2014/04/20

After Ousting Top Seed Mattek-Sands Forced to Retire in match against Keys

 

Madison Keys

Madison Keys

By Dave Gertler

(January 8, 2014) SYDNEY – After surviving three rounds of qualifying, then claiming two big scalps in the first and second rounds of the Apia International, Bethanie Mattek-Sands retired hurt from her quarterfinal match against American compatriot Madison Keys on Wednesday night.

After being broken three games into the first set, Mattek-Sands called the trainer on for a medical time out, after which she was walking gingerly around the court and pulling the trigger early in points. After holding serve at 1-3 down, Mattek-Sands’ called the trainer out again, before deciding to retire from the match. After the match, Mattek-Sands made a statement to media that the injury is lower-back related, and that she expects to be ready for the Australian Open next week.

“I’ve been through my share of injuries.  You know, once you start compensating too much on the court other things start hurting.

“For me, I want to take care of my body.  It’s not even just about Australian Open, it’s about the rest of my year.

“My biggest goal is to stay healthy.  I’m a huge competitor and it always hurts to have to withdraw, but I wish the best to Madison.

“I just got to be careful,” Mattek-Sands said.  “I’ve probably injured every part of my body at some point in my career.  It’s just I have to be smart about it.  I want to keep playing throughout this whole year.”

“I’m taking a couple days completely off,” the American continues.  I’m going to take care (of) the body and get treatment from the trainers and go from there.

“Really looking forward to Melbourne.”

“Bethanie and I always have great matches,” Keys said.  “It’s always kind of not great when you can’t finish a whole match.

“I just hope she’s better for next week.”

For Keys, she advanced to the semifinals.

“First semifinal in a Premier event, so very excited about that,” Keys acknowledged.  “Definitely a confidence booster.  Just trying to keep building from this and, you know, hopefully keep doing well all year.”

“I’m not really focused on the rankings so much, Keys said in regard to 2014.  “More just focused on getting a good start to the year and kind of building up more match momentum just so that I feel more confident and better for the rest of the year.

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Top Seed Radwanska Falls to Mattek-Sands in Sydney

MattekSands
By Dave Gertler

(January 7, 2014) Women’s top seed Agnieszka Radwanska has fallen 5-7, 2-6, in her first round of competition at the Apia International in Sydney, to American qualifier, Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

For Mattek-Sands, it has been a Herculean effort over five days where she has had to battle through qualifying matches played on outside courts, before entering Ken Rosewall Arena yesterday where she stunned Canadian rising star Eugenie Bouchard, also in straight sets. Relishing her first career win over Radwanska, she said, “I’ve played her a couple times and I’ve never beaten her, so it’s probably one of the best wins of my career.”

Having just come into press from a post-match ice-bath, Mattek-Sands joked about how cold it was in the room. When asked whether four consecutive matches on hot days leading up to this second-round match were a help or a hindrance to her cause today, she said, “Coming to Australia, you expect the heat and the sun, you know, I was ready for it. I wanted to get a lot of matches. I think that’ll be number 6 today. I hadn’t played a match since last September, so this has worked out great for me.”

Radwanska appeared composed in post-match press. Rather than dwelling on her inability to control the match against world No.22 Mattek-Sands, she attributed the upset to the aggressive play of her opponent, saying, “Didn’t matter if it was my first serve, second serve or anything, she was really going 100% for every ball.”

For her part, the world No.5 feels that despite her loss today, she is hopeful of her chances at the Australian Open starting next week. “I think every week is a different story. You start over and over again. You’re not winning every week every match. I think just a couple of guys can do it.” When asked if she was bothered by a shoulder issue she had at the Hopman Cup, Radwanska said it hurt, “Maybe a little, but I have very good painkillers.”

In her next match, Mattek-Sands will face compatriot Madison Keys. Giving her insight on what we can expect from the quarterfinal, she said, “We’ve played a few times. I think we’re 2 2 right now. We were just talking in the locker room. She’s a great upcoming player. Plays aggressive shots, big serve. You know, we’ve had some battles in the past, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I know she’s been playing great and she did well here last year too. You kind of get comfortable with the tournament, but I think it’ll be a really good match.”

Mattek-Sands said she is enjoying her great run of results in Sydney, saying, “You know what?  I love playing tennis.  I feel that’s just where I’ve been blessed with talent.  It’s something I’ve done since I’ve been young.”

