October 25, 2016

Caroline Wozniacki and Shelby Rogers Join Connecticut Open Field


NEW HAVEN, Conn., June 7, 2016 – The Connecticut Open presented by United Technologies, a WTA event that is part of the Emirates Airline US Open Series, announced several major tournament updates during its annual media day held at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale. Tournament director Anne Worcester joined city, state and sponsor representatives to provide an update on this year’s tournament, including the return of four-time champion Caroline Wozniacki.
New for 2016 is the addition of an Opening Night Ceremony presented by Yale University, Girls Day and Night Out as well as the addition of more than 15 new sponsors and five new shopping booths. Opening Night Ceremony will feature all WTA Main Draw Singles players and Yale student flag-bearers—members of the university’s international student community who will carry flags for each of the countries represented by players in the tournament. In addition, Yale University and the City of New Haven will mark the start of the tournament with special appearances by community leaders, a ceremonial coin toss, and entertainment provided by Yale performing groups.
“We are so proud to sponsor the Connecticut Open’s opening night ceremony,” said Yale University President Peter Salovey. “The tournament is one of my favorite weeks of the year, and all of us at Yale are looking forward to kicking off the festivities with an evening that will bring our university, the local community, and a world-class international sporting event together in a new and exciting way.” The Opening Night Ceremony will take place on Monday, August 22.
Also new in 2016 is a Girls Day and Night Out on Tuesday, August 23 featuring the COURTGIRL Lifestyle Experience during the day and evening sessions.  Mothers, daughters, sisters and girlfriends can look forward to makeovers, trunk shows, boutique fashion brands and much more.
Joining the player field for 2016 is four-time champion Caroline Wozniacki. Wozniacki has posted a 28-4 record at the tournament, earning her the nickname “Queen of New Haven.” She has 23 career WTA singles titles and held the No. 1 World Ranking for 67 weeks from 2010-2012. An ankle injury has limited the Dane in 2016, but Wozniacki returns to action today in Nottingham (UK) at the start of the grass-court season.
“Coming back to New Haven and to Yale is always special for me, and I look forward to competing at the Connecticut Open in August,” said Wozniacki. “The fans are always very supportive and the atmosphere on the court and around the grounds is terrific. I’ve had tremendous success in New Haven and hope to make a run at another title.”
The Dane joins a player field that includes two-time defending champion Petra Kvitova, who looks to tie Wozniacki with four Connecticut Open titles; Madison Keys, a finalist at Rome; and Sloane Stephens, winner of titles at Auckland, Acapulco and Charleston this year.
In addition to the above stars, rising American player Shelby Rogers has also joined the player field. Rogers, who was ranked No. 108 entering the French Open, produced a magical run at Roland Garros and reached the quarterfinals, before falling to eventual Champion and now World No. 2 Garbine Muguruza. Only seven other women since 1984 have made the French Open quarters with a triple-digit ranking, and none faced a more challenging road than Rogers, who defeated the No. 25, No. 17 and No. 10 seeds at Roland Garros. Rogers, now ranked No. 60 in the world, will be making her first appearance in New Haven.
“By reaching the semifinals or winning the tournament seven of the past eight years she has played in New Haven, Caroline Wozniacki has become a name synonymous with the Connecticut Open,” said Worcester. “We remain focused on featuring great champions like Caroline and Petra as well as strong American stars like Madison and Sloane and rising talent such as Shelby. The early field is off to a solid start and we believe it will only get stronger before the start in August.”

said Worcester. “

“We’re looking forward to another great tournament season and continuing the momentum of a successful 2015 where we saw an overall increase in attendance and revenue,” said Ben Barnes, secretary, Office of Policy Management, State of Connecticut. “We’re very pleased with the positive economic impact the tournament provides to Greater New Haven and the state of Connecticut.”

Caroline Wozniacki Returns to Court For First Time in 10 Weeks with Win in Nottingham


Caroline Wozniacki

Caroline Wozniacki

(June 7, 2016) Former World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki made a winning return from injury in Nottingham, progressing to the second round of the Aegon Open with a 7-5, 6-3 victory against Turkey’s Cagla Buyukakcay.

No.3 seed Wozniacki, who missed the entire clay-court season with an ankle problem, was pushed by Turkey’s Buyukakcay. The Danish star took 52 minutes to claim the first set on Centre Court, before racing to a 5-1 lead in the second.

However, her 26-year-old opponent, who became the first player from Turkey to win a Grand Slam match at last month’s French Open, hit back to reduce the arrears to 5-3 before Wozniacki seized the initiative in the ninth game to break for the victory.

