December 8, 2016

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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Day 11 of the US Open – In Their Own Words

 

Angelique Kerber

Angelique Kerber

(September 8, 2016) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Posting player interviews throughout the day when allowed.

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

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

Angelique Kerber

Press Conference

A. KERBER/C. Wozniacki

6-4, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. So how does it feel to be the best player in the world?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: It feels amazing. (Smiling.) I mean, yeah, it feels just great. I mean, the day came today, and to be now the No. 1 in the world, that was always a dream for me.

I was trying to not thinking too much the whole last few weeks about this, and now I reach it. So it’s something really special for me, because, yeah, I was dreaming for this No. 1.

Q. You almost got it in Cincinnati, but do you remember when you first imagined as a small German girl that you might achieve this, that you might be the best?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I was always dreaming when I was really young. I remember the match also in Cincinnati where I have the chance to reach it with the win there.

But after that I was just telling myself, Okay, I mean, I will get one more chance.

Yeah, I get it now. It’s something really special. Yeah, I don’t know what to say, because I was just trying to focusing on this really tough match today against Caroline. I saw the match before also, Serena against Pliskova, so that was not so easy.

Now after I can relax a little bit and try to enjoy, yeah, this special night today.

Q. Finally, what do you say to Steffi?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: You know, to be the next German No. 1 in the world after Steffi, it’s really special. It’s an honor for me.

Yeah, it’s just incredible, actually.

Q. You won the sportsmanship award. What’s that mean to you?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: That means a lot, because I’m always trying to playing fair play. I mean, to get this trophy now, it means a lot, because, yeah, it shows me that, yeah, I know or I’m on a good way what I’m doing off and on court.

Q. Watching that match before as you’re trying to prepare for this match, how much does that rattle you? And then, also, what were your thoughts as you’re watching that first match unfold?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I watch especially the last few points. I knew it will be tough one because I know Pliskova plays very good in the last few weeks. I play against her in Cincinnati.

Yeah, it was not so easy to go then on court, because I knew it actually before that if Serena lost, of course, that I will be the No. 1. So it was not so easy mentally, but I was trying to, again, not putting too much pressure on myself.

That shows me also that I think I’m growing and I’m not putting the pressure on my shoulders if something like this happen. I can go out there focusing on my game. That gives me also a lot of confidence with the situation, how I deal it today.

Q. What do you remember about how you felt both physically and emotionally going into that Cincinnati final? How different do you think you feel now about three weeks later?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I remember the Cincinnati final. I was actually really tired because I came from Rio and I had a lot of tough matches there.

Here I have one day off tomorrow, so I can really prepare for the final against Pliskova. I know how she is playing. I know she has a big serve.

Yeah, I think I will go out there trying to get my next chance against her and take the revenge, of course.

Q. I understand that you and Caroline are really good friends and even been on vacation together. How is it to play against your friend? Are you still friends after today?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: It’s always not so easy because we know each other very good. I know how she is playing; she knows how I am playing. We played so many matches in the past and always close, and today I think the match was really close. The score is actually not so close, but the match was tough.

Yeah, it’s not so easy, but we both trying to giving our best on court, and after the match we are still friends. (Smiling.)

Q. I spoke to Karolina after the first-round victory, and she said then that she came into this tournament filled with a lot of confidence with her win against you, and then the one against Venus helped her to build on confidence to take on Serena. She’s I think right now probably about as confident as she’s ever been in her career. The person you will face in the final is going to be, mentally, anyway, a more difficult opponent. Talk about what you expect from that match.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: For sure she has a lot of confidence. Now especially against the win against Serena. She will go out there and try and win her first Grand Slam, but at the end I will try the same. I know it will be mentally for me also very tough because she know that she won against me like few weeks ago.

But at the end I know how I was playing in Cincinnati. I know what to change. I will talk with my coach about the game and I will try to take the challenge again against her.

Yeah, trying to win the match the next one.

Q. Just talk about the way you played today against an opponent who is, you know, playing some great tennis here.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I mean, I think it’s her second home here. She loves to play here. I was trying to playing my game. I know she’s moving very well. She’s fighting until the last point. I knew what to expect, but I was trying not to — not thinking too much about her game.

I was trying to thinking how I was playing here the last few weeks, also the last few months, and trying to go like this on court, being aggressive and taking my chances.

So I think I played a really good match, and, yeah, because I have to against Caroline.

Q. Would part of you have liked to face Serena in the finals, or are you actually relieved that you don’t have to face her now?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I knew actually that it will be a tough match against Pliskova, Serena against Pliskova.

But, you know, I was actually not thinking about this one. I was more focusing on my game. Not thinking too much. Now I can think about who I am playing, but before I was not thinking too much, yeah, about the other semis.

Q. Did you see Serena after? Did she congratulate you?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: No, I didn’t see her.

Q. You talked about the mental differences for you now as opposed to when you played a few weeks ago against Pliskova. From a tactical standpoint, what do you think is the most important thing for you to have success against her in this match Saturday?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think my serve have to be very good. I have to move good, as well, to bring a lot of balls back, and playing also more aggressive like I played in Cincinnati. I was just pushing too much the balls there, so I think I will change this a little bit. Go for it, being aggressive.

Yeah, I hope my serve will be good on Saturday.

Q. You were up 4-love to Wozniacki, and I know it may sound chauvinistic, but when you played Vinci I had the impression that you were more tense because you had three times behind one break and so on. Do you think there was a difference in terms of, you know, being on court and suffering? Did you suffer more with Vinci than with Wozniacki? That’s the question. The first one.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Good one.

Q. And the second one.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I don’t know. I’m not thinking about this, actually, you know. I went on court and I was trying to playing every single point. I was not thinking too much about the score and about the things around. I was trying to playing more point by point.

Vinci and Caroline, they are both tough players and different a little bit. Yeah.

Q. Did you suffer more today or the other day?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: (Shaking head.)

Q. You don’t want to say.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: No. (Laughter.)

Q. You’re the oldest to debut at No. 1 in the rankings history, and I want to know what you think about that and what it says about the sport. Secondly, were you prepared for this kind of success this year coming into the season, the slam, three finals?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Actually, not really, because last year when I played a good year, I mean, I won four titles. I played — yeah, I was still in the top 10 at the end of the year.

And then I sit down with my coach, and we said, Okay, what we have to improve? And I was trying to improving my game, being more aggressive, and not just playing from the defensive end.

Yeah, when I won my first Grand Slam in Australia and we came back I had much more confidence. I had much more belief in my game, about my improvement.

And then I was just trying to get used to this pressure, all the stuff what’s happen after Australia.

I don’t know if I was like prepared for this, but I think I played amazing year. I mean, it’s my third Grand Slam final now in one year, so I just try to enjoy it. I just try to stay relaxed and just try to play like I’m playing the last few months.

Q. A few years ago when we would watch you compete there would be a lot of eye rolling, you know, negative body language, kind of sarcastic clapping, things like that. We don’t see much of that anymore. Can you talk about your evolution just as a competitor on the court and what’s changed for you and how you got it to change?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I was trying to change this, and I think I improve very well. I was trying to be more positive than I was the last few years, because I know that the body language is really important.

I lost a lot of matches with this stuff, because I was frustrated. When I missed one shot I was like thinking about the shot the next few minutes and few shots.

So this is what I was trying also during my practices. Just, yeah, looking ahead and just point by point. Sometimes you have this situation where you are really negative actually because you lose a point or you make an easy mistake.

But in this moment I’m really trying to be mentally strong and not showing my opponent that I’m inside actually a little bit more negative and nervous. Trying to stay positive. I think the change also my game that I believe more and going for it when I have the chance and not waiting about the mistakes from my opponent.

Q. After you won in Australia you had a celebratory swim in Melbourne’s wonderful Yarrow River. We have some great rivers here. Would you give us equal time, please?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: No. I think that was once and that was okay. (Laughter.) Let’s see what we will do if I win it here, but I think we will just decide it when it’s happen.

Q. A former and great champion, Pete Sampras, said once, “I like the racquet to do the talking.” The racquet wasn’t that funny. We didn’t enjoy that much. Can you tell us something that you would tell to your friends, intimate friends, mother, that would be more fun for us to listen to? Sometimes you’re too predictable. I would like some story to write.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I don’t know what you want to hear. I don’t know. (Smiling.)

Q. Now you’re talking to your mother. What do you tell her?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I don’t know. I mean, right now I think they are all proud about my No. 1 situation, about the game I am playing. I think also about my improvement what I did the last few months. I think this is now really special.

Yeah, that I’m growing with all the situation, all the stuff what I’m dealing with. It’s not so easy, and I think this is the biggest thing what I’m proud about it.

Q. Emotions?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Emotions, yes.

Q. A lot?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yes, a lot (Smiling.)

Caroline Wozniacki

Press Conference

A. KERBER/C. Wozniacki

6-4, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Despite coming up short today, can you evaluate your US Open?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Well, obviously right now I’m a little disappointed not to win today, but at the end of the day it’s been a good tournament, something I can be proud of.

I came into this tournament ranked 74 in the world and probably people ruled me out, but it’s nice to prove people wrong once again. It’s nice to have a good run. I did my best out there today. I fought all I could, and just came up a bit short.

Q. (Question regarding last point of the match.)
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Well, I got a few texts, but that just made me feel worse. I saw it like in the air, saw it out that’s why I kind of stopped. When it landed I saw it on the line and I just wasn’t ready for it. Then when I saw it on the line I was like, There’s no reason to challenge since it was a relatively slow ball.

But clearly should have done that. But in the at the end of the day I don’t think it would have made a difference, but…

Q. Today was it a matter of something going off on your game? You couldn’t impose? Was it Angie?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Obviously Angie is playing well. She’s getting a lot of balls back. I thought I was dictating a lot of the game. I was trying to press and stay close to the line. In the beginning she really got me on the contra and just kind of counter-punched me away.

Then I stepped into the ball a bit more then and went for my shots and started going in and I started finding a rhythm. A few of the balls I went a little bit too much on and made these small mistakes.

But, you know, today I had to do that. I had to go for my shots. Unfortunately I came up a little short, but I have got to be proud of the way I kept going, and I just kept fighting for every point.

Q. What went well for you this tournament? Why did it all start to click? How do you do that moving forward for yourself?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think I just need to keep going the way I have been doing. You know, just I have gotten a lot of matches here, which is great. Hopefully I can just bring this momentum into the Asian swing.

It was a good tournament. I kind of felt like the way I have been practicing I managed to put that into the matches, so that was nice.

Hopefully I can just do that moving forward.

Q. Angie joined an exclusive club you have been a member of. What makes her biggest qualities to be No. 1? What advice would you give, because you held on to that spot for quite a while.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Yeah, I think obviously she’s had a great year. She gets a lot of balls back. She also knows how to change the pace. She gets good angles.

And, yeah, she’s playing really well. You know, it’s not a lot of people who have been No. 1. It’s a huge thing. You know, she definitely has a target on her back now. Everyone wants to beat the No. 1 player in the world.

Yeah, she’s going to enjoy it. First she has a match here that she’s focused on, and I’m sure she will enjoy it after the tournament.

Q. You have been there yourself. Going forward now, do you take motivation from this tournament to try to climb the rankings again? Obviously 74, that will change. There has been talk during this tournament you might be hanging up your tennis shoes. Where is your head now in terms of the future?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: To be honest right now, my head isn’t anywhere. I have a drug test, so after this I need to be able to pee. That’s what I’m thinking about right now. (Laughter.)

After that, I don’t know. I have the Asian swing to look forward to, so that’s really what I’m thinking about next. I’m playing Tokyo in a week’s time.

Q. You have always said that health is the key for you. Do you come out of this completely healthy? Feel good mentally and physically?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I do. Yeah, I feel very good body-wise. I think it’s the best it’s felt in a while. I’m happy with that. Mentally I’m sure it will take me a couple of days just to process everything, but in the at the end of the day I can be proud of the way I have been handling myself this week, these two weeks.

You know, obviously I would have loved to have gotten two more, but it is what it is. I’m going to take this and really bring this momentum forward.

Q. Were you watching some of Serena earlier? Your thoughts on that match. Did it surprise you?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think Serena looked a little bit nervous. And, yeah, I mean, I watched a little bit. You know, I always like to see Serena win. Obviously she’s a great friend of mine. You know, I have huge respect for her.

But at the same time, I have to give respect to Pliskova for serving it out and playing well.

Serena Williams

Press Conference

K. PLISKOVA/S. Williams

6-2, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You had a very strong opponent tonight. What do you think didn’t go according to your plans?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t think much really went well today. I made a lot of errors and I didn’t play as well as I have been playing.

Q. Can you talk about Karolina as a player? Her serve was good today. How do you feel about her, moving around the court and return?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I thought she was a good, all-around player.

Q. It looked like you were limping a bit out there. At one point holding your wrist. What percentage were you physically out there? I know you had a very tough match against Simona. Do you feel you were beaten up from that? Were you physically up to 100%?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely was not beat up after my quarterfinal match. But, yeah, I just — that was it.

