April 24, 2017

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.

 

t-align:left;”>Embed from Getty Images

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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Day 13 of the US Open – In Their Own Words

Angelique Kerber

Angelique Kerber

(September 10, 2016) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Posting player interviews throughout the day as allowed.

Note from the US Open Media Operations Guide as why Tennis Panorama News is allowed to post transcripts:

Transcripts of player interviews cannot be posted until one (1) hour after the interview has ended. Player transcripts can only be posted on the website of the publication that was accredited.

Jamie Murray

Bruno Soares

Press Conference

MURRAY-SOARES/Carreno Busta-Garcia Lopez

6-2, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Congratulations. You won a second major. Can you talk about that? And talk about how you first got together as a team.
JAMIE MURRAY: Yeah. Yeah, I started talking to — I was speaking about playing last year during — actually after this tournament kind of during the Asian swing a bit.

Yeah, then obviously we started playing this year, which worked out great, in Australia, to kind of hit it off so well so quickly.

And for us to come here again and to win a Grand Slam, you know, is an awesome feeling. I think we are both super excited about the partnership and what we can do in the biggest tournaments.

You know, keep working hard to make sure that we have success in the future, as well.

Q. Do you feel like that was one of your best performances?
JAMIE MURRAY: I think we were clinical in what we did, yeah.

I think we didn’t really let them play very much. You know, I think Bruno returned very well. When he was very aggressive on the return, you know, I could get right on top of the net and guys didn’t have anywhere to play the ball, I think.

I think we did a good job on our serves. After the first game it was big for us to get the break back straightaway, I think, and kind of settle ourselves into the match.

Yeah, I think we just did a really solid job, I think.

Q. You had treatment on your neck and you were flexing it a bit again just then. In light of what’s happening come next Saturday, how is it?
JAMIE MURRAY: Well, I think the physio said it’s probably going to be sore for a couple of days. I did it like third, fourth point in the match serving. I don’t really know quite what I did, but did something.

It’s not that comfortable now, but thankfully it didn’t really affect me playing. I imagine I’ll be absolutely fine for next week.

Q. It’s not a long-standing…
JAMIE MURRAY: No, I don’t know. I obviously did something that it didn’t like. Yeah, honestly, I don’t really know. The physio didn’t really know quite what I had done. Starts and stops of adrenaline, stepping up a bit, as well.

No, I will be fine for Davis Cup.

Q. Give me your thoughts on what it means to have that trophy in your joint possession.
BRUNO SOARES: It means a lot. Every title means a lot. I think Grand Slam is extra special. For me, New York has been amazing to me. I won the mixed here twice.

I had a very tough run in 2013 when Alex, we won the semis, but he got injured so we weren’t able to compete in the final. So for me to be able to come back here and win the whole thing is just amazing feeling. I mean, the year has been incredible, our first year as a team.

I mean, to win two slams, it’s tough to explain how good the feeling is.

Q. Jamie?
JAMIE MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, to be honest, I mean, I couldn’t ask for anything more, really. You know, I lost two Grand Slam finals last year. You know, I felt like I was ready to win. I felt good about my game, where it was at.

I felt like Bruno was a partner that could get me over the line. I think we were validated under our decision obviously to come together.

Yeah, I mean, it means so much. For us, these are the biggest tournaments and these are the ones we want to win at the start of the year.

To have two in the bag, yeah, it’s a huge achievement for us both, and we should be really proud of ourselves, I think.

Q. A pretty tough early round, but it has been obviously a two-week project winning a slam. Has this been sort of the best two weeks, the most comfortable?
JAMIE MURRAY: I mean, me personally, it’s a weird thing to say. I don’t feel like I played my best tennis these two weeks. I honestly don’t. I feel like I have been grinding a bit with my serve. I didn’t feel so comfortable on my return.

But, you know, we found a way to get through the first match. We could easily have lost the first match. We were fighting really hard in the third set.

You know, after that, we kept going one match at a time, starting to play better. I think in the semis we played a great match. In the final I think we came in with a clear game plan of what we needed to do and what was going to work well against those guys.

Yeah, we did a great job.

Q. From a strategy standpoint, both of you guys like to get to the net in traditional doubles. A lot of teams, like Spaniards, have done well staying back. What do you focus on to take out the strengths from the back of the court and bring the battle more to the front of the court like you did today? You did so well today.
BRUNO SOARES: Yeah, it’s not easy. It goes a lot with how you return. Like Jamie said, we had a clear plan in that Jamie is very fast on returning and coming in, especially with the forehand. He chips. I feel guys that serve and stay back, they are not really used to the shot, so we can really take advantage of that.

On my side, it’s a bit different. I don’t really return and come in, but I can be aggressive on the return. I mean, today I had a special day. I was hitting the ball big on the return. I almost didn’t miss a return. Then when I’m able to return like this, Jamie puts so much pressure on the guys.

So it’s what we had to do, like to not let them hit one shot from the back, being comfortable. Just getting in their head. I think we did that extremely well. If you let these guys rally and hit comfortable shots, they’re just going to kill you.

