June 22, 2017

Unseeded Teen Ostapenko and 30th Seed Bacsinszky Reach Roland Garros Semifinals

(June 6, 2017) Nineteen-year-old Jelena Ostapenko, ranked 47th in the world, became the first Latvian to reach a major tournament semifinal on a rainy Tuesday in Paris when she defeated former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.

Ostapenko, who turns 20 on Thursday will play 30th seed Timea Bacsinszky next, who also has a birthday on June 8, except she’s eight years older. The Swiss Bacsinszky knocked out Paris fan favorite 13th seed Kristina Mladenovic of France 6-4, 6-4. This is the Swiss’ second Roland Garros semifinal, she reached the final four two years ago.

Ostapenko lost the first five games of the match against Wozniacki, won the next four in a row, only to be broken in the tenth game, giving the set to Wozniacki.

The Latvian, known for her aggressive play raced out to a 5-2 lead in the second set, when the rains came and delayed play twice – three hours and then a 30 minute delay. Her dominant play remained when the match resumed and she continued to paint the lines with winners and never looked back winning the second and third sets 6-2, 6-2.

“I had to be aggressive all match,” said the winner.

Caroline Wozniacki

“Her shots are hard to read,” Wozniacki said to media.

“She goes for the lines. Going in, she’s tough to read, you don’t really feel comfortable. It’s hard to read her shots.”

 

Ostapenko hit 38 winners in the match raising her head-to-head record over the Dane to 4-0. She’s the youngest French Open semifinalist since 2007, when Ana Ivanovic reached the final four.

“We had all the seasons rolled into one today. We had a hurricane, a sandstorm, and we almost had snow, too,” Bacsinszky said to the crowd after her win over Mladenovic. “It was really tough to keep my concentration all day long. I feel exhausted – and I’m sure you do, too.”

“I knew she would be a formidable opponent.”

“Today I was very, very far from my best tennis and it was still a close two sets, I’d be silly not to be positive about that,” said a disappointed Mladenovic.

 

For Bacsinszky it’s her second semifinal at the French Open, she lost to Serena Williams in 2015. In the last three years, the Swiss reached the semis twice and the quarterfinals last year, clearly her best major. “It’s the tournament closest to my heart,” Bacsinszky said.  Back in 2014 she had to go through qualifying at Roland Garros.

“To play a semifinal of Roland Garros on your birthday, I think it’s really nice,” said Ostapenko. “I hope I can enjoy it…When I came here I didn’t expect to be in the semis, but I’m playing better and better every match. I’m getting more confident, so if I keep it up, I think anything can happen.”

 

Both men’s quarterfinal matches including nine-time champion Rafael Nadal and defending champion Novak Djokovic were postponed until Wednesday.

 

The other two women’s quarterfinals which take place on Wednesday will feature No. 2 seed Czech Karolina Pliskova against the last remaining Frenchwoman No. 28 Caroline Garcia and No. 3 seed Simona Halep of Romania versus No. 5 Elina Svitolina of Ukraine.

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Roland Garros Will Have a First-Time Women’s Major Champ As Muguruza, Williams, Kuznetsova and Stosur Lose

Roland Garros Will Have a First-Time Women’s Major Champ As Muguruza, Williams, Kuznetsova and Stosur Lose

Caroline Wozniacki

 

(June 4, 2017) There will be a new major winner for the women at Roland Garros this year. Sunday saw the four remaining major title holders all lose – defending Roland Garros champion Garbine Muguruza, 7-time major winner Venus Williams, 2009 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova and 2011 U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur.

Fourth seed Muguruza not only had to battle French woman Kristina Mladenovic but the boisterous French crowd. Mladenovic beat the Spaniard 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.

“The crowd was really tough today,” Muguruza said in her news conference. Her news conference stopped when she had to leave the room and compose herself.

She said the fans should be more respectful.

“I don’t think that they crossed the line,” Mladenovic said after the match. “Honestly, no, I don’t think it was unsportsmanship or unfair or anything.”

“I’m playing at home,” said the French woman “Obviously they are excited. The atmosphere was just, yeah, amazing.”

Mladenovic will be facing Timea Bacsinszky, in the quarterfinals

Venus Williams, a 2002 Roland Garros finalist, lost to the Swiss Bacsinszky 5-7, 6-2, 6-1. Last year Williams also lost to the Swiss in the fourth round of Roland Garros.

