July 24, 2016

Serena Williams Wins Wimbledon Title, Tying Steffi Graf with 22 Major Titles

(July 9, 2016) Serena Williams defeated Angelique Kerber 7-5, 6-3 to win her seventh Wimbledon title and her 22nd major to equal the Open Era record of Steffi Graf on Saturday. This match was a rematch of the Australian Open final back in January, this time, Williams won the match.

Margaret court, holder of 24 majors is the all-time leader, as most of her titles came before Open Era began in 1968.

With the win the 34-year-old Williams is the oldest woman to win a major.

Williams reached 21 majors at last year’s Wimbledon. She lost in the semis of the U.S. Open, having won the first three majors of 2015. She fell in the finals of of the first two majors of 2016, the Australian Open and Roland Garros.

The world No. 1 dominated the match with her serving, hitting 13 aces, winning 38 out of 43 points on her first serve. She hit a total of 39 winners (including the aces) with 24 unforced errors, winning a total of 72 points. She was 2 for 6 on break point chances. The American broke the German’s serve in the 12th game of the first set and the eighth game of the second set.

“You know I love playing her,” Williams said during the trophy presentation. “She brings out the best tennis out of me. And off the court she is a great person.”

“It’s been incredibly difficult not to think about (winning major No. 22). I’ve had two tries this year and lost to two incredibly difficult opponents, one is Angelique actually.”

“It makes the victory even sweeter to know how hard I had to work for it.”

“It was really super competitive,” Williams said later on ESPN. “I think the difference was I knew I needed to hold serve today because I really wasn’t feeling her serve well. The conditions were windy, so I absolutely had to hold serve.”

“This court definitely feels like home. In fact I have a match later in doubles!”

It was a double win for Serena as she and her sister Venus went on to win their 14 major doubles title together as well as their sixth Wimbledon title beating fifth seeds Timea Babos of Hungary and Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan 6-3, 6-4. the Williams sisters are now a perfect 14-0 in major doubles finals as a duo

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Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber to Face-Off for Wimbledon Title

(July 7, 2016) It will be a rematch of the Australian Open final in the Wimbledon Ladies’ final on Saturday, as 21-time major champion, No. 1 Serena Williams will take on reigning Australian Open winner No. 4 seed Angelique Kerber. Kerber beat Williams for her first major in Melbourne.

Serena Williams took less than an hour to dismiss 50th-ranked Elena Vesnina 6-2, 6-0 to move into the final. Kerber prevented an all-Williams final beating Venus Williams 6-4, 6-4. Serena will be attempting to win her 22nd major, which would equal the Open Era record set by Steffi Graf.

Serena has now reached the finals of the first three majors of 2016 but is 0-2 in finals. “For anyone else in this whole planet, it would be a wonderful accomplishment,” Serena said in reaction to this fact. “For me, it’s about, obviously, holding the trophy and winning, which would make it a better accomplishment for me. For me, it’s not enough. But I think that’s what makes me different. That’s what makes me Serena.”

Serena nailed 11 aces in the 48-minute match, 28 winners and just seven unforced errors.

“I couldn’t do anything today,” Vesnina said. I felt I had no chance today.

Vesnina went 0-2 against Serena on Thursday. She lost in doubles to the Williams sisters with her partner Ekaterina Makarova 7-6(1), 4-6, 6-2.

Angelique Kerber goes into the final having not lost a set in the tournament.

“It’s just amazing to beat Venus in the semis. It’s always a tough match against her,” Kerber said after the match. “I’m just so happy about my game and to make my first final at Wimbledon.”

Serena Williams holds a 5-2 record against Kerber.

Venus’ Wimbledon is not over, the Williams sisters are in the doubles semifinals and have won five Wimbledon doubles title together, 13 total major doubles titles as a team.

More to follow…

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Serena and Venus Williams Reach Wimbledon Semifinals

(July 5, 2016) Serena and Venus Williams could be on a path to another family final. No. 1 Serena Williams had a 6-4, 6-4 win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, while sister Venus joined select company beating 96th-ranked Yaroslava Shvedova 7-6(5), 6-2 to reach the semifinals at 36-years-old. Venus joins Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King as the only players to reach a major semifinal after turning 36.

 

“The good part is I always felt like I had the game,” said the eighth seeded Venus after the match. “This is always a plus, when you know you have the game. So you just have to keep working until things fall into place.”