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney covering the Australian summer of tennis for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his Twitter updates from the tournament @TennisNewsTPN, follow him on his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days .

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Mattek-Sands Stops Bouchard, Jankovic Ousted in Sydney

Bethanie Mattek-Sands

Bethanie Mattek-Sands

By Dave Gertler

(January 6, 2014) SYDNEY – American veteran Bethanie Mattek-Sands is fast becoming one of the stories of the 2014 Apia International tennis tournaemnts. After demolishing three opponents in qualifying, and now one in the main draw today, her next opponent will be defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska.

Radwanska was at her first all-access media appearance at Olympic Park Tennis Centre. She was surprised at the upset, saying she had expected her second round opponent would be Eugenie Bouchard, whose serve – followed by the rest of her game – had collapsed earlier in the day in sweltering conditions, against Mattek-Sands.

Bouchard’s loss was one of three remarkable upsets on Monday. High-profile Serbian former No.1 Jelena Jankovic lost 4-6, 2-6 to Ekaterina Makarova, unseeded against the fourth seed Jankovic. Popular Romanian Sorana Cirstea only won five games in two sets on an outside court against Bulgarian qualifier Tsvetana Pironkova.

With big names like Bouchard, Cirstea, Alize Cornet, Svetlana Kuznetsova as well as Aussie hope Jarmila Gajdosova all losing in the first round to qualifiers, hot weather conditions seem to be playing a part, as players are needing time to adjust to the heat. In fact, of the six women who had to tough it out in qualifying, only two have fallen in their main draw matches.

Two players who immediately adjusted to the conditions were Angelique Kerber and Dominika Cibulkova, who pushed each other throughout two highly entertaining sets, which Kerber won 7-6, 7-5, in from of an appreciative Grandstand Court crowd. Later in the afternoon on the same court, Caroline Wozniacki didn’t need matchplay practice to beat lucky loser Julia Georges 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.

Frenchman Nicolas Mahut will be required need to adjust quickly to his best tennis if he wants to withstand the big weapons off the racquet of a match-fit Ryan Harrison, who won his third round qualifier today against Alex Bogomolov Jr in a thrilling three-setter on Court 5.

On that same court on Tuesday, Harrison’s American compatriot Madison Keys, who shut down Simona Halep in the first round, will face wildcard Ajla Tomljanovic. Five out of eight women’s round of 16 matches on Tuesday will feature Americans. Mattek-Sands and Christina McHale will be amongst the featured action on Ken Rosewall Arena, facing the top two seeds, Radwanska and Petra Kvitova.

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney covering the Australian summer of tennis for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his Twitter updates from the tournament @TennisNewsTPN, follow him on his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days .

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Mattek-Sands, Hantuchova and Davis Receive Main Draw Wild Cards into Cincinnati

D Hantuchova

CINCINNATI (August 6, 2013) — Four of the nine women’s wild card recipients for the 2013 Western & Southern Open have regional ties to Cincinnati and the surrounding area.

 

Two of the three main draw wild cards were born in the Midwest – Lauren Davis from Cleveland and Bethanie Mattek-Sands from Rochester, Minn. The third wild card went to Slovakia’s Daniela Hantuchova.

 

Qualifying wild cards were awarded to back-to-back NCAA singles champion and Cincinnati native Nicole Gibbs, as well as Pittsburgh’s Alison Riske. The remaining four qualifying wild cards went to New Jersey’s Christina McHale, Georgia’s Melanie Oudin and California’s Maria Sanchez along with Slovenian Polona Hercog.

 

“We take great pride that we have ticket buyers from all 50 states, and so much of that support comes from around the region because of the number of tennis fans who live within driving distance of the event,” said Tournament Director Vince Cicero. “We’re excited about this talented group of wild card recipients, and we hope that the Western & Southern Open can be a ‘home’ tournament for these players from this region.”

 

Davis, 19, who is from the Cleveland suburb of Gates Mills, won the 2008 Ohio High School Division II singles title while playing at Gilmour Academy. Early this season she reached her second WTA quarterfinal in Hobart.

 

Mattek-Sands will be making her fifth appearance at the Western & Southern Open. A semifinalist here in 2005, she also won the doubles title in 2007. In 2013, she has reached the final at Kuala Lumpur, the semifinals in Stuttgart and the fourth round at the French Open.