“It’s nice to be back on court,” Wozniacki said. “There are always things I want to do better, but all in all for my first match back in so many weeks it’s just great to be back.

“I am pleased with the result and pleased with the way I fought. I think in general I moved pretty well – I hit my targets and I got a lot of returns back.”

On featuring at the Nottingham Tennis Centre for the first time: “It’s really nice how they take good care of you here and the courts are nice and the practise courts are good. It’s all positive things.”

The Aegon Open Nottingham will see two tournaments take place in June, with the women’s WTA event being staged from 4-12 June 2016. Both tournaments will be an integral part of the British grass-court season, which features 11 international grass-court tournaments in eight venues across the country.

Earlier this year the LTA announced changes to the three week 2017 grass court tournament calendar. Nottingham will host a combined men’s and women’s tour-level tournament in the same week for the first time in 44 years. The pre-existing ATP 250 tournament will move back to Eastbourne, merging with the WTA Premier Aegon International to form a combined event (as it was from 2009-2014) featuring the following format: a 28-player main draw men’s event and 48-player main draw for the women staged across nine days. Other changes include a doubling of prize money at the Aegon Trophy Series (ATP Challenger & ITF Women’s Pro Circuit).


6-12 JUNE, 2016

RESULTS – JUNE 07, 2016
Singles – First Round

[3] C. Wozniacki (DEN) d C. Buyukakcay (TUR) 75 63
[4] M. Puig (PUR) d [Q] K. Zhang (CHN) 61 61
[LL] A. Hlavackova (CZE) d [5] Y. Wickmayer (BEL) 75 76(7)
M. Rybarikova (SVK) d [6] H. Watson (GBR) 46 60 64
A. Riske (USA) d [7] M. Barthel (GER) 62 61
[Q] A. Barty (AUS) d S. Peng (CHN) 63 62
[Q] M. Larcher de Brito (POR) d [WC] L. Robson (GBR) 63 75
[LL] T. Paszek (AUT) d K. Nara (JPN) 64 62
S. Hsieh (TPE) d N. Broady (GBR) 62 61
[Q] T. Moore (GBR) d D. Vekic (CRO) 62 75

Doubles – First Round

[2] Y. Xu (CHN) / S. Zheng (CHN) d L. Davis (USA) / C. Mchale (USA) 63 26 10-8
Ka. Pliskova (CZE) / Kr. Pliskova (CZE) d [WC] F. Christie (GBR) / L. Robson (GBR) 67(2) 64 12-10

CENTRE COURT start 12:00 noon
[4] M. Puig (PUR) vs [Q] M. Larcher de Brito (POR)
[1] [WC] Ka. Pliskova (CZE) vs A. Tatishvili (USA)
A. Kontaveit (EST) vs [3] C. Wozniacki (DEN)
J. Rae (GBR) / A. Smith (GBR) vs A. Kudryavtseva (RUS) / L. Zhu (CHN)

COURT 2 start 11:00 am
N. Melichar (USA) / A. Rosolska (POL) vs A. Hlavackova (CZE) / S. Peng (CHN)
S. Aoyama (JPN) / R. Voracova (CZE) vs N. Broady (GBR) / A. Sevastova (LAT)
A. Riske (USA) vs S. Hsieh (TPE)
after suitable rest – [1] H. Chan (TPE) / Y. Chan (TPE) vs R. Olaru (ROU) / A. Tatishvili (USA)


John Isner and Caroline Wozniacki Headline World TeamTennis Draft

wtt 40th season

(March 25, 2016) MIAMI – Former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki and top-ranked American John Isner were among the top names selected today at the Mylan World TeamTennis Draft in Miami. Isner returns to the Springfield Lasers while Wozniacki was selected by the Philadelphia Freedoms.


The 2016 regular season runs July 31-August 13 with the top two teams advancing to the Mylan WTT Finals on Friday, August 26 at Forest Hills Stadium at The West Side Tennis Club.


America’s top doubles duo of Bob and Mike Bryan will join current WTA doubles No. 1 Martina Hingis and former world No. 7 Mardy Fish in the lineup for the defending champion Washington Kastles.


Former world No. 4 James Blake was selected by the San Diego Aviators with their marquee round selection. The New York Empire previously acquired marquee player Andy Roddick.


In the Roster Draft, a plethora of fresh faces headlined team selections. After trading up for the No. 1 roster pick, the Empire drafted New Jersey native Christina McHale. Top 40 players Daria Gavrilova, Daria Kasatkina and Guido Pella were selected by the Lasers, Freedoms and Empire.