 

This is the first time since 2009, that both sisters have reached the semifinals of Wimbledon in the same year.  Both went on to reach the final where Serena won.

 

“I love playing the game, I always have,” Venus said. “When you’re winning matches it makes it that much sweeter. I can’t lie about that.”

 

“The wins and the losses they all lead to these big moments,” Venus said to media. “You can’t always have this big moment. If you’re Serena Williams, I guess that happens a lot. As Venus Williams, this is an awesome day.”

Venus will take on Australian Open champion and No. 4 seed Angelique Kerber who beat No. 5 Simona Halep 7-5, 7-6 (2). Kerber has a 3-2 career edge in head-to-head meetings against Venus.

 

Serena will play 50th-ranked Elena Vesnina who beat Dominika Cibulkova 6-2, 6-2. Vesnina’s victory makes her the first unseeded woman in the final four of Wimbledon since 2010.

“It would be great,” Serena said about the chance to play her sister in the final on Saturday. “Obviously, she’s such a tough opponent. But I want her to win so bad – obviously not in the final if I’m there. But, if I’m not there, I desperately want her to win.”

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Roland Garros – Top Seeds Williams and Djokovic Dominate in Opening Wins; Murray Survives in Five

Serena Williams

Serena Williams

(May 24, 2016) Top seeds Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic had easy opening victories at Roland Garros on Tuesday. Williams, the defending champion going for her fourth Paris title destroyed No. 77 Magdalena Rybarikova 6-2, 6-0 in 42 minutes. The 21-time major champion hit 25 winners and made only five unforced errrors.

Sister Venus also advanced in straight sets. The ninth seed defeated No. 82 Anett Kontaveit 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4).

Djokovic is seeking to win his first French Open title to complete a career Grand Slam. The Serb defeated No. 95 Yen-hsun Lu of Taiwan 6-4, 6-1, 6-1. Also reaching the second round easily was nine-time champion Rafael Nadal who blasted past Sam Groth 6-1, 6-1, 6-1.

No. 2 seed completed his first round match which was held over due to darkness, surviving qualifier and former Top 10 player 37-year-old Radek Stepanek 3-6, 3-6, 6-0, 6-3, 7-5.

“It’s unbelievable what he’s doing,” said Murray in an on-court interview. “He had an extremely bad injury last year and was our for eight or nine months. At 37 years old and coming out and fighting like that, playing that way, is unbelievable. I don’t expect to be doing that myself at that age! I’m just glad I managed to get through.”
Australian Open champion and third seed Angelique Kerber was the biggest upset on the day. The German suffering from a left shoulder injury lost to No. 58 Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands. 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. Bertens is fresh off winning a title over the weekend in Nürnberg, where she was a qualifier.

Another major surprise on the women’s side saw No. 5 Victoria Azarenka lose to No. 118-ranked Karin Knapp when she was forced to retire with a knee injury down 6-3, 6-7(6), 4-0.

2010 French Open champion, unseeded Francesca Schiavone lost to Kristina Mladenovic 6-2, 6-4. It was announced on court that Schiavone was retiring, but she set the record straight during her news conference.

“Roland Garros announced my retirement but I didn’t.”

“So you can stand up all of you and go back to work in the office because I didn’t say that. I will announce when I will want to stop.”

 

More to follow…

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Rafael Nadal Wins 9th Barcelona Crown to Equal Guillermo Vilas’ Clay Court Titles Record at 49

(April 24, 2016) Rafael Nadal beat two-time defending champion Kei Nishikori 6-4, 7-5 to win the Barcelona Open for the ninth time on Sunday. The Spaniard has now equaled Guillermo Vilas record of 49 career clay court crowns.

It’s two straight weeks of titles for the 14-time major champion, who claimed his 69th career tournament victory.

Nadal now has won nine titles at three different tournaments – Barcelona, Monte-Carlo and Roland Garros.

“I was playing against the No. 6 player in the world, and if you don’t play at your best you aren’t going to win,” Nadal said after the match.

“I served well and that allowed me to play better. In the second set I missed several chances, and at the end it was very close, but I stayed mentally strong.”

“It was a very close match, Nadal said. “There were a lot of chances for both of us but I think I have been solid.
“When you play against players with this very, very high level, the match is often decided by a few moments. So I feel happy that I handled all these important moments well mentally.
“I have been working so hard to enjoy moments like this. The fact that I’m playing at home is always even more special. I’m very happy and I feel lucky to enjoy this again.”