They are so consistent and so aggressive from the back. But once you get in their head, it’s where we can take advantage of them. I think we managed to do that very well today.

Q. When Andy won Wimbledon the second time he kind of said he enjoyed it much more than the first time because he could sort of see a more relaxed kind of way and the satisfaction was maybe more instant euphoria. Compare it to how you were in Australia.
JAMIE MURRAY: Well, I think it’s a different situation. For him, Wimbledon is a huge pressure. The spotlight is all on him. For me it’s not like that here at all.

I think for me it’s both equally special. I mean, I was obviously super happy to win in Australia, win a first Grand Slam, especially, you know, the previous year doing two finals back to back and losing both.

You know, here, I mean, I think like we know what it takes to do well in these events. You know, for me, the final, like I felt good. We had a great chance to win. I felt our game style was going to match up well today.

You know, as Bruno said, it did. Yeah, we’re really excited to obviously lift this trophy, albeit for a small time. (Smiling.)

Q. We all know doubles partnerships can change a lot. Would you say that this is the best-ever partnership you have had? Is it one that you would envisage staying together for a long time?
BRUNO MURRAY: I hope so. (Smiling.)

JAMIE MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, of course.

BRUNO SOARES: Can’t do much more. Keep him with me.

JAMIE MURRAY: Look, we had the best year of our career, whatever way you look at it. Neither of us had won a Grand Slam before and we come together and we have won two.

So, yeah. Of course I could never disagree with that, yeah.

Q. You beat the No. 1 partnership in the world in the semifinals. Is that a new goal? Is that a goal to become the No. 1 partnership in the world?
BRUNO SOARES: I think so, yeah. Right now, yeah. Before this tournament we were pretty far behind, even though we are No. 3. They had an amazing year. Now I think we are pretty close in the race again. It’s definitely a goal.

From the beginning of the year, No. 1 goal is to qualify to London, and we did that pretty early. I mean, officially it was before this week, but, I mean, unofficially we know we had a very good chance to be there.

Now we are in a chance to win it. I think we put ourselves in a very good spot right now. Gotta keep performing well and keep performing well in the big tournaments. We’ve got two Masters 1000 to come and then London. Big points. We’ve got to play our best there again.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about how often during a Grand Slam two weeks like this do you speak to your brother? Do you guys talk tennis at all? Just that interesting dynamic of even though you’ve got your own thing going on, keeping an eye on what he’s doing.
JAMIE MURRAY: Yeah, often we don’t spend that much time with each other because you’re on your own schedules. But we were actually next to each other in the lockers this year. I probably saw him quite a bit more than normal.

But, I mean, you know, we didn’t go to dinners. We were staying in different parts of the city. I mean, it is what it is. Everyone’s got their own schedules. You’re kind of focused on what yourself is doing.

I mean, I watched pretty much all his matches on TV either in the hotel or when I was just in the physio room getting treatment after my matches or whatever.

Yeah, I don’t really — I mean, normally I don’t tend to spend that much time.

Q. After your message to Andy on court he respond at all?
JAMIE MURRAY: Haven’t looked at my phone actually since we came off court, so see what he says. (Smiling.)

Q. Reached two Grand Slam finals. Thought you were going to get to the next step eventually. (Indiscernible) When you split up, did you feel it was a gamble at all? Was it a dilemma deciding whether to take this forward with Bruno now?
JAMIE MURRAY: Well, I think there is always — well, there is always that risk, because you never know what’s going to happen. Of course, last year I had my best year on the tour. But I decided that I wanted to — I wanted to try to play with Bruno, basically.

I felt like he was the guy that was going to help me achieve what I wanted to achieve on the doubles court. Yeah, it was still a big decision to, you know, commit to not playing with John because we had a lot of success.

Yeah, I feel like I’ve vindicated my — vindicated? Is that the right word? My decision. Yeah, sitting here four Grand Slam later and we have won two of them, so, yeah, it’s good news for me, I guess. (Smiling.)

Q. Totally lighthearted comment on court. Emerging from Andy’s shadow. He’s done well this summer. Has his status sort of driven you on a bit?
JAMIE MURRAY: I wouldn’t say necessarily this summer, but I guess over the last few years, seeing him do so well all the time. You know, wanting to have some of that success, as well. You know, I think the last kind of 18 months have started to really kind of show what I can do on the tennis court.

Yeah, I hope that it will continue. Yeah.

Q. Is it easier to play with Bruno than it is with Andy?
JAMIE MURRAY: Um, yeah. Probably, yeah. (Smiling.)

Q. Can you expand?
JAMIE MURRAY: I think we — I mean, like we talk more. I mean, they are doing similar stuff on the court, like the way — their strengths and stuff. So for me it’s not like a difficult switch to go and play with Andy. I mean, he’s a great player.

But I think, you know, we are with each other every day. We are working on our games and communicating all the time. You know, I find it easy to do that with Bruno. I mean, obviously sometimes, you know, with Andy it’s not always so easy because great players, you know, they do things the way they do.