Q. On TV Chris Evert kept suggesting you looked a little worn out from yesterday’s match. You weren’t moving and weren’t getting your racquet in position. Did you feel that at all?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Okay, I’m not going to repeat myself. I wasn’t tired from yesterday’s match. I’m a professional player; been playing for over 20 years.

If I can’t turn around after 24 hours and play again then I shouldn’t be on tour. So I definitely wasn’t tired from yesterday’s match at all.

It wasn’t a five-hour match. I have practiced three hours, so it wasn’t that huge of a deal.

Q. People were surprised to see you in the first match of the night. Did you request to play earlier?
SERENAS WILLIAM: I don’t know. I had plenty of time to recover, so it was fine.

Q. You said you weren’t tired, but were you injured at all? Was your left leg or knee hurting you?
SERENAS WILLIAM: Yeah, I have been having some serious left knee problems. I wasn’t tired. Fatigue had absolutely nothing to do with it. If I was tired I should definitely get into a new career.

Q. How did the leg affect you out there tonight?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I wasn’t able to move the way I wanted to move. When you’re injured you’re thinking of other things when you should be just playing and thinking of your shots. My mind was just a little bit everywhere. But it was what it was.

Q. When did this injury come up?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t know. I think like after the second or third round. I think it was the second round.

Q. Is there a diagnosis to it, or…
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t know yet. I’d rather not say, actually. It’s fine.

Q. Your coach kind of blamed the loss on the knee. Do you feel it really, really hampered your movement? I know you’re downplaying it a bit.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I’m not downplaying anything. Karolina played great today. I think if she had played any less then maybe I would have had a chance.

So I think I wasn’t at 100%, but I also think she played well. She deserved to win today.

Q. In the tiebreak you had two double faults to the ad court and going to the same spot. Missed four times. Anything particular going on there?
SERENA WILLIAMS: To be honest, I don’t remember that. I remember double faulting on match point, but I don’t remember the other ones.

Q. You didn’t play at all last fall after the US Open, so you have points to make up now. Going back after the No. 1 ranking going to be a priority for you now?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t talk about that whatsoever.

Q. Just your schedule for the fall?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Honestly, I don’t know.

Q. Were you surprised at how composed she remained throughout even the tiebreaker?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I think she’s been on tour for numerous years and she’s had some good wins. She was doing so well last year, was so close in so many finals, and I think maybe this was her year to really do well, at least here at the Open.

Q. Did Venus discuss anything with you, having played her, as well?
SERENA WILLIAMS: We talked about it a little bit, yeah.

Q. Any advice that you want to share that she gave you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Not really. (Smiling.)

Q. She said in the on-court interview she thought the key to the win was her serve. Would you agree with that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes, I definitely agree. I thought she served well today, and that was definitely was a big thing for her.

Q. Was it very difficult to deal with that serve?
SERENAS WILLIAM: Today it was, yes.

Q. Did you feel like your serve sort of abandoned you tonight?
SERENAS WILLIAM: I guess. It was — it’s all right. This is really negative. I don’t think it abandoned me. I just don’t think I served well. I definitely think I could serve better, but that’s the beauty of the sport. Always opportunities to do better.

Q. Once you broke back in the second, what was going through your mind as far as game plan and getting a foothold in the match?
SERENAS WILLIAM: I’m always thinking about holding and breaking and holding. That’s it. I don’t really — don’t really know so much what I was thinking.

Q. I’m not sure you called the trainer out. I may be wrong about that. Had it gone to the third set, would you have called the trainer out to assess…
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, you know, we’ll never know, huh? (Laughter.)

Q. I appreciate very much your fair play, but even if you say it wasn’t a factor, a 7:00 pm match played for ESPN, and suddenly you have to play a match one day after the other. This reminds me a little bit CBS paying a lot of money and Super-Saturday. I would say if you think it’s fair, forget if it was a factor for you or not, if it’s fair that you have to play quarters or semifinals one day after the other. I don’t think it’s fair.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Um, I mean, honestly, I don’t — and I’m not disagreeing with you. Actually, I am. I don’t see how it’s not unfair. Like, we play every single week. We play — I have been in Toronto or Montreal or Cincinnati where I play Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

I mean, if I’m not used to playing this, and I really should think of something different. I’m not going to sit here and make an excuse. Because that’s not me. Being a professional, if I can’t recover, then, you know, that’s that.

But I was totally okay. It had nothing to do with that. That’s what we do on a weekly basis.

Q. But in a Grand Slam it’s every other day.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Not at the French Open. I played like nine matches in a row. (Laughter.)

Q. With the hampered leg, what part of your game felt most affected by that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Mental, because when you’re hampered you’re thinking of other things. Like I was making errors that I never make, and definitely I didn’t make in this tournament in particular. So many simple, simple shots that I easily could have made.

I just blame that on just mentally thinking about my leg and just not thinking about the shot.

Q. Kerber is going to be the oldest to debut No. 1 at 28 years old. You have been the oldest No. 1 and set a lot of records.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I’m not talking about No. 1. Thank you.

Q. How do you compare her serve to other serves you have faced over the years? Is there anything about it that makes her particularly effective?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think because she’s so tall it bounces high. I’m a little shorter so my serve goes through the court. Hers goes a little higher. So I think that’s the difference.

Q. Obviously you would have wanted to win this title. What do you walk away proudest of these last ten days at the US Open?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t know. I’m only really proud — you know, obviously I’m a perfectionist and I love to win. That’s when I feel my proudest.

I think I had a pretty positive attitude mostly outside of maybe my second round. I think that I could walk away with that.

Karolina Pliskova

Press Conference

K. PLISKOVA/S. Williams

6-2, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Quite a performance tonight. Did it help you that you had played Venus two nights earlier and experienced the whole crowd being for your opponent and all that?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I would say yes, definitely. Not only the crowd. I would say also the game was quite similar to Venus, so I knew it’s gonna be a little bit about the same match what I played with Venus and same serving, same speed.

So obviously Serena is No. 1. Venus is a little bit behind her. She’s definitely playing a little bit better. I was expecting tough match but I knew I can win.

Q. Can you compare your performances in the two matches? Which match was a more satisfying performance from your end?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, to beat Serena, she’s world No. 1, so it’s always tough to beat someone like this. She’s never giving up. Even if she’s losing, not playing her best, it’s always tough to beat girls like this.

I would maybe say it was a little bit tougher to play Venus because obviously I was match point down and she was serving much better than Serena was tonight.

Even my game I think was a little bit better against Venus, but I’m not sure what my coach is gonna say and what all the people is gonna say. Obviously I beat No. 1. Everyone is gonna say it’s amazing win tonight. But, I mean, both matches were very good.

Q. You have the Cincinnati win. A lot of confidence. Now you’re in your first Grand Slam final. What’s that mean?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: It was always a dream to, you know, get a title, get to the semifinal, get to the final. So, I mean, it’s a big result for me. I hope I didn’t stop yet, that there is still one more step to go. I’ll do anything for getting the title.

Even if I don’t get it, it’s a big result. I’m really happy to be there and even have the chance to play in the final here. It doesn’t happen often, you know, that you’re playing especially semifinal against Serena on center court here in New York. It doesn’t happen often that you’re in the final of Grand Slams.

I’m really excited to be there and really excited to be in a Grand Slam final for first time in my life.

Q. How did you stay so calm? In fact, were you that calm?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: Actually, yes, I was pretty calm today. Before the match I felt a little bit like pressure, nervous, some kind of — but when I step on the court I didn’t feel anything. I just, you know, wanted to win, actually. Not just enjoy but to win.

I knew I’m going to have my chances even if she’s playing her best. There is always a chance in those two sets. I was calm during the whole match. Even in the second set there was some complications. I was up a break.

But it never can be so easy to play No. 1 in the world. You cannot win like 6-2, 6-1, so I wasn’t expecting a match like this. I was prepared for anything, even if I would have lose the second set I would be ready for the third one.

Q. Most people would not want to play Venus and then Serena in a row. From what you’re saying, it sounds like it actually helped you to play Venus first, from the atmosphere and maybe also from the serving, returning?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, there is not more than to beat both sisters in one tournament in New York. I’m really excited about those two wins.

For the crowd, it’s not probably the best that I beat both of them in their country, but for me it’s really something special. Obviously the match with Venus helped me, like I said, not only with the game, but also with the crowd, also. Was my first match on center court.

So I knew I was to play center court one of the sisters Williams against all the people there, so I was prepared for it. I was prepared for a fast game, for great serving, and probably it helped me. That’s why maybe I won the match today.

Q. You’re one of the taller players on tour, especially one of the top players. How do you think that helps in terms of your serve, and what effect does it have, good or bad, in terms of movement and returning?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, definitely if you are tall like me you cannot be run from the runners. With the movement, I was always a little bit struggling, but I still think I’m improving and there is still much work to do. Still much things to improve.

I’m always gonna, you know, work on this, and obviously, on the other hand, it’s a big thing for me that I can really serve well in important moments and beat players not only with my serve. Even if the serve is off, I can still — you know, I have forehand, backhand, good shots from the baseline.

I can really be aggressive and not the one who is waiting for a mistake, but the one who is doing the winners. So I think it’s a big plus.

Q. You said that you believed before you stepped on the court that you could win tonight and you could beat Serena. When did you first start to believe that you could pull off wins like this? Because I’m not sure that you necessarily always thought that when you were on tour.
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I wasn’t thinking about to beat Serena before this tournament at all because I never faced her. I faced her once, but I never faced her since then and never on Grand Slam and never on a stage like this.

But once I beat Venus here I knew I’m playing good tennis and I have a chance to beat anyone in the tournament. I was ready for anything.

But actually, to be honest, when I was watching Serena last night against Simona they were playing really good tennis. I thought, Okay, this is going to be tough even if Simona is going to win or Serena is going to win. They were playing amazing tennis. I knew it was going to be tough.

But I didn’t want to get into the long rallies with her. That’s what they were playing yesterday. I was just getting my chances and putting the pressure on her. I think it paid off.

But I didn’t believe in beginning of the match that I can beat her. Since the match was going I knew I can, you know, get the win.

Q. You had some double faults today, but you shouldn’t be discouraged because I did some mathematics. You won only 38% of points off the second serve, but made 56% of first serve and won 80-something points. For today’s statistics, the better strategy would be hit first serve and second serve. Did you ever think about hitting first serve and second serve on regular basis?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, I knew I’m going to be with pressure once I hit my second serve, once I missed the first serve, that she’s gonna go into my second serve with power and I’d be under the pressure.

I just wanted to serve as many first serves as I can, but you cannot just put the first serve in there. I think I started really good and she was guessing a little bit the sides of my first serve. So I knew I can, you know, hit some big serves.

Even if it’s not an ace it still can be still a point for me. But obviously on the second serve it’s tough, because like I said, she’s putting so much pressure on the second serve that’s. Why the few double faults.

I wanted to risk, go more into her body. I did few more double faults obviously, but I still think it paid off.

Q. You said on television that America doesn’t like you. What is it like to be out there, a single athlete in a stadium with 20,000, 23,000 people roaring and cheering for your opponent?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I wasn’t thinking about it at all. I knew it’s gonna be tough, that I’m going to be against everyone almost there.

But I have my people here. I have people at home which they always believe in me. So I knew I have some people behind me. I don’t really care about the whole stadium was for her. I just, you know, didn’t want to get focused on those people, because once I get to think about that everyone is cheering for her and that, I don’t know, they are screaming in between first and second serve it would just hurt my serve.

So I just wanted to get this out of the game and just be ready for my game and not to think about other things around.

Q. You beat Kerber a couple weeks ago and you stopped her from becoming No. 1. Now you beat Serena. You helped her actually get the position. So bottom line, you beat the two No. 1s in a couple of weeks. How important for your confidence is to do such a result? Actually, going to the final, you could face Kerber possibly. What do you think about the eventual head to head?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, in Cincinnati I knew Angie, she’s playing for world No. 1, so I think she kind of felt some pressure there.

So, you know, I was really going for my win there and got the win, which gave me a lot of confidence.

And right now I knew Angie beat Serena. I knew few other girls beat Serena, so I knew that I could beat her, as well. It’s a great thing to beat a girl which is No. 1, girl which is No. 2.

So it’s always a good result, even if you beat someone from top 10. It’s not happening often and there are always tough matches with the girls from top 10. So I’m really excited about it.

Obviously if I play Kerber tomorrow I’ll know her very well. We played a lot of times. I lost to her; I won. So I will be ready for anything. That’s a final of a Grand Slam, so anything is possible. Of course, probably nerves from both sides. We both have a good chance to win.

But, yeah, I will just do anything to win the title here.

Q. Were you aware that Serena was dealing with a knee injury? She talked about it a little bit here. Her coach certainly talked about it. Could you feel that on the court or did you have no knowledge of it?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: No. I didn’t know it at all. After the match they asked me in the studio. Even my coach said something to me after the match.