Kei Nishikori

“It’s a great start to the clay court season,” Nishikori said. Even though I lost today I gained some confidence.
“He’s playing another good level of tennis. But also I gave away too many opportunities. And if I could get a couple more points on those important points, maybe the game changes a little bit.
He also gives me a lot of pressure. Every point, he gets every ball, so it’s not easy to win points against him.”

 

Angelique Kerber defended her title in Stuttgart, beating German countrywoman, qualifier Laura Siegemund 6-4, 6-0. The Australian Open champion battled back from 0-3 in the first set to win 12 out of the next 13 games. For Kerber this was her ninth career title.

 

It was a career week for the 71st ranked Siegemund, who will see her ranking move to 42 in the world as of Monday. The 28-year-old upset two Top Ten players to reach the final – No. 2 Agnieszka Radwanska and No. 6 Simona Halep.

Unseeded Cagla Buyukakcay, ranked 118 in the world had a career week in her hometown as she won the TEP BNP Paribas Istanbul Cup over No.5 seed Danka Kovinic, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.

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Victoria Azarenka to Play Svetlana Kuznetsova in Miami Open Final

(March 31, 2016) A pair of former Miami Open winners and two-time major champions have reached the women’s final. Svetlana Kuznetsova, a 2006 winner of the Miami Open held off Switzerland’s Timea Bacsinszky 7-5, 6-3. 2009 and 2011 Key Biscayne winner, 13th seed Victoria Azarenka gained a little revenge from the Australian Open by beating No. 2 Angelique Kerber. Kerber beat Azarenka in the quarterfinals of Melbourne and went on to beat Serena Williams in the final to capture her first major title.

Kuznetsova knocked out eight-time champion Serena Williams in the fourth round of Miami and survived four straight three-set wins to reach the semifinal.

The 30-year-old Russian at No. 19 in the world has become the lowest ranked finalist since 2005, when No. 38 Kim Clijsters won the Miami title.

Should Kuznetsova win the title, she would return to the top ten. She talked about her tournament so far.

“I just take match by match and I just go,” she said. “It’s one more match. I’ll play with another amazing opponent. I had great wins this week, but one match, it’s a lot. It’s almost like everything. It’s great, you know.

“I start really well playing in Sydney, and then Australian Open didn’t happen to me to play good there. But I still felt I was in good level. Then I kind of mess up with Fed Cup and all that results. It was not good for me.

“I didn’t feel going in that good shape going to the U.S. swing. I was not feeling confident at all. After I had a loss in Indian Wells I tried to work a lot and training every morning a lot just to get confidence back, get my fitness.

“I’m doing better. I’m appreciate, I am blessed I have my body to play so many years and to win against good players, top players. It’s great when things come together. Either way, it’s not the end of the world, but it’s a great week. I’m really pleased and happy the way I fight through all these tournaments and weeks and players.”

On-court after the match, the former French Open and U.S. Open champion said she was happy wrapping up the match in straight sets.

“I am happy that I could hang in there and never let my hands down,” said Kuznetsova.

“I’m happy I’m still able to play against the best in the world. I was praying to finish it in two sets so I would have a little more time to rest.”

 

Victoria Azarenka

Victoria Azarenka

Azarenka advanced during the Thursday night session, improving her record this year to 21-1, not dropping a set during the tournament. Should the Belarusian win, she’d become only the third woman player to win the Indian Wells – Miami double in the same year.

Both Azarenka and Kerber produced hard-hitting shots with very exciting rallies. Azarenka had her serve broken, serving for the match at 5-4 in the second set but won the next two games to close it.

Azarenka broke the German’s serve seven time during the match, hitting 29 winners and only making 16 unforced errors.

“Vika, she is doing amazing,” Kuznetsova said about potentially playing her in the final. “She is extremely prepared. Playing really confident taking all her chances.”

Azarenka is 4-4 against Kuznetsova in head-to-head competition. The last time they faced each other was in the quarterfinals of the 2013 Australian Open. Azarenka won the match and went on to win her second straight Melbourne crown.

Kei Nishikori photo courtesy of MiamiTennisNews.com

Kei Nishikori photo courtesy of MiamiTennisNews.com

On the men’s side of the draw, No. 6 Kei Nishikori survived five match points to beat No. 16 Gael Monfils 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3) to advance to the semifinals on Thursday. He’ll face No. 24 seed Nick Kyrgios who surprised No. 12 Milos Raonic 6-4, 7-6(4).