You know, if I kind of come in and start saying, you know, I think you need to serve there or, you know, hit your return there, you know, they are not used to hearing that. That can be a bit problematic sometimes. (Laughter.)

I think for me and Bruno we are kind of on an even keel and both have the same goal. We’re both trying to do the best for each other and for the team.

Q. On the same issue, how much of it becomes a friendship and how much is a business and how much of it is achieving your goals in sport? Do you become better friends over a period of time, for instance?
JAMIE MURRAY: When you win.

BRUNO SOARES: Exactly. When you lose, you just hate each other. (Smiling.) No, we have been good friends for a long time, me and Jamie. We have been on the tour. We get along super well.

For me, it’s very important to get along off court. I can’t do this well with someone that like I don’t get along well, I just don’t like. For me it’s important.

We have had an amazing year, but we lost so many times so many tough ones and with match points. You got to be able to, you know, go to dinner with the guy after a tough loss and talk like friends. You know, have the same mentality, hard work, and enjoy the ride.

It’s a very tough one. We get special moments like this, but we have brutal moments, as well. We have to be able to share that and just take it easy, you know. Like for me, it’s impossible to do that without a friend.

Q. Talk about the experience of this tournament. Was this match the hardest one out of the duration of the tournament, or was it another standout where you thought you guys had to battle harder or were in a difficult position?
JAMIE MURRAY: Well, I think the first round for us was a really hard match. You know, for me, I don’t know what Bruno was feeling that day, but some moments I was just thinking, you know, just doesn’t seem like it’s going to be our day. Then I would kind of be walking to the net when he’s serving, and just, Come on. Find a way. Find a way.

Eventually we did. We were in the tournament after that. That was huge win and could have easily been gone in the first round and would not have had a chance to sit here.

Then obviously for us to get through — again, quarterfinals was a big match. Tough for Bruno to play Andre, best friends. You know, it’s not easy. You know, also lost to him a couple times this year already. Mentally it was not an easy match to play.

I think for us the semis was obviously a big win. To beat the French guys was huge. I think I played my best match of the tournament there, I think. Yeah, I think for us the final, you know, I think we were favorites going into the match.

I mean, I was confident going in. I really felt like we had a good game to be there. I didn’t feel so stressed about it because I knew what I was going to come up against. I quite like playing against that style of play.

But, yeah, I mean, that’s the thing. Two weeks is a lot of time. A lot of tennis gets played. A lot of tough moments. You have to find a way to get through them if you want to get to the finals and have a chance to lift the trophy.

Q. If you look at your achievements alongside Andy, I think you both, between you, have what now, six Grand Slam titles, two Olympics golds, and a Davis Cup? That’s not bad for two kids from Dunblane, is it? What’s your thought on that body of work?
JAMIE MURRAY: Yeah. I mean, look, yeah, I think we have been able to do a lot of amazing things in our lives on a tennis court. Yeah, I guess when you’re kind of living in a moment you don’t always think about all that stuff.

But, I mean, yeah, I mean, you kind of take a moment and look at — yeah, it is amazing what we have been able to do from a country of no history of tennis at all.

Yeah, it’s just — yeah, it’s quite amazing thing about it. I get quite emotional kind of talking about it. And, you know, I think, you know, my mum especially has done some amazing things, and I hope that for everything that she’s done for us and for tennis in Scotland, you know, that she’s able to get the tennis club built. You know, I think if we want to kind of leave a legacy of what we’re doing, you know, it’s the best way to do it.

I really hope that, you know, the Scottish government back her plans. You know, I guess we’ll probably find out in a few days, I think.

 

Karolina Pliskova

Press Conference

A. KERBER/K. Pliskova

6-3, 4-6, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Obviously the final, talk about the emotion. What are you feeling? Sadness? Are you upset with yourself for your performance?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, no. I think I did a great job. It was my first final. Still was close to winning. I mean, she has more experience to play those finals than me so probably decided in this match.

I’m so proud of myself. If someone would tell me I’m going to play finals in this tournament before two weeks I would take it. Not sadness.

Q. How nervous did you feel when you went out there? Did your nerves surprise you at all? How do you feel you dealt them?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I wasn’t nervous at all. Not even during the match. Not even in the beginning. I said already once I’m on the court I feel fine. A little bit before the match I felt nervous, but I think that’s normal.

I was enjoying the match. It was very tough for me physically. We all know she’s tough to play and she’s putting so many balls back. I was expecting very tough match.

In the end, in the third set, I was very close, but, you know, she’s just playing some good tennis this year. It’s never easy to beat her.

Q. You said you weren’t nervous on the court, but you also said that Kerber’s experience was probably better for her today. What about her experience do you think got her over the line as opposed to you?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, definitely. I don’t know if it, you know, had any influence on the win her, but definitely she played few finals of Grand Slam already. I would say she maybe felt a little bit, at least in the beginning of the match, better. I did few mistakes.

But then it was very close. I was still trying to be aggressive. You know, it’s never easy for the player who is attacking and is doing more mistakes.