The Kastles, who have won five consecutive titles, brought back the core of their 2015 championship team. Washington will be looking to rewrite the record books in 2016 by winning a record seventh Mylan WTT title.


A team-by-team breakdown of the 2016 Mylan WTT Draft:


New York Empire

In the New York Empire’s inaugural season, the team started strong by acquiring the rights to seasoned Mylan WTT star Andy Roddick in a transaction with Orange County Breakers prior to the draft. For their first round selection, the Empire went with hometown favorite Christina McHale. In Round 2, New York selected top 40 Argentinian Guido Pella, who will make his Mylan WTT debut in 2016. Rounding out their 2016 roster, the Empire chose two doubles players — Argentinian Maria Irigoyen and Austrian Oliver Marach, both of which will play their rookie season of Mylan WTT this year when the team kicks off their season at the historic Forest Hills Stadium. The Empire will be coached by Patrick McEnroe.


Orange County Breakers

Building on experience, the Orange County Breakers used their first and second round roster picks to bring back up-and-coming American Nicole Gibbs and 2015 Mylan WTT Rookie of the Year Alla Kudryavtseva, who will play their second consecutive season together this summer. In Round 3, the Breakers took American doubles player Scott Lipsky, who will be playing his second successive season in the league, but first with the Breakers. For the last pick of their 2016 draft, the Breakers added American UCLA standout Dennis Novikov, who will be making his Mylan WTT debut in Orange County this summer. Rick Leach will coach the Breakers this season.


Philadelphia Freedoms

With the first marquee selection of the 2016 Mylan WTT Player Draft, the Philadelphia Freedoms selected fan-favorite Caroline Wozniacki. Building their roster, the Freedoms drafted Slovakian Lukas Lacko in Round 1 and Russian teen Daria Kasatkina in Round 2, both of which will play their first season of Mylan WTT. In the third round, Philadelphia top-50 doubles player Fabrice Martin, who will play his first season in the league this year. With their final picks, in Rounds 4 and 5, the Freedoms selected British player Naomi Broady and American Donald Young to set their 2016 team. Josh Cohen will return as the Freedoms coach.


San Diego Aviators

For their marquee selection in 2016, the San Diego Aviators selected popular American and experienced Mylan WTT star James Blake to lead the team. The Aviators then used their first round roster selection to take rising American Shelby Rogers who will be playing her first full Mylan WTT season this summer. In Round 2, San Diego protected Raven Klaasen, who is returning to the team for the third consecutive season. For the third and fourth rounds of the draft, the Aviators added British singles player Daniel Evans and then protected Darija Jurak, who played for the team in 2015. The Aviators will once again be coached by John Lloyd.


Springfield Lasers

The Springfield Lasers are bringing back top-ranked American John Isner, who will be playing his sixth Mylan WTT season. In Round 1 of the Roster Draft, the Lasers brought on Canadian doubles specialist Daniel Nestor, a former Mylan WTT Male MVP. With their second roster selection, Springfield took German Benjamin Becker, who will be making his Mylan WTT debut in 2016. In the final two rounds of the draft, the Lasers added No. 34 Australian singles player Daria Gavrilova and Dutch doubles specialist Michaella Krajicek to round out their 2016 team. John Laffnie-de Jager will return to coach the Lasers.


Washington Kastles

After protecting the rights to marquee player Martina Hingis, the defending champion Washington Kastles made a strong trade with the Orange County Breakers to move up in the Marquee Round to select Bob and Mike Bryan. With five straight Mylan WTT titles, the Kastles also bolstered their team with the addition of American Mardy Fish.  The Kastles Round 1 and 2 roster picks were used to protect 2015 champion teammates Sam Querrey and Leander Paes. Keeping with a lineup that earned them the King Trophy last season, the Kastles protected both Madison Brengle and 2015 Mylan WTT Female co-MVP Anastasia Rodionova to begin their campaign to add another title to their dynasty. The team will be coached by Murphy Jensen.


