2014/08/01

Venus Williams Moves into Dubai Final

Venus Williams over Wozniacki

(February 21, 2014) DUBAI – Wild card entry and world No. 44 Venus Williams dispatched Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 6-2 to reach the final of the Dubai Championships, her second final of 2014. She lost in the Auckland final in January to Ana Ivanovic.

“I feel like I’ve just gotten so much better since my first round to now, just feeling comfortable on the court, feeling comfortable when I’m behind, feeling comfortable when I’m in the lead,” Williams said.

“So it reminds me a lot when I first came on tour, having to learn a lot, so I feel like I’m learning lessons all over again.

The two-time former Dubai champion Williams prevented Wozniacki from playing her game.

“In the beginning I felt like she was dictating almost everything and she was making a few mistakes, so that kind of got me a couple of games,” said the Dane.

“But then, you know, I think towards the end of the first set and, you know, second set I think we had some longer rallies.

“You know, my game as well stepped up a little bit, but, you know, I think she played well and was very steady and kept her head cool.”

“I didn’t really feel like I could go out and play what I wanted to play,” Wozniacki said. “You know, once I got going, she started to play better as well.

“It was kind of uphill today, and she, you know, like I was expecting, she went in and was serving good first serves especially when she needed them.

“You know, she got the angles going, so even when I was behind the baseline, you know, she made me come in and then played it on my feet.

“Yeah.  She played a good match, and, you know, I started off very slow.  Once I got going it was too late.”

“I feel good,” said Williams.  “I have earned every win this week, and in the finals I have to earn that one no matter who I play.  It’s not like I’m going to step out there and think, you know, that I’ve got the momentum or anything.  I’ve got to create what’s going to happen on the court.  That’s what I’m going to look to do.”

Venus will play the winner of the match between her No. 1 ranked sister Serena and No. 26 Alize Cornet.

“I think it will be wonderful for us to walk in the court in the finals again like we did, you know, the first time so many years ago,” said Venus.  “I haven’t been able to hold my side of the bargain these last few years.  You know, obviously no fault of my own, but it’s great for me to be able to be able to wait in the final for her and for her to get there.  Then we will just compete for the title, you know, assuming that she wins, which obviously she’s the favorite.”

Should her sister win, it will be the first all-Williams final since the WTA Championships final in Doha in 2009.

“I’m extremely happy to be able to play her,” Venus said.  “We just haven’t been able to in so long in a final.  So for us now, like to be able to play, I think it would be awesome.”

Serena holds a 14-10 record against Venus.

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Caroline Wozniacki Battles Past Sabine Lisicki in Dubai; Talks Engagement Ring in Press

Wozniacki engagement ring

(February 18, 2014) DUBAI – Former No. 1 and Dubai 2011 champion Caroline Wozniacki battled back to stop 2013 Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki, winning 2-6, 6-3, 6-3.

“I have had to fight pretty hard against her quite a few times,” said the woeld No. 11.  “I knew she was going to come out hot and just go for her shots, and I felt like I was just a step behind.  I couldn’t really do what I wanted from my backhand side, and I was playing a little too short.

“In the second set I started serving really well, I was really pleased with my serves, and I got a lot of her returns back deep, and all of a sudden, you know, the game was different.  I started attacking more from my backhand side onto her backhand and started to make her run a little bit.”

Asked if she was disappointed with the loss Lisicki who is still nursing a shoulder injury said:

“Definitely, but I still see it as positive, because I didn’t have a racquet in my hand for more than two weeks or two weeks.  I practiced four days, and, you know, my shoulder, I did a lot of rehab to be able to come here.

“So I’m very happy that I was able to play and to actually play that well.  It wasn’t enough to play the two whole sets that way yet, but in general, I’m pretty satisfied the way, you know, I started and went into the match, so that’s definitely something that I can build on.”

Wozniacki came into her news conference, sporting her 8 carat diamond engagement ring from fiancé and fomer No. 1 golfer Rory McIlroy. She doesn’t wear it on court for fear of losing it.

She explained the significance of the 8 carats:

“That’s my lucky number.  That’s how he picked eight.  Very thoughtful.  I should have said 18, but…,” she said jokingly.

“Date, everything, location set,” the Dane said when asked about her wedding plans. “Such an exciting time.”

Asked to name the date, she quipped, “You never know.”