Nishikori was down 4-5, 0-40 before fighting off the Frenchman.

“I was up a break and I had many chances to break again, you know, second time,” said the top player from Japan.

“You know, I just try to focus when I lost the game for 4-All. Actually, I knew something like that was going to be happen, so I was kind of ready and like 50/50.

“But when I was down 4-5, Love-40, I thought, All right, that’s it. Especially the last couple games I wasn’t serving well, so that was — I thought it’s going to be tough to come back. I tried to play one point at time. Yeah, I thought I have to hit the ball to win the points, and I did.

“The tiebreak I was try to be focus again. I saw he was down a little bit, so try to be focus again. Yeah, did pretty good in tiebreak.”

“Then I think at 3-4 I really raise my level,” Monfils said. “I think I start to be very aggressive, start to go for it, and still had the strong feeling that I can make it.

“At the end, I think I push very hard. Then definitely I have opportunity it close it out, but actually Kei played strong. He fought well.

“Actually, I think in the breaker he was just better than me.”

Kyrgios talked about playing Nishikori next: “Obviously Kei is one of the greatest players in the world at the moment. He has an unbelievable return of serve, moves unbelievably fast, hits big from the baseline, doesn’t have many weaknesses.

“When I played him in Shanghai I didn’t really do too much wrong. I played a great match the whole time and he just played a really well in the big moments. I definitely had chances.

“I know what my game plan is going to be. It’s going to be a tough match, but I’m looking forward to it. He’s a great guy.”

For his efforts in Miami, the young Australian’s ranking will move into the top 20.

MIAMI OPEN RESULTS – MARCH 31, 2016
Women’s Singles – Semifinals
[13] V. Azarenka (BLR) d [2] A. Kerber (GER) 62 75
[15] S. Kuznetsova (RUS) d [19] T. Bacsinszky (SUI) 75 63

Men’s Singles – Quarterfinals
[6] K. Nishikori (JPN) d [16] G. Monfils (FRA) 46 63 76(3) – saved 5 m.p.
[24] N. Kyrgios (AUS) d [12] M. Raonic (CAN) 64 76(4)

Men’s Doubles – Semifinals
[5] P. Herbert (FRA) / N. Mahut (FRA) d [4] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) 63 63
R. Klaasen (RSA) / R. Ram (USA) d T. Huey (PHI) / M. Mirnyi (BLR) 64 62

ORDER OF PLAY – FRIDAY, APRIL 01, 2016
STADIUM start 1:00 pm
ATP – [1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs [15] D. Goffin (BEL)
WTA – M. Gasparyan (RUS) / M. Niculescu (ROU) vs [4] T. Babos (HUN) / Y. Shvedova (KAZ)

7:00 pm
ATP – [24] N. Kyrgios (AUS) vs [6] K. Nishikori (JPN)
WTA – [3] B. Mattek-Sands (USA) / L. Safarova (CZE) vs [8] Y. Xu (CHN) / S. Zheng (CHN)

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Djokovic and Azarenka Two Wins Away From an Indian Wells – Miami Double

(March 30, 2016) No. 1 Novak Djokovic is a match closer to claiming his sixth Miami Open title and third in a row. The Serb, dealing with back spasms on Wednesday night stopped No. 7 seed Tomas Berdych 6-3, 6-3 to reach the semifinals. His opponent will be No. 15 David Goffin of Belgium. Goffin, reaching his second straight Masters 1000 semifinal rallied past Frenchman and No. 18 seed Gilles Simon 3-6, 6-2, 6-1.

Djokovic is now 26-1 on the year. He stand two wins away from pulling off a fourth career Indian Wells – Miami double.

David Goffin

David Goffin

“Yeah, the first set it was tough because it was a good set with a good level,” Goffin said. “Gilles was really solid on his baseline, but I didn’t serve really well in the first set. I didn’t have any free points with my serve, so it was tough.

“I had so many opportunities to come back in the set. I didn’t take, yeah, any occasions to come back. I knew that the level was there and I had to keep going like this, just to stay more focus on some shots just to finish the points, some volleys, some smash, maybe some easy forehands. Maybe just be more precise, because I knew that I was feeling really good.

“Then game after game I was feeling much better. The serve was there in the third set. Yeah, I think with the serve it was the key to win the third.”