For her I would say it’s, I mean, not easier. She was running a lot. But for the one who is attacking I would say in the end it’s more tough to do the points, especially if it’s close and you really have to push it really hard to make the winner in the end.

Q. Despite being left handed, what makes her serve difficult?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I didn’t play a lefty girl in this tournament so far, I think, so it’s always different to play lefty, you know. She’s always serving to the backhand. You cannot do much from it.

Then she has the whole court open. I have twin sister. She’s lefty, so it’s always tough to play against lefty girls. There is not much of them in the top 100. You always play right girls, so there is no time where you can practice against lefty. There is no time where you can have some matches against lefty girl. It’s always tough to play them.

Q. She’s had a spectacular year. What lesson could you take from that, especially when you look at what the other women have been doing? Garbiñe struggling a bit, and the others. What do you think from the way she’s been playing?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, she has totally different game than me so I will not take a lot from her, but definitely from her as a person, she’s taking all those results. It’s not easy to be, you know, on the top and still be playing tournaments. You have some kind of pressure, and Angie, she’s handling this pretty well.

I’ll just take this, you know. It’s totally different. I don’t know how I will feel in the next tournament after this. Everyone is going to talk different and everyone is going to look at you different that you have to win.

So Angie did really good job in this one. You see a few girls struggling after they did a good job. I mean, Garbine, after she win Paris she’s been playing maybe a little bit different. I’m not sure how she feels, but she’s still a good player, so I’m sure she can get up back.

Q. Did you feel that your serve, which has been so effective throughout this tournament, let you down a little bit today?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: No. I would not say it was because of my serve, because obviously it’s tough to play someone who is, you know, still every ball putting back. It’s never easy to play. I didn’t have much easy points from the serve, because she’s just playing so well and putting every ball — even if it’s like not aggressive from her side, but still she needs to put the ball back.

You have to play one more shot than normally. Compared to the other girls what I have played in this tournament, they are missing so much the returns, but she’s not. So then it’s also tough for me to serve, you know, because I don’t have any free points from the serve.

Q. And second to that, I know your sister is in China where it was 4:00 a.m. Do you know if she saw the match?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I don’t think she’s watching. She’s playing final in the morning, I think, so I think she’s sleeping. (Smiling.)

Q. Did you feel at all maybe she had a little more pressure on her because of the No. 1 ranking going into today? Obviously she just got it the other day because of Serena.
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I don’t think she felt any pressure today. So far one of the best matches what she played against me.

I think what I have played, as well. It was high-quality match. There was not that many mistakes and I really had to play every point to win a game or to win those points.

Q. Pretty concerted effort in the second set; tried to get more effort and come to the net a bit more. Is that something you knew you had to do after the first set?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, I have been playing her quite a few times and there is a lot of ways how you can beat her.

Today I had the feeling she’s not missing much from the baseline. I just had to step up into the court a little bit and to be more aggressive and closing into the net with the volleys obviously.

I think I did a good job on the net and I did so many points there. That was probably the key why I won the second set. Unfortunately in the third one I didn’t have that many chances to go there. I mean, in the last game I missed something. (Smiling.)

Q. Do you think this tournament will be the turning point for you in Grand Slams, where we’ll see you in the quarterfinals, semis, finals, more consistently? Do you think this could be the turning point moment?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: Well, I cannot say now. We can talk maybe next year. (Smiling.)

After some tournaments I’ll just, you know, don’t think about any other tournaments right now. I just finish US Open. Let’s see how is it gonna be. Maybe something will change; maybe not. I just want to take all the positives from this tournament.

Q. A similar question: What do you think you can take away from an incredible performance in Cincinnati where you have won so many big matches and this incredible run?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, I beat very good players. To win in Cincinnati was — I was just so happy to get the biggest title of my career. I was thinking, Okay, now I can even lose in first or second round of US Open, but I was able to take the game from Cincinnati here, which is never easy after you win a tournament, to play the same game in other tournaments.

So I was just happy that I made it here even far. It was always my goal, like I said, to pass the third round, and I made it to the final. I’m still proud of myself. I’m not gonna think about losing, because could be other way, as well. I could be the winner today. Was about few points. I will just take positive from this tournament and still try to move forward.

Q. Congratulations on a great fortnight. Next time you’re in a slam finals, how much is this going to help? How much have you grown in the last four hours?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, I would say a lot, because you don’t have much matches like this in your career or in the whole year. So I definitely take on a positive. The next Grand Slam I’m trying — I’m going to try to play like I was playing here from the first round to the last one.

So doesn’t matter what happen. I’m just gonna take it tournament by tournament and try to play the game what I was playing last three weeks. I think I really did a good job. I improved in a lot of things, especially the game what I have been playing, not only against the players which are under me, but with the top players which are in front of me.

I think that’s the key how I can, you know, be even better than I am.

Q. Angie wasn’t giving you very many free points today. You were saying you feel the pressure as the aggressive player to end the points. Can you talk about what that’s like to be an offensive-minded player and play against a defender of her quality? What pressure is that on you?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, there is always some pressure. You have the pressure that she’s gonna ace you four times in a game. But here it’s different pressure, that you cannot miss much, but you still have to be aggressive and do winners, otherwise I cannot be the one who is running with her there.