 

No. 5 seed, Jelena Jankovic, had to fight to get past qualifier Maryna Zanevska, winning 6-4, 6-3.

“I worked really hard. It was not easy for my first match here,” said Jankovic. “I just came from Doha like one day ago, so it’s completely different. Playing there during the night it’s slower, and here it’s faster and the balls fly. It was quite windy out there, and I felt kind of like I couldn’t play my game totally, you know, play the lines.”

Related articles:

“Rusty” Serena Williams Opens Dubai with a Win; Ana Ivanovic Squeaks by Angelique Kerber

Simona Halep Retires with Injury in Dubai Opening Match

 

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Dubai Draw Provides Competitive Opening Round Clashes

 

IMG_5879 dubai draw

(February 15, 2014) DUBAI, UAEFormer world No. 1, 2011 champion and No. 8 seed Caroline Wozniacki will face 2013 Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki in the first round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

 

That is just one of the opening round clashes that were revealed when the draw was made at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium on Saturday in the presence of Venus Williams, Samantha Stosur, Sorana Cirstea and Lucie Safarova.

 

Another first round match will pit former No. 1 and the 2008 French Open champion, Ana Ivanovic, against six seed Angelique Kerber, who ended last season by beating Ivanovic to win Linz and then last month warmed up for the Australian Open by reaching the Sydney final.

 

Former two-time champion Venus Williams needed a wild card to compete, and she will tackle Elena Vesnina in the first round for the right to meet either Kerber or Ivanovic.

 

Top seed Serena Williams has a bye into the second round, where she could face recent Pattaya winner Ekaterina Makarova, and second seed and 2012 champion Agnieszka Radwanska will face either a qualifier or 2009 Dubai semi-finalist Kaia Kanepi. Third seed and defending champion Petra Kvitova will face either former world number three Nadia Petrova or Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro.

 

Fourth seed Sara Errani, who finished as runner-up to Petra Kvitova in 2013, also receives a bye and then could face either Sorana Cirstea or her doubles partner and the player she beat in last year’s semi-finals, Roberta Vinci. Former world No. 1 and fifth seeded Jelena Jankovic will play a qualifier in the first round, and seventh seed and WTA Most Improved Player of 2013 Simona Halep faces Alize Cornet.

 

Main draw play begins on 17th February and continues until 22nd February, followed by the ATP tournament which takes place from February 24 to March 1.

 

DUBAI DUTY FREE TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS
Dubai, UAE
February 17-February 22, 2014
$2,000,000/Premier
Hard/Outdoors

Order Of Play – Monday, February 17, 2014
Centre Court (from 14.00hrs)
1. Sloane Stephens vs. Lucie Safarova
2. Carla Suárez Navarro vs. Nadia Petrova
3. Venus Williams vs. Elena Vesnina (NB 19.00hrs)
4. Sorana Cirstea vs. Roberta Vinci

Court 1 (from 14.00hrs)
1. Alisa Kleybanova vs. Ekaterina Makarova
2. Chan/Huber vs. Kops-Jones/Spears
3. Raymond/Zhang vs. Pliskova/Pliskova
4. Dushevina/Parra Santonja vs. Groenefeld/Rosolska

Court 2 (from 12.30hrs)
1. Camila Giorgi vs. Karolina Pliskova (Singles Q Final)
2. Maryna Zanevska vs. Mona Barthel (Singles Q Final)

Court 3 (from 12.30hrs)
1. Eugenie Bouchard vs. Annika Beck (Singles Q Final)
2. Flavia Pennetta vs. Yvonne Meusburger (Singles Q Final)

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Tennis News & Net Notes

Rafael Nadal

Tennis News & Net Notes for January 29, 2014

Rafael Nadal is scheduled for a medical exam on Monday.

Roger Federer to play Davis Cup against Serbia this weekend

Andy Murray held a media conference call about his participation in the BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden.

Andy Murray took to twitter to hold an impromptu Q & A session with fans.

Update on Juan Martin del Potro‘s visit to the Mayo Clinic. He has been prescribed a physical therapy program.

A Danish website says that Caroline Wozniacki has parted ways with her coach Thomas Hogstedt after just 2 tourneys working with him.

World No. 11 Milos Raonic, has pulled out of this weekend’s World Group tie against Japan due to an ankle injury he suffered at the Australian Open.