 

Hantuchova, who is playing Cincinnati for the sixth time, reached the 2005 semifinals here and was a quarterfinalist on two other occasions. She owns six career titles, including a win earlier this summer in Birmingham.

 

The six qualifying wild cards will begin play Saturday in a two-round tournament to earn one of 12 spots in the main draw.

 

Gibbs, 20, just completed her junior year at Stanford by winning her second straight NCAA singles title. In addition to her collegiate success this year, Gibbs has reached a pair of ITF event finals, winning the title in Yakima.

 

Riske, 23, reached the semifinals at the grass court event in Birmingham earlier this summer for the second time in her career. She has reached the semifinals or better in three ITF events this season.

 

McHale, 21, has had previous success in Cincinnati, reaching the main draw third round two of the last three years, including in 2011 when she defeated World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki in the second round.

 

Oudin, 21, reached the US Open quarterfinal in 2009, and in 2012, she won her first career WTA title. This year she has successfully qualified at WTA Premier events in Rome and Brussels.

 

Sanchez, 23, was an All-American at the University of Southern California. In 2013, she has reached the third round at the WTA event in Birmingham as well as two ITF quarterfinals.

 

Hercog, 22, owns two career WTA titles and this season has claimed two ITF tournament titles. She has been ranked as high as No. 35 in her career.

 

The draws for both the main draw and qualifying will be made on Friday. Qualifying begins Saturday, which is also AdvancePierre Foods Kids Day, and tickets start as low as $5. WTA main draw play begins Monday. All matches will take place at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio.

 

The Western & Southern Open hosted 176,000 fans in 2012, recording a record 10 sellouts over the 16 total sessions spanning nine days. The event drew fans from all 50 states and 19 countries. Cincinnati is one of the last stops on the Emirates Airline US Open Series leading up to the US Open, and often critical points and bonus money are on the line adding drama to the week.

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Easy Does It For Azarenka – Reaches Third French Quarterfinal

Victoria Azarenka Miami Players Party

By Ros Satar

(June 3, 2013) PARIS – It started as a baseline battle for the former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, and ended up as easy as a walk along the Champs Élysées, as the third seed reeled off 7 games in a row to win 6-3, 6-0 over Francesca Schiavone.

Conditions were cloudy and breezy on court today with Azarenka opting to stay warm with leggings on throughout the match.

Things started promisingly for the Belarusian with an early break in the third game, but that was then the start of a bit of a break-fest.

The women traded 5 successive breaks in a row, before Azarenka managed a hold, and it was to be the start of her run of games to the end.

Schiavone at times seemed to be struggling with her serve, stuttering her feet as if to try and catch up with a wandering ball toss.

It was a costly shuffle, with a couple of foot-faults which hardly helped her cause today.

At her post match conference, Schiavone acknowledged that a good serve was very important today, but that it had not been the contributing factor.

“She [Azarenka] has an intensity & high level for an hour and a half, and I had [it] for [a] shorter time.

“I have to be used to keep going that way, and I think that was the key.”

Azarenka gave credit to her opponent, despite such a dominating win.

She said: “It was definitely a very good challenge for me to play against Francesca, especially knowing how well she’s done here in the past.

“I’m glad with the way I played today.

“I just always try to take it one at a time, and I know the next match will have nothing to do with what happened today.”

She felt that she was finally learning what she needed to do to improve on the surface.

“I understand that it’s not about the game that you really have to adjust.  It’s about your movement.

“You have to not only think of how you move left to right but how you come [with] small steps to the ball.

Azarenka reaches her third quarter-final, having reached it twice before in 2009 and 2011.

Azarenka has never progressed further than the QF in 7 years.

She concluded: “I’m excited, you know, definitely that all the preparation I have been doing is doing well.

“It’s definitely a great opportunity to take that step.”

Azarenka will face Russia’s Maria Kirilenko, who defeated Bethanie Mattek-Sands 7-5, 6-4, and knows it will be a tough match to come through.

“She’s definitely improved a lot over the last couple years since she’s very motivated player.”

Azarenka leads their head–to-head 3-2, and the pair have never met on clay.

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Hampton Upsets Kvitova, Joins Countrywomen Williams, Stephens and Mattek-Sands in Round of 16

Jamie Hampton

(June 1, 2013) American Jamie Hampton upset 2011 Wimbledon champion and seventh seed Petra Kvitova 6-1, 7-6 (7) at the French Open on Saturday to reach the fourth round of a major for the first time.