But I’m not, you know, looking at the opponents at all between the points. It’s just not my business. I’m still talking and concentrating on myself and not on them. I would say it would be not be a good thing if I just, you know, keep on looking at her if she’s injured or not.

Just would not be the best for me. I still have to play my game and not think about the others.

Q. I know you skipped Rio, and other players did that, as well. What’s happening here? Why are you going to another level? What other factors is it that are making you play well now and take you to another level, do you feel?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, definitely it was about those last two, three weeks what I have played here in States and I won good matches. It gave me a lot of confidence, and that’s what tennis is all about.

If you believe in yourself you can beat anyone. Especially in girls tennis it’s not only about a game and tennis, but it’s more about the mental things sometimes.

So I really believe now that I can beat a good players, and — all of the players, actually now.

But for me, I think the most important step was to get through to the fourth round. Then I knew I have — if I have the chance to play someone who is better than me, I know I can be dangerous.

Q. Last night you were watching Serena and Simona. This morning you have to play this match. What were you doing today before the match? Like how did you wake up? Eat breakfast? What did you do?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I actually didn’t have any breakfast. I woke up at 1:00, so I went straight to the lunch. I just wanted rest because I never played a night session here.

We just came later here, had a lunch around the hotel, and then just had a normal warmup, and, you know, kind of more relaxing start of the day.

I just wanted to be ready physically and also mentally for the match tonight.

Q. What do you remember about when Serena and Venus, 14 years ago basically in every Grand Slam final? Do you remember following them, what they meant to you, or starting in tennis?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, definitely they did a lot for tennis. And both of them, they are such a great champions. You can still see it, even now. Even if they lose they are still behaving like champions.

Of course I remember them playing, but I think Serena improved a lot in last few years. She’s just doing very good job. Like I said, last few years she’s world No. 1. She’s still playing not that many tournaments and she’s still there, you know.

She can still hold the level even if she’s sometimes injured, sometimes not that ready. She’s still very dangerous player. So is Venus. They are both great champions.

Like I said, they did a lot for tennis and they always, you know, is gonna be there in our tennis history.

Q. Does it bother you at all, you win the biggest match of your life and people are talking or your opponent is talking about an injury being a difference?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, I don’t care. (Smiling.) You know, sometimes it is like this. Not even me. I’m sometimes not playing when I’m 100% ready and I don’t think others care.

If someone is not ready and she doesn’t think she is ready, she should not go on the court. But after the match I would say it’s still her choice if she wants to play or if she is ready to play or not.

I’m just happy with my win, and I’m not gonna think about something like this.

Q. You have been playing for a long time, working hard. What would it mean to you if you were able to lift the trophy on Saturday?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: You know, everyone was still talking to me about that you can win Grand Slam once. I was like, Yeah, maybe. Not now. I’m not ready for it yet, because obviously I didn’t get that far in the tournament yet in a Grand Slam.

But I knew it’s somewhere in me that I can really play good tennis on those bigger stages, so I believed, and it just happened. So I think I have a good chance, good chance not tomorrow, Saturday, to win, and just be ready and give my best.

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Karolina Pliskova Surprises Top Seed Serena Williams to Reach US Open Final

Karolina Pliskova

Karolina Pliskova

(September 8, 2016) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – In one fell swoop, top seed Serena Williams not only lost in the semifinals of the US Open on Thursday to No. 10 seed Karolina Pliskova 6-2, 7-6(5), but on Monday will lose her No. 1 ranking to Angelique Kerber. The last German to be No. 1 in the world was Steffi Graf back in 1997.

Williams who was attempting to to win her 23rd major to pass Steffi Graf for most majors in the Open Era, was also trying to pass Graf for most consectutive weeks at No. 1. With the loss, Williams is tied with Graf at 186 weeks.

The 24-year-old Pliskova of the Czech Republic played steady hard-hitting tennis and served well to cause the upset. Williams hit 31 unforced errors and had her serve broken three times while having a 53% first serving percentage.

“I don’t think much really went well today,” Williams said. “I made a lot of errors and I didn’t play as well as I have been playing.”

Asked about ESPN TV analyst, Chris Evert’s comments about Serena seeming “a little worn out” from yesterday’s match, Williams said to media: “Okay, I’m not going to repeat myself. I wasn’t tired from yesterday’s match. I’m a professional player; been playing for over 20 years.

“If I can’t turn around after 24 hours and play again then I shouldn’t be on tour. So I definitely wasn’t tired from yesterday’s match at all.

“It wasn’t a five-hour match. I have practiced three hours, so it wasn’t that huge of a deal.”

Later the 34-year-old Williams said: “I have been having some serious left knee problems. I wasn’t tired. Fatigue had absolutely nothing to do with it. If I was tired I should definitely get into a new career.”

“I wasn’t able to move the way I wanted to move, she said. “When you’re injured you’re thinking of other things when you should be just playing and thinking of your shots. My mind was just a little bit everywhere. But it was what it was.”

A reporter brought up the fact that Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou said that her knee was bothering her, and she was downplaying it. The American said: “I’m not downplaying anything. Karolina played great today. I think if she had played any less then maybe I would have had a chance.

“So I think I wasn’t at 100%, but I also think she played well. She deserved to win today.”

Pliskova, who saved a match point against, Serena’s sister Venus in the fourth round became the first person since Kim Clijsters in 2009 to beat both Williams sisters in the same tournament.

“I mean, to beat Serena, she’s world No. 1, so it’s always tough to beat someone like this,” said the Czech. “She’s never giving up. Even if she’s losing, not playing her best, it’s always tough to beat girls like this.

“I would maybe say it was a little bit tougher to play Venus because obviously I was match point down and she was serving much better than Serena was tonight.

“Even my game I think was a little bit better against Venus, but I’m not sure what my coach is gonna say and what all the people is gonna say. Obviously I beat No. 1. Everyone is gonna say it’s amazing win tonight. But, I mean, both matches were very good.”

I mean, there is not more than to beat both sisters in one tournament in New York. I’m really excited about those two wins.

“For the crowd, it’s not probably the best that I beat both of them in their country, but for me it’s really something special,” Pliskpva continued. “Obviously the match with Venus helped me, like I said, not only with the game, but also with the crowd, also. Was my first match on center court.

“So I knew I was to play center court one of the sisters Williams against all the people there, so I was prepared for it. I was prepared for a fast game, for great serving, and probably it helped me. That’s why maybe I won the match today.”

Pliskova hit 7 aces and had 19 total winners.

Kerber fistpump-001

New No. 1 Angelique Kerber beat two-time US Open finalist Caroline Wozniacki 6-4. 6-3 to reach her first US Open final. The new No. 1 in the world dominated the Dane in the second evening session match.

At 28, Kerber is the oldest first-time No. 1 in WTA history. So hoe does it feel to be No. 1? “It feels amazing,” said a smiling Kerber. “I mean, yeah, it feels just great. I mean, the day came today, and to be now the No. 1 in the world, that was always a dream for me.

“I was trying to not thinking too much the whole last few weeks about this, and now I reach it. So it’s something really special for me, because, yeah, I was dreaming for this No. 1.”

Playing Pliskova in the final is a rematch of the Cincinnati final last month, where if Kerber had won, she would have reached No. 1.

“I knew it will be tough one because I know Pliskova plays very good in the last few weeks. I play against her in Cincinnati.

“Yeah, it was not so easy to go then on court, because I knew it actually before that if Serena lost, of course, that I will be the No. 1. So it was not so easy mentally, but I was trying to, again, not putting too much pressure on myself.

“That shows me also that I think I’m growing and I’m not putting the pressure on my shoulders if something like this happen. I can go out there focusing on my game. That gives me also a lot of confidence with the situation, how I deal it today.”

 

“For sure she (Pliskova) has a lot of confidence. Now especially against the win against Serena. She will go out there and try and win her first Grand Slam, but at the end I will try the same. I know it will be mentally for me also very tough because she know that she won against me like few weeks ago.

“But at the end I know how I was playing in Cincinnati. I know what to change. I will talk with my coach about the game and I will try to take the challenge again against her.

“Yeah, trying to win the match the next one.”

 

Caroline Wozniacki came into the tournament well below her usual Top 10 ranking due to injuries and early losses. She evaluated her tournament performance: “Well, obviously right now I’m a little disappointed not to win today, but at the end of the day it’s been a good tournament, something I can be proud of.

“I came into this tournament ranked 74 in the world and probably people ruled me out, but it’s nice to prove people wrong once again. It’s nice to have a good run. I did my best out there today. I fought all I could, and just came up a bit short.”

“I think I just need to keep going the way I have been doing,” the former No. 1 continued. “You know, just I have gotten a lot of matches here, which is great. Hopefully I can just bring this momentum into the Asian swing.

“It was a good tournament. I kind of felt like the way I have been practicing I managed to put that into the matches, so that was nice.

“Hopefully I can just do that moving forward.”

The women’s final takes place on Saturday.

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Day 9 of the US Open – In Their Own Words

Gael Monfils

Gael Monfils

 

(September 5, 2016) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Posting player interviews throughout the day when allowed.

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

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

Gael Monfils

Press Conference

G. MONFILS/L. Pouille

6-4, 6-3, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How happy are you with the way you won today? Are you content with the way you played? Straight sets is always good.
GAEL MONFILS: Yeah, I’m happy with my performance. I think it is never easy to play quarterfinal against a French guy, you know. I think I handled it pretty good mentally and tennistically.

I’m happy with that and where my game is. I see new or good stuff today. Serve was a bit better. I have been saying I think to the French press that I could serve faster. I think I did it great today.

Still moving good. I’m very happy.

Q. To get to this point of the tournament – first time in semifinals of the US Open – you have had electric and great matches here, but to be able to play in the semis, how happy are you with that?
GAEL MONFILS: Yeah, I think I missed a good chance two years ago against Roger, but, you know, I just live now, and now I’m happy. I played great tennis so far.

You know, I have two days to recover to play my first semis here. I’m more than happy. I’m happy where I am now, so I gonna prepare great my match.

Q. Sometimes it seemed like to us that you play just as much to entertain the crowd; spectacular shots. Today it seemed like you were, very focused, playing a sharp, intelligent match, and controlled. Is that accurate, or what’s your feeling about that?
GAEL MONFILS: You know, about that is somehow — you know, those match, you never get, you know, those ball to entertain, how you say.

If, today, you know, I drop my racquet and I do a slide you will say I will entertain people, you know, no matter what. Sometime I can hear that — someone told me that my shoe laces, you know, it was one point on perfect win, clean win against Baghdatis. You make it up. Oh, like he’s doing a show.

Or if I do a trick shot, one, and still kill it, you will say, I’m a showman. So, you know, this one, with all the respect to everyone, is you guys to put me on the spot.

Today I think I haven’t the chance to do it, but Lucas, hit two good tweeners. I don’t think you will tell him he tried to entertain.

Q. You’re 30 years old now. Has your philosophy changed about these things? Are you trying to be more conservative with your body or anything like this?
GAEL MONFILS: Yeah, not really. I think I’m very blessed genetically, you know. I guess the only thing is a bit different the recovery. I think it’s a bit tougher.

But if not, I’m even stronger than before, I think.

Q. If you were to face Novak Djokovic, how would you describe what that match will mean to you and what it will depend on?
GAEL MONFILS: I have a second opportunity to get to my first slam final, and the opportunity to maybe beat him for the first time in the main tour, to beat the world No. 1. That’s it.

Q. What do you think the outcome will depend on? What is most important for you to do to give yourself the best chance to win?
GAEL MONFILS: I have today to think about it. (Smiling.)

Q. Are you having fun?
GAEL MONFILS: Always. You know, always. No matter what, looks maybe a bit more serious, like everyone mention it this year, but I play tennis because I have fun. I play tennis because I love the sport.

If not, I won’t wake up every morning, train, because most of people think that jumping or do trick shot is gifted. Yes, it’s gifted, but is a lot of work. I won’t say I work on the trick shot, but it’s like I think physically I’m one of the best.

And to do that is because you’re in a great shape, you know. If I don’t have funny I stop playing tennis, for sure.

Q. Doesn’t matter whether you’re entertaining or whatever, you’re having fun?
GAEL MONFILS: Yeah, have fun.

Q. Does it frustrate you when people talk about trick shots and entertaining?
GAEL MONFILS: Make me laugh. You know, make me laugh, because honestly, if I can do it today, let’s say today if I have a 360 smash, definitely I do it, but I don’t have the ball.

Sometime I have it and I do it, and then the first thing is gonna be talk about is all match it was an exhibition and maybe I hit one shot.

So it’s funny. Now, you know, I get to be more consistent with the winning, you know. Because, I mean, now it’s easier to say, Oh, because I’m winning more, you know, more matches, so it’s tougher for some people to say that I’m just a showman.

Now I’m winning and faire le show.