“She had so many answers today,” said Williams.

“It was something really special,” Bacsinszky said. “All the time when I step on these courts here, there’s something special happening. I feel really privileged to be able to play on these courts.”

Kuznetsova, 2009 French Open winner, fell to former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki 6-1, 4-6, 6-2. It’s the first time that the Dane has reached the quarterfinals since 2010.

Stosur lost to teenager Jelena Ostapenko 2-6, 6-2, 6-4. Ostenpenko will play Wozniacki next.

 

On the men’s side of the draw, nine-time champion Rafael Nadal and defending champion Novak Djokovic each had straight-set victories to reach the final 8 for the 11th straight time, equaling Roger Federer’s record in the Open Era. Nadal beat 17th seed Roberto Bautista Agut 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 while No. 2 Djokovic stopped Albert Ramos-Vinolas 7-6 (5), 6-1, 6-3

Nadal will square off against. No. 20 Pablo Carreno Busta. Busta beat No. 5 seed Milos Raonic in five sets.

Djokovic will take on No. 6 Dominic Thiem. Thiem beat Horacio Zeballos 6-1, 6-3, 6-1.

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Nadal and Federer Reach Quarterfinals, Wawrinka Loses at Miami Open

 

Rafael Nadal

 

(March 28, 2017) On the thirteenth anniversary of the first match they ever played against each other, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer won playing back-to-back matches on stadium court at the Miami Open. Top seed Stan Wawrinka lost on his 32nd birthday on Grandstand to 19-year-old Alexander Zverev.

Fifth seeded Nadal beat Nicolas Mahut, 6-4, 7-6(4) to reach the elite eight of Miami.

“It’s a good start of the year, I think, for both of us,” Nadal said about himself and Federer’s 2017. “Obviously, it’s a little bit better for him, but at the same time I’m happy with the way that I am playing, happy with the way that I started the year after a tough second part of the year last year with injuries.

“So I think it’s a positive for both of us that we can still (be) around here and be very competitive almost every week that we are playing.”
The Spaniard, seeking his first Miami title will play American Jack Sock for a place in the semifinals.

“He’s a very aggressive player, very powerful player, big serve, big forehand, and a good backhand, too, no? He plays quick with his backhand.

“So I need to play aggressive. That’s the only way. If I let him play in a comfortable position going to be impossible for me. So I need to be focus with my serve, but at the same time I need to be aggressive.”

Jack Sock

Sock who dismantled countryman Jared Donaldson 6-1, 6-2 talked about playing Nadal:
“I will definitely be looking forward to it, be excited for the battle.

“We played in Beijing couple years ago as well. Lost in three sets. Actually had a decent amount of chances there in the third. Might have even been up a break early or had a lot of break points early in the third.

“Yeah, I played in his backyard a few years ago, the French. He felt very comfortable will. I think we’re both comfortable on clay or hard. Yeah, either way should be a good battle; should be fun.

“I’ll definitely give myself a lot more chance to win this time around than maybe I did a few years ago. I’m 24 years old now and been on tour for a while. I’m playing these matches and hoping I can win and going in believing I can win for sure.”

 

No. 6 seed Roger Federer was pushed hard by Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut, the 14th seed 7-6(5), 7-6(4). The Spaniard served for the first set at 5-4, but was broken back immediately.
“Look, I felt good overall,” said Federer. “It was a different kind of match. It wasn’t the big-serving match where you’re only going to see so many looks, you know, so when you miss chances you always feel a bit frustrated sometimes. That’s where you got to keep a positive mindset and make the right plays.

“I thought Roberto did a good job of making shots, staying offensive when he could, fending off a lot of good shots that I hit. Then it was tough. The sun was coming from the side in the beginning so it’s hard to chase the lines.

“At the end I’m very happy and pleased that I got it done in straight sets.”

He’ll play Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals.

Asked about his next match, Federer said: “I wish it’s going to be like the Australian Open, but I know it won’t be like that. Just not reality that you can come in and just beat top 10 guys basically at will.

“I think it’s going to be a tough match. He’s beaten me at the, I don’t know, Olympics, US Open, Wimbledon, in big moments, so I know he can do it.

“Also beat me in Cincinnati once upon a time on the American hard courts. And here, too, saving match points. Looking forward to it.