“I think I caught her a little off guard,” said the 54th ranked player.  “I came up with some good shots when I needed to, and I don’t think she was on top of her game.”

“I think that she is quite talented girl, and she played quite fast,” Kvitova said.  “That was the problem for me, I think, because I tried to play fast, too.

“But I did some easy mistakes.  I mean, it was very tough match today for me.”

The 23 year-old Hampton has moved up in the rankings from 70th in the beginning of the year to No. 54 after making WTA Tour semifinals at Auckland and Brussels.

“I had some good results in Australia at the beginning of the year,“ said the 23 year-old. “I had some tough losses before here.  Clay is not my best surface, so to come on to the clay and have some good wins like this is really encouraging.”

“Clay is not my favorite surface, but it’s not like I hate it.  I don’t like it but I don’t hate it.

“To make my first round of 16 at a Grand Slam on a surface that I like the least is encouraging, to be honest.”

The Auburn, Alabama resident committed 15 errors to her Czech opponents’ 33.

Asked about the four U. S. women making the fourth round of Roland Garros, she replied: “Yeah, impressive, huh?  Got a unique group I think between Serena, obviously the best player in the world, and Bethanie, Sloane, and myself.

“Three different players with very unique games, it’s cool.”

Bethanie Mattek-Sands

American Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the United States has also reached the fourth round. This is just the second time she’s accomplished that feat at a major. She last did it at Wimbledon in 2008. She had to regroup to comeback against qualifier Paula Ormaechea of Argentina 4-6, 6-1, 6-3.

“She had a lot of confidence coming through quallies,” Mattek-Sands said of her opponent. “She played three matches there, so she’s played a lot of matches, was feeling good.

“She was ripping the ball heavy today.  I know she’s had some good results on clay court.  She made the finals of an event earlier this year and lost to Jankovic in a tough match.

“I knew she was feeling confident and feeling good and came out here with nothing to lose.  I think she has a bright future.”

The 28 year-old beat sixth seed Li Na in the second round, the biggest upset so far at Roland Garros.

“I have won three matches here, and it’s great,” said the American.  I have been playing great.  You know, I think this whole year it’s been a good buildup for me.  I have had some tough losses and had some great wins so far this year.

“But the biggest thing I have been able to do is play week in and week out and build on my momentum.  That’s what I have been doing.”

Mattek-Sands joins countrywomen Serena Williams, Sloane Stephens and Jamie Hampton into the final 16. It’s the first time since the 2004 U.S. Open that four American women are in the fourth round when Venus and Serena Williams, Jennifer Capriati and Lindsay Davenport did it.

“It’s awesome,“ the 67th-ranked Mattek–Sands said.  “I’m so happy that U.S. tennis is coming on strong.  I think there are a lot of girls playing great.  I played Jamie earlier this year in Indian Wells, and she’s playing awesome.  I know she just won the first set against Kvitova 6‑1.

“I think there are a lot of young guns coming up that will be dangerous.  To have 13 women in the main draw here at the French Open, more than any other country, is awesome.  I’m proud.”

“I think she’s got a good head on her shoulders,” Mattek-Sands said about Stephens.  “She’s enjoying the traveling, the road, enjoying the moment.  And that’s all I would really say to anyone coming up.  Because it can be long.  There can be setbacks, there will be losses, injuries.  There will be bad weather.

“There will be days where it’s not glamorous.  There’s going to be a lot of days where it’s not glamorous.  If you can enjoy it through the ups and downs, you’re going to have a lot more fun on tour.”

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Mattek-Sands Upsets Li Na at Roland Garros

 

Bethanie Mattek-Sands

(May 30, 2013) American Bethanie Mattek-Sands scored the biggest upset of the 2013 French Open so far with a comeback 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 win over 2011 Roland Garros champion and No. 6 seed Li Na on Thursday to move into the third round.

Just a year ago, Mattek-Sands contemplated calling it a career due injuries. Supported by her husband, the 28-year-old “stuck it out,” using her words and made changes in her life. Her fell into the 200s, ranked as low as No. 228.

“I know how I can play, and, you know, there were times when I just physically couldn’t do it,” Mattek-Sands said.

“Also a little bit surprised, as well, today, the way she’s hitting on the court,“ Li Na said after the match. “Well done for her.”