“Unfortunately I am pulling out of Davis Cup this week. I came to Tokyo believing my ankle would recover but it is not at a level where I feel I can compete or help my team,” said Raonic. “This decision was very difficult to make but I believe in the players on our team and that they can get us the win. With a team scenario the most important part this week is to come out with a team win and I believe this is the best way to do it.”

 

US Names Keys, Riske, McHale and Davis to Fed Cup Team

Ivan Lendl Holds Court with the Media on Powershares Series Tennis Conference Call

The U.S. National Indoor Tennis Championships announced today that 2013 Champion, Kei Nishikori, will return to Memphis to defend his 2013 title.

Syracuse University announced on Wednesday that former pro and women’s tennis coach Luke Jensen has stepped down to pursue other opportunities. Jensen was hired back in August 2006.

Nominations announced for Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group and World Group II ties

On Tuesday two-time champion Vera Zvonareva advanced at Pattaya Open with her the first win of her comeback after an 18-month absence due to injury. She lost on Wednesday.

Har-Tru Sports will be a domestic sponsor of the U.S. vs. Great Britain Davis Cup by BNP Paribas First Round tie this weekend.

The ITF announced that Steve Ayles will become ITF Executive Commercial Consultant for Asia-Pacific. Ayles has held senior positions in sport for over 17 years, including his most recent position as Director of Commercial for Tennis Australia.

College Matchday to Highlight 22 NCAA Division I Matches in 2014

Results and Schedules:

OPEN GDF SUEZ
Paris, France
January 27-February 2, 2014
$710,000/Premier
Hard/Indoors

Results – Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Singles – Second Round

(1) Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) 60 61
(4) Angelique Kerber (GER) d. Klara Zakopalova (CZE) 62 75
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) d. (7) Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP) 62 36 63

Singles – First Round
(WC) Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) d. (5) Simona Halep (ROU) 76(1) 64
Elina Svitolina (UKR) d. (6) Roberta Vinci (ITA) 63 06 75
(8) Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) d. Mona Barthel (GER) 63 46 62
(Q) Galina Voskoboeva (KAZ) d. Stefanie Voegele (SUI) 57 75 76(3)

Doubles – Quarterfinals
(1) Errani/Vinci (ITA/ITA) d. (WC) Cornet/Garcia (FRA/FRA) 36 64 105 (Match TB)

Doubles – First Round
(3) Groenefeld/Peschke (GER/CZE) d. Hradecka/Krajicek (CZE/NED) 46 61 119 (Match TB)
Husarova/Rosolska (SVK/POL) d. Voracova/Zahlavova Strycova (CZE/CZE) 06 62 108 (Match TB)

Order Of Play – Thursday, January 30, 2014
Court Central (from 11.00hrs)

1. Elina Svitolina vs. Galina Voskoboeva
2. Yvonne Meusburger vs. Kirsten Flipkens (NB 13.00hrs)
3. Kristina Mladenovic vs. Andrea Petkovic
4. Karin Knapp vs. Sara Errani
5. Babos/Mladenovic vs. Husarova/Rosolska (NB 19.00hrs)
6. Alizé Cornet vs. Petra Kvitova (NB 21.00hrs)

Court 1 (from 13.00hrs)
1. Dushevina/Parra Santonja vs. Niculescu/Zakopalova
2. Jans-Ignacik/Olaru vs. Groenefeld/Peschke

PTT PATTAYA OPEN
Pattaya City, Thailand
January 27-February 2, 2014
$250,000/International
Hard/Outdoors

Results – Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Singles – Second Round
(3) Sorana Cirstea (ROU) d. Alison Riske (USA) 63 64
(4) Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) d. (WC) Vera Zvonareva (RUS) 60 62
Karolina Pliskova (CZE) d. (Q) Alla Kudryavtseva (RUS) 46 63 64

Doubles – First Round
(3) Kudryavtseva/Rodionova (RUS/AUS) d. Kania/Solovyeva (POL/RUS) 75 64
(4) Peng/Zhang (CHN/CHN) d. Aoyama/Dulgheru (JPN/ROU) 63 63
Daniilidou/Krunic (GRE/SRB) d. Lertpitaksinchai/Plipuech (THA/THA) 46 62 119 (Match TB)
Chuang/Kumkhum (TPE/THA) d. (WC) Wongteanchai/Wongteanchai (THA/THA) 61 63
Savchuk/Tanasugarn (UKR/THA) d. Chan/Xu (TPE/CHN) 76(5) 75