Team-by-team look at each of the team’s roster, including their coach:

Washington Kastles: Martina Hingis, Bob & Mike Bryan, Mardy Fish, Sam Querrey, Leander Paes, Madison Brengle, Anastasia Rodionova. Coach: Murphy Jensen

Philadelphia Freedoms: Caroline Wozniacki, Lukas Lacko, Daria Kasatkina, Fabrice Martin, Naomi Broady, Donald Young. Coach: Josh Cohen

New York Empire: Andy Roddick, Christina McHale, Guido Pella, Maria Irigoyen, Oliver Marach. Coach: Patrick McEnroe

San Diego Aviators: James Blake, Shelby Rogers, Raven Klaasen, Daniel Evans, Darija Jurak.  Coach: John Lloyd

Springfield Lasers: John Isner, Daniel Nestor, Benjamin Becker, Daria Gavrilova, Michaella Krajicek   Coach: John-Laffnie de Jager

Orange County Breakers:  Nicole Gibbs, Alla Kudryavtseva, Scott Lipsky, Dennis Novikov.   Coach: Rick Leach




Marquee Draft

Springfield Lasers: John Isner (protection)

San Diego Aviators: James Blake (designated)

New York Empire: Andy Roddick (acquired via Orange County in pre-draft trade)

Philadelphia Freedoms: Caroline Wozniacki

Washington Kastles: Martina Hingis (protection), Bob & Mike Bryan, Mardy Fish



New York Empire: Christina McHale

San Diego Aviators: Shelby Rogers

Springfield Lasers: Daniel Nestor

Philadelphia Freedoms: Lukas Lacko

Orange County Breakers: Nicole Gibbs (protection)

Washington Kastles: Sam Querrey (protection)



Springfield Lasers: Benjamin Becker

San Diego Aviators: Raven Klaasen (protection)

New York Empire: Guido Pella

Philadelphia Freedoms: Daria Kasatkina

Orange County Breakers: Alla Kudryavtseva (protection)

Washington Kastles: Leander Paes (protection)



Springfield Lasers: Daria Gavrilova

San Diego Aviators: Daniel Evans

Springfield Lasers: Michaella Krajicek

Philadelphia Freedoms: Fabrice Martin

Orange County Breakers: Scott Lipsky

Washington Kastles: Madison Brengle (protection)



New York Empire: Maria Irigoyen

San Diego Aviators: Darija Jurak (protection)

New York Empire: Oliver Marach

Philadelphia Freedoms: Naomi Broady

Orange County Breakers: Dennis Novikov

Washington Kastles: Anastasia Rodionova (protection)



Philadelphia Freedoms: Donald Young (exempt)


BNP Paribas Showdown Sees Serena Williams win “Garden Party”

BNPPS Serena Wozniacki

By Vito Ellison

(March 8, 2016) NEW YORK, NY – The match-functional braid was traded for a sleek shoulder-length ‘do, the intense self-flagellation for ingratiating smiles.  Yes, the groundies still stung at times; yes, the serve was still fluid, but as Serena Williams took to the court with Caroline Wozniacki last night in midtown Manhattan, the mood was not combative, it was celebratory.

The ninth edition of the BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden segued into the night’s headliners, Williams and Wozniacki, after a stirring opening act delivered by the matchup between World No. 4 Stan Wawrinka and superstar showman Gael Monfils.

BNPPS Monfils wawrinka

Everyone wore their loyalty on their sleeves throughout the evening. The 2-time major champion, Wawrinka, was greeted with polite applause when he entered the arena in a Henrik Lundqvist jersey, before Monfils entered to full-on cheers in the Knicks’ home whites.

Determined to draw more of the crowd to his side, Wawrinka came out firing, engaging Monfils in high-octane exchanges headlined by his renowned one-handed backhand including a winner to take the first break in the match. Monfils, though, would not be denied.  At times, he let his (not so) inner clown prince get the best of him, including an attempted header where a put-away forehand into the open court would’ve sufficed, before securing a 7-6 (6) first set.

The rest of the match played out like a competitive friendly between the two Swiss residents (the Frenchman, Monfils, maintains a residence in the country), with Wawrinka setting Monfils up for a couple attempts at show-stoppers that, to the dismay of the Garden crowd, didn’t materialize. Late in the second set, Williams joined Wawrinka while Wozniacki teamed with Monfils for some light-hearted mixed doubles during which Serena jokingly chastised the Swiss that her sister, Venus, would’ve gotten to a shot that he missed. Before Monfils ultimately dealt Wawrinka the 7-6 (6), 6-3 loss, Wawrinka tried to convince Chris Evert to join them on court, but the 18-time major winner was a few steps ahead of him, demurring and holding up her glass of wine.

Where previous editions maintained the facade of full-on competition, this year’s BNP Showdown felt more like a “Night with Serena and Friends.” The first time we saw the 21-time major champion last night she was pitching in on background vocals with a kids’ choir.  Then there was the mixed doubles jaunt in a figure-hugging bodysuit that recalled Serena’s late Puma era, before the main event, a “showdown” between the two BFFs and WTA No. 1s.