“He’s also pushing again to get his ranking back up again after dropping a bit, so it’s a big match for him. For me obviously right after Indian Wells I’m trying to keep rolling here.

“Yeah, looking forward to it.”

Federer’s countryman and No. 1 seed, had his birthday spoiled by Germany’s Alexander Zverev 4-6, 6-2, 6-1.

 

Stan Wawrinka

“For sure it’s disappointing match,” said Wawrinka. “That’s for sure.

“I think the level was quite up and down. We were both fighting a little bit in the first set to find good level. Was really humid, not easy to play some great tennis, but we had some long rally.

“Yeah, one bad game to start the second set and then it was tough for me. I don’t know. I completely went down physically and mentally, and also my tennis was completely out.

“I had no more gas.”
The three-time major winner won only ten points in the final set.

Alexander Zverev

“In the first set I felt like I played a little bit still like I should have played against John(Isner),” noted Zverev. “You know, trying to keep the rallies long, the points long.

“But, yeah, I mean, I played well in the second and third. I turned it around a little bit. I had to be aggressive. I felt like he was the one controlling all the points all the time, so I had to change that.

“It worked out well for me. Happy to be in the quarterfinals now. Hopefully I can play as great as I did today after tomorrow as well.”

 

Zverev will play another up-and-comer on the ATP World Tour in 12th seed Nick Kyrgios who beat 8th seed David Goffin 7-6(5), 6-3

 

Kei Nishikori

Last year’s finalist and this year’s No. 2 seed Kei Nishikori, came back from a break down in the final set to beat Federico Delbonis 6-4, 6-4, 6-3.
“Every match is going to be tough from now on,” said Nishikori.

“Well, I tried to stay calm and focus again. I knew I have a lot of chance after losing the set.

“And also, even though was down a break, 2-1, but I was focusing well. I knew if I fight through I will have some chance, so I just tried to concentrate one game at a time.”

Nishikori will play unseeded Fabio Fognini, who beat Donald Young 6-0, 6-4.

More to follow…..

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Roger Federer Beats Juan Martin del Potro at Miami Open

(March 27, 2017) No. 4 seed Roger Federer moved into the fourth round of the Miami Open on Monday afternoon with a 6-3, 6-4 win over No. 29 seed Juan martin del Potro.

A break in each set secured the victory for the Swiss, the first time he’s played the Argentine since 2013.

“I felt like I was in control and I was able to generate more chances than he did,” noted the world No. 6.

“I mean, a little bit out of nowhere I felt like he got his chances, but maybe because I dropped my level ever so slightly and gave him few easy points, and that’s how he sort of got more chances on my serve.

“So I feel like I earned it more. I was more the aggressor. It was more on my racquet, and I like it that way.

“But, again, if he would’ve broken back in the first and would he have broken back in the second, we might still be playing and things would be very, very different right now.

“I thought it was a good match.”

Juan Martin Del Potro

“Well, it’s not easy play against Roger because he has good forehand, good backhand, slice, dropshot, everything,” said the 2008 U. S. Open champion.

“But think I did my best, and I had chance in both sets and I couldn’t take it. He played well in the break point moments, and I think that was the only difference of the match.”

Federer will match up against 14th seed Roberto Bautista Agut, who beat Sam Querrey.

“I respect Bautista Agut a lot,” Federer said. “He competes so well point for point, day in day out, and he plays ton of tournaments, and he’s really just match tough.”

“I have a really good record against Roberto. I hope I can use my variation to really make him feel uncomfortable.

“Looking forward to backing it up tomorrow now. It’s not something I’m actually used to, playing back-to-back days. So I hope my body is going to be fine tomorrow.

“That’s why definitely it was key also today not to waste too much energy.”

Alexander Zverev saved three match points to defeat John Isner 6-7(5), 7-6(7), 7-6(5).

In a battle between two former Miami Open champions, No. 11 seed Venus Williams defeated seventh seed Svetlanta Kuznetsova 6-3, 7-6(4). Williams saved two set points in the second set.

Angelique Kerber

No. 1 Angelique Kerber has reached the elite 8 in Miami. The two-time major champion beat Risa Ozaki 6-2, 6-2.

Caroline Wozniacki is also in the the quarters. Garbine Muguruza retired after the first set after feeling dizzy and having stomach pain.

Wozniacki, the 12th seed, will play former French Open finalist Lucie Safarova, who stunned fourth seed Dominika Cibulkova 7-6, 6-1.