Q. Do you ever want people to understand that you’re…
GAEL MONFILS: No, you know, I always say if I have the ball I do it because I love it. I think when I dive on the court I not dive for people. Come on. To be honest, I gonna hurt myself for people? No.

I dive because I want to win the point. Definitely I want to win the point. You know, when you make the show, honestly, it’s to entertain, but it’s to win. So what’s the point to make the show and lose actually.

That’s why people think, Oh, he’s jumping, he’s sliding. In the end, you think I’m stupid? (Laughter.)

Q. Novak could have a tough match, perhaps will have a tough match with Jo tonight, but he’s had a rather easy US Open so far. Is it important for top players to be challenged early on to get things going later in a tournament, or if you are winning well and things are going well it doesn’t matter for you?
GAEL MONFILS: I mean, for him is different, you know. He’s super confident for years. I think doesn’t need many matches to feel his best tennis.

So I think everybody is different. I’m guy I don’t need much tennis to feel confident. Me, myself, it’s more about if I feel 100% physically is good enough to play tough tennis.

Q. You mentioned that match two years ago against Roger and how you had a chance. Did that one stick with you? Did you think about that a lot afterwards?
GAEL MONFILS: Not really, you know. What stays I had a wonderful time. It was one of the greatest match I play, you know. It’s always great to play against Roger, you know. Even if you have match points, it happen in sport.

I gave the best I had. You know, when you have opportunities you try to get it, and I think I got it back today to be in semis.

So I have been waiting for two years.

Q. You’re quite a sports fan. Do you ever learn anything from watching other sports like football or basketball that can help you on the tennis court?
GAEL MONFILS: Definitely. I mean, this year, you know, with the — I mean, I have been respecting a lot what LeBron James — I mean, what he done this year was unreal. His mindset and the work he put in to win this final, I think this is big inspiration for me.

Q. You were asked earlier about the possibility of facing Novak. I wanted to ask you to talk about the possibility of facing Jo in the semis, and both maybe what you think would be the key to that match, but also if you could speak a little bit about how long you have known each other and what it might mean to face Jo in a Grand Slam semifinal.
GAEL MONFILS: Oh, it would be a huge dream, I think. A dream. Definitely we will choose the final, but semis would be good enough.

You know, it’s not a good friend. He’s one of my best friends. He’s a brother. He’s someone I grew up with. He’s someone I look at when I was younger because he was a bit older than me.

You know, we have been through this Federation center. He was stronger than us and playing earlier, you know, the futures and everything. We always, you know, put the work to play with him, to be with Jo, you know.

So we found out, you know, ourself on the tour together, playing Davis Cup together. Go to Rio together. Share a room together in Rio. Do some fun stuff together, you know, since actually we have been 10, 11. It’s been great.

I mean, if you can have a reward and play, I mean, the semifinal in two days, it would be amazing.

Q. (Regarding five-set match with Djokovic.)
GAEL MONFILS: I mean, I remember, yeah, that was a tricky match actually. With the roof will be different, because it was taking a long time and I lost this one 7-5 in the fifth.

It was long time ago I think now. Novak is the best player ever, and that time he wasn’t. So I think it was just a good memory.

Q. But now you’re saying he is the best player ever.
GAEL MONFILS: He is. Yeah, he is. I mean, so far — when I say “ever,” not yet, because it’s still Roger. But so far what he’s doing is amazing. He’s better player than me, definitely. I think I have no shame to say it. He is better than me.

You can be the best, but one match is enough, you know. If I face him, I will take the one match as enough.

Q. You have been really consistent this year. I’m just wondering, what do you think is the key? Like you’re healthy? Maybe the confidence just keeps like helping you?
GAEL MONFILS: Yeah, my health has been big trouble I think all my career, and now it is somehow stabilized. I think I work differently. I think I understand different stuff.

I think it helps me a lot to be stronger.

Q. What’s the secret of success of the French players? This tournament especially, but generally speaking. You always have new talent and you have always a group of players in last few players, in the last eight, which no country has. What do you think is the secret?
GAEL MONFILS: I don’t know if secret, but I think it’s good. I think it’s good for sure for our country.

But I think it’s — I’m not sure it’s a secret. I think we all work hard, and somehow we know we make it in the same moment.

Obviously, you know, sometime it was I think the States, was Spain, you know, other countries. At the end it happen here, you know. I think I have no words to say what to say about that, but the only thing I hope is maybe next year we’re gonna have maybe even one or two more.

Q. You said you feel Novak is one of the greatest players ever, possibly the greatest player ever. What do you admire most about him?
GAEL MONFILS: His consistency, his game, the way he hit the ball clean.

I mean, so far, you know, it’s very hard to remember a match where. You know, he wasn’t hitting the ball clean. You know, maybe one or two a year. It’s amazing. The way tactically he handle, you know, every tactic, like we try to made against him.

And I think, yeah, so far he’s the best. I think he’s a great champion.

Q. How important is it for you to have a coach? How is your relationship with your trainer? What’s it like?
GAEL MONFILS: I think it’s important, for sure, for me because I need to have someone that can tell me, you know, drive me, I would say, drive me a little bit.

I got a lots going on with my tennis, which mean sometime I want to defend, I want to attack, I want to go to the net.

I think I can actually make all those shots myself, but it’s easier when someone drive you and help you to find your way, you know.

I think Mikael do it pretty good.

Q. You earlier mentioned LeBron James. Have you ever had a chance to meet him? And if you did, what would you want to ask him?
GAEL MONFILS: No, I never have this chance, but, you know, if I met him first time, first thing I would tell you is I want to dunk on you. (Laughter.)

No, I might ask him, I don’t know, so many questions. You know, I watch a lot of the commentary on him. Got many question about how he is, how he feels, how it is to be the leader, like a great champion playing with him. How do you think about everything. You know, I think I’d be a great day if I can.

Q. You mentioned your health being good and working differently now. What are you doing differently? Maybe some examples. Is it a new diet? More time in the gym?
GAEL MONFILS: I working better. I working better. Differently.

I’m not always talk about how I do it, but — what I can say I find a way to take care of my knee, take care of my body, you know, take care of everything. So far it’s good.

Angelique Kerber

Press Conference

A. KERBER/R. Vinci

7-5, 6-0

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Can you tell us the first set, which you were behind three times and you were able to recover. How was difficult? Were you tense? You started to play much better later.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I think the key of the match was the first set. I mean, it was really close and tough. It’s always difficult to play against Roberta.

I mean, she’s a tough opponent with her slice. Yeah, I was trying to staying in the match and not thinking that I’m the break down. Just going for it, yeah.

Keeping my mind a little bit relaxed, and, yeah, staying in the moment. I think that was my key also like for the first set to being a little bit more relax and had not too negative, actually.

Q. You were not so much relaxed in the first set, correct?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, no, because it was tough and I knew that it’s really close now. So that’s why I talked to myself, Okay, stay positive. Think about the good things you did in the first set.

And that’s it. After I won the first set I was more relaxed at the end. I think in the second set what I did good that I played the first few games really tough so that I was up 3-0 very fast.

Then I could continue my good play, yeah, in the next few games.

Q. In the first set especially she used the dropshot a lot and you went to the net. Sometimes it worked; sometimes is didn’t. How do you feel you did against that? Do you think other players are going to use that going forward?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I know that she’s playing like this. I know how she play and I was actually prepared for that. So, yeah, it works sometimes, but I think a lot of players are playing like that already. Also me.

So I was not surprised that she was playing so many dropshots.

Q. Against a player like Roberta who hits so much variety and slices, is it especially important to stay patient and calm?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I think it was also important to have patience against her and wait for your shots, because she is actually a good mover and she brings a lot of balls back with her slice, as well.

So I was trying to moving good, and, yeah, keeping my eyes on the balls and going for it. Because the spin is a little bit different than when you play against others. They are just hitting the balls really strong.

Q. Did you watch her match against Serena last year? What did you make of her performance in that one?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: No. I just saw the final. I didn’t saw the semis. I saw a lot of matches after. She is a great player and she played very good in the last few months, so I was trying to, yeah, watch the match.

And also, I talked with my coach a little bit because he saw the match before. And, yeah, my plan was playing with patience and when I have the chance to going for it.

Q. This is becoming common for you now to get to this stage in a major. How would you describe the transformation in your game and your thinking to get to where it is becoming common for you?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I think it’s changed a little bit. For me, I’m going out on Arthur Ashe, on the stadium, and playing against top player, as well. I have I think right now more confidence to going out there.

I’m not thinking about quarters, semis, or whatever. I’m just going there to playing a good match and to win the match.

I know that I can beat everybody, and this is what gives me also a lot of confidence and motivation for going out there and playing with a lot of emotion.

Q. So how different is your sense of belief in yourself right now than it was before this year?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: It’s bigger, for sure. It’s one of my best years now, so that’s why my belief in myself is growing for sure. That’s why I think I’m playing like I’m playing right now, that I really going for it with a lot of belief in my game and myself.

Yeah, it’s changed a lot in the last few months.

Q. You just hit on this in terms of thinking your way through a match. Two years ago, three years ago, how different would this match have played out? Do you think you would have been as mentally strong against an opponent who really throws you off?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I don’t know. I think this is a good question. I don’t know. Maybe not, because I think I grow a lot in the last few years.

And also with my mentality, that I’m, yeah, staying more positive and believing in my game. I think that, yeah, that right now I can win matches like that.

Also, the match before I played, just staying positive and believe in my shots. That gives me a lot of confidence.

So I think I learned a lot from the last years.

Q. You were saying that you kept telling yourself today to stay in the moment and focus on right now, not look ahead. How does that help you and how does that get more difficult and certainly facing your next round?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Today, that was I think the key for the match, to staying in the moment and not thinking ahead or like what’s happen or whatever.

And I think this is also what I have learned in the last few months also, to not thinking ahead against who I’m playing or if it’s the same as other final or first round actually.

I’m just trying to, yeah, believe and having fun out there, enjoying what I’m doing right now. I think this is the best way for me to playing my best tennis.

Q. It’s been five years since you were in the semifinals here. It must be very, very good to be back at this stage. How different is it going in now with the accomplishments that you have, the Grand Slams and great results you have had lately and the mental maturity than it was for the 23 year old who did it five years ago?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, it’s completely different. I mean, I remember the semis here like years ago when I reached it for my first time. That was maybe also a little bit surprise.

I had nothing to lose. I came here. I just played great tennis. I think a lot of things, yeah, happened since then.

Now I’m a completely different player, I think. I’m going out. I have a lot of confidence. I know how to win big matches. I know how it feels playing on the stadium.

I’m also enjoying it more than years ago. I’m trying to, you know, going there and enjoying the atmosphere and also win the matches.

I mean, years ago I came here and I had nothing to lose and my goal was playing good, and now my goal is winning the matches and this is a little bit different.

Q. When you had your quarterfinal press conference, when you were doing this five years ago, do you remember feeling a bit differently, maybe a bit more nervous or apprehensive, do I really belong here, as opposed to where you are right now sitting there talking to us?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think so. Five years ago I was a little bit nervous. I was sitting here and I had no idea what to answer, I think. I was like, Okay, let’s see.

But right now I think for me it comes normal to came here in front of you guys, speaking with you. So it’s like after every match it’s the same rhythm.

Q. You’re speaking in terms of positiveness and all mental, but of course the physical part, is your practice different now? It’s awesome what you’re saying in regards to all the positive thinking and that is fantastic, but is your practice different now as opposed to how it was several years ago or a year ago or whatever? What has changed? And is there one strength in your game that has really made a significant difference in the past several months or so of this year?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think my practice change a little bit. I’m trying to focusing just on one or two things during the practice and really trying to focusing on this and improving few things and not making things also too complicated. To going out there and practicing like not maybe two hours, but just one hour, and full intensity. I think this is what I change.

Yeah, my game, I think my serve improved a little bit more than like few months ago. Of course that helps me a little bit more on my game style when my first serve, yeah, cames more.

Q. Question regarding Wozniacki.)
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Caroline is always a tough opponent. I know this. We know each other very well.

So let’s see who will win the quarterfinal tonight, but for me, it’s — I will watch it a little bit for sure, but for me it’s actually doesn’t matter against who I’m playing.

I’m now in the semifinals, and if it’s Caroline, yeah, it will be great match for sure. I know how she is playing; she is strong again; she had great wins here.

So it will be a good semis.

Q. What do you remember about the matches against Caroline in the past particularly? You obviously had some long ones; some insane long rallies in Indian Wells.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I remember long matches with her. I remember we have tough rallies and always really tough ones.

So for sure it will be – if it’s her again – really tough battle.

But, yeah, I’m looking forward to take the chance again with her to play and to take the challenge. It’s the semis, so it doesn’t matter against who I’m playing. I mean, it will be tough one. I’m looking forward if it’s Caroline.

Q. You’re known for working so hard on your game, and your game has gotten better and better each year. You still have a ways to go. What would it mean to you to finally become the best player in the world? What would that mean to you?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Um, this would mean a lot to me. I mean, when I was a kid I was always dreaming to being the No. 1. Let’s see. I mean, there are still matches to go.