Order Of Play - Thursday, January 30, 2014
Court 1 (from 15.00hrs)
1. Tadeja Majeric vs. Kimiko Date-Krumm
2. Elena Vesnina vs. Nicha Lertpitaksinchai
3. Alexandra Dulgheru vs. Peng Shuai

Court 2 (from 15.00hrs)
1. Lertcheewakarn/Zvonareva vs. Daniilidou/Krunic
2. Chuang/Kumkhum vs. Hlavackova/Medina Garrigues
3. Date-Krumm/Tomljanovic vs. Kudryavtseva/Rodionova

 

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Players React to the Heat at the Australian Open

 

(January 14, 2014) Temperatures topped 42C (108F) at the Australian Open on Tuesday while similar temperatures are expected to continue until Friday. Officials still did not invoke the “Extreme Heat Policy.” Here is the official statement from the Australian Open:

AUSTRALIAN OPEN STATEMENT

The top temperature at Melbourne Park today was 42.2 degrees Celsius, at 5.45pm.

Statement from Wayne McKewen, Referee:

While conditions were hot and uncomfortable, the relatively low level of humidity ensured that conditions never deteriorated to a point where it was necessary to invoke the extreme heat policy. Stages one and two of the heat policy were implemented.

Dr Tim Wood, Chief Medical Officer:

The majority of matches today were completed without any court calls from the medical team. Of course there were a few players who experienced heat related illness or discomfort, but none required significant medical intervention after they had completed their match.

 

Most of the matches today didn’t go for much longer than a couple of hours and generally the playing group coped extremely well.

 

Players reacted to the scorching temperatures in their news conferences. Here is a compilation of what the some of players said to press in response the heat:

Wozniacki frustrated

Q.  Could you give us a sense of the conditions and how you felt you coped with that today.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI:  It was a little warm out there today.  But the first set I thought I managed to keep my head cool.  Every time in the changeovers, ice bags, ice towels, everything; and then in the second set I could feel they were starting to heat up even more.

I put the bottle down on the court and it started melting a little bit underneath, the plastic, so you knew it was warm.

But it was warm for both of us, and it was great that I managed to finish it off in two sets and it wasn’t too long.

Yeah, just had an ice bath now.  Yeah, I could go out and play another two sets now (smiling).

Victoria Azarenka

Q.  Any tricks of the trade to the heat?  Do you get an ice bath after that kind of heat?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  I’m going to go probably after.  Just using ice, you know, hydrate.  It’s simple things, but you just have to be very disciplined about it.  Ball kids make a great job just bringing the ice towels right there.

 

Q.  Did you have a cold shower before you went out to hit the ball again, or is it a process that you go through to try and sort of bring your body temperature back down?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  No, I just went out straight to go hit.  Actually put on a long sleeved shirt.  It wasn’t probably the smartest thing to do, but I’m fine.

 

Q.  Should the roof have been closed for your match?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  I don’t know.  I would love it, but, you know, I think my opponent would also enjoy that.  But it’s fine, you know.

I think, you know, we’re all in the same conditions.  It’s much hotter out there right now than when I was playing.

 

Q.  Caroline said she put a plastic water bottle down on the court and she thought that it started melting a bit.  Is it that hot out there?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  I don’t know.  It’s pretty hot.  I don’t know, when I went out on the court I was just curious what was the temperature.  Because even though it was windy, the wind was like hot wind.  Like I said, Just don’t blow it, because it’s like even hotter.  Just stop.

But you normally expect a little bit of, I don’t know, some freshness, I don’t know what, but it just didn’t come.  From anywhere (smiling).

 

Q.  The soles of your shoes weren’t burning, were they?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  It felt pretty hot, like you’re dancing in a frying pan or something like that.

 

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova

Q.  Not a bad first start.  What was it like playing in that sort of heat in the middle of the night?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, I knew I had a tough opponent ahead of me.  You know, the conditions were tough for everyone.  I think we got the least today, considering how late we played.  But it was still pretty warm out there.  Warm enough to have to use some ice vests.

But, you know, looking at her results in the last, you know, couple of weeks and last year and the matches that I’ve played against her, I knew that it was going to be a tough match.