I don’t know any other player, Simona or those girls, which are running. I cannot play really 30 times across the net. It’s gonna just kill me, and I will not in the end even win it.

I just have to go for my shots, and that’s what happen in the first set. But she was playing very good tennis in the first set, a lot of first serves, so then it’s hard to attack. She had really good depth in the shots.

I just was waiting for my chance, and I got it in the second set. I was still, you know, aggressive, even I didn’t get it in the third set. I still think I was, you know, aggressive in the third one, but did a few mistakes. That’s why I lost it obviously.

I was maybe a little bit more tired in the end of the third set. That’s also why maybe I just, you know, needed a little bit more power. (Smiling.)

Q. You were playing so well in the third set up until the last game. It seemed like it quickly got out of hand. Have you been replaying it in your mind, or is it too soon still?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: No, I would not say it was because of the last game, obviously. I could do better. We all know that the last game wasn’t great, but like I said, it’s so hard against her because she still needs to play — to push you to play one more shot.

So I just went twice to the net and was going really for the shot. So it could go the other way, as well. So I think I just did a great move to go into the net. I did so many points on the net.

So I would not change it. Just it didn’t happen, but this is the way how I have to play.

Q. Angie becomes No. 1 on Monday. What’s been the impression among the girls on tour of what she’s been able to accomplish, this season especially?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, definitely I would say now that she deserves to be No. 1 because she did so well. She has two Grand Slam titles, one final, few other titles. She’s been just playing great this year, and, you know, constant. She deserve to be No. 1.

And after years what Serena was there, I think it’s a nice change.

Q. Coming off defeating Serena, who was previously No. 1 and now Angelique, losing to her who is now current No. 1 — obviously you beat Serena, Angelique. What was the difference of those two types of players? What was that differences like and, what you found in those two?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, you cannot compare those two. The game is totally different. The persons as well. Serena is going for every shot. She’s serving pretty well. She’s just, you know, pushing you from the second serve. So it’s just totally different game. So there I have more chance to wait for, you know, her mistake.

With Angie, you cannot wait for mistakes. She doesn’t give you anything. I have to be the one who is aggressive.

It’s sometimes more difficult to be the one who is playing aggressive and going for the winners.

So that’s the difference between them.

Q. Along those lines, you just started to answer that, but you came to net, as you were talking about, 38 times in the match. You served and volleyed 10 times. Showing such courage as you did throughout the tournament. Can you describe a little bit your thought process? Any transition in your career over the recent months that’s allowed you to be so calm and courageous in this fashion?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, I wasn’t before the match really planning to go to the net so many times, but it just — you know, I had to change something because she was winning all the rallies in the first set.

I just, you know, was going after the first serve, and it always help me when I go after the serve. The serve is better than if I just stay on the baseline.

I was really going for my shots, and actually it was working. Obviously I missed few, but I win more than I missed. That’s impressive.

And, you know, we have been working on this, my game on the net, so much. Even in the doubles it improved a lot. So I’m really proud of this.

I believe like this, I can win matches like this next time.

Q. What was going through your mind as you saw Angie hold up the championship trophy?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: Nothing. (Smiling.)

Q. What do you think the impact of this experience will be on you?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: Like I said, I just try to take only positive, even if finish with a loss. I think – still think – it wasn’t a bad loss to lose to girl which is No. 1 in the world.

I played a good matches. Even this one was very good, high quality. So I just, you know, take it into my next tournament and into my life. It’s my biggest success so far into my career. Only positive from New York.

Q. Everything changes in life. For years we have been seeing the Williams sisters, and maybe Sharapova and Azarenka come to mind. But this year we have seen your great performance, Angie’s great performances, Garbiñe. In the locker room, is there a sense that maybe things are shifting?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I don’t feel it in the locker room, and I’m not really taking care of those things. But, yeah, there is almost every Grand Slam different winner except those two with Angie. This one could be a different winner, as well.

I mean, yeah, maybe it’s time changing and different players are coming up. Younger players are coming up, which is normal. They are always dangerous.

Great to see some other girls winning the title, not only the same person.

 

Angelique Kerber

Press Conference

A. KERBER/K. Pliskova

6-3, 4-6, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How would you describe the Angie Kerber who was on the tour before 2016 and the Angie Kerber who has been on the tour this year?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think a lot of things change. I mean, it’s just incredible what I did this year. I’m really so happy and so proud about everything what’s happened now about my team, about my game, and about my improvement, as well.

I think I improved a lot in a lot of ways. To being here with my second trophy, it’s just the best feeling ever.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the ways you improved.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I was really trying to improving a lot of things. First of all, of course, my fitness and then to being more aggressive and go for it when I have the chance. Not just hitting the balls over the net. Just playing my game. Because I know that when I practicing I can be aggressive.

Just make the transfer on the match court, that was the challenge. And also, mentally to being more positive, a little bit more stronger, and just focusing on the moment I am on court.