Also, Serena has to play as well very good. I mean, let’s see. I mean, I’m looking forward to play, first of all, my next match. If the day will come, it will be amazing.

Q. As you mentioned, we don’t know the name of your next opponent. I’d just like to ask you about the specific challenge of each one, starting with Caroline. When you face her, what do you consider to be the greatest challenge in her game for you? And then the same with Anastaija?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: With Caroline, I mean, I know she’s moving very well and she brings a lot of balls back, so I have to be really patient, like today, and waiting for the shots and being aggressive. That will be for sure the challenge with her.

And against Sevastova, I think I never played against her yet, so… But this is also — I mean, she has nothing to lose. She plays now also one of her best tennis. She reach the quarters here, so she will give everything. Yeah, actually, I don’t know exactly how she’s playing right now.

Roberta Vinci

Press Conference

A. KERBER/R. Vinci

7-5, 6-0

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Obviously disappointing. You had a rough break and then all of a sudden she broke back and kind of seemed like a different match. Talk about what happened.
ROBERTA VINCI: Yeah, was of course a tough match. Bad luck for the first set. I had so many chance. Probably I was playing better than her the first set.

But she’s a great player. She miss maybe two or three balls and she run a lot. She’s in confidence. So I lost the first set, and then the second set she started to play better than the first set. I was a little bit down.

But anyway, of course I’m so sad about today. In general I played a great tournament. Now just will go home and take some days off; see what I have for my injury, and then we will see.

Q. You felt that she became a significantly better player?
ROBERTA VINCI: Yeah.

Q. Because she had said she sort of learned to relax; she had nerves coming in and you are a tricky player. It wasn’t so much that your game fell, it’s that she was able to raise the level of her game?
ROBERTA VINCI: Yeah, I have different kind of tennis, of course. Yeah, she was a little bit nervous probably because she knew that I am different player. Probably she prefer to play with some opponent that play flat.

But I have a different game, and, well, to beat her, she’s tough. You have to play great tennis, high level. I played high level for just one set.

But that was the best that I can do today.

Q. Last year you were coming in and facing Serena, clearly the hottest player on tour. Right now you can say Angie is the hottest player on tour right now. Two years in a row. Did you draw upon last year, what you were able to do against Serena?
ROBERTA VINCI: Well, this morning in my mind I said, of course, Okay, try your best; tough opponent like Serena last year. You have nothing to lose. Play your game. Try to enjoy. I knew that I was in the quarterfinal after a lot of problems, but I was fighting also today.

But, yeah, she’s No. 2 in the world. Maybe No. 1. So she’s in confidence. For me was tough, but I play good game today. I knew it was tough, tough to win against her.

But, yeah, she’s a great player. She won, so she played better than me. And that’s it.

Q. From what you remember of her a couple years ago, what is different about the level of her game today? Is it mental…
ROBERTA VINCI: My game or her game?

Q. Her game. What has raised?
ROBERTA VINCI: Well, she’s a great player. Yeah, probably different is mentality, from the mentality. She’s confident. She miss not so many balls, and she say always focus every single point. She run a lot, so you have to push a lot to win a point. You have to run a lot.

Yeah, she’s No. 2 in the world, so now she’s probably better mental, and also tennis. Both.

Q. It appears that you’re saying that the mental toughness has been a significant factor that has transformed her game.
ROBERTA VINCI: Okay, okay. Sorry.

Q. So if that is the situation, so her game has been basically the same —
ROBERTA VINCI: Yeah.

Q. — in the past several years. It’s just now she’s mentally tough and says, I can beat you; Vinci, I can beat you?
ROBERTA VINCI: Yeah. She won a lot of matches this year. She won one Grand Slam. She won a lot of match. So when the moments is tough, probably she’s…

Q. So does that create a fear within you now, her mental toughness? Because I’m hearing something here that’s mental, mental, mental, so perhaps it’s creating fear in you and some of the other girls that she’s…
ROBERTA VINCI: She’s on fire. She won a lot of matches. She’s in confidence. When the moment is tough and both are so close, she’s focused. She’s in good shape. She’s No. 2. So probably this is the difference between us.

Lucas Pouille

Press Conference

G. MONFILS/L. Pouille

6-4, 6-3, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Obviously disappointing result, but it’s been a great run for you. Obviously you came in off those five-setters and the rough one against Rafa. Talk about how that contributed to some fatigue, if that was the case. Talk about the match.
LUCAS POUILLE: Of course I was a bit tired today. I played four matches, one in four sets, and then all three in five.

So, yeah, it would have been better if I played a bit less time on court. It’s okay. I did my best today. Gaël was playing very good. He’s physically very fit. He’s moving so well. And I think, as I said after Nadal’s match, he’s in very good form.

Yeah, I think he was better than me today.

Q. What are the takeaways from the tournament? Obviously the win against Rafa, the hard-fought battles, but that one in particular?
LUCAS POUILLE: Yeah, the one against Rafa, of course. It’s the best win of my career so far.

It’s a lot of confidence. Even if I lose today, I will leave New York with a lot of confidence for the rest of the year and the next season. Now I know I can be in quarterfinal again and maybe more.

Yeah, give me power to work harder and to be, yeah, next time in quarter. I want to be stronger physically and, yeah, to be more fresh.

Q. Here and Wimbledon, are you at a point now where you have higher expectations coming into Grand Slams?
LUCAS POUILLE: Yeah, of course. Now the next one gonna be in Australia. It’s going to be a new year.

But I won’t go there to win only one match. I want to do second week and more. That’s gonna be my goal next year.

Q. How much did it bother you that several times you were at the net, seemingly good position to win the point, and he was able to lob you, get to a tough ball and then lob you?
LUCAS POUILLE: Ah, a lot. He’s moving — as I say, he’s moving so well. When you come to the net he always push you to the limit. He always put one more ball in the court.

So if you want to make a winner you have to make the perfect shot. Maybe I was a little bit tired. I was not so close to the net or I was not fast enough to come.

So, yeah, gave him a lot of space to pass me. Yeah, it was difficult.

Anastasija Sevastova

Press Conference

C. WOZNIACKI/A. Sevastova

6-0, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How much was your ankle injury affecting your play?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: For sure it was affecting my play, but I’m not a person that likes to retire during a match, so I just tried my best.

But the movement was different. It was harder to move. And also on serve it was harder to get out of the serve. Yeah.

Q. The second time the trainer came out, what was that discussion about?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: It was a discussion like she wanted to do something else. I was asking her what she can do maybe to help me, because I don’t like tapes normally on my ankle, because it’s different feeling plus it’s so tight, so I was just asking her. And, yeah…

Q. How tough was that just to be out there knowing that you couldn’t play the tennis that you wanted to play on Ashe Stadium, night session?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: For sure it was tough, but what can I do? I tried my best. I don’t like to retire, as I mentioned, but Caroline played great tennis. I think she made no mistakes. She did what she could best. She was a better player anyway. Yeah, even I think if I had no injury it would tough to beat her, yeah.

Q. How did you hurt it? Did you just twist it while…
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: I don’t know. I think I stopped on the serve. I didn’t follow through. I fell over. And, yeah, I heard some sounds there, but it happened to me couple of months ago as well on clay.

So it’s pretty much the same injury, same ankle, twice in six months. (Smiling.)

Q. Obviously an incredible two weeks for you and everything, but does the way it all ends kind of change what you take away from it, or is it still…
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: I don’t think it takes away. I still won two games. (Laughter.)

Yeah, it’s tough to end like that, but, yeah, it’s tennis. I could have played amazing but still lost. It would hurt more, I think.

But now, ankle, yeah. I have to stop and have to take time off. It was still great two weeks.

I mean, if somebody asks me like before, Would you take a quarterfinal, lose 0 and 2, or would you take a first round and lose 7-6 in the third, for sure I would take quarterfinals.

Q. How much did it mean to you getting to play three matches on Ashe? Not all quarterfinalists get to…
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: I don’t know why they put me on Ashe three times. I’m like playing more often than some other players who are like top 10. It’s a great feeling. It’s a great stadium. It’s the biggest one. It’s unbelievable.

I feel very welcomed here.

Q. Does it mean much to you to join the Last Eight Club? Do you know about that?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: I don’t know about that. I heard about that. What does it mean? Do I get something special?

Q. Last Eight Club means basically you get free credential and tickets for rest of your life.
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: Cool. Do I get also to practice alone on the court? Because before the tournament we were always sharing.

Q. Can you tell us how some things have changed in your life over the last ten days? Have you gotten new endorsements? What kind of benefits have you gotten over the last ten days?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: Not really. Latvia is a poor country. No, not really.

Q. Nothing?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: Nothing changed.

Q. Have you heard from any special people that you didn’t expect?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: No.

Q. Nothing?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: No, not really.

Q. Did you get that hat recently?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: No. It’s my hometown in Latvia.

Q. Kristaps is from the same…
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: Yeah, exactly.

Q. How far away did you grow up from his family?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: I don’t know his family, no. I’m not into basketball that much.

Q. But that was…
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: It’s the same town. We are from the same town, yeah.

Q. Did you hear from the Olympic hockey —
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: They lost. I heard about that.

Q. Do you feel you were able to cheer them up a little bit?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: I don’t follow hockey that much actually. (Laughter.)

I mean, I heard about that. This is qualifying. But, yeah. We still won — they still won against Austria 8-1.

Q. Did you brag to your boyfriend?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: That’s what I can brag about all the time.

Q. So do you leave New York the same as when you got here, or has the last 10 days changed you a bit?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: For sure. I have more confidence in my tennis. I think on a good day I could beat good players, top players.

And, yeah, the season is long. I mean, there is still some tournaments I can play, and it’s a good position to start the next year where I am now. So we’ll see. I have to just keep working.

It cannot happen like this today maybe. I have to start better. But for sure I’m more confident, and I’m more happy with my tennis, yeah.

Q. Did you feel that the crowd was particularly noisy tonight, more so than your other matches on Ashe?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: Like a pro on Ashe. (Smiling.)

Q. Was it distracting at all?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: Actually tonight it was not that distracting personally for me. They were loud, yeah, for sure, but I expected that from the first match during the night against Garbiñe.

So tonight it was okay. The problem I couldn’t hear the referee saying time, or chair umpire. I couldn’t hear.

Q. We couldn’t either.
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: Yeah.

Q. Do you know what your schedule is for the fall? You’re right around where could you get seeded for the Australian Open.
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: Tokyo, not International —

Q. Little Tokyo or big Tokyo?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: I just withdraw because of my ankle. I’m playing the second one, then Wuhan and Beijing, and probably Moscow. Maybe Linz. Depends on the results from before. After Moscow, I’m done.

Q. You probably haven’t had an opportunity to really, really celebrate everything that’s happened this week.
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: Not really.

Q. How do you celebrate now that you don’t have to play a match for a while?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: I’m quite tired now actually. My ankle hurts. Maybe on the flight home. I don’t know.

No, no idea. No. Really, maybe we will go out tonight. If we are not sleeping. But probably at home we would go somewhere for dinner or to nice drink. Yeah.

 

 

Caroline Wozniacki

Press Conference

C. WOZNIACKI/A. Sevastova

6-0, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How does it feel to be back in the semifinals of New York?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: It feels great. It’s a tournament that I love. I love being here. Life playing in this incredible stadium.

So it’s a great.

Q. It’s always hard to keep your focus when maybe the opponent is injured or something happens. You seemed to do that very well tonight.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think I was just extra focused, because I saw her fall in that second game. She stood up, and I knew if she can still walk and still put weight on it and stuff then she’s going to go obviously more for her shots and stuff like that.

But I thought, cool. I kept serving well and made her run. I’m pleased with how I managed to keep composed.

Q. Do you feel like you have home court advantage here being that you have your apartment sleeping in your apartment?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I definitely do feel like I have an advantage there. I sleep at home in my own bed, have home-cooked food, and have my friends and family here.

I also feel like I have a bit of a home court advantage when I step out on court. The crowd is always supporting me and is sweet to me. I think it helps I played so well here in the past. It’s just a great combination.

Q. What have been your observations of Angie’s improvement both in a physical way and mental way to get to the stage where she is now in late stages of nearly all the majors this season?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: To be honest, you know, obviously I have seen the results and she’s been doing great. I’m really happy for her. She’s a hard worker.

But to be honest, when I was injured I didn’t watch one match. I don’t know. I have to watch tapes. Obviously I have had tough matches against her in the past. She’s a great competitor. She looks fit, so it’s going to be a tough one.

Yeah, I haven’t really thought about it yet. I just kind of want to enjoy this moment first.

Q. How inspirational is that for you with all the Polish folks behind you?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Well, there is a lot of Polish people living here. Obviously there is a big fan base from Poland here.

