Serena Williams Moves into Round of 16; Hopes for the Best for Capriati

Serena Day 2 Press Conference

(March 23, 2013) Five-time Sony Open champion and world No. 1 Serena Williams rebounded from a 0-3 start to beat Japan’s Ayumi Morita 6-3, 6-3 in 75 minutes on Saturday night on Stadium Court. Williams has now improved her record against Morita to 2-0.

Despite the score, Williams said it was a competitive match.

“I think she’s a pretty good player,“ said Williams. “I get a good impression from her.  I played her before.  She’s tough.  She plays well.  She stays really focused and she stays really pumped up, which I think is a really good feature.”

Serena Williams spoke about her sister Venus’ withdrawal from the tournament with an ailing lower back.

“I think it was the right decision for her, “ Serena Williams said.  I haven’t seen her really on the practice court as much because she wasn’t feeling great, so I think she’s taking everything a day at a time.”

Instead of taking a Rolls Royce to the match from her hotel on Saturday, due to the heavy traffic she rode a bicycle.

“The traffic was crazy and everyone was like, I have been here for an hour and I’m staying like eight minutes away, “ Williams said.  They were in the traffic for an hour.  I’m like, Okay, I’m not going to make my match if I don’t get there.

“So I asked for a golf cart, and the hotel didn’t have a golf cart.  Then they were like, we have a motor bike.  I’m like, I don’t do motor bikes.  They said, We have a bicycle.  I said, I really don’t do bicycles, but I will today.  It was fun.”

Williams was asked about her relationship with or if she has been in contact recently with tennis Hall of Famer Jennifer Capriati, who was recently charged with stalking and battery in association with an ex-boyfriend.

“No. Last I heard she was happy I lost in Australia. ” Williams said.  “So, yeah, I don’t really know.  Shocking, but yeah.  I have always been really nice to her, though, and I see her around in Palm Beach, and her mom.

“I always tell her mom to tell her I say hi.  I honestly hope the best for her.  I hope she’s okay.  She has a good heart.”

Back in January during the Australian Open Capriati tweeted: “Maybe tennis will become interesting again. I’ve seen enough Serena to last a life time..lol”

The win puts the American into the round of 16 where she’ll face Dominika Cibulkova for a spot in the quarterfinals. Cibulkova stopped Romina Oprandi 6-3, 6-4.

Williams is looking to be the sole record holder for the most singles titles in Sony Open history. She’s currently tied with Steffi Graf with five. Williams won the tournament from 2002-2004 and 2007-2008.


Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama


Serena Williams Moves Past Morita into Round of 16 at Australian Open



(January 19, 2013) Serena Williams won the last six games of her match to stop Japan’s Ayumi Morita 6-1, 6-3 in the third round of the Australian Open.


The veteran 31-year-old American, who is looking for a sixth title at Melbourne Park and a third consecutive major title, was 3-0 down in the second set  to No. 72 Morita after suffering her first service break of the tournament before surging to win six games in a row.


Williams almost set a record by hitting a 129 mph serve. Williams hit 9 aces and 29 winners.


“I tried to hit it really hard,” said Williams talking about her serve. “ I hit 207 (kph) the other day and I thought it was luck. But I did it again and I was like whew! I’m going to try to go for 210. We’ll see.


“I thought she played really well, “Williams said of her opponent. “She played at a level higher than I expected so it took me off guard.  She was just consistent, really consistent.”


Williams discussed how she fells going into the second week of the tournament:

“I feel today was actually a really good match for me.  I was involved in a lot of longer points, something I definitely wanted.

I feel good.  I hope I can keep this level up and go higher.


She’ll play her fourth-round match against Maria Kirilenko, who beat Yanina Wickmeyer earlier Saturday.


“My job is to do the best I can, “Williams said of the match-up.   “Maria is playing consistent tennis, especially the past 16, 18 months, she’s been so consistent.  So my goal is just to be really focused against such a player that’s doing so well.”


Serena Williams Answers Questions About Her Ankle with Easy Second Round Victory

Bank of the West semifinals (Serena Williams)

(January 17, 2013) Serena Williams answered the questions about her ankle with a 6-2, 6-0 rout of No. 112 Garbine Muguruza of Spain on Thursday at the Australian Open.The American rolled over on her right ankle falling on the court during her first round 6-0, 6-0 win over Edina Gallovits-Hall.


“I didn’t feel anything today,” in terms of the ankle injury said Williams.  “Obviously when you go out to play you’re heavy on adrenaline and you’re really pumped up.


“Usually I feel injuries after the match, but so far, so good.  I felt pretty, much better than I ever dreamed of expecting to feel.


“There was definitely a discomfort, said Williams about her practice on Wednesday.  “So I woke up this morning and I was really shocked that I didn’t have as much.


“So I think the hit helped, though, but it was definitely not comfortable at all.”


During Thursday’s match, Williams had another scare – she hit her mouth on a forehand follow through with her racquet during the first set.


“I don’t know why my racquet was even in my face, Williams said. “I mean, it’s like I have been playing tennis far too long to hit myself.  I think I was hitting a forehand, Williams said demonstrating her follow through.


“I’m like, come on.  Like, Serena, pull yourself together here.”


“One day I twist my ankle, one day I hit my mouth. I don’t know what’s going to happen on Saturday,” Serena said after the match.