“She’s a champion, and I had to play some of my best tennis ever to beat her,” said Mattek-Sands, “I think the momentum has been there. My mentality has been there. My body has been there.”

Mattek-Sands joins four other American women in the third round – No. 17 Sloane Stephens, No. 54 Jamie Hampton, who also advanced on Thursday, and No. 1 Serena Williams and No. 29 Varvara Lepchenko, who won Wednesday.

Mattek-Sands will next play  the 118th-ranked qualifier Paula Ormaechea of Argentina.

Other top women advancing included No. 3 Victoria Azarenka and Sam Stosur. In another upset on the the day, 16th seed Dominika Cibulkova fell to Marina Erakovic.

Just 18 of the 32 singles matches on the schedule for Thursday were completed due to numerous rain delays.

Defending French Open champion Maria Sharapova was leading Eugenie Bouchard by a set and a break when the match was postponed.

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Williams Day at the Family Circle Cup

Venus Williams

Venus Williams

(April 5, 2013) CHARLESTON, SC – Ticketholders to Friday’s day session got quite the schedule after rain forced the Family Circle Cup to cancel its Thursday day session due to rain.

Seven singles matches were held on Friday, and rain only slightly held up play between earlier during the first match on Althea Gibson Court.

Billie Jean King Stadium may as well have been renamed Williams stadium for the day as Venus and Serena Williams combined for four straight matches on the main court.

Venus first needed three sets to get past Vavara Lepchenko 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 before Serena took the court against Mallory Burdette. In the pair’s first meeting, Burdette cracked four aces and kept the match competitive throughout but fell 6-4, 6-2 in 77 minutes.

Burdette said she was pleased with how she played against the world #1. “I’m very happy with the way that I played today and how far I’ve come since I turned pro last fall. I love playing against the top players to see how you match up. That was really, really fun, and it’s always a great learning experience.”

Once Serena won, it was Venus’ turn to play again on Billie Jean King stadium. She faced another American in teenager Madison Keys, who had beat Bethanie Mattek-Sands 7-6(4), 6-4 earlier Friday. Keys and Venus have similar games, but Venus’ experience saw her win her second match of the day 6-4, 6-4.

Keys had this to say about Venus following the match: “She’s an amazing returner. Just put a ton of pressure on me on my serve. She can move well and she has a good serve, so it’s hard to get on the offense.”

Venus says she had played more than one match a few times in her career and hoped the crowd enjoyed the Williams show. “I was thinking it’s a quadruple header today,” she said. “Hopefully that was a lot of fun for the fans. I don’t know if that’s ever going to happen again. I hope it doesn’t. But it was a really cool thing for the tournament to do to kind of just reward the crowd for hanging in there through this weather.”

Serena Williams

Serena Williams

The final Williams match of the day was a rematch of the 2012 Family Circle Cup final between Serena and Lucie Safarova. In that match, the Czech managed one game but today’s contest was much tighter as Williams lost her serve twice and had to come back from 2-4 down in the first set. The world #1 said she was motivated by her sister’s victories.

“I figured if she can win two matches, I have no excuse not to win my two matches,” Serena said. “Obviously I play Venus. She’s my toughest opponent I’ve ever played, and I think she’s beaten me the most of any player.”

Serena and Venus have not faced each other since the WTA Championships in Doha in 2009, where they actually played twice, with Serena winning both matches (in round robin and the final). Serena leads their head to head 13-10.

In the bottom half of the draw, Jelena Jankovic won her ninth straight clay match of the season in quickly ousting Genie Bouchard of Canada 6-1, 6-2 for her 500th career victory. She joins both Williams sisters, Tammy Tanasugarn, Nadia Petrova, Francesca Schiavone and Flavia Pennetta as active players who have more than 500 wins.

“It’s a great achievement to get my 500th win on the WTA Tour, and hopefully I can have many more,” Jankovic said. “It’s nice. I don’t know how many players have done that, and in order to have 500 wins, I think you have to have a pretty long career, be pretty consistent.”

Jankovic will play Stefanie Voegele who upset Caroline Wozniacki.

Serena and Venus are scheduled for a 1pm start on Saturday, followed by Jankovic – Voegele.