Obviously I was born in Denmark and feel Danish, but I have some Polish blood in me. It’s nice I can take the best of both worlds. Also I have a big part of the New York crowd with me. It’s a great combination here.

Q. Cook any Polish food?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I haven’t this week, actually. After the tournament. (Smiling.)

Q. You have known Angie for a very long time and you hung out when you were younger, et cetera. Does it surprise you she finds herself in world No. 2, Grand Slam champion, based off how you were when you were younger?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: No, I don’t think so. We are similar in that we are both hard working. I think that, you know, hard work pays off. She’s obviously very passionate. She loves what she’s doing and it shows.

She’s had a great year and I’m happy for her.

Q. This isn’t a position you have been in quite often the last couple years. Does it make easier playing Angie, someone you know so well?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I don’t think it makes it easier. We will have to wait and she. She’s had a great year so she will be tough to beat, but I’m going to do my best. That’s all can I ask for myself.

Q. You said you didn’t really want to look ahead and go on to the next match right away. You really wanted to enjoy the moment and looked very happy at that time. How does being able to stay in the moment and not go out of yourself, how has that helped you?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think it’s really helped me. You know, there is always going to be uphill battles, and sometimes it’s not going to go your way.

But I always believe if you work hard and you have the belief, and obviously you give it your all, eventually it will turn. It’s been a great week or ten days for me. I’m really pleased.

I think the fact that I have friends and family here and I can just go home and relax and kind of unwind, it’s really helped me to kind of just enjoy it and not look ahead and not stress and just show up. I’m like, Well, I get another day; I get another chance.

It’s great.

Q. I think your father was talking to the Danish press. Thinking about retiring? Have you given much thought to that, plans on that sort of front?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I kind of — I think I don’t want to really talk about that now. When I feel ready to open up and say something then I will, but for now I’m just here to play this tournament.

Hopefully I have two more matches here. Yeah, it’s really all I’m focused on right now.

Q. You have had to answer a number of questions about No. 1 or the No. 1 ranking. What is it about ranking? Angie is in a race for it. Is it something coveted on tour? You talked about ranking is just a number. Where does No. 1 fit into it?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think when you’re a little kid and you don’t know what anything really means, everybody knows what it means to be the best in the world and everybody knows what it means to be No. 1.

So I think getting the No. 1 ranking is extremely special and it’s something that everyone can kind of relate to and every little kid understands.

So obviously being No. 1 in the world is extremely special, and I’m sure Angie is feeling it, too. I’m sure that she is going to do everything to get that ranking. She’s been playing really well this year.

It’s something that very few people in the world has ever achieved. I mean, how crazy is it to say that you’re the best in the world at something? Doesn’t matter if tennis, football, being a lawyer, whatever it is. It’s really special.

You know, for me, when I’m saying ranking is just a number, I have been No. 1. I have been there for two year years. That is something I’m extremely proud of.

But right now, for me, being 70-something, it’s not really — you know, it doesn’t really mean much to me. I still believe and feel like I’m one of the top players and grinding my way back, so that’s why I’m saying for me right now the ranking is just a number: because I’m not No. 1 and there is a long way for me right now to get back to No. 1.

But I’m doing my best to just play my best tennis and have fun with it. It’s really all that I can do right now.

Q. Would it be strange to see that number with not Serena Williams’ name next to it?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Yeah. I mean, she’s held that ranking for so long. Obviously, I think, it’s sad she’s only played eight tournaments from this time last year. She’s such an unbelievable and inspiring player. Obviously being so close with her, just it’s special. She’s just a special athlete. You know, it’s incredible what she’s achieved. It’s something that probably very few – or it will take a long time before someone else gets to that level.

Q. How many weeks a year do you spend at your Manhattan place and where you train?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I don’t know. I mean, we travel so much, so I don’t get to spend as much time here as I want.

But when I’m here lately I have been training at the McEnroe Academy on Randall’s Island. Sometimes I go to the Westside Highway; it’s public courts. They usually let me in and let me in and train for as long as I want. I kind of like being there, because I feel like a proper New Yorker.

Q. There is a queue to get on to those courts. Have you waited?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I actually haven’t waited because people have been so sweet that they’ve let me in.

Q. That’s fair.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: But if I had to wait, I would. What can I do? I have to follow the rules, right?

Q. Your serve has been particularly reliable for you over the course of the tournament. That hasn’t always been the case in the past. Can you talk about the evolution of that shot? What is kind of the specific work that you have put into it to make it a shot that you can rely on here?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: It’s been something that I have worked on for the last 20 years. It’s something that I have spent a lot of time on, and it’s something that maybe doesn’t come — the return comes more natural than the serve, but I have been working really hard on it.

It’s been great at periods in my career and then it’s been really bad in periods where I am like, I don’t know why the timing isn’t there. It’s been good again, so it’s kind of on and off.

When it’s on, I’m just praying that it’s going to stay on for a while. I don’t know.

Q. Has it been on here? Would you consider this on?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Yeah, I think it’s been a good two weeks. Hopefully I can keep it up.

Q. You spoke a moment ago about belief and enjoyment and about your two weeks as No. 1 player in the world. How do those things compare now with the belief and enjoyment when you were the No. 1 player?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think it’s much different. I’m older. I have been through everything. Right now I’m happy every time I get to play on a big court.

It’s special, you know. Like obviously being injured and being away from the game you kind of put things in perspective. You’re like, I could get injured again tomorrow and maybe I won’t have another shot out there.

I think I’m enjoying it much more now than back I was then. Back then I was just trying and grinding for staying at the top of the rankings for as long as possible, and obviously just winning every match.

Now obviously I want to win every match, but it’s different. I’m not the favorite in most of my matches anymore, or on paper at least. I’m just going in there as the underdog and going out doing my thing.

Q. How does that increased enjoyment affect your belief as a player?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think I have always had the belief. The belief hasn’t changed. I just think I’m enjoying it now more than I was in the past.

I think it’s less stressful. It’s more going out and having fun.

Q. There was a picture on Twitter of the vacation you took with Angie and the Radwanskas, like, years ago.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I look pretty round in that picture, actually. I think we all did.

Q. You were at a different stage in your lives. But everybody grows up, and on the tour everybody becomes more professional, has their own teams. Can you look back on that kind of time and how different it was and maybe if you have any stories to share about that vacation with Angie?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Actually, I don’t think it’s that different. We would still go on vacations, but the problem is like, you know, Aga is getting married, so then all of a sudden we’re like, We just want a girls trip, but it’s tough when everyone has their own thing.

But even last year Angie and I were talking. I was like, Part of my offseason I will be in New York. I’ll be somewhere else. If you want to join, you’re more than welcome.

So it’s not like we are separated, but it’s like sometimes like we have different priorities or there is just a little bit more busy now. But, yeah, I think still we hang out and we have coffees and sit and talk and have a good time.

I think the great thing about our little group of people is that we have kind of hung out together for years and years now, and doesn’t matter who is No. 1 or who is lower ranked or who is beating who, we always have that little clique, and it’s nice to be able to just hang out and have a nice little conversation and a good laugh.

 

 

Novak Djokovic

Press Conference

N. DJOKOVIC/J. Tsonga

6-3, 6-2, (ret.)

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How would you describe your road to the semifinals?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I’m in the semifinals, so that’s what matters for me the most; to be able to play as well as I did in fourth round and today in the quarterfinals for at least a couple of sets.

I thought that I came out with the right intensity. The quality of my game and level of performance has raised in last couple of days, which obviously encourages me prior to the last four.

I put myself in a position again to be one match away from the finals. As tournament progresses, I feel like I’m getting better. Of course that this Grand Slam is very unique for me. I never experienced something like this to have three retirements on the road to the semifinals.

I can only wish all of my opponents a speedy recovery. That’s all I can do on my end. I obviously try to focus on things that I need to do; stick to the game plan. I notice Jo already midway through the second set was upholding his first serve and you could sense that something is going on.

So I’m sure it’s not an easy situation for him to handle, playing quarterfinals and having to retire night session. But, again, it’s sport.

Q. Did you sense that you broke him mentally as much as physically with just how sharp you were?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, that’s I guess a question for him. On my side I said I tried to come in with high intensity, concentration, and trying to execute the game plan I prepared with my team.

I played Jo many times on the big stage. First Grand Slam final for both of us was back in 2008 in Melbourne. Yeah, played over 20 times against each other, so I know Jo very well. I know his pros and cons.

So I tried to analyze the matches that we had before, and as I said, get myself, you know, prepared the best way I could. I thought I did well on the return; put a lot of pressure on his second serve. First serve is sometimes a gamble because it’s a big serve. Just tried to get as many balls back in play, move him around the court, and I thought at least that I have done well.

Q. Does the lack of match competition concern you at all going forward?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Not really. Actually, in this stage of the season, considering some physical issues I have had in the last month, month and a half, this was the scenario that I needed and I wished for. I got a lot of days off and recovered my body. Right now I’m feeling very close to the peak. That’s the position where I want to be.

Q. But would a fourth or a fifth set maybe be a bit of uncharted territory for you in the current sense?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Not really. I mean, I have played so many times. I was so many times in this particular situation where I had long matches on the road to the semis of a Grand Slam. Also had some Grand Slams where didn’t spend too much time on the court.

It really just depends how you feel, how your season has been, how many matches you have played throughout the year.

As I said, this scenario with easy was ideal at this stage.

Q. You played Del Potro in Rio and now he’s in the quarterfinal here. How well do you think he’s playing right now? How close is he to his form?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I think he’s playing very well. His forehand and his serve are two huge weapons. For somebody of his height he’s moving very well. His anticipation is great.

At the end of the day he is very, very motivated, you can see that, to perform his best. He hasn’t played for, you know, couple of years on the tour with those wrist injuries and surgeries and everything was happening.

I know him very well. Very pleasant, very nice person. He deserves what he’s getting at the moment.

It will be interesting to see how he goes around in the big matches, you know, from quarterfinals, from tomorrow onwards.

Q. With sort of the lack of match play here, do you treat the next couple of days differently than you might at a different slam? Will you guys sort of talk through or walk through different scenarios that you might face, say, in a fourth or fifth set since you haven’t been there now in a couple of months?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I’m not going to practice for three or four hours just to feel that kind of potential for the fifth set scenario. Just keeping the routine as it is. I’m glad, you know, I have another two days now to work on things. You know, at this stage of the tournament and season, I think one of the most important things for a player is this freshness of the mind, of the body, and just having that right supply of substance in your body and the enduring strength that you need, the speed, the alertness.

All these things come with, you know, some time that you have around. Time management, most of all. You know, I’m really looking forward to come out on the court on Friday in semifinals.

Q. You go way back with Monfils. He’s a player that a lot of fans like to watch. They think he’s very entertaining. Obviously you have had the better of him in the record, but as a player, do you enjoy watching him?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I love watching Gaël. He’s one of the few players that I will definitely pay a ticket to watch.

He’s very charismatic. Plays with a smile. Enjoys tennis. Enjoys life.

I mean, this is – well, in my eyes – what everybody is supposed to be like, whether you’re a sportsman or whatever. Bring that smile; bring that good energy. That’s why people like him.

But also, he seems more focused at this time of his career. Especially on the hard court this year maybe he’s playing the best tennis he ever played. He’s very consistent. He hasn’t dropped a set till semis. That says a lot about the level he’s on.

Definitely expecting a tough battle.

Q. (Indiscernible.)
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Again, it’s a question for him. I don’t know Gaël that well to understand what’s happening, what was happening throughout his life and career. Because, you know, sometimes the circumstances in your private life affect your profession. In this case, tennis career.

But he was always enjoying playing tennis, you know. In the end of the day, it all comes down to that, whether you’re happy doing something. If you’re successful or not, that’s something that’s is on the priority list of the society we are living on. Trophies, fame, money, influence, all these kind of things that I don’t believe they are the best values that we all should share.

I think happiness intrinsic, really belonging to something and really being fulfilled doing something. That’s what Gaël is bringing to this sport. I think he’s a very valuable asset to tennis, so I’m really glad that a player like him is doing well. He’s, you know, obviously bringing that energy to the court.

Q. When you say you’re reaching your peak, do you mean in terms of your physical problems or in terms of form?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I’m reaching my peak in terms of my form. I don’t know how you understood that.

Q. Do you feel like 100% here?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, that’s what I said, yes.

 

 

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Press Conference

N. DJOKOVIC/J. Tsonga

6-3, 6-2, (ret.)

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Why did you make the decision to retire after the second set?
JO-WILFRIED TSONGA: Just because I have a pain on my left knee. It’s something I had already in the past, so I know exactly what’s happen.

So, yeah, I knew it was over for me straightaway, because when I have my knee, of course, it’s already tough to play against one of the best tennis player.

But when I don’t have my knee, I have no chance to come back from two sets to love. So for me, it’s important to save what I can save. And that’s it.

 

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Djokovic, Monfils, Wozniacki and Kerber Reach US Open Semifinals

20-Monfils split bh

 

(September 6, 2016) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – A focused Gael Monfils reached his first major semifinal in 8 years on Tuesday, when he beat French countryman Lucas Pouille 6-4, 6-3, 6-3.