Third seed Simona Halep avoided the upset, coming back from a set, 2-5 and a match point to beat Samantha Stosur. Also moving into the quarterfainls were 10th seed Johanna Konta and 26th seed Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.

Karolina Pliskova

In an all-Czech battle, Karolina Pliskova beat occasional doubles Barbora Strycova 6-1, 6-4.

 

More to follow

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Vesnina Stops Venus Williams to Reach BNP Paribas Open Semifinals

Venus Williams

 

(March 16, 2017) Elena Vesnina fought off six break points in the final game to defeat 12th seed Venus Williams 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 to reach the semifinals of the BNP Paribas Open on Thursday in Indian Wells.

“I’m in the semifinal of BNP Indian Wells tournament, one of the biggest Masters Series tournament.,” noted Vesnina. “I guess I’m on fire. I’m enjoying myself on the court, and I’m really happy with my wins here.

“This win today against Venus really means a lot for me. It’s never easy to play against her. She’s a great champion and always fighting till the end.

“I’m really happy that I pulled this win.”

Vesnina came into the match after having beaten No. 2 seed Angelique Kerber in the fourth round.

Vesnina talked about Venus Williams’ impact on the sport of tennis: “She’s a great example of how you can love tennis. You know, for so many years, she brings so much passion and love to this game.

“She’s coming and giving everything, you know. She’s always fighting, always enjoying, smiling. You know, you can see she’s, like, little girl on the court, actually, enjoying more than half of the WTA Tour. And we have to learn from her, you know, how she’s appreciating what she’s doing.

“I think maybe it came to her maybe kind of few years ago. Maybe when she was young she was a bit different, but now she’s totally enjoying herself and she’s, like, inspiring everybody around her, you know, her and Serena, as well. Because really what they bring to the tennis, to the woman’s tennis, is just amazing.”

“It’s never fun to fall short. But, you know, I gave my all, ” said Williams.

“I chose to be here. That was my choice. I gave it my best today, and I’m looking forward to playing her again, hopefully healthy and 100%, and will have an opportunity to really show what I can do in these kind of matches.”

“Work is important and, you know, satisfying work is a big part of life, and it is satisfying. Days like today are frustrating when I want to do more and can’t do more or didn’t do more.

“But it’s wonderful to be able to live my dream and work is — you know, I try to separate it from my regular life, but it’s sort of one and the same. Of course I look at the bigger picture and realize there is more important things than the yellow ball, but it’s pretty up there.”

The Russian, seeded 14th will play the Frenchwoman, No. 28 seed Kristina Mladenovic for a place in the final. Mladenovic beat Caroline Wozniacki 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-2.

“Kiki is having a great season,” said Vesnina. “She’s on fire. She won her first maiden title in St. Petersburg and then she made final in Acapulco. I think now she beat two top 10 players on the way to the semifinal.

“So definitely she’s having a great season. It’s going to be tough match. She’s upcoming player. We played couple of times, but two, three years ago, and totally different story now.

“So we will see. I need to think how I need to play against her, because I have couple of thoughts on my mind. She’s a great doubles player, as well. You know, so she’s kind of player on all the court, you know. She can come into the net. She’s using the dropshots, slices.

“So it’s going to be difficult match, but on the other hand, it’s very exciting to play the semifinal match here in Indian Wells.”

 

Mladenovic, who will move into the Top 20 next week discussed the match in her news conference: “Caroline is a top player, former World No. 1. She’s also in very great shape. I mean, she had a very good start of the season, as well, won lots of matches.

“We played three times before today, and I always lost, especially that final in Hong Kong at the end of last year was very painful for me, like, very frustrating. I thought I was playing well that entire week and, in the final, I was just kind of exhausted and injured. And still, it was, like, a very long battle there. If I’m not wrong, it was almost three hours.

“Today I was just, like, okay, today I’m feeling good. When I woke up, I’m like, nothing is hurting. I’m good. I’m not injured. I was happy about that. I was, like, I want to give a fight there and have no regrets.

“I wanted to take my revenge, of course. It was not easy. Again, it was a tough battle and tough conditions. We played, yeah, two hours and a half. I didn’t start well at all the match.

“I thought, you know, when you lost three times against a player, it means that something is wrong and that you, like, don’t really like her game.