After decades of watching the younger of the Sisters Sledgehammer sometimes play in front of often ambivalent crowds, it was heartwarming on this March evening to see the lovefest between Williams and the crowd. While Wozniacki could count a couple of fans in the near-capacity MSG crowd, the vast majority were here to watch–and celebrate Serena who won the match 7-5, 6-4. She was at turns, gracious, giving tips to a young player during a mid-match interview and gritty, leaving Wozniacki lunging after winners during play.
Amid the smiles and light-hearted attitudes of the participants, there lurked the feeling that the celebration was still a bit muted. There was the lingering feeling that the powers that be, and Serena herself, when signing the contract months ago, might have expected this night would celebrate, not only Serena and her Sportsperson of the Year title, but a Calendar Slam and perhaps an Open-era majors record. None of that mattered though, not for this crowd, not for this night, not for Serena either.


Juniors Hurricane Black and Carson Branstine to Kick Off BNP Paribas Showdown at MSG on March 8

BNP Paribas Showdown

From Madison Square Garden: (February 10, 2016) New York, NY –  The BNP Paribas Showdown will once again present two  junior circuit players when Tyra Hurricane Black squares off against Carson Branstine in an opening match presented by HEAD Penn Racquet Sports as part of World Tennis Day at Madison Square Garden on March 8.


The future pro stars take to the court to kick off the annual BNP Paribas Showdown featuring the colorful Gael Monfils, world No. 4 Stan Wawrinka, former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki and 21-time Major Champion Serena Williams.


Born and raised in Boca Raton, Florida, 14 year old, Tyra Hurricane Black is currently ranked No. 86 on the ITF World Junior Ranking.  She won three ITF junior titles in 2015 and reached the finals in the recent 52nd Coffee Bowl in San Jose, Costa Rica.  Additionally, Black helped lead the US team to the finals of the 2015 ITF World Junior Tennis Competition in the Czech Republic.  Her older sister, Alicia Black is a former top-5 world-ranked junior now playing on the pro circuit.


Branstine, who started playing tennis at seven years old, is 15 and hails from Orange County, California.  She is currently No. 184 on the ITF World Junior Ranking and holds 26 career singles titles.  She has played in the 2015 US Open Junior Slam and was a member of the USA Team National Junior Team. Additionally, Branstine played on an 18s national team where she went undefeated and was a finalist in the 2015 Plantation ITF.


Black and Branstine add to a considerable list of exceptional juniors who have taken to the Madison Square Garden tennis court at the BNP Paribas Showdown including the likes of Francis Tiafoe who turned pro in May 2015 and is said to be one of the prominent young up and coming stars as well as Sloane Stephens who is ranked No. 26 on the WTA Tour and currently representing the United States at the Fed Cup in Hawaii.


Previous junior matches featured:

2008: Denis Kudla (15 years old) vs Junior Ore (15)

2009: Sloane Stephens (15) vs Gail Brodsky (17)

2010: Nicole Gibbs (16) vs Sachia Vickery (14)

2014: Tiafoe (16) vs Reilly Opelka (16)

2015: Cori “Coco” Gauff (10) vs Gabriella Price (11)


Serena Williams vs. Wozniacki and Monfils vs. Wawrinka Headline BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden in March



Serena Williams MSG


New York, NY (October 28, 2015) – It was announced  that 21-time Grand Slam Champion and  Serena Williams, will take on close friend and former No. 1, Caroline Wozniacki, while current No. 4 men’s player Stan Wawrinka will square off with French star Gael Monfils in the 9th annual BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden.  The one-night tennis event, which is being held on World Tennis Day for the fourth straight year has become a staple on the tennis calendar and is set for Tuesday, March 8.


The BNP Paribas Showdown is produced by MSG Sports and StarGames. Tickets starting at $35.00 will go on sale November 1 at 9:00 a.m. and can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden box office, online at www.thegarden.com and at all Ticketmaster outlets.


“I have been fortunate to play in World Tennis Day events in New York and Hong Kong,” said Caroline Wozniacki.  “It is a great day to celebrate our sport. This year will be even more special as I return to Madison Square Garden with Serena. It doesn’t get much better than that.”


Stan Wawrinka said, “There are certain things in your tennis career that you want to do: win Grand Slams, win the Davis Cup for your country. Playing in Madison Square Garden is one of the things on that list so I am excited about the invitation to play in the BNP Paribas Showdown and look forward to walking onto The Garden court.”