Monfils, known for hitting some spectacular shots, took a shot at the media in questioning how he plays on court.

 

“If, today, you know, I drop my racquet and I do a slide you will say I will entertain people, you know, no matter what. Sometime I can hear that — someone told me that my shoe laces, you know, it was one point on perfect win, clean win against Baghdatis. You make it up. Oh, like he’s doing a show.

“Or if I do a trick shot, one, and still kill it, you will say, I’m a showman. So, you know, this one, with all the respect to everyone, is you guys to put me on the spot.

“Today I think I haven’t the chance to do it, but Lucas, hit two good tweeners. I don’t think you will tell him he tried to entertain.”

“I dive because I want to win the point,” the No. 10 seed said. “Definitely I want to win the point. When you make the show, honestly, it’s to entertain, but it’s (also) to win. So what’s the point to make the show and lose, actually?”

“That’s why people think, ‘Oh, he’s jumping, he’s sliding.’ In the end, you think I’m stupid?”

 

The 24th seed Pouille ran out of gas after three straight five-set matches.

“Of course I was a bit tired today,” he said. “I played four matches, one in four sets, and then all three in five.

“So, yeah, it would have been better if I played a bit less time on court. It’s okay. I did my best today. Gaël was playing very good. He’s physically very fit. He’s moving so well. And I think, as I said after Nadal’s match, he’s in very good form.

“Yeah, I think he was better than me today.”

Monfils will have a tough task ahead for his semifinal match. He’ll take on No. 1 Novak Djokovic, a man he has never beaten. He’s 0-12 against the Serb.

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

Djokovic beat another of Monfils’ countrymen, ninth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, when Tsonga retired with a left knee injury down 6-3, 6-2.

Djokovic has only played nine full sets this tournament, two full matches – his second round opponent withdrew, his third round opponent retired after six games and Tsonga retired after 2 sets in his quarterfinal match.

The 12-time major winner has now reched his 10th straight US Open semifinal.

 

Caroline Wozniacki

Caroline Wozniacki

Coming to the US Open, former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki was ranked No. 74 in the world, stemming from time off due to an injury combined with some bad results. She’s made a run to the semifinals beating an injured Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia 6-0, 6-2. It’s the first time the Dane has reached the semis since 2014, fifth time overall.

Sevastova twisted her right ankle in the second game of the match, which left her hobbled for the rest of the match.

“It feels great,” the Dane said about reached the semifinals. “It’s a tournament that I love. I love being here. Life playing in this incredible stadium.”

“I think I was just extra focused, because I saw her fall in that second game,” she said. “She stood up, and I knew if she can still walk and still put weight on it and stuff then she’s going to go obviously more for her shots and stuff like that.

“But I thought, cool. I kept serving well and made her run. I’m pleased with how I managed to keep composed.”

 

“I’m not a person that likes to retire during a match, so I just tried my best,” said the Latvian.

“But the movement was different. It was harder to move. And also on serve it was harder to get out of the serve.”

“It’s tough to end like that, but, yeah, it’s tennis. I could have played amazing but still lost. It would hurt more, I think.

“But now, ankle, yeah. I have to stop and have to take time off. It was still great two weeks.”

Angelique Kerber photo courtesy of MiamiTennisNews.com

Angelique Kerber photo courtesy of MiamiTennisNews.com

Wozniacki will play No. 2 Angelique Kerber for a spot in the final. Kerber had a tough opening set, but then won the last nine games of the match to stop last year’s losing US Open finalist Roberta Vinci of Italy 7-5, 6-0 bothered by an injury.

“I think the key of the match was the first set,” Kerber said. “I mean, it was really close and tough. It’s always difficult to play against Roberta.

“I mean, she’s a tough opponent with her slice. Yeah, I was trying to staying in the match and not thinking that I’m the break down. Just going for it, yeah.

“Keeping my mind a little bit relaxed, and, yeah, staying in the moment. I think that was my key also like for the first set to being a little bit more relax and had not too negative, actually.”

 

Kerber, who has a chance to move past Serena Williams and become No. 1, will be playing her third major semifinal this year. She beat Williams in the final of the Australian Open.

 

“I’m not thinking about quarters, semis, or whatever,” Kerber said. “I’m just going there to playing a good match and to win the match.

“I know that I can beat everybody, and this is what gives me also a lot of confidence and motivation for going out there and playing with a lot of emotion.”

 

More to follow….

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Caroline Wozniacki Beats Eighth Seed Madison Keys to Reach US Open Quarterfinals

Caroline Wozniacki

Caroline Wozniacki

(September 4, 2016) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Caroline Wozniacki took down No. 8 seed Madison Keys 6-3, 6-4 to reach her first quarterfinals of a major, since she reached the US Open final where she lost to Serena Williams in 2014. The Dane once ranked No. 1, has fallen on hard times coming back from an injury, seeing her ranking fall to No. 74 entering the US Open.

“This is crazy,” two-time US Open finalist Wozniacki said on court after the match. “After such a tough year to be here and into the quarterfinals is amazing.”

The 21-year-old American Keys hit 33 unforced errors and her serve was broken three times. Wozniacki won nine of ten of her service games.

 

Madison Keys

Madison Keys

Keys talked about the loss in her news conference: “I think it was nerves a little bit. I definitely felt like I got off to a bad start, and then I felt like I was trying to catch up from there.

“I definitely don’t think I was playing my best. I mean, I think she played really, really well today. I think it was just a combination of me not playing my best and not playing super smart and her playing really well.

“I feel like the match just got away from me.”

“It’s been a good week,” said the 26-year-old veteran Wozniacki. “I’m really happy about the way I played. Obviously Madison is a strong player. She hits the ball really hard.

“But I managed to really, you know, play well, get a lot of returns in. I served well, which I was pleased with.

“Yeah, I’m just happy that I got another win.”

She’ll play Anastasija Sevastova for a spot in the semifinals.

Wozniacki talked about her next opponent: “I had some tough matches against her in the past. I think we played Fed Cup a couple of times, but also we played the Australian Open.

“She’s a tough player. She’s a tough opponent. She has a lot of grit and good hands. It’s not going to be an easy one, but I’m excited just to have another shot.”

Anastasija Sevastova became the first Latvian woman to make a major quarterfinal since Larisa Savchenko at 1994 Wimbledon when she knocked out 13th seed Johanna Konta 6-4, 7-5 in the opening match on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

For the 48th-ranked Sevastova, it’s just her sixth win over Top 20 opponents. She retired from the sport due to back injuries in 2013, but came back to the tour last year.

“I still cannot believe it,” Sevestova expresasing her feelings about reaching the final eight after coming out of retirement last year. “Mentally I’m spent. Totally spent. But it’s amazing.”

“I think I’m playing better in my second career right now,” she added. “I’m handling pressure sometimes better than before. Playing now these match points it’s tough. It’s always tough to finish the match, but I think I’m handling it better now.

“And, yeah, I think this was a quality match today. 30 winners, 26 unforced errors. I mean, it’s a good quality, I think. We played okay.”

Advancing to the semifinals will push her ranking up into the top 35.

 

Roberta-Vinci1

Seventh seed Roberta Vinci of Italy has reached the US Open quarterfinals again, defeating No. 99 Lesia Tsurenko of the Ukraine 7-6(5), 6-2.

The Italian admitted that she’s playing with an injury:”I have some problem with my tendon, left leg. That’s it. A little bit pain on my back. A lot of pain, but I don’t want to think about this injury.”

“I fight a lot, and important thing was to try something and stay positive, stay focused for the match.”

The Italian stopped Serena Williams’ bid for a Grand Slam last year, when she upset the world No. 1 in the semifinals of the US Open. This is the Italian’s 14th main draw appearance in Flushing Meadows.

In the last women’s match f the day, 14th seed Petra Kvitova lost to No. 2 Angelique Kerber in the night session 6-3, 7-5.

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US Open – Sock Knocks Out 2014 Champ Cilic; Djokovic and Nadal Advance

(September 2, 2016) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – No. 26 seed Jack Sock kept his record against 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic perfect on Friday, when he upset the No. 7 seed 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 on Friday to reach the fourth round at Flushing Meadows. The 23-year-old Sock, the 26 seed felt confient about his game.

 

“I think just all around I think I’m putting things together better and better,” said Sock. “I definitely feel more confident out there in everything I’m doing.

“Used to be some liabilities people would talk about in my game. I feel like I have cleaned those up pretty well. Returning was big for me. I think I’ve gotten a pretty good hold on that. Feeling comfortable. Getting in a lot of guys’ service games now.

“Overall I feel my purpose out there. I’m executing it well and I feel like I know what I’m going to do on almost every point.”

Sock, reaching just his second fourth round at a major, will meet No. 9 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The Frenchman defeated No. 23 seed Keving Anderson in straight sets.

Sock’s American countryman, John Isner did not fare as well. The 20th seed Isner who fell to Great Britain’s Kyle Edmund 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (5). For the Brit ranked 84th in the world, this will be his first round of 16 at a major.

“It’s been a great week so far, absolutely,” the 21-year-old Edmund said to media. “Tonight was a really good win. I was pleased with my consistency throughout the match. Weren’t too many dips. On that stage, as well, in front of a good crowd, a big crowd, against John in his own country, I was pleased with the performance I put out there.”

“I think the match swung a bit in the first game of the third set when I had Love-40,” Isner explained. “I played three really good points to get to Love-40, and then kind of wear myself out trying to finish that game off.

“I didn’t break, and then the next game I didn’t make any first serves and got broken. That was a bit disappointing. But it was just a struggle out there a little bit. Kind of the whole tournament. Nothing really felt great the whole tournament.

“But credit to Kyle. I thought he played well. Certainly played better than I did in the big moments, so hats off to him.”

Edmund will have a tumultuous task ahead of him for the next match – No. 1 Novak Djokovic. Djokovic played only six games in the match on Friday when his opponent Mikhail Youzhny retired. Djokovic has only played one complete match at the tournament, in the first round. His second round opponent withdrew.

“It’s not great for neither players nor the fans pay tickets to come and watch,” noted the world No. 1.” Spent 20 minutes on the court. Of course, it’s not something you want considering, as well, the fact I haven’t played last match at all.

“But it is what it is. I got an extra hour of practice on the center court. They were kind enough to allow me to practice. Got to focus on positives.”

Rafael Nadal produced a spectacular between-the-legs lob shot during the night session in his 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 win over Andrey Kuznetsov in a night session match.

Asked if he ever hit a long like that before, the 14-time major winner said: “Well, actually yes. Not many times, but I remember one in Madrid against Djokovic.”

Other men reaching the fourth round include: No. 10 Gael Monfils, No. 24 Lucas Pouille and Marcos Baghdatis.

In women’s action, the most dramatic match of the day saw eighth seeded American Madison Keys rally from 1-5 down in the third set to survive Japanese player Naomi Osaka 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (3). The 21-year-old American said it was her best comeback win. She said: “For sure. Hands down.”

“No matter what the score was, it was always just trying to get back in the match. Once I was able to get a little bit of momentum I felt like I found my game a bit more. At that point I knew I had to kind of step up or else I was going to be going home.”

Keys will play two-time US Open finalist and former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki for a place in the quarterfinals.

“It’s been a rough year because I haven’t been able to catch a break from injuries basically,” said the current No. 74 player in the world. “Every time I have come back something else has been hurting. Knock on wood, right now I’m feeling good. Everything is feeling good.

“I’m hoping I can keep this up for the end of the year and hopefully start fresh next year.”

Other women moving into the final 16 are No. 2 Angelique Kerber – Australian Open champion, No. 7 Roberta Vinci – who stopped Serena Williams bid for a Grand Slam last year, No. 13 Johanna Konta, Two-time Wimbledon champion No. 14 Petra Kvitova, Anastasija Sevastova and Lesia Tsurenko.

 

Related Articles:

Jack Sock Rallies From Two Sets Down to Beat Marin Cilic; John Isner Also Wins, Gives USA 2-0 Lead in Davis Cup Quarterfinal

Day 5 of the US Open – In Their Own Words

 

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Raonic Falls to Qualifier, Muguruza and Kuznetsova Also Lose at US Open

Milos Raonic

Milos Raonic

(August 31, 2016) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Wimbledon finalist and US Open fifth seed Milos Raonic along with French Open winner and third seed Garbine Muguruza became the biggest upset victims so far at the US Open on Wednesday. Ninth seed and 2004 US Open title holder Svetlana Kuznetsova also lost.

Top seed Novak Djokovic advanced to the third round when his opponent Jiri Vesely withdrew from the tournament with a left forearm injury.

Cramps caused Canadian Raonic a 6-7 (4), 7-5, 7-5, 6-1 second round loss to American qualifier Ryan Harrison ranked 120th in the world. Raonic said the cramping began halfway through the second set.