No matter what I had to do, I wanted to get through it, and I think that’s what it was about today.

Q.  How did you like the vest?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  It’s cool.  Feels good.  Makes you a little wet, but that’s okay.

Q.  Did you feel sorry in any way for some of the players in the heat?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, I noticed their facial expressions.  I’m sure it was very difficult for everyone.  I think everyone, except the meteorologists and the doctors, seemed to have the same opinion about the whether, so…

 

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Q.  Everyone’s talking about the heat.  How hot did it feel out there on court?  Some of the hottest conditions you played in?
JO WILFRIED TSONGA:  Yeah, I think it’s maybe the hottest condition I played in.  I remember a match I played against Nishikori a few years ago which was also tough.  We knew before it’s gonna be difficult today, and it was, so it’s good to finish that and look for the next round.

Q.  You seem to be having trouble with your shoes, with getting grip out there.  Was that just the heat?
JO WILFRIED TSONGA:  Yeah, because of the heat, you know, the material of the shoes, you know, it’s really becomes, you know, not really hard.  Like, I don’t know how to say it in English.

But anyway, it’s not good for our shoes when it’s hot like this.

 

Federer 1

Q.  Much obviously today has been made of the conditions.  How would you describe them and how it affected your play, if any, today?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I thought it was very dry, just hot, you know, stinging sort of sun.

I guess also it depends on who you play, if you’re playing a big server, clearly faster conditions.  If you’re getting into rallies, I guess you’ll feel the heat a bit more.

Depending on where you come from it has a bigger effect on you, this type of heat, than maybe humid heat.  So it’s very personal, and it can become just a very mental thing, you know, and you just can’t accept that it’s hot.

Just deal with it, because it’s the same for both.  That’s basically it.

 

Q.  You spoke before the tournament about how hard you trained in the offseason.  Does that help you if the weather stays like this to cope well?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I didn’t practice in 40 degree heat because that’s hard to find, you know, around the world.  I did that after the US Open.  In Dubai we had 42, 43, so that was warm then.

But like I said, it’s just a mental thing.  If you’ve trained hard enough your entire life or the last few weeks and you believe you can do it and come through it, there’s no reason.

If you can’t deal with it, you throw in the towel.  But that’s for me.

Q.  From your perspective, should the roof be closed on Rod Laver when the heat gets this bad?
ROGER FEDERER:  No.  I think it should always stay open, honestly.  That’s my opinion.

 

Kei Nishikori

Q.  How was it today?

KEI NISHIKORI:  I’m happy to win, I mean, first of all.  You know, it was not easy condition with the heat and with the wind.

Yeah, it’s always tough to play, you know, first round.  You get tight and, you know, anything can happen.

But I’m happy to win in fifth set.

Q.  Was there any point in the match where you had some problems with the heat?  Because you played five sets, three and a half hours, I think, 3:40.

KEI NISHIKORI:  Actually, not really.  Brisbane was much tougher.  It was no wind and humidity was high.  Here it’s, you know, with the wind and it’s dry, so it wasn’t too bad, actually.

 

Q.  I think it’s still 41 degrees outside.  How do you deal with the heat?
NICK KYRGIOS:  I think it suits my game pretty well.  It will suit my serving a lot.  The more aggressive you are, I think it helps a lot.

Obviously it’s affecting everyone out there.  It’s pretty tough.  You got to stay hydrated.  You got to be smart with nutrition, as well.

Yeah, tough conditions out there, for sure.

Juan Martin Del Potro

Q.  How did you find the conditions today in the heat?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO:  Was terrible for play.  I mean, it was for both player, but is tough to play long rallies, to manage the weather conditions.  And it’s tough to play in these kind of conditions.

I mean, you are thinking about a lot more things than the tennis match.  You are trying to drink a lot and always thinking about your body, your physic, and not about the game.

I know tomorrow and after tomorrow it’s going to be worst, so I will try to be ready for the weather conditions, too.

Andy Murray 8202013

Q.  Do you think the conditions were safe out there?  A couple players collapsed.  A ball boy collapsed.
ANDY MURRAY:  Yeah, it’s definitely something that you maybe have to look at a little bit.  As much as it’s easy to say the conditions are safe   you know, a few people said there’s doctors and stuff saying it’s fine   it only takes one bad thing to happen.  And it looks terrible for the whole sport when people are collapsing, ball kids are collapsing, people in the stands are collapsing.  That’s obviously not great.