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

FAMILY CIRCLE CUP – CHARLESTON, SC, USA

$ 795,707.00
MARCH 30 – APRIL 07, 2013

RESULTS – APRIL 05, 2013
Women’s
Singles – Quarterfinals

[1] S Williams (USA) d [6] L Safarova (CZE) 64 61
S Voegele (SUI) d [2] [WC] C Wozniacki (DEN) 36 64 63
[5] V Williams (USA) d M Keys (USA) 64 64
[9] J Jankovic (SRB) d [Q] E Bouchard (CAN) 62 61
Third Round
[1] S Williams (USA) d [Q] M Burdette (USA) 64 62
[5] V Williams (USA) d [12] V Lepchenko (USA) 62 46 62
[6] L Safarova (CZE) d [11] S Cirstea (ROU) 63 57 61
M Keys (USA) d [WC] B Mattek-Sands (USA) 76(4) 64

Women’s
Doubles – Quarterfinals

A Barty (AUS) / A Rodionova (AUS) d [2] R Kops-Jones (USA) / A Spears (USA) 64 36 10-6
K Mladenovic (FRA) / L Safarova (CZE) d [3] V King (USA) / L Raymond (USA) 76(5) 61
M Moulton-Levy (USA) / S Zhang (CHN) d [4] J Goerges (GER) / Y Shvedova (KAZ) 57 63 10-5

ORDER OF PLAY – SATURDAY, APRIL 06, 2013
BILLIE JEAN KING start 1:00 pm
[1] S Williams (USA) vs [5] V Williams (USA)
[9] J Jankovic (SRB) vs S Voegele (SUI)
[1] A Hlavackova (CZE) / L Huber (USA) vs M Moulton-Levy (USA) / S Zhang (CHN)
K Mladenovic (FRA) / L Safarova (CZE) vs A Barty (AUS) / A Rodionova (AUS)

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BNP Paribas Open Names Wildcards – Includes Nalbandian, Blake and Date-Krumm

(February 27, 2013) INDIAN WELLS, Calif., – Former top-five players David Nalbandian, Tommy Robredo, James Blake and Kimiko Date-Krumm; Americans Tim Smyczek, Steve Johnson, Madison Keys, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Maria Sanchez, Melanie Oudin and Taylor Townsend; and Shahar Peer and Kristina Mladenovic were granted wildcards into the main draws of the BNP Paribas Open, to be held March 4 – 17 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, it was announced today by Steve Simon, tournament director.

David Nalbandian has won 11 ATP World Tour titles since turning professional in 2000 and reached the 2002 Wimbledon finals in his first appearance at the event. The Argentine and former World No. 3 will be making his tenth appearance at the BNP Paribas Open. Last year in Indian Wells, Nalbandian equaled his best result, reaching the quarterfinals for the second time in his career.

Former World No. 5 Tommy Robredo is continuing his comeback to the ATP World Tour after an injury derailed much of his 2012 season. The Spaniard has won 10 career titles and has reached five Grand Slam quarterfinals. American James Blake, former World No. 4, also has 10 career titles and defeated then-World No. 2 Rafael Nadal to reach the 2006 BNP Paribas Open finals. Kimiko Date-Krumm turned pro in 1989 and is currently the oldest player in the top 100 at 43 years old. The former World No. 4 has eight career singles titles and four doubles titles, including one in 2013 at Pattaya City.

In addition to Blake, seven other Americans have been granted wildcards into the main draws including two-time NCAA Champion from USC Steve Johnson, who reached the third round of the 2012 US Open; Milwaukee native Tim Smyczek, who is at a career-high ranking just outside the top 100 and pushed World No. 4 David Ferrer to four sets at the 2013 Australian Open; 19-year-old breakout star Madison Keys, who has already defeated five top-50 players in 2013 and cracked the top 80 earlier this month; WTA veteran Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who won the 2012 Australian Open Mixed Doubles title; another USC standout – Maria Sanchez, who is at a career-high ranking after jumping 560 ranking places in 2012 – more than any other player in the WTA; Georgia native Melanie Oudin captured her first WTA title last year in Birmingham (UK); and 17-year-old Taylor Townsend, who turned professional in 2012 after reaching the top of the junior rankings earlier that year.

Two other international players receiving main draw wildcards are Israeli Shahar Peer, who was a BNP Paribas Open quarterfinalist in 2007 and 2011 and reached a career-high ranking of No. 11 and French teenager Kristina Mladenovic, who is at a career-high ranking after defeating three top-25 players to reach the Paris semifinals earlier this year.