Q. In line with that, at the end of the second set, beginning of the third, looked like you were slipping back to the negative mode. Body language wasn’t great and you were making some errors. How did you adjust and what was going on in your mind?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: That’s true. In the second set my body language was not the best. I was trying to change it in the third set, but it was not so easy because Karolina is a tough opponent. She was one break up very soon in the third set.

I just told myself, Okay, stay positive. Believe still in your game. I was thinking a little bit on the final in Australia where I was also in the third set. I believed then my game, and I did it today, as well.

So that was in my mind to stop the negative emotions and change it again in a positive way.

Q. What did work in your game today that allowed you to win a tight match like that? What do you think the difference was?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think first I really start really strong in the first set. I was trying to making her move.

In the second set there was just one break. I think I was just believing in myself in the third set and just going for it. I was not too much like hoping. I think that was the key at the end of the third set, that I was trying to take the chance when I was feeling, okay, now, I have the chance to go for it; just go for it until the end.

Q. I know the No. 1 ranking is a title. Was there any part of that that made you believe a little bit more today, and do you feel like the way you gutted this thing out it validated to some degree that ranking you just earned?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I mean, of course it’s better feeling to win now my Grand Slam and being the No. 1 player in the world on Monday.

This what’s happened in the last two weeks, it’s just incredible. Also, how I was dealing with the pressure when I came here and everybody was asking me about the No. 1 number, actually. This was what I was trying to improving with the pressure.

And also, today, I mean, it’s always tough to going in the final when I know the opponent beats me like two or three weeks ago. That was also a challenge what I told myself, Okay, I will do everything on court today to win the match against Karolina.

Q. Sports is a very concrete thing. You’re always in the moment. But I have never seen a great champion talk about dreams so much. In Australia you talked about it. You said dreams come true. Very much the same sentiments today, talking about a dream. Talk about that a little bit more. Is it just beyond belief? Does it seem a little bit unreal? How important have your dreams meant to your success?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I mean, I was always dreaming to being one day to being No. 1 and to be in the Grand Slams. I’m not 18, so I was always trying to improving my game. I knew that I have the game to beat the best players and just being patient and working really hard.

And now to see that the work pays off, this is actually the best feeling. Because I was a lot of hours on the practice courts, sweating and everything, and you are just playing for this moment to being on the center court in the final and with the amazing crowd.

So this is what I was always dreaming for. That’s why I’m talking a lot about that.

Q. Does it still feel a little bit unreal to you?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Actually, I don’t know if it’s unreal. I was feeling it in Australia that everything is really unreal. But right now I think I can also enjoy it. I’m really trying to take every single moment with me and all the positive emotions what I get now, and in the last few months.

Q. You spoke about a couple of the things that you have improved this year: your fitness and being more aggressive during matches. With the fitness, could you tell us a little bit about what specifically you might have changed or done differently this year? In terms of the aggressiveness in the match, was there a particular loss or a moment at some point maybe last season where either you or your coach said to you, Hey, you’re losing because of this, or, To take the next step you need to change your game that way?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: First of all, with the fitness I’m really trying to playing more intense when I’m practice and not playing like maybe two, three hours just like that. I just go to court to being intense and spending a lot of hours as well on gym or like just making a lot of sprints and movement.

So this is what I change, especially in the preseason.

With aggressive, I played a lot of tough matches last year like three sets and especially here, as well, against Azarenka last year. That was also one match what I remember where I really just pushed the balls and I was not going for it.

So there were a lot of matches last year where I knew that I have to be aggressive to win it. This change also in my mind. To making the transfer is not so easy, but I think I did it well. I will try to improve this, as well, in the next steps.

Q. A lot of emotion when you sat down and you buried your face in the towel. Can you talk about that a little bit? Was it more joy or more relief?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: It was everything, I think. Because all the pressure on the last few months. I mean, to win here it’s really special for me, because like I said, everything starts here for me 2011. This Grand Slam is, yeah, really, really special.

That’s why, when I sit there, when I came back from my box, it was everything. I had just positive emotions. To being there like a champion this year, to hold this trophy, it’s — I don’t know. I mean, I can’t say it in words, actually.

Q. Did you ever wonder if you didn’t have enough power or enough weapons in your game to be No. 1? Did you wonder about that and worry about it?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: No, I was always believing in myself. And like my team, as well. They are always believing in me. They are always telling me when I was also down, You are a really good player. You played tough matches against the best players in the world few years ago.

It was just the next step to beat the best players. To being consistent like I am right now, I think that was my next step after last year.

Also, when I sit down with my team and we spoke about 2016 to playing better in the majors and in the bigger tournaments and playing consistent. I’m fifth year in the top 1o, so this is what I’m doing good: being consistent but playing better in the bigger ones. This is what I changed this year. I was always believing in my weapons and about my tennis.

Q. Congratulations. Today some former No. 1 players, such as Navratilova and Arantxa Sanchez, had press conference, and they said when you are chasing for No. 1 position you don’t feel much pressure. But once you became a No. 1 you feel it, because everybody wants to beat you and everybody expects you to win. I don’t want to ruin this… (Laughter.) Talking about pressure…
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think I’m ready, yeah, to have this pressure on my shoulder, because I think I get used to all of this, especially after my first Grand Slam in Australia. I had so much pressure after the title.