And I know when I went out to hit before the match, the conditions like at 2:30, 3:00 were very, very, very tough conditions.  Anyone’s going to struggle in that heat.

Whether it’s safe or not, I don’t know.  You just got to be very careful these days.  There’s been some issues in other sports with, you know, players having heart attacks.  I don’t know exactly why that is.  Or collapsing.

In this heat, that’s when you’re really pushing it to your limits.  You don’t want to see anything bad happen to anyone.

 

Q.  Were you surprised the heat rule wasn’t implemented today?
ANDY MURRAY:  I don’t know what the heat rule is, so…

Q.  Nobody does.
ANDY MURRAY:  Exactly.

Q.  Bearing in mind how hot it was this afternoon, you could have had a roof and air conditioning.
ANDY MURRAY:  Apparently it wasn’t that humid today.  That’s why it wasn’t implemented.  There’s different rules for the men and women.  I don’t know why.  I don’t understand what the difference is in the two rules.

If I’m told to play, I play; if not, then we don’t.

 

Q.  What’s the talk in the locker room?  Are people unhappy about it?
ANDY MURRAY:  I don’t know.  I mean, I didn’t sit down and discuss whether the guys are happy with the rules or not.

But every single person that I saw coming in from practice or going out to play a match or coming back from a match, everyone just said like, It’s really hot today.  That was what they said (smiling).

SloaneStephens

Q.  Has there been much chatter in the locker room today about the heat and wind, especially out on Court 6, the outer courts?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, no, I saw it this morning at breakfast.  I was like, Can’t be windy outside.  I just expected it would be hot.

But, I mean, I kept looking at my phone.  Mine is in Fahrenheit.  I’m like 108 Fahrenheit, why is that happening?  Then I kind of like Googled 45 Centigrade like just to see what’s happening.

I think the heat was more in my mind than anything.  When I got there it wasn’t that bad for me.  Obviously I played later, so it was okay.

 

Q.  We don’t have to ask Siri about the Celsius conversion?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, just ask me, because I’ve been looking at it all day (smiling).

GillesSimonTasteofTennis-600x450

Q.  So the conditions helped you?
GILLES SIMON:  Yeah.  If I feel ready and I want to fight from the baseline, then he a tough opponent because I will just look for rhythm in the match and finally the condition will be helpful for this.  He will serve fast, with the wind, with the heat; you don’t control anything.

But today it was the other way.  I just wanted it to be as short as possible with no reason.  I wanted him to feel bad, to get tight, and I managed to do that.

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Sharapova, Murray, Nishikori and Wozniacki make Forbes’ “30 Under 30″ List for Sports

(January 6, 2014) Maria Sharapova, Andy Murray, Kei Nishikori and Caroline Wozniacki have made Forbes’ list of 30 Under 30 for sports in 2014.

It’s Forbes third annual “30 Under 30,” which showcases the brightest stars in 15 different fields under the age of 30.

 

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Caroline Wozniacki and Rory McIlroy Ring in 2014 with an Engagement Announcement

 

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Photo from Rory McIlroy’s twitter account pic.twitter.com/gxO7rDDyPY

(December 31, 2013) Caroline Wozniacki and golfer Rory McIlroy began 2014 with a bang – by getting engaged while ringing in the New Year in Sydney. They made the announcement on twitter:

The former tennis No. 1 Wozniacki and the former No. 1 golfer McIlroy have been dating for more than two years.

Wozniacki withdrew from the Brisbane International tournament earlier this week with a shoulder injury. She is in Sydney hoping to play the Sydney International in order to prepare for Australian Open which begins on January 13.

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Wozniacki Triumphs for Luxembourg Open Crown

"Austin Powers" and Caroline Wozniacki

“Austin Powers” and Caroline Wozniacki

(October 20, 2013) Former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki won her first tournament of the year by taking the Luxembourg Open. The top seeded Dane defeated teenager Annika Beck 6-2, 6-2 in the final on Sunday.

The win gave Wozniacki her 21st career WTA title. Later this week she’ll be an alternate at the WTA Year-End Championships in Istanbul.