“But I was not playing good, but still I felt like I needed adjustments, actually. It’s first time for me playing on that huge stadium and conditions and everything. I just stayed actually very positive and composed, because I was out there battling with myself first, I think, because I wanted kind of too much, you know. That was all about.

“Then, yeah, I was just fighting mentally to find adjustment and to be close with her at the scoreboard, and eventually I got my chances. And I think I played really well the tiebreak.

“Yeah, I went for my game. I went for some variation. I think I played differently at some point, you know, trying to use more the court to make her run, as well. Because she was doing that pretty well to me. And also put some slices in my game, dropshots.

“And something new I put today was the serve and volley on such important points (smiling). I impress myself kind of (smiling). I was, Okay, great. What I’m gonna do now?

“Because every time I would serve good on the backhand, she would go, like, very deep and return well. I was, like, Okay, let’s just be creative here.

“And it paid off, and it gave me a chance to fight a third set. I think the third set was the best game of today for me.”

There were 11 breaks of serve in this match and Wozniacki regretted missing chances.

“I didn’t take some of my opportunities in the third set. I didn’t break her when I had the opportunity. I didn’t hold when I had the opportunity and, all of sudden, those games kind of slipped away.

“And she had some big forehands when she needed to and then, all of a sudden, I see myself down 5-2, and it could maybe have been different.”

Mladenovic will be the No. 1 French women player when the next rankings come out.

The other women’s semifinal will feature No. 3 Karolina Pliskova and No. 8 Svetlana Kuznetsova.

In men’s action, a pair of “Pablos” squared off for a place in the final four.

No. 21 Pablo Carreno Busta from Spain saved two match points to beat 27th seed Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay, 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (4).

“It’s my first time in the semifinal in a Masters 1000, but here in Indian Wells is — you know, for me, this tournament is one of the best, not just the Masters 1000, one of the best tournaments in the year and maybe one of the tougher, because all the people is playing here, all the top 20,” said the Spaniard.

“So I think it’s a really great result for me.”

“Always with Cuevas– with Pablo is I need to be very focused on my game, very aggressive, because his second serve or his kick, you know, the ball is bounce a lot. So I need to be aggressive and I need to dominate the points, because he’s really dangerous with his forehand.”

Stan Wawrinka

Carreno Busta will play No. 3 Stan Wawrinka who defeated No. 8 Dominic Thiem in the semifinals 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(2).

“I’m really happy,” said Wawrinka. “Again, tiebreak. The level was really high tonight. I’m really happy the way I was playing, the way I find a way to win it. He’s a strong player, really tough to play. I think in general we play both really high level, and the match was only one, two points.

“I think in the third set tiebreak I served really well. I was really focused to not give him anything. And, again, it’s a great win for me.”

“I think it’s a little bit experience, a little bit the confidence, a little bit thinking about what you want to do and just do it without thinking if you’re gonna miss or no.

“I think in those moments you need to trust your game and that’s what I did well. I was playing well. I could have lose the match, for sure. But, in general, I try to stay focused with my game, with my game plan, and don’t give in anything.

“I know also that’s when I play good tennis. I can beat anybody. So that’s give me a lot of confidence.”

 

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Venus Williams Battles Back from Brink, Wozniacki calls Wildcards given to Sharapova “Disrespectful” to Other Players and Keys Posts First Win of 2017

 

Venus Williams

(March 11, 2017) In a battle between two former No. 1 players, Venus Williams rallied from 6-1, 4-1 down, saving three match points in the second set to beat Jelena Jankovic 1-6, 7-6(5), 6-1 at the BNP Paribas Open at India Wells on Saturday to reach the third round.

The seven-time major winner and 12th seed said after the match: “It aint’ over until it’s over, I didn’t see no fat lady singing.”

 

No. 9 seed Madison Keys won her first match back from left wrist surgery which had her off the tour since October, when she bested Mariana Duque-Marino 6-1, 7-5. Other seeds reaching the third round included No. 2 seed Angelique Kerber, fourth seed Simona Halep, 6th seed Agnieszka Radwanska and No. 28th seed Kristina Mladenovic.

Caroline Wozniacki, who also reached the third round was asked about Maria Sharapova’s return to the tour in April after a 15th month ban for doping. Sharapova will be making her return in Stuttgart as a wildcard on Wednesday of the tournament,  April 26th, when her suspension ends.