And to being No. 1, of course now everybody will try to beat me and have nothing to lose. I will try to take this challenge, because it will be a little bit new situation for me. But at the end, I was always practicing and working hard to being No. 1.

Now I can also taking the next step and trying to staying as long as I can there.

Q. What did you see in that Cincinnati final, reviewing video of it? What did you change tactically?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Of course I know that Karolina is a tough opponent. She beat Serena two days ago, yesterday, and she played amazing tournament here.

So I knew she is, yeah, hitting a lot of aces during a match and I have to be ready for the very strong shots from her.

But I was trying to looking at the match yesterday as well with Torben and we watch the match a little bit. I was prepared actually for that.

I know I had to play my best tennis in the important moments. Yeah, just go for it when I have the chance. I mean, I was a little bit tired in Cincinnati, as well.

Here, I was just trying to take all my energy that I have left on this last match here.

Q. The tour is so relentless, and you’ll have a number of commitments now being the US Open champion. When do you think you’ll get a moment just to be on your own, actually absorb what you achieve?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think in the airport in the airplane. I mean, when I will sit in the airplane and have like few minutes for myself. Going back home in a few days and sitting together with my family and my friends, I think this is the moment where I can really think about everything what’s happen in the last few months, few days here, and just try to, yeah, enjoy every moment then at home.

Q. I think people in general have trouble improving their confidence. It’s really hard to do. Sounds like you’re saying the fitness element was the most important part. Like in Australia you actually felt like a stronger person and stronger body.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yes. And I felt this was one of the biggest things, when you know you can run forever on court and you’re not worried that you can play three sets. I think this is really important for your confidence that you can play like two, three hours and you can go for it.

I think I was working a lot on these things. This gives me a lot of confidence, especially also in Australia where it’s really hot. Today the conditions are actually the same: really humid. I was trying, you know, to believe in my fitness, believing in myself, actually.

I mean, I’m here in the final. So I played really good matches in the last few days. Yeah, that gives you a lot of confidence when you know you work very hard.

Q. 12 years since winning your first junior title; turning pro, another 15 years to win your first Grand Slam final and become a Grand Slam champion. Now upon becoming No. 1 in the world and achieving your dreams, what may you tell your children one day and others about what it takes to achieve dreams and persevere?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: You know, you have to believe in your dreams. You have to go with a lot of patience. Yeah, working hard. Just have a great team around you and really love what you are doing. This is when you do everything and everything comes together one day.

I see it this year. I don’t know. I think I will show a few videos my childrens in a few years, and just, yeah, I don’t know, just tell them, you know, everybody — just believe in yourself and do what you really love.

Q. I think you’re the first female player, apart from Serena, to win two in a year. Winning two and being world No. 1 now, are you the rival to Serena that we have all been waiting for?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I don’t know. I mean, Serena, for me, is one of the best players in the world. She is a great person and a great champion.

So, I mean, what she did for the sport, it’s just incredible. For me, I’m trying to go my own way and trying to enjoy now every single moment with my second Grand Slam. It’s one of my best years, so I will just try to continue this and just trying, as well, to improving my game and my personality, as well.

Just taking the next steps in the next tournaments.

Q. You went for the forehand, big forehand down the line. Do you think last year you would have had the conviction to go for such a shot at that moment?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think this shot was the key for the third set. When I was going down the line I knew, Okay, now I have to risk a little bit, because this is the only chance I can get. I took it, so I think this was really the shot of the match from my serve.

Yeah, when I won the point I knew, Okay, I have the feeling. Now just to go for it and making the mistakes I make like a lot of times before. I was not thinking too much that this is a final. I was just trying to take the challenge, third set, it’s 3-All, and just go for it.

Q. Seeing what you did today and all year — we saw what Pliskova and what Garbiñe did in Paris. Many new faces. Are you excited? Do you think there could be a new landscape to women’s tennis?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I’m really excited because I’m seeing as well a lot of new and good players on tour. There are a lot of, yeah, players and they are working hard. They are playing great tennis.

I think, yeah, let’s see what’s happen, how they will play in the next few tournaments and the next Grand Slams. I think, yeah, it’s good to have so many good players on the tour.

Q. Have you heard from Steffi Graf at all? What inspiration has she given you recently? Lastly, what did you watch of her when you were a little girl?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I watch a lot of matches, and I remember that all the matches were very fast. This is what I remember. (Smiling.)

Yeah, I mean, I heard from her yesterday or like two days ago. She was, yeah, wishing me luck for the final. Right now I don’t know because my phone is somewhere, so I don’t know how many messages I get now.

But, yeah, she was always my idol, and I told her so many times. She’s a great champion, as well. For me it’s really important to go on my own way. And to have her like in Germany with all the things she did also for the tennis, it’s just amazing.