“Last time I was in the finals here it was five years ago,” said the Dane. “I’m really happy to make it a step further this year and take the title. Twenty-first title, it’s great. I’m still young – I have a few more years to go – so to be at 21 already is just great. This is what you practice for, so to win is an amazing feeling.”

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China Open: What They Said

By Abigail Hinto

(October 3, 2013) BEIJING -

Serena Williams Beijing

Serena Williams

 

On whether women should play best of 5 in grand slams:

 

“Well, you know, the top players, the women, we always told the Grand Slams initially that we are willing, ready, and able to play the best‑of‑five if that was what made the difference between, at the time, equal prize money or match scheduling or whatever it took.”

“So, yeah, we’re all ready.”

 

On court conditions being slow:

 

     “… for me, the balls are just sliding and I feel like I’m hitting everything late.  But I’m not good at telling court conditions.  I mean, I’m not good at it at all.  I can play on any surface, so for me, I’m not the best person to ask that question.”

 

Djokovic 10052012

Novak Djokovic

 

     On Viktor Troicki’s case and starting a petition to have some changes in the doping control system:

 

“… the whole case around Viktor is just very unfair towards him.  I believe that he’s innocent.”

 

” [It's] very bad for our sport.  That’s very bad for anti‑doping agency, you know, to have people who are responsible for this work to fail to say what really happened that day.”

 

“So the reason why I was the first one to write a petition for the rule change is to try to spread the awareness to the people around that obviously there is ‑‑ it all comes down to who said what and who believes in who…”

 

“It’s just not fair towards the players, because there has to be I guess technology or a camera or an additional person in the room while you’re doing the test, because then ‑‑ the player has no really rights.”

 

Caroline Wozniacki China Open

Caroline Wozniacki

 

     On her upcoming match against Serena Williams and trying to qualify for the Year End Championships:

 

     “For me, tomorrow I have so much to play for because the Championships are coming up and I’m trying to grab a spot there.  I really need to win tomorrow to have a chance.  We’ll just to have to wait and see what happens.”

 

 

 

Abigail Hinto and Natalie Ho are covering the 2013 China Open in Beijing for Tennis Panorama News.

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Notes From Behind the Wall at the 2013 China Open

 

by Abigail Hinto

(September 30, 2013) BEIJING – Notes from Behind the Wall is back for the 2013 edition of the China Open.  The wall is proving to be a tough barrier to our dispatches with the Wi-Fi not working at the media center and the VPN not connecting on my laptop.  But we’re persistent, and we will manage.

 

- First up, the ever persistent haze and smog.  Were we just lucky last year when the whole tournament made it through with mostly clear skies?  Flying in on Monday, I thought I was arriving in Beijing at dawn and not at high Noon.  Lights were already turned on for the courts by 3:30pm.  Pictures looked like stills for some horror movies.  The app for Beijing’s air quality shows that today’s is “Unhealthy.”  I can only feel sorry for the players as they play through this condition.

 

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- Rafael Nadal had a scheduled appearance at the booth of Kunlun, the water sponsor.  When we found out he hadn’t arrived yet at the scheduled hour, we decided we had time to check it out.  As we made it to the sponsors area, we didn’t even have to search for the booth of Kunlun, as slowly approaching us were a mob of people and in the middle of it all was Nadal himself.  It felt like a stampede of wildebeests was coming straight at you and you only had a second to get out of the way.

 

Serena Williams China Open doubles

-  Top singles players nowadays usually play doubles outside the grand slams to maybe get in a match before their singles matches or have “practice matches” to help them with their games.  They try to have more fun and are less intense on the court.  But on Monday, at the Williams/Williams- Huber/Chan match, Serena Williams and to a lesser extent, Venus Williams showed that they’re not taking this match lightly.  Serena was definitely the more intense player, constantly fist-pumping and urging on Venus.  And the fans were responding to them with shouts of “C’mon, Serena!” and “C’mon, Venus!”

 

But the star of the match turned out to be Hao-Ching Chan.  She showed from the start she was never intimidated and was never afraid.  And as she started to match the Williams’ intensity with her own, grunting along in her high-pitched voice, going toe-to-toe in the baseline exchanges and poaching at the net for volley winners, she turned the fans to her side.  As much as she was fighting hard out there, she was showing that she was enjoying the battle too, flashing smiles every time she comes out on top.  And the crowd loved it and was treated to a competitive and exciting match.  Huber/Chan eventually saved match points, and another volley winner from Chan in turn set up match point for her team which they eventually converted as Serena served a double fault.  An unfortunate end (for Serena’s racquet as well – chucked and thrown away after the double fault) to an otherwise high quality, high intensity doubles match – 6-7 (3), 6-4, 11-9.  The fans left having discovered a player to root for in Hao-Ching Chan.