 

“I think obviously, she’s a good draw to tennis, women’s tennis in general,” Wozniacki said in her news conference.

“But, two, I think it’s very questionable allowing – no matter who it is – a player that is still banned to play a tournament that week. I think, from the tournament side, it’s disrespectful to the other players and the WTA.

“It is what it is. Obviously, rules are twisted and turned in favor of who wants to do what.

“I think everyone deserves a second chance and I think that she’s going to come back and she’s going to fight her way back. I’m sure she’s going to play well.

“But at the same time, I feel like when a player is banned for drugs, I think that someone should start from the bottom and fight their way back because it’s different from an injury or where someone is out because they had hurt themselves. That way, I feel like a player should be able to receive as many wildcards.

“But when someone has been banned for drugs and something that is performance-enhancing, I think you deserve a second chance like everyone else, people make mistakes, but I think you should fight your back from the bottom.”

Seeds falling on the women’s side of the draw on Saturday included (16) Samantha Stosur, (23) Carla Suarez Navarro,  (27) Yulia Putintseva, (30) Shuai Zhang, and (31) Ana Konjuh.

 

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Five Past Champions to Play the Volvo Car Open

Venus Williams

(March 1, 2017) DANIEL ISLAND, S.C. – As of today, the Volvo Car Open will welcome back at least five of its past champions for its 2017 tournament, held April 1 – 9 at the Volvo Car Stadium in Charleston, South Carolina.

Currently in the field are:

  • Venus Williams, 2004 Champion
  • Jelena Jankovic, 2007 Champion
  • Samantha Stosur, 2010 Champion
  • Caroline Wozniacki, 2011 Champion
  • Andrea Petkovic, 2014 Champion

“Our patrons have rallied behind our Charleston champions year-after-year, and have become their lifelong fans,” said Eleanor Adams, Volvo Car Open Tournament Manager. “We wish each champion the best of luck in the competition and can’t wait to welcome them home.”

Williams will make her ninth appearance in the Charleston player field, where she holds a 20-7 record. The World No. 13 recently made the finals of the 2017 Australian Open.

This year will mark Jankovic’s 13th time in the Volvo Car Open draw. In addition to winning the tournament in 2007, she reached the finals in 2013. She holds a 21-11 Charleston record.

Stosur has played the Volvo Car Open ten times, where she boasts a 15-9 record. The U.S. Open winner made the quarterfinals in Doha and Taiwan already in 2017.

The 2017 Volvo Car Open will be Wozniacki’s fifth appearance in Charleston where she holds a 14-3 record. In addition to her title in 2011, she made the finals in 2009.  The World No. 14 has started 2017 strong. She’s reached the quarterfinals in Auckland and Sydney, as well as the finals in Qatar and Dubai.

Petkovic joins the 2017 player field with an 11-3 record. She will compete in Charleston for her fifth time this year. After winning the tournament in 2014, she made the semifinals in 2015.

The nine-day Volvo Car Open is the largest women’s-only tennis tournament in North America, attracting an average of 90,000 attendees and 70+ of the top tennis players.

Tickets for the 2017 Volvo Car Open are on sale.

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Elina Svitolina Reaches Top Ten with Dubai Title Win

(February 25, 2017) DUBAI – Elina Svitolina won the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title with 6-4 6-2 win over former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki. This is the biggest title in the Ukrainian’s career, which will place her in the top ten on the WTA Tour when next rankings come out on Monday. She’ll be the first woman from her country to ever reach the top ten since the rankings were introduced in 1975. This is her sixth career title.

 

This was Svitolina’s second title in a month, who also won in Taipei, and a second final in two weeks for Wozniacki after she also finished as runner-up in Doha.

 

“I’ve dreamed for all my life to be in the Top 10,” said the 22-year-old Svitolina. “It’s a very amazing feeling and to do it by winning the tournament – I’m very excited for the season and very excited I could win this tournament.”

“It’s big relief that I could win this match, because I knew that if I gonna win this match, I’m gonna be top 10. There was extra pressure. When I was warming up, added even more pressure because they announce it. It didn’t help! I’m really happy the way I played the match. It was the way I was working on, and I’m really happy that I could play my game today.”