“I don’t think hydration was an issue,” Raonic said. “I think I always take that precaution. Probably just nerves and stress, a mental sort of overexuberance rather than — probably more than it should.”

“I think I didn’t start off well in the match,” explained the Canadian. “I started off feeling a little bit heavy, which has happened to me before. You sort of get through the first set. You pull that one out and you sort of start to relax a little bit. I didn’t do that today. I just sort of compounded the stress. I kept trying to force the shots. I was hesitating mentally on the shots. I just felt a little bit a step slow.”

“I was my own worst enemy today. I tried the best I could to find my way out of it. My body didn’t let me.”

“The sort of expectation of pressure on myself to get out of that situation like I normally would in a situation like that, like happened to me in the beginning of Wimbledon, I didn’t do that.

“Then all that kind of forceful play caught up to me there in the end.”

Raonis hit 15 double faults in the match.

Raonic did credit his opponent: “He played well. He did a lot of things well. I think he stepped up and he played a solid match. There was a few breakpoints. I can’t remember if it was in the second or third. Hit three aces down the T; won three out of four of them.

“At the beginning of the second, a breakpoint. I hit a good forehand cross. He went for it down the line and made it. A reaction volley, made it as well. He stepped up and got through those important moments.

“I didn’t create this pressure for myself or this kind of stress on myself. He did that.”

Ryan Harrison

Ryan Harrison

“The cool and exciting thing was that I had a great win today, and there was no point where I felt like I was red lining or playing a level that wasn’t consistent,” Harrison said. “Kind of like going back to the first question I answered, when I broke early in the first set, I got broken back, there was no panic because I didn’t feel I was playing above my level to get up the break.

“That’s when I was just focused on staying the course. Lose a tight first set. Obviously a lot of people are going, you know, long, tight first set. The first couple games of the second are really important. I saved like four or five breakpoints in that first game of the second set. That was a huge hump, because you don’t want to be down a set and a break to that guy because he can just take the racquet out of your hand at times.

“That was another pivotal moment. I’m sure looking back there were plenty of times where it could have gotten away from me. I’m excited that emotionally and from an execution standpoint I was able to put enough in play and be aggressive enough to take the win.”

 

No. 3 Garbine Muguruza of Spain hit 38 unforced errors in losing 7-5, 6-4 in the first night match to Anastasija Sevastova from Latvia. Sevastova who retired and came back to tennis last after two years dealing with injuries, said she returned to play the majors.

“It still hasn’t settled in,” Noted the Latvian in regard to the upset win. “It feels great, but it’s still not like I won the tournament. It’s only second round.”

“We can enjoy it today, but tomorrow is a new day. There are other matches. Nobody thinks about the previous match. You have to think forward. Tonight I can enjoy.”

Caroline Wozniacki

Caroline Wozniacki

In another major surprise of the day, ninth seed and former US Open champion Kuznetsova jumped out to a 4-0 lead, but her opponent two-time US Open Finalist Caroline Wozniacki won 12 out of the next 15 games to seal the win 6-4, 6-4. Wozniaki, now ranked at 74th in the world is unseeded in Flushing Meadows for the first time since 2007.

 

“I always believe in myself and I always think that in my head I belong to the top of the game,” she said. “You know, I’m going to have tough draws because of my ranking but in the end of the day I’m healthy, and that’s the main thing. Then I can start building from that.”

 

“I love playing here at the Open,” the Dane continued. “I have great memories here. I have had matches against Sveta so many times before here where she’s been killing literally on court 6-1, 4-1, and then I have managed to come back and win the match in three sets.

“It’s like, you know what? Just keep going, wait for your opportunity and your chance, and I did that today.”

 

Other seeds advancing to the third round included Australian Open champion and second seed Angelique Kerber, last year’s women’s finalist 7th seed Roberta Vinci, Madison Keys the eighth seed, the 12th seed Dominika Cibulkova, Johanna Konta No. 13, 14th seed Petra Kvitova, No. 22 Elina Svitolina and No. 24 Belinda Bencic. Moving to the third round on the men’s side –  two-time US Open winner and fourth seed Rafael Nadal, 2014 US Open winner Marin Cilic, No. 9 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, No. 10 seed Gael Monfils, No. 15 Roberto Bautista Agut, 20th seed John Isner, No. 23 Kevin Anderson, No. 24 Lucas Pouille, and No. 26th seed Jack Sock.

 

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US Players go 10-13 on Day 1 of the US Open

(August 29, 2016) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY -Thirty-nine players are representing the United States are playing in the US Open this year. Americans went 10-13 on day one of the US Open with a few five-set struggles for seeded men.

No. 20 seed John Isner had to rally past countryman 18-year-old wild card Frances Tiafoe 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2, 7-6 (3) in 3 hours and 27 minutes on the new Grandstand court. The 125th-ranked Tiafoe served for the match at 5-3 in the fifth set, but could not close it out.

“Experience is definitely on my side in that match, but sometimes experience is overrated,” Isner said .

“You know, I think in that instance I actually probably played the best return game I played all match.

“You know, he played very well, I thought, and he earned everything up to that point for sure. I just tried to stick with it. Was able to get back into that set at 5-4.

“Actually, even though I was pretty haggard out there, I got a jolt of energy when I got it back to 5-4.”

“Serving for it I thought I definitely had it,” said Tiefoe. “I thought I definitely thought the match was over, but he played a good return game. Didn’t make that many first serves that game. Probably should have played a higher percentage, but it’s tough.”

“Toughest loss of my career so far for sure. But, you know, think I’m getting over it now a little bit. I mean, not much to really say. It’s tough. I was so excited serving for it 5-3; the crowd is going nuts; I’m going nuts. You have so much adrenaline going.

“Come up a little short, it hurts.”

No. 26 seed Jack Sock stopped the comeback of fellow American and last year’s US Open Boys singles champion Taylor Fritz 7-6 (3), 7-5, 3-6, 1-6, 6-4. Sock made 73 errors in the win.

“Two for two,” said Sock who also beat the teenager in five-sets at the Australian Open. “Yeah, today was obviously a back-and-forth match. Two sets my way, two sets his way and then a battle in the fifth, but just happy to get through.

“I thought I came out and I thought I returned well the whole match. He’s got a great serve. He can really pop the first serve. Can’t be spotted well. It’s tough. I was able to get on a lot of second serves and put pressure on him I think. That paid off in the fifth getting up two breaks. Obviously didn’t help me too much when I gave them right back.”

Jack Sock withstood Taylor Fritz’s repeated comebacks to win the second five-set match between American men Monday at the U.S. Open.

Olympian Brian Baker using a protected ranking of No. 56 due to injuries, lost a five-set match for the first time after going up two sets to none when he fell to Argentina’s Federico Delbonis 3-6, 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-2,6-2.

“Anytime you lose a slam match it’s tough on the soul,” Baker said.

Despite his ups and downs with injuries, Baker still keeps going on. “I still enjoy playing,” he said. “Obviously it’s not much fun to lose a match like that, but I’m still trying to make my way back this year. When you are out as long as I have, only 8 months back and I really wasn’t as fit as I really wanted to be until May So really just trying to get my feet back under me so it’s really disappointing to lose a match like that. I know I should be getting better and better as the year goes on and into next year.”

Another heart-breaking five-set loss coming after going two sets up was wild card Mackenzie McDonald who won both the NCAA singles and doubles titles while attending UCLA. The  former Bruin lost to Czech Jan Satral 4-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. This was the American’s debut at a major.

“I think there’s more positives to take from this match. Just thinking more about the experience,” he said. “You know that was my debut, I went five sets, my first five-set match. I think that this is just a long process. I think I’ve learned so much from doing this and experiencing this.”

McDonald plans to play challenger events to build his ranking up.

USTA Pro Circuit Challenge Winner Ernesto Escobedo Wins First Round Match at US Open for First Match Win at a Major

American qualifier Taylor Townsend had former World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki in trouble after winning the first set in the first-ever match on the new Grandstand. Wozniacki pulled it out 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 but Townsend the former No. 1 junior said she had chances.

“That really stings. I had so many chances,” said the Georgian.

“Overall, I just have to take the positive from it. This is definitely not satisfying for me. I want to continue, go back out, I mean, if I could I’d go back out on the practice court now. That’s just how I feel. Just to get better because I know that I’m so close.
“So that was just — that match proved a lot to me today, but I’m not satisfied at all.”

“There are a lot of different points that I feel like if I could have done something different or if I made a different decision that it could have maybe changed the outcome.

“Instead of getting broken, could have got broken. Instead of being down 30, could have been up 15-30 or 15-all. But that’s tennis. There are so many points during the match where it can go either way. You have to make a decision in a split second. Sometimes you make the right decision; sometimes you make the wrong decision.

“I have to learn from it. I can pick apart the match and tell you every little thing, but overall I’m just going to assess it, watch the film, learn from it, and keep moving.”
The USTA Girls’ 18s national champion Kayla Day from Santa Barbara Calif., won her first main draw match at a major when US countrywoman Madison Brengle retire with Day leading 6-2, 4-2. Day earned a spot in the US Open as the Girls National champion.

 

“There were a lot of nerves in the warm-up and first game, but after the first couple of games, I just felt really comfortable out there…. happy with that, she said. “It’s not always the best way to win, but I was happy with the way I was playing, and I was in control of the match.

“All my life, I dreamed about playing here, so I just told myself to go out and enjoy it today, that it would a good experience, no matter the result.”

Cathering “CiCi” Bellis, who made a splash in the 2014 US Open when as a 15-year-old she been seeded player Dominika Cibulkova is now two for two in first round matches at the US Open. Now 17, the qualifier beat Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic 6-2, 6-3.

Bellis talkd about the virtues of coming through qualifying:

“I think just playing actually three matches made me so much more comfortable, and knowing the surface of the courts and just playing on the courts in general is I think a big advantage for me.

“I think it’s better for me to come through qualifying rather than getting just a wildcard.”

 

Singles Results of United States players:

(26) Jack Sock d. Taylor Fritz 7-6(3), 7-5, 3-6, 1-6, 6-4

(DEN)Caroline Wozniacki(DEN) d. (Q)Taylor Townsend 4-6, 6-3, 6-4

(20) John Isner d. (WC) Frances Tiafoe 3-6, 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-2, 7-6(3)

(13) (GBR)Johanna Konta(GBR) d. Bethanie Mattek-Sands[WC] 6-3, 6-3

(24) (SUI)Belinda Bencic d. Samantha Crawford 6-7(6) 6-3, 6-4

Federico Delbonis(ARG) d. Brian Baker 3-6, 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-2, 6-2

(JPN)Naomi Osaka d. (28) Coco Vandeweghe 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-4

(WC) Kayla Day d. Madison Brengle 6-2, 4-2 ret.

(Q)Catherine “CiCi” Bellis d. (SUI) Viktorija Golubic 6-2, 6-3

(WC) Ernesto Escobedo d. (SVK) Lukas Lacko 6-4, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3

(RUS) Evgeniya Rodina(RUS) d. (WC) Danielle Collins 6-1, 6-2

(ARG) Guido Pella d.(WC) Bjorn Fratangelo 6-3, 6-4, 6-4

Christina McHale d. (GER)Mona Barthel 6-2, 6-2

Shelby Rogers d. (27) (ITA) Sara Errani 6-4, 7-6(3)

(TUR) Cagla Buyukakcay(TUR) d. Irina Falconi 6-2, 6-1

(CZE)(Q)Jan Satral d. Mackenzie McDonald[WC] 4-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2

(WC)Lauren Davis d. (BLR) Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2, 4-6, 7-5

(Q) Ryan Harrison d. (FRA) Adrian Mannarino 6-4, 7-6(5), 6-3

(8) Madison Keys d. Alison Riske 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-2

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On the Purple Carpet – Fashion Shines at WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 23:  Caroline Wozniacki attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 23: Caroline Wozniacki attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 23:  Garbine Muguruza attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 23: Garbine Muguruza attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 23:  Bethanie Mattek-Sands attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 23: Bethanie Mattek-Sands attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 23:  Ana Ivanovic attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 23: Ana Ivanovic attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 23:  Madison Keys attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 23: Madison Keys attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 23:  Laura Robson attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 23: Laura Robson attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 23:  Simona Halep attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 23: Simona Halep attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 23:  Sloane Stephens attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 23: Sloane Stephens attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 23:  Petra Kvitova attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 23: Petra Kvitova attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 23:  Heather Watson attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 23: Heather Watson attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 23:  Sorana Cirstea attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 23: Sorana Cirstea attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 23:  Serena Williams attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 23: Serena Williams attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

 

(June 23, 2016) Tennis superstars and celebrities from the worlds of sport, lifestyle and culture came together at The Roof Gardens, Kensington for one of the most anticipated parties of the summer: the WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free.

Serena Williams, Caroline Wozniacki, Ana Ivanovic, Eugenie Bouchard and more walked the “Purple Carpet” in London ahead of The Championships, Wimbledon.

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