Abigail Hinto and Natalie Ho are covering the 2013 China Open in Beijing for Tennis Panorama News.

Photos from Monday’s play and the players party from Natalie Ho.

SCHEDULE – TUESDAY, 1 OCTOBER 2013

NATIONAL TENNIS STADIUM start 12:30 pm
[1] S Williams (USA) vs [WC] F Schiavone (ITA) – WTA

Not Before 3:00 PM
[1] N Djokovic (SRB) vs L Rosol (CZE) – ATP
[Q] S Giraldo (COL) vs [2] R Nadal (ESP) – ATP

Not Before 7:30 PM
B Jovanovski (SRB) vs [4] N Li (CHN) – WTA
[3] D Ferrer (ESP) vs V Pospisil (CAN) – ATP

LOTUS COURT start 12:30 pm
F Mayer (GER) vs [5] R Gasquet (FRA) – ATP

Not Before 3:00 PM
[13] S Lisicki (GER) vs [WC] V Williams (USA) – WTA
M Niculescu (ROU) vs [6] C Wozniacki (DEN) – WTA
P Andujar (ESP) vs [4] T Berdych (CZE) – ATP

MOON COURT start 12:30 pm
A Seppi (ITA) vs [6] S Wawrinka (SUI) – ATP

Not Before 2:30 PM
[10] R Vinci (ITA) vs [WC] S Zhang (CHN) – WTA
V Lepchenko (USA) vs [9] P Kvitova (CZE) – WTA

Not Before 6:30 PM
L Robson (GBR) vs [7] A Kerber (GER) – WTA

COURT 1 start 12:30 pm
S Querrey (USA) vs M Youzhny (RUS) – ATP
[8] J Isner (USA) vs [WC] D Wu (CHN) – ATP
[11] S Stephens (USA) vs [Q] E Bouchard (CAN) – WTA
N Djokovic (SRB) / S Wawrinka (SUI) vs [2] M Bhupathi (IND) / R Lindstedt (SWE) – ATP – After suitable rest

COURT 3 start 12:30 pm
F Verdasco (ESP) vs [Q] S Devvarman (IND) – ATP

Not Before 2:00 PM
J Goerges (GER) / B Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) vs [2] S Hsieh (TPE) / S Peng (CHN) – WTA
[Q] Y Lu (TPE) vs N Davydenko (RUS) – ATP
M Fyrstenberg (POL) / M Matkowski (POL) vs F Fognini (ITA) / A Seppi (ITA) – ATP – After suitable rest

COURT 4 start 12:30 pm
[6] R Kops-Jones (USA) / A Spears (USA) vs V King (USA) / G Voskoboeva (KAZ) – WTA

Not Before 3:00 PM
P Kohlschreiber (GER) / M Youzhny (RUS) vs C Fleming (GBR) / J Marray (GBR) – ATP – After suitable rest

COURT 7 start 12:30 pm
[Q] L Davis (USA) vs [12] C Suarez Navarro (ESP) – WTA
M Matosevic (AUS) vs J Benneteau (FRA) – ATP
K Mladenovic (FRA) / F Pennetta (ITA) vs [Alt] S Soler-Espinosa (ESP) / C Suarez Navarro (ESP) – WTA – After suitable rest
S Lisicki (GER) / A Medina Garrigues (ESP) vs D Hantuchova (SVK) / L Raymond (USA) – WTA – After suitable rest

COURT 8 start 12:30 pm
V Dushevina (RUS) / A Parra Santonja (ESP) vs [4] J Jankovic (SRB) / K Srebotnik (SLO) – WTA
M Kirilenko (RUS) vs U Radwanska (POL) – WTA
T Haas (GER) / F Mayer (GER) vs [WC] M Gong (CHN) / Z Li (CHN) – ATP – After suitable rest
[1] S Errani (ITA) / R Vinci (ITA) vs H Chan (TPE) / L Huber (USA) – WTA – After suitable rest

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