 

 

“She gets a lot of balls back. She mixed up the pace well. She did what she had to do today,” said Wozniacki. “I think I started off really well. I feel like I was inside the court a lot. You know, I was dictating and playing well. Then I kind of felt like I ran out of steam a little bit and she took advantage of that. She stepped it up a little bit.  She played really well, got a lot of balls back. She mixed up the pace when she needed to. She was serving better than me today. I really tried hard. Obviously it’s frustrating when you see what you want to do out there and you just can’t do it. You know, that’s the most frustrating feeling. I feel like if I had gotten, you know, maybe to 5-All or, you know, gotten a little bit closer in that first set, it could have been different.”

 

 

The tournament continues between 27th February and 4th March with the 25th staging of the ATP World Tour event which includes Wimbledon, Olympic and ATP World Tour Finals champion and world No. 1 Andy Murray, seven-time Dubai winner and Australian Open champion Roger Federer, defending Dubai champion Stan Wawrinka, two-time Dubai finalist Tomas Berdych and the Gael Monfils.

 

All photos by Nida Alibhai.

 

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Former Champ Wozniacki and Gold Medalist Puig Advance, While Vandeweghe Loses To Riske in Dubai

Caroline Wozniacki, courtesy of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

(February 20, 2017) Former champion Caroline Wozniacki began the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships winning 6-2, 7-5 over teenager Daria Kasatkina. Although Wozniacki is just off reaching the final of Doha.

 

“Well, obviously seeing the draw, it’s like, well, could have had an easier first round,” said Wozniacki, who won the title in 2011 and has reached the semifinals in her last four apperances in Dubai. “She’s a good young player. She mixes up the pace a lot. She kind of tries to bring you out of your rhythm and she has great hands. I was really pleased with how I was able to just stay focused out there from the beginning. I didn’t really know how I was going to play to start off with. Generally, I was pleased with my game.”

 

Olympic gold medalist Monica Puig who is nursing a sore back, beat Yaroslava Shvedova 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. Puig had a medical time out after the second set.

 

“It’s just some lower back soreness,” Puig said. “I came from Doha two days ago, so the balls are a bit different. The court is definitely much different than in Doha. It’s just something that I have to go and get treatment with, but it’s really no big deal.”

 

Eleventh seed CoCo Vandeweghe lost 6-4, 6-4 to Fed cup teammate Alison Riske, and 13th seed Kiki Bertens was also upset, losing 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4 to Christine McHale. Peng Shuai took full advantage of her wild card, overwhelming Lesia Tsurenko 6-1 6-1 in just 55 minutes, and Elise Mertens became the third qualifier to reach the second round when she defeated Tsvetana Pironkova 6-3 6-2.

 

The top eight seeds received first round byes and will be in action from Tuesday. They include US Open champion and world number two Angelique Kerber, 2017 Brisbane and Doha champion Karolina Pliskova, WTA Finals winner Dominika Cibulkova, French Open champion Garbine Muguruza, and former Dubai winner Agnieszka Radwanska.

 

“There are so many top players competing on Tuesday that not all can be scheduled on Centre Court,” said tournament director Salah Tahlak. “That means spectators will be able to see stars such as Caroline Wozniacki, Olympic gold medal winner Monica Puig and Tunisian qualifier Ons Jabeur free of charge on the outside courts. As an added bonus, they will also be able to catch one of the greatest players of all time, Martina Hingis, in doubles action.”

DUBAI DUTY FREE TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS – DUBAI, UAE
$2,666,000
17-25 FEBRUARY, 2017

RESULTS – FEBRUARY 20, 2017
Women’s
Singles – First Round

[10] C. Wozniacki (DEN) d D. Kasatkina (RUS) 62 75
A. Riske (USA) d [11] C. Vandeweghe (USA) 64 64
C. Mchale (USA) d [13] K. Bertens (NED) 67(5) 63 64
C. Bellis (USA) d [17] Y. Putintseva (KAZ) 61 75
M. Puig (PUR) d Y. Shvedova (KAZ) 63 46 64
A. Konjuh (CRO) d S. Zhang (CHN) 60 61
M. Doi (JPN) d M. Brengle (USA) 62 67(4) 63
L. Davis (USA) d [LL] M. Minella (LUX) 26 62 61
K. Bondarenko (UKR) d [Q] A. Sabalenka (BLR) 46 64 63
[Q] E. Mertens (BEL) d T. Pironkova (BUL) 63 62
[WC] S. Peng (CHN) d L. Tsurenko (UKR) 61 61
K. Mladenovic (FRA) d K. Siniakova (CZE) 63 63