Goffin talked about his good run over the past few weeks: “I had a good level all this year during practice. I just had to reproduce my level during a match.

“I think match after match — you know, the first one against Frances Tiafoe in Indian Wells was not the best, but I won that one. Match after match was feeling much better.

“After the Davis Cup of course when I won against Marin Cilic, then match after match I was feeling much better. I won many matches in Indian Wells and here in Miami continued to win, so, yeah, I think the level is here. I have just to keep going like this. Stay aggressive.

“I worked a lot when I practiced with my coach, my two coaches. I think it’s already pays off.”

As for playing Djokovic in semifinals: “I have nothing to lose,” Goffin said. He won almost everything this year. He’s playing unbelievable tennis at the moment. But I played a great match against him last year in Cincinnati, and it could be interesting to watch the match.”

Victoria Azarenka

Victoria Azarenka

Victoria Azarenka stands two wins away from achieving the rare Indian Wells- Miami double. The 13th seed and two-time major winner defeated Britain’s Johanna Konta 6-4, 6-2 to reach the semifinals of the Miami Open on Wednesday.

Only two women have won Indian Wells and Miami in the same year and they are Kim Clijsters in 2005 and Steffi Graf in 1994 and 1996.

“If I’m able to make it, it’s great,” Azarenka said after the match. “It seems so close, but it’s really far. I want to stay in the present. I want to continue to fight and keep getting better.”

“Great player,” Azarenka said of Konta. “I was very impressed with her improvement taking from last year and seeing how well she’s handling the pressure and going in big stages and playing really well. That’s impressive. I’m sure we’re going to see a lot more of her in the future.

“I think especially for England not having women player stand out, she’s going to be the one, I think.”

I think it’s exciting to watch her journey and see happens. She’s definitely playing top 10 level right now.”

The Belarusian who has struggled with injuries the last few years said that she always believed in herself but she still hasn’t reached her peak. “I never doubt my abilities,” said the 2009 and 2011 Miami Open winner. “What came to my mind is definitely after being for so long injured, the doubt was to get healthy. So always been a little bit on my mind.

“But I still feel that I’m far from my best, and that’s what’s really exciting for me, to be motivated, to keep improving. Everybody has doubts. We’re human beings. I always trust my ability and I believe in myself.”

Azarenka will face-off against No. 2 seed Angelique Kerber who defeated No. 22 Madison Keys 6-3, 6-2 in the evening session.

For the reigning Australian Open champion, Kerber this will be her first semifinal in Miami.

Kerber dominated her American opponent, Keys made 39 unforced errors during the match. Kerber rushed need just a little over an hour to complete the victory.

“It’s nice to play a match like this,” Kerber said. “I was feeling good. Madison is always a tough opponent. I know this because we had a lot of tough battles in the past.

“I knew that I must play very good to beat her because she played very well here in the last few matches. So it’s good. It’s good.”

She continued: “I was really trying to stay focus(ed) and stay really concentrate point by point and actually trying to really only focusing on points, on point by point.

“Because I know the tennis game, and sometimes one ball can change and turn around the match. That was my goal: to be focus(ed) and playing my game until the last point.”

Kerber notched her first win over Azarenka in the most recent quarterfinals of the Australian Open. Coming into that match, the Belarusian had a 6-0 advantage over the German.

“I went out there and trying to be really aggressive from the first point, trying to really believe in myself, because until this time I never won the match against her,” Kerber said. “It was 0-6; now it’s 1-6. I will try to go out there again like in Australia and try to believe in my game and myself and, yeah, trying to challenge her.

“It will be not easy. It will be tough match. But this is for what I am practicing, for the big matches out there, to really show what, yeah, we can do and playing the best tennis.

“So I’m really looking forward to play against her again this year.”

As for playing Azarenka in the next round, Kerber said: “She had a great start of the year, of course. She is like, yeah, on fire I think right now. I will just trying to play my game go out and try to beat her. I mean, we played two times already this year and that’s the third time.

“Yeah, I will try to enjoy it. I know that I must play really my best tennis to beat her because she won Indian Wells; she’s here now in the semis.

“Yeah, I will try to take this challenge against her.”

The other semifinal which will take place on Thursday will pit No. 15 Svetlana Kuznetsova, who defeated No. 1 Serena Williams in the third round, against No. 19 seed Timea Bacsinszky who knocked out two straight top 5 seeds to reach the final four.