“This year’s main draw wildcards span from seasoned veterans, to rising American and international stars to those returning from injury,” said Simon. “Awarding wildcards to players like David Nalbandian, James Blake, Madison Keys and Taylor Townsend add to the allure of early-round matches for fans and provide the potential for these deserving athletes to break through and make a move up their respective Tour’s rankings.

Qualifying wildcards were given to Americans Christian Harrison, Jack Sock, Rhyne Williams, Dennis Novikov, Grace Min, Jessica Pegula and Irina Falconi, German Andrea Petkovic and Croatian Ajla Tomljanovic.

Harrison, the 18-year-old younger brother of American No. 6 Ryan Harrison, reached the quarterfinals in doubles with his brother at the 2012 US Open and is making his debut to the BNP Paribas Open. Sock is at a career-high ranking after reaching his first ATP World Tour quarterfinal in Memphis earlier this month. Williams, a former University of Tennessee standout, is also at a career-high ranking after capturing the ATP Challenger tour title in Dallas. Novikov, who won the 2012 BNP Paribas Open pre-qualifying tournament, is now a sophomore playing at UCLA and won the 2012 USTA Boys Championships in Kalamazoo. Min won the 2011 US Open Junior Championship and three ITF titles in 2012. Pegula won two matches in the qualifying tournament to reach the 2012 BNP Paribas Open main draw. Falconi cracked the WTA top 100 in 2011 and has won 4 ITF singles titles.

Petkovic is a former World No. 9 and has reached the quarterfinals in every Grand Slam. She is returning to tennis after a series of injuries kept her from competing consistently for more than a year. Tomljanovic has three ITF singles and 3 ITF doubles titles.

In addition to the aforementioned qualifying wildcards, the winners of each pre-qualifying tournament, which takes place February 25 – March 2, will also be granted a berth into the 2013 BNP Paribas Open qualifying draw. Women’s qualifying starts March 4 and men’s qualifying begins March 5 at 10:00am.

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Mattek-Sands, Oudin Among US Open Women’s Wildcards

From the USTA: The USTA announced today the eight women who have been awarded women’s singles main draw wild card entries into the 2012 US Open Tennis Championships: Bethanie Mattek-Sands and 2009 US Open quarterfinalist Melanie Oudin, both members of the U.S. Fed Cup team, 2012 NCAA singles champion Nicole Gibbs, 2012 NCAA singles runner-up Mallory Burdette, USTA Girls’ 18s champion Victoria Duval, and Julia Cohen, along with Australia’s Casey Dellacqua and France’s Kristina Mladenovic.

 

The 2012 US Open will be played August 27 – September 9 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y. Both the men’s and women’s US Open singles champions will earn a record $1.9 million with the ability to earn an additional $1 million in bonus prize money (for a total $2.9 million potential payout) based on their performances in the Emirates Airline US Open Series.  The US Open Women’s Singles Championship is presented by JPMorgan Chase.

 

Burdette, 21, of Jackson, Ga., earned a wild card from USTA Player Development based on her USTA Pro Circuit results this summer. This year, the USTA awarded one US Open women’s singles wild card to the American who earned the most WTA ranking points at two of three USTA Pro Circuit hard-court events. Burdette, a rising senior for Stanford, captured the 2012 NCAA doubles title with Gibbs and the 2011 title with Hilary Barte. Burdette and Gibbs also faced off in the 2012 NCAA singles final. It was the first all-Stanford final since 2001. Last month, Burdette won her first WTA match at the Emirates Airline US Open Series event in Stanford, Calif.

 

Cohen, 23, of Philadelphia, will play in her first-ever US Open main draw after advancing to her first career WTA Tour final in Baku, Azerbaijan, last month. Cohen earned All-America honors as a sophomore at the University of Miami (Fla.) and took home ITA Rookie of the Year honors as a freshman at the University of Florida. She has extensively competed on the USTA Pro Circuit and ITF Circuit over the last three years.

 

Duval, 16, of Bradenton, Fla., earned a US Open wild card by winning the USTA Girls’ 18 National Championships, knocking off five Top 10 seeds. At the 2011 US Open, she defeated the defending champion Daria Gavrilova en route to the girls’ singles quarterfinals. Duval formerly trained at the USTA Certified Regional Training Center in Atlanta, and members of the club helped save her father, a doctor in Port-au-Prince, who was injured in the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. She is currently working with USTA coach Kathy Rinaldi.