Women’s
Doubles – First Round

[6] A. Hlavackova (CZE) / S. Peng (CHN) d C. Liang (CHN) / Z. Yang (CHN) 75 62
V. Golubic (SUI) / Kr. Pliskova (CZE) d R. Atawo (USA) / Y. Xu (CHN) 64 62
A. Groenefeld (GER) / K. Peschke (CZE) d [WC] F. Al Nabhani (OMA) / M. Barthel (GER) 46 61 11-9
R. Olaru (ROU) / O. Savchuk (UKR) d N. Hibino (JPN) / A. Rosolska (POL) 46 76(4) 10-4
A. Klepac (SLO) / M. Martínez Sánchez (ESP) d J. Jankovic (SRB) / A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 64 64

ORDER OF PLAY – TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2017
CENTRE COURT start 11:00 am
[3] D. Cibulkova (SVK) vs E. Makarova (RUS)
[Q] E. Mertens (BEL) vs [4] A. Radwanska (POL)
[5] G. Muguruza (ESP) vs K. Bondarenko (UKR)
K. Mladenovic (FRA) vs [2] Ka. Pliskova (CZE)

Not Before 7:00 pm
[1] A. Kerber (GER) vs [WC] M. Barthel (GER)
[Q] S. Zheng (CHN) vs [7] E. Svitolina (UKR)

COURT 1 start 12:00 noon
M. Puig (PUR) vs [15] C. Garcia (FRA)
[12] S. Stosur (AUS) vs A. Konjuh (CRO)

Not Before 4:00 pm
V. Golubic (SUI) vs [10] C. Wozniacki (DEN)
[9] B. Strycova (CZE) vs [WC] S. Peng (CHN)

COURT 2 start 12:00 noon
C. Bellis (USA) vs L. Siegemund (GER)
L. Davis (USA) vs Kr. Pliskova (CZE)

Not Before 4:00 pm
A. Sevastova (LAT) vs A. Riske (USA)

COURT 3 start 12:00 noon
M. Doi (JPN) vs [8] E. Vesnina (RUS)
[Q] O. Jabeur (TUN) vs Q. Wang (CHN)
C. Mchale (USA) vs N. Osaka (JPN)
[4] Y. Chan (TPE) / M. Hingis (SUI) vs A. Groenefeld (GER) / K. Peschke (CZE)

COURT 7 start 12:00 noon
[7] A. Spears (USA) / K. Srebotnik (SLO) vs L. Kichenok (UKR) / N. Kichenok (UKR)
D. Jurak (CRO) / A. Rodionova (AUS) vs G. Dabrowski (CAN) / J. Ostapenko (LAT)
A. Klepac (SLO) / M. Martínez Sánchez (ESP) vs [2] E. Makarova (RUS) / E. Vesnina (RUS)
E. Mertens (BEL) / A. Naydenova (BUL) vs [5] H. Chan (TPE) / Y. Shvedova (KAZ)

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Wozniacki Holds Off Osaka to Win Tokyo for First Title of 2016

Caroline Wozniacki

Caroline Wozniacki

 

(September 25, 2016) Former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki kept her streak of winning at least one tournament a year alive when she fended off a charge by Japanese teenager Naomi Osaka 7-5, 6-3 to win the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo on Sunday. Wozniacki also won the event in 2010.

Wozniacki, coming off having reached the US Open semifinals, has seen her ranking fall due to injuries this year, jumped out to a 5-0 first set lead, before Osaka fought back. She took a medical time out during the first set for a left leg injury which the Dane had taped.

Osaka was playing her first WTA final.

“I just fought for every point and tried to stay aggressive and make her move,” Wozniacki said. “She fought back in the second set so I was just happy to close it out.”

“Injuries happen and you never know when you can be taken out of the game, so I’m just enjoying every minute.”

“I’ve won a tournament every year since 2008 so I’m happy to keep that streak going,” Wozniacki said.

This was the Dane’s career 24th title win. She is currently 28th in the world.

Lara Arruabarrena

Lara Arruabarrena

In other WTA finals over the weekend, Lesia Tsurenko upset defending champion Jelena Jankovic at the Guangzhou Open for her first tour title while Lara Arruabarrena won the Korea Open over Monica Niculescu 6-0, 2-6, 6-0.

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