 

 

MIAMI OPEN PRESENTED BY ITAU – MIAMI, UNITED STATES
21 MARCH – 3 APRIL, 2016

RESULTS – MARCH 30, 2016
Women’s Singles – Quarterfinals
[2] A. Kerber (GER) d [22] M. Keys (USA) 63 62
[13] V. Azarenka (BLR) d [24] J. Konta (GBR) 64 62

Women’s Doubles – Quarterfinals
[3] B. Mattek-Sands (USA) / L. Safarova (CZE) d [5] A. Hlavackova (CZE) / L. Hradecka (CZE) 75 63
[4] T. Babos (HUN) / Y. Shvedova (KAZ) d K. Bondarenko (UKR) / O. Savchuk (UKR) 62 64
[8] Y. Xu (CHN) / S. Zheng (CHN) d E. Makarova (RUS) / B. Strycova (CZE) 62 62

Men’s Singles – Quarterfinals
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) d [7] T. Berdych (CZE) 63 63
[15] D. Goffin (BEL) d [18] G. Simon (FRA) 36 62 61

Doubles – Quarterfinals
[4] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) d [WC] O. Jasika (AUS) / J. Smith (AUS) 76(5) 63
[5] P. Herbert (FRA) / N. Mahut (FRA) d J. Chardy (FRA) / F. Martin (FRA) 67(5) 76(5) 10-7
R. Klaasen (RSA) / R. Ram (USA) d P. Petzschner (GER) / A. Peya (AUT) 76(5) 57 10-7
T. Huey (PHI) / M. Mirnyi (BLR) d J. Isner (USA) / N. Monroe (USA) 61 75

 

ORDER OF PLAY – THURSDAY, MARCH 31, 2016
STADIUM start 1:00 pm
WTA – [15] S. Kuznetsova (RUS) vs [19] T. Bacsinszky (SUI)

Not Before 3:00 pm
ATP – [6] K. Nishikori (JPN) vs [16] G. Monfils (FRA)

7:00 pm
ATP – [12] M. Raonic (CAN) vs [24] N. Kyrgios (AUS)

Not Before 9:00 pm
WTA – [13] V. Azarenka (BLR) vs [2] A. Kerber (GER)

GRANDSTAND start 1:00 pm
ATP – [5] P. Herbert (FRA) / N. Mahut (FRA) vs [4] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA)

Not Before 5:00 pm
ATP – R. Klaasen (RSA) / R. Ram (USA) vs T. Huey (PHI) / M. Mirnyi (BLR)

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Denisa Allertova Beats Second Seed Angelique Kerber in Second Round of BNP Paribas Open

 

(March 12, 2016) INDIAN WELLS, California – Angelique Kerber became another women’s seed casualty on Saturday at the BNP Paribas open. No. 64 Denisa Allertova surprised the reigning Australian Open champion 7-5, 7-5 on Stadium 1 to open the day session.

 

The Czech is making her main draw debut in Indian Wells, she lost in last year’s qualifying tournament.

The 23–year-old from Prague is now 2-1 against Top five opponents. She beat No. 2 Simona Halep at the 2015 Guangzhou and lost to No. 5 Wozniacki at Wimbledon last year.

Kerber was up a break in the first and was serving for the second set at 5-4.

Kerber admitted that she was not 100% physically.

“Actually, she was playing not bad today,” Kerber said. “I was trying to find my rhythm and trying to play my game, but, yeah, it was not my day.

“Yeah, my leg was bothering me in the last few days already, so I was taping it and I was trying it. It will be helping a little bit, but at the end the match I was feeling it a little bit more.

“Yeah, but it’s not the excuse that’s why I lost the match”

 

Kerber is now 1-3 since winning the Australian Open title in January.

Is there more pressure on Kerber since she now a major champion?

“Of course the pressure is much different than it was like few months ago. It’s a completely new situation for me, that’s right. But, yeah, I’m trying to get used to it, she said.

“It’s much more different because I have much more things to do off court. I’m here one week and, yeah, it was a busy week for me.

“But still, I mean, I’m trying — I have my team and I’m trying to go out there, work my tennis, improve it.

“Yeah, and like I said, it’s a completely new situation. I will try to get used to it and, yeah, and let’s see. I mean, yeah, I’m working hard still and my game will not change. I mean, my game is like it is.

“I try to improve like few more things into it, but at the end I will still play like I was playing the last years.”