The most competitive game of the match came in the first game in the second set which had 10 deuces over 17 minutes which ended in a break for Williams.


Serena was dominant on her serve hitting 10 aces winning 84 percent of her first serve points. She ended the match on a 128 mph ace.

Williams next plays Japan’s Ayumi Morita on Saturday for a place in the Round of 16.


Cincinnati Tournament Awards Main Draw Wildcards to McHale, Stephens; Qualies Wildcards to Oudin, Robson

Nine wildcards have been announced for the Western & Southern Open. Main draw wild cards have been awarded to Americans Christina McHale and Sloane Stephens as well as Japan’s Ayumi Morita.


Wildcards named for the qualifying tournament are Americans Madison Brengle, Jill Craybas, Alexa Glatch, Varavara Lepchenko and Melanie Oudin along with Great Britain’s Laura Robson.


“We’re excited to have the opportunity to invite these players to our already deep field,” said Tournament Director Vince Cicero. “To add players of this caliber to both the main draw and qualifying field reinforces the idea that there will great, competitive tennis every day during the tournament.”


The Western & Southern Open will be held August 13-21, 2011 at the Lindner Family Tennis Center, 20 miles north of Cincinnati in Mason, Ohio. For more information http://www.cincytennis.com/



Ivanovic Gets Revenge, Beats Morita

Ana Ivanovic

By Curt Janka

CARLSBAD, California – Ana Ivanovic had two of her wishes come true this week. She got to play and defeat the woman she lost to last week, Ayumi Morita. The revenge was even sweeter when Ivanovic came back from 0-5 in the second set to win in straights 6-1, 7-6(5)at the Mercury Insurance Open.

There was no doubt who was dictating play on court. Ivanovic crushed winners or sent errant shots sailing long. Morita did better to hang in the points in the second set, but couldn’t fend off the determined Serbian.

“It was a whole different match,” Ivanovic said when asked to compare today to last week’s loss. “It was a lot higher level than last week. I’m really happy how things are falling into place and I can see a lot of improvements already.” She explained that she spent the week here in San Diego practicing hitting the ball with more spin and getting her serve more consistent. The work seems to have paid off.

When Ivanovic trailed 0-5 in the second set, she called her coach, Nigel Sears to the court. He told her to just focus on a few things and whatever happens in this set, win or lose, to just hang in there. And he said he wouldn’t come back out until the third set.  “I almost laughed in his face,” Ivanovic said smiling “Of course this set is going to be finished soon, let’s talk about the next set.” The two laughed about it after she won the match in the second set tiebreaker.

Ivanovic will play Alberta Brianti in the third round.

Curt Janka is covering the Mercury Insurance Open in Carlsbad this week. for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his updates on twitter at @GVTennisNews. Follow his personal twitter @CurtJanka.

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Jovanovski, Azarenka, Botto and Morita Win Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Heart Awards

The ITF has announced the first four winners of the 2011 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Heart Award. Bojana Jovanovski of Serbia has been recognised in the World Group and World Group II first round category, while the Zone Group I winners are Belarus’s Victoria Azarenka, Peru’s Bianca Botto and Japan’s Ayumi Morita. The ties took place in February.

Jovanovski played a key role in Serbia’s narrow 3-2 victory over Canada in the World Group II first round in Novi Sad. In the absence of Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic, she stepped up to be the team’s No. 1 player and completed a dream weekend by winning all three of her rubbers without losing a set.


The teenager, competing in just her second Fed Cup tie, defeated former world No. 21 Aleksandra Wozniak and current Canadian No. 1 Rebecca Marino. She then partnered Aleksandra Krunic to win the deciding doubles against Sharon Fichman and Marie-Eve Pelletier.


Azarenka did not drop a set during the week-long Europe/Africa event. She cruised through the round-robin stage, with Belarus finishing first in Pool C, and went on to record an impressive triumph against fellow Top 10 player Agnieszka Radwanska. The result sealed a 2-0 victory for Belarus over Poland and a place in the World Group II play-offs.


Botto showed exceptional fight and spirit to help Peru finish second in Pool A at the Americas event. She won three out of four singles rubbers, with her only loss coming against the experienced Gisela Dulko, who went on to lead Argentina to victory in the play-off for promotion.


Morita remained unbeaten throughout the Asia/Oceania event as Japan topped Pool B and then beat Uzbekistan 3-0 to seal a World Group II play-offs spot. She did not drop a set in singles or doubles and captured the decisive point against Uzbekistan.


The four Heart Award recipients were decided by a public vote on FedCup.com and FedCup.com/es after ten players were shortlisted by a judging panel consisting of ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti, former players Arantxa Sanchez Vicario and Mercedes Paz, and four members of the international media. All the winners receive a Baccarat bracelet and a cheque to be donated to a chosen charity.


ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said: “There were some very strong candidates from the ties in February so I’d like to congratulate Bojana, Victoria, Bianca and Ayumi for coming out on top after the public vote. The Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Heart Award continues to provide recognition for the outstanding contributions made by players towards their team and the competition as a whole. I’m sure the four winners will now take great pride in making donations to the charity of their choice.”


The Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Heart Award is a joint initiative between the ITF and BNP Paribas. It aims to recognise players who have represented their country with distinction, shown exceptional courage on court and demonstrated outstanding commitment to their team. A total of six players will be recognised in 2011.