 

Gibbs, 19, of Manhattan Beach, Calif., won the 2012 NCAA singles and doubles titles as a sophomore at Stanford, becoming just the third woman in NCAA history to accomplish that feat. On the professional level, Gibbs qualified for and won the $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Denver in her first pro event of the year. She appeared in US Open qualifying in 2010 and 2011, earning wild cards each year as USTA Girls’ 18s runner-up.

 

Mattek-Sands, 27, of Phoenix, Ariz., reached a career-high ranking of No. 30 in 2011, but missed the fall 2011 season with a rotator cuff injury. Mattek-Sands represented the U.S. in Fed Cup from 2009 to 2011 and helped lead the U.S. to the Fed Cup final in 2009 and 2010. She has played in 11 consecutive US Opens dating back to 2001. She has won 10 career WTA doubles titles, and this year she won the 2012 Australian Open mixed doubles title with Romanian Horia Tecau.

 

Oudin, 20, of Marietta, Ga., won her first career WTA title at the Wimbledon tune-up event in Birmingham this year, where she won eight matches as a qualifier. Also, she earned a 2012 USTA French Open wild card based on her results at USTA Pro Circuit events this spring. Oudin has had much success at the Open, advancing to the quarterfinals in 2009 and claiming the mixed doubles title in 2011 with Jack Sock. Oudin has been a consistent force on the U.S. Fed Cup team, playing in seven ties. She trains full-time at the USTA Training Center-East in Flushing, N.Y., at the home of the US Open.

 

Dellacqua, 27, of Perth, Australia, received her wild card through a reciprocal arrangement with Tennis Australia, which grants a women’s singles main draw wild card into the 2013 Australian Open to a player designated by the USTA.  She achieved a career-high ranking of No. 39 in 2008, and reached the fourth round of that year’s Australian Open, her best showing at a Grand Slam event.  Dellacqua won the 2011 French Open mixed doubles title and she also received a 2011 US Open wild card.

 

Mladenovic, 19, of Saint Pol sue Mer, France, received her wild card through a reciprocal arrangement with the French Tennis Federation, which granted a wild card into the 2012 French Open to a player designated by the USTA (Oudin earned the 2012 USTA French Open wild card through the USTA Pro Circuit tournament-based system this year). In 2009, Mladenovic won the French Open girls’ singles title and advanced to both the singles and doubles girls’ finals at Wimbledon. In turn, she became the No. 1-ranked junior in the world. Mladenovic played for France in the 2012 Olympic Games.

 

In addition to the US Open women’s singles main draw wild cards, the USTA also announced eight women who have been awarded wild card entries into the US Open Qualifying Tournament, which will be held August 21-24 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.  One additional US Open qualifying wild card will be awarded to the winner of the 2012 US Open National Playoffs – Women’s Championship, taking place August 17-20 in New Haven, Conn.

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Players receiving 2012 US Open qualifying wild cards are: 2012 Easter Bowl singles finalist Brooke Austin (16, Indianapolis), who also represented the U.S. in Junior Fed Cup this year; 2008 Orange Bowl champion Julia Boserup (20, Boca Raton, Fla.); Gail Brodsky (21, Brooklyn, N.Y.), who trains at the USTA Training Center-East at the home of the US Open and won the 2008 USTA Girls’ 18s title; 2012 Easter Bowl and USTA Girls’ 18s doubles champion Samantha Crawford (17, Tamarac, Fla.); 2012 USTA Girls’ 18s singles runner-up and doubles champion Alexandra Kiick (17, Plantation, Fla.), the daughter of former Miami Dolphin Jim Kiick; 2010 USTA Girls’ 18s singles champion Shelby Rogers (19, Charleston, S.C.); world No. 9 junior Chalena Scholl (16, Pompano Beach, Fla.); and Ashley Weinhold (23, Spicewood, Texas), the 2007 USTA Girls’ 18s national champion.

 

The 2012 US Open will be held Monday, August 27, through Sunday, September 9.  Tickets for the 2012 US Open can be purchased four ways: 1) at USOpen.org; 2) by calling Ticketmaster at 1-866-OPEN-TIX; 3) at all Ticketmaster outlets; or 4) at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center box office.  American Express is the Official Card of the US Open.

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