“That’s the one thing I was dreaming my whole career and I reached it,” the German continued. “I won a Grand Slam. Of course still the year, it’s long and there are so many tournaments. In tennis you have every week the chance to get a new challenge. If you lose first round or like early in the tournament, you have the chance next week to make it better.

“But, no, I mean, it’s a new situation and new experience. So I think it will be also like making me more comfortable in the next few months making me actually stronger.”

.Kerber joins the list of upsets on the women’s side. So far  nine women’s seeds have fallen in Indian Wells.

Allertova will face the 25th seed Johanna Konta in the third round.

 

More to follow…

 

Karen Pestaina is covering the BNP Paribas Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow updates on twitter at @TennisNewsTPN.

 

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Angelique Kerber Upsets Serena Williams to Win Australian Open Title

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Angelique Kerber Upsets Serena Williams to Win Australian Open Title

Kerber

(January 30, 2016) A point away from being knocked out in the first round 13 days ago, No. 7 seed Angelique Kerber came back to win her match against  Misaki Doi and on Saturday surprised No. 1 seed and six-time champion Serena Williams 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 to claim her first major title, the 2016 Australian Open.

The last Australian Open Champion to save a match point on the way to the title was 2014 champion Li Na.

Williams came into the final as an overwhelming favorite to win her 22nd major and equal Steffi Graf for the most in the Open Era. Williams had not lost an Australian final before Saturday.

Conversely, with the victory, Kerber became the first German to win a major since Graf. Coming into Melbourne, Kerber was the only member of the Top Ten yet to reach a major final. The win gave Kerber her first win over a No. 1 player. She was 0-8 previously.

Kerber is the first lefthander to win the Australina Open since Monica Seles in 1996.

“I had goosebumps. My whole life I’ve worked hard. To say ‘I am a Grand Slam champion’ is crazy,” Kerber said during the trophy ceremony. “My dream has come true tonight”

A gracious Williams crossed over the net to congratulate Kerber at the end of the match, giving her a big hug. “Congratulations Angie,” Williams said. “You were the best player this tournament. I really hope you enjoy this moment. You truly deserve it.”

Kerber was consistent through the match hitting 25 winners to 13 errors. She made Williams run from corner to corner. Williams had 46 errors and 47 winners but her powerful serve was broken five times by the 28-year-old. This was only Kerber’s second victory over Williams, with the first one coming in Cincinnati in 2012. Williams leads the head-to-head record at 5-2.

“I was actually really happy for her,” Williams said in her post-match news conference. “She’s been around a really long time. We’ve had a number of matches. I’ve beaten her a lot.

“She played so well today. She had an attitude that I think a lot of people can learn from: just to always stay positive and to never give up.

“I was really inspired by that. So, honestly, she’s a really good girl. If I couldn’t win, I’m happy she did.”

“I was missing a lot off the ground, coming to the net,” said the 34-year-old. “She kept hitting some great shots actually every time I came in. I think I kept picking the wrong shots coming into it.

“But, honestly, it’s something to learn from, just to try to get better.”

“I had really crazy two weeks,” kerber said to media. “I mean, with the first round where I was match point down, and then with the win over (Victoria) Azarenka in the quarters. I never beat her.

“And now to play against Serena, what was a really honor to play against her in a Grand Slam final. It was my first final. You know, I was really looking forward. I was really excited.

“I knew before that I beat her once in Cincinnati, that I really must go out there to try to beat her again because she will not give it to me. It was a really great match from both of us.

“Yeah, really it’s a special moment for me.”

 

“I was trying to stay relaxed until the last point,” Kerber said. “The first set I played very well. The second set she was serving much better. The third set every game was really close.

“I mean, the game to 3-2, it was like 10 minutes, I think. You know, I was trying really to focusing on myself because when I was up 5-2, I was sure the match is not over yet, you know.

“Then like 5-3, 5-4, and she was serving, so I was just telling myself, Okay, you breaked her before few times, so you can do it again. Just play point by point.

“When I hit the match point, I was just try to hoping to return the ball over the net. Just hoping, yeah, that I can make the ball and just going for it if I have the chance.

“Yeah, when the ball was out from her, I was just, yeah, so happy. I mean, it’s amazing.”

