournaments, and two ITF international team competitions, Davis Cup by BNP Paribas and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas.

 

Gordon Reid had an outstanding year to become the first British player to become Wheelchair World Champion. The 25-year-old won his first two Grand Slam singles titles at the Australian Open and Wimbledon, and was also runner-up at Roland Garros. He went on to win singles gold at the Paralympic Tennis Event, before clinching the year-end No. 1 ranking by reaching the final of the NEC Masters.

 

Reid said: “It’s a great honour for me to complete the best year of my career by finishing year-end No.1 for the first time. I can’t thank all of my coaching team, family and friends enough for all their dedication and support, which was a vital part of my 2016 successes.”

 

Jiske Griffioen is the only repeat ITF World Champion in 2016, collecting the women’s wheelchair honour for the second year. The 31-year-old captured two of the three Grand Slam singles titles at the Australian Open and Wimbledon, and went on to win two gold medals at the Paralympic Tennis Event. She finished 2016 with victory at the NEC Masters and held the No. 1 ranking throughout the year.

 

Griffioen said: “It was an incredible year for me! To win two Grand Slam titles, the Masters and be on top of the rankings for the whole year is something I’m proud of for sure. And my dream of winning two gold medals at the Paralympics in Rio came true. All the hard work paid off.”

 

Miomir Kecmanovic is the first Serbian player to be named ITF Junior World Champion following a triumphant end of season. The 17-year-old from Belgrade enjoyed an 18-match winning streak in winning the titles in Mexico City, the Eddie Herr tournament and Orange Bowl to seal the year-end No. 1 ranking. He won a total of four singles and two doubles titles, and was runner-up at the US Open.

 

Kecmanovic said: “It is great news to be named 2016 Junior World Champion. I also understand that this is just one important milestone on a difficult trip. I am focused on the long road ahead of me, and will do my best to reach the top with the support of my family and a great team around me.”

 

Anastasia Potapova becomes Junior Girls World Champion in her first full season on the ITF Junior Circuit. The 15-year-old from Russia reached the quarterfinals or better at all four Grand Slam tournaments, winning her first major title at Wimbledon. She was also a semifinalist at Roland Garros, and captured a total of three singles and one doubles title.

 

Potapova said: “I’m very pleased to finish the year as ITF Junior World Champion. After I won Wimbledon, the next goal for me and my team was to become No. 1 in the ITF ranking, and I am very happy that we’ve managed to succeed. They key to achieving this was hard work, desire and passion for what you do.”

 

ITF President David Haggerty said: “The list of 2016 ITF World Champions reflects an exciting year of change in our sport, and I would like to thank all the players for their contribution to another memorable tennis season.”

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Cibulkova Wins WTA Finals in Debut; Mirza Clinches Year- No. 1 in Doubles

SINGAPORE - OCTOBER 30: Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia poses with the trophy after victory in her singles final against Angelique Kerber of Germany during day 8 of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore at Singapore Sports Hub on October 30, 2016 in Singapore. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

SINGAPORE – OCTOBER 30: Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia poses with the trophy after victory in her singles final against Angelique Kerber of Germany during day 8 of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore at Singapore Sports Hub on October 30, 2016 in Singapore. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

(October 30, 2016) In her debut appearance at the WTA Finals in Singapore, Dominika Cibulkova beat World No.1 Angelique Kerber to win the Billie Jean King Trophy. It’s the biggest title of the Slovak’s career. Cibulkova is a former Australian Open finalist. She’ll move up to No. 5 in the world in the new rankings.

Cibulkova gained a little revenge in the 6-3 6-4 victory in final over No. 1 Angelique Kerber in an hour and 16 minutes on Sunday. The Slovak lost to Kerber in her first round-robin match earlier in the week.

“I have no words, coming here for the first time, the biggest tournament of my life,” said Cibulkova. “I still don’t know how I won. I put the ball over the net and it went in. It’s the happiest moment of my life.”

Mir

SINGAPORE - OCTOBER 25: during day 3 of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore at Singapore Sports Hub on October 25, 2016 in Singapore. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

SINGAPORE – OCTOBER 25: during day 3 of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore at Singapore Sports Hub on October 25, 2016 in Singapore. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Sania Mirza clinched the 2016 WTA Year-End World No.1 Doubles ranking on Sunday for the second straight year.

Mirza won eight titles with three different partners in 2016, winning her third major title at the Australian Open with Martina Hingis. She also won Brisbane International, Apia International Sydney, St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy and the Internazionali BNL d’Italia with Hingis. Mirza paired up with Barbora Strycova winning Cincinnati and the Toray Pan Pacific Open. Mirza also claimed the Connecticut Open title with Monica Niculescu.

“It’s very, very exciting to finish two years in a row as No.1,” said Mirza. “It’s been an incredible year for me again, with seven WTA titles, a Grand Slam and ending the year at the WTA Finals in Singapore. Finishing the year No.1 is amazing – it’s a dream come true and gives me motivation and inspiration to come out and work even harder next year.”

 

The 29-year-old Mirza, became the first Indian woman to reach the No.1 ranking in doubles on April 13, 2015.

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Angelique Kerber Clinches 2016 Year-End WTA World No.1 Ranking

Angelique Kerber

Angelique Kerber

(October 20, 2016) The Women’s Tennis Association announced that Germany’s Angelique Kerber has clinched the 2016 WTA Year-End World No. 1 Singles Ranking.

Since the inception of computer rankings in 1975, Kerber becomes the 12th WTA player to achieve the year-end No.1 ranking and only the second German woman after Stefanie Graf, who did this a record eight times in her career.

Kerber became the oldest player to make her debut at No.1 on September 12, 2016 at 28 years-old.  She has held on to the top spot for six weeks and is ensured to claim the position as the top player for the rest of the year. Serena Williams has held the year-end No.1 ranking for the past three years.

Steve Simon, WTA CEO: “Winning two Grand Slam titles, ascending as the No.1 player and holding a remarkable record all season long is a true testament to Angie’s hard work and dedication to the sport. We look forward to watching Angie continue her journey as the leading player on the WTA and the world.”

“It is a great honor and achievement to finish the year as the No.1 player in the world,” said Angelique Kerber. “This is one of the things I’ve always been dreaming of – to become No.1. I have worked extremely hard to become the best player I can be and this is a reflection of that effort and the wonderful year I have had.”

Kerber began the season by claiming her first major title at the Australian Open. She then successfully defended her title at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, advanced to the Wimbledon final, captured a silver medal in singles at the Rio Olympics, and claimed her second major title at the US Open while taking over as the World No.1 for the first time in her career.

Kerber leads the WTA for most main draw match wins this season, at 59-17, and her other highlights include reaching two finals at the Brisbane International and the Western & Southern Open – Cincinnati and the semifinals at the Miami Open, Volvo Car Open – Charleston and Rogers Cup – Montreal.

The Year-End No.1 trophy will be presented to Kerber at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore.

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