Q. Heard by text or phone?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Text.

Q. After you won the Australian Open, you were up and down until after the French Open. Did you ever doubt or think, Oh, my gosh; maybe I took off more than I can chew? How did you pull out of that and end up with a spectacular rest of the year?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: After Australia I had a little bit up and downs, but also because a lot of things happen and change. I think I had to take the time to get used to everything.

In Paris I had so much pressure on my shoulder. I couldn’t deal this with me. After Paris I was sitting down at home and I told myself, Okay, just go for it and just practicing hard again. You did it once in Australia. You have still two Grand Slams in front of you.

That was actually trying to enjoying the tennis on court again and not, yeah, making too many things too complicated. Just trying to relax, enjoy every moment on and off court, and get used to everything.

 

 

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Angelique Kerber Wins US Open for Second Major Title of the Year

Angelique Kerber

Angelique Kerber

(September 10, 2016) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – New world No. 1 as of Monday, second seed Angelique Kerber rallied from a break down in the third set to beat first-time major finalist 10th seed Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 to win her first US Open title and second major all in the same year.

“All the dreams came true this year,” Kerber said on court. “I’m just trying to enjoy every moment on court and also off court. It’s just incredible.”

Kerber is fourth player in Open Era to reach three major finals in the same year they reached their first, after Evonne Goolagong Cawley (1971), Steffi Graf (1987) and  Martina Hingis (1997).

Kerber opened the match with a break. She held off 3 break points in her first two serving games. The German broke the Czech again to close the set 6-3.

Both women held firm in the first six games of the second set. Pliskova finally took advantage of a break point in the seventh game to go up 4-3. It was her fifth break point of the match.

Errors crept into Kerber’s game in the second set as well as missing first serves. Pliskova was more agressive hitting 17 winners and winning 30 of 35 first-serve points to win the second set 6-4.

The Czech continued her hard hitting and shot making in the third, breaking Kerber in the third game to go up 2-1, then 3-1. More errors crept into the Geman’s game and she was visibly frustrated.

Kerber held for 2-3 and broke the Czech to even the sat at 3-3. Kerber stepped up her game, returing to counterpunching form from earlier in the match minimizing errors.
Kerber said that the key shot in the match came at 3-3, 30-all.

“I think this shot was the key for the third set, she said. “When I was going down the line I knew, Okay, now I have to risk a little bit, because this is the only chance I can get. I took it, so I think this was really the shot of the match from my serve.

“Yeah, when I won the point I knew, Okay, I have the feeling. Now just to go for it and making the mistakes I make like a lot of times before. I was not thinking too much that this is a final. I was just trying to take the challenge, third set, it’s 3-All, and just go for it.”

Serving at 4-5, 30-40 Pliskova sailed a forehand wide and it was game, set and match Kerber.

“It’s just amazing. I won my second Grand Slam in one year. It’s the best year in my career,” said Kerber on court during the trophy presentation. “It means a lot to me. When I was a kid I was always dreaming to one day be the No. 1 player in the world, to win Grand Slams. And today is the day. All the dreams came true this year.”

For the first-time major finalist, Pliskova became the first Czech to reach the US Open final since Helena Sukova in 1993.
“I found that I can play my tennis on the biggest stage against the best players,” said Pliskova. “I knew that it was going to be difficult to play her. I was just happy to make it to a third set. Even though I didn’t win, I’m proud of myself. Hopefully, there will be many more finals to come.”

“After Australia I had a little bit up and downs,” Kerber said, “but also because a lot of things happen and change. I think I had to take the time to get used to everything.

“In Paris I had so much pressure on my shoulder. I couldn’t deal this with me. After Paris I was sitting down at home and I told myself, Okay, just go for it and just practicing hard again. You did it once in Australia. You have still two Grand Slams in front of you.

“That was actually trying to enjoying the tennis on court again and not, yeah, making too many things too complicated. Just trying to relax, enjoy every moment on and off court, and get used to everything.”

For the 28-year-old German, it’s her 10th career title. She becomes the first German player to win the US Open since Steffi Graf did it in 1996.

She will be the oldest first-time No. 1 in the Open Era.

Karolina Pliskova

Karolina Pliskova

The 24-year-old Pliskova who beat Venus and Serena Williams en route to the finals,  will move up to No. 6 in the world.

“I think I did a great job,” Pliskova said to media. “It was my first final. Still was close to winning. I mean, she has more experience to play those finals than me so probably decided in this match.

“I’m so proud of myself. If someone would tell me I’m going to play finals in this tournament before two weeks I would take it. Not sadness.”

“I beat very good players. To win in Cincinnati was — I was just so happy to get the biggest title of my career. I was thinking, Okay, now I can even lose in first or second round of US Open, but I was able to take the game from Cincinnati here, which is never easy after you win a tournament, to play the same game in other tournaments.

“o I was just happy that I made it here even far. It was always my goal, like I said, to pass the third round, and I made it to the final. I’m still proud of myself. I’m not gonna think about losing, because could be other way, as well. I could be the winner today. Was about few points. I will just take positive from this tournament and still try to move forward.”

Much more to follow…..

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