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Kerber Surprises Azarenka to Reach Australian Open Semifinals; In Melbourne Debut Konta Makes Final Four

Kerber fistpump-001

(January 26, 2016) No. 7 seed Angelique Kerber rallied from 2-5 down in the second set to close out No. 14 seed and two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 7-5 to reach her first semifinal in Melbourne. It was the German’s first-ever victory against the Belarusian, to she had lost to in six previous attempts.

“I won against her for the first time. Does feel really good,” Kerber said. “Before I went on court also yesterday I was practicing in my practice to be more aggressive.

“I played very well. I mean, I was playing my game from the first point. Also when I was down 2-5, I was actually, yeah, playing more aggressive on this time. I think that was the key.

“I served very well and was moving good. I think the key from this match was that I was playing and I won the match. She doesn’t lose it; I actually won it.”

Kerber had jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first set. Azarenka regained one of the breaks to get to 3-4 but failed to capitalize on break points to draw even in the eighth game.

“I did put myself in the situations to be able to turn the match around,” said Azarenka. “I just didn’t commit enough, and that’s on me.”

“When I was 4-0 up in the first set, my nerves came a little bit,” Kerber explained. “I was feeling it. It was close that it was 4-4. I was able to do the 5-3 in the first set, so that was a really important moment in the first set.

“Then I was just trying, you know, to focus on my game, to be aggressive, to be the player who makes the winners and who is going for it. I was not thinking too much about the score, I was just trying to focusing more to play a good match, to play my game like I played in the practice. That was the whole time until the last point in my mind.”

Azarenka hit 33 unforced errors in the match while Kerber broke Azarenka’s serve six times.

“I think I was a little bit too flat today,” said the former No. 1. “I obviously didn’t start great. For me personally, it was a little bit 10% not enough of everything.

“My footwork didn’t have enough. My shots didn’t have enough. I felt I did a little bit too many unforced errors in the key moments. I created a lot of opportunities, but then I was not enough on my opportunities. I didn’t take them. I had plenty.

“You know, that’s not going to win matches in quarterfinals. You have to bring it, and I didn’t.”

Kerber will play Great Britain’s Johanna Konta in the semifinals. She beat Shuai Zhang 6-4, 6-1 in the later quarterfinal match.

“It doesn’t matter against who I’m playing in the semis,” Kerber said. “I mean, who is in the semis played very good four matches actually, or five matches. I think I will just try to focusing on my game, as well. I mean, I will try to not thinking against who I’m playing. I will just try to focusing like today, to be aggressive, more focusing on my game, and then let’s see how far I can get here.”

“I’m in the right direction,” Azarenka said. “I just need to keep going that way and work harder, be as professional as I am. I don’t feel that I’ve done anything wrong in my preparation. It’s just today I didn’t push myself enough.”

Konta’s victory makes her the first British woman to reach the final four of a major since 1984. Konta, who is making her debut in the main draw in Melbourne will see her ranking move into the Top 30. She’ll be the first British woman in the Top 30 since Laura Robson in July 2013. A year ago the Sydney-born Brit was 144th in the world.

She upset No. 8 Venus Williams in the first round and knocked out former Australian Open semifinalist 21st seed Ekaterina Makarova in the round of 16.

Konta stopped a seven-match win streak of Zhang, going back to the beginning of the qualifying tournament. Zhang had not won a match at a major coming into the Australian Open, she’s now 4-14.

“It will be my first match against her,” Konta said of her semifinal match-up against Kerber. “She’s top 10. She’s an incredibly decorated and successful competitor and player. I’m just going to go out there and bring to the court what I can.”

“I mean, whether you’re the favorite or the underdog, I think that’s very much a circumstantial thing outside of the match that I’m playing. I don’t really think about that. It’s neither here nor there for me.

“For me it’s just about going into every match and being very clear on what I want to achieve out there and being very processor orientated and sticking to my beliefs and really the not judging myself on the results that come.

“Just really make sure that I give my best out there.”

The other semifinalists which were determined on Tuesday, are six-time champion Serena Williams and Agnieszka Radwanska.

The women’s semifinals will be played on Thursday.

On the men’s side of the draw – in addition to Great Britain having a women’s semifinalist, it also has a men’s. No. 2 seed Andy Murray stopped No. 8 seed David Ferrer 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-3 to reach his 6th final four in Melbourne in the last seven years.

Joining Murray in his semifinal will be Milos Raonic. Raonic became the first Canadian to get to this stage at the Australian Open. Raonic defeated No. 23 Gael Monfils 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Murray has a 3-3 record against Raonic.

 

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