“I have always loved playing for the New York crowd which inspires me very much,” said Gael Monfils.   “So coming back to New York with Stan on World Tennis Day will be a great opportunity to play for the fans. We will put on a great show for them.”


StarGames President, Jerry Solomon added, “I am excited that once again the BNP Paribas Showdown will offer fans great tennis and entertaining matchups. Moreover, I think Serena has really become the ‘people’s champion’ and we have priced tickets to encourage her fans to be in attendance at Madison Square Garden as we honor her on World Tennis Day. It promises to be another night full of memorable moments that you won’t want to miss.”


“Year in and year out, the BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden continues to attract the top tennis stars in the world and this year is no different,” said Joel Fisher, executive vice president, MSG Sports.  “We are thrilled to host these top athletes in what has become one of the most exciting and fun nights on the tennis calendar.”


The 9th edition of the BNP Paribas Showdown, which consistently attracts the biggest names in tennis, will follow the likes of Pete Sampras, Rafael Nadal, Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, Ivan Lendl, Juan Martin del Potro, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Mike and Bob Bryan, John and Patrick McEnroe, Grigor Dimitrov, Serena and Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova, Kim Clijsters, Victoria Azarenka, Caroline Wozniacki, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Ana Ivanovic, Monica Seles, Gabriela Sabatini and Jelena Jankovic, all of whom took part in previous Showdowns and provided unforgettable memories for New York tennis fans.


As in years past, the BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden will once again headline a full day of worldwide activities as part of World Tennis Day, a global tennis participation effort. All events promote tailoring the game to players 10-and-under with smaller racquets, lighter balls and modified scoring.


Williams, who will make her third appearance in the annual BNP Paribas Showdown, is currently ranked No. 1 in the world, a ranking she has held on six separate occasions dating back to July 8, 2002.  She has a total of 21 Grand Slam singles titles – the third-most of any tennis player, male or female of all time.  Williams holds the most major singles, doubles, and mixed doubles titles combined amongst active players and her record of 36 major titles puts her fifth on the all-time list.  Additionally, Serena has won four Olympic gold medals, one in women’s singles and three in women’s doubles.


Williams captured the inaugural “BNP Paribas Showdown” held on March 2, 2009 at Madison Square Garden with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over sister Venus Williams. The field also included 2008 French Open Champion Ana Ivanovic, as well as year ending No. 1 Jelena Jankovic.


Wozniacki is a former World No. 1 who is currently ranked No. 11 and will be making her second appearance at Madison Square Garden in the BNP Paribas Showdown.  She made her professional debut at 15 years old in 2005 and has since won 23 WTA singles titles.  In 2008, she was named WTA Newcomer of the Year award. She took on Maria Sharapova in her MSG debut in 2012.


Wawrinka and Monfils will make their Madison Square Garden debuts when they step onto the Garden court on March 8.


Wawrinka, currently ranked No. 4 in the world, has won two Grand Slam titles including the 2014 Australian Open and 2015 French Open title.  Additionally, Wawrinka was a member of the Swiss team that won the Davis Cup in 2014 and also won a Gold Medal in the 2008 Olympics.  Stan and doubles partner Marco Chiudinelli played in the longest known doubles match when they faced Tomas Berdych and Lukas Rosal in a match that lasted over 7 hours.


The Frenchman, Monfils, is currently ranked No. 21 in the world. In 2014, he finished in the Top 20 for 1st time since 2011 and 5th time overall and advanced to the quarter finals of both the US Open and French Open.  He made it to the semi finals of the French Open in 2008 and to the quarter finals of the US Open in 2010.   In recent Davis Cup play, Monfils went 3-0 in singles to help France reach its first final since 2010.


More Women’s Seeds Lose, Young Beats Simon, Federer Cruises at US OPen

Lucie Safarova

Lucie Safarova

(September 1, 2015) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – The upsets continued on the women’s side of the draw at the US Open on Tuesday. French Open finalist sixth seed Lucie Safarova lost to No. 37 Lesia Tsurenko 6-4, 6-1, while 14th seed Timea Bacsinszky lost to Barbora Strycova 7-5, 6-0 Alizé Cornet 27th seed Alizé Cornet also was defeated. Ten women’s seeds have lost in the first round at the US Open, half of the Top 10.

No. 11 Gilles Simon led Donald Young by two sets to none and 3-0, when the American rallied to win the match 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.

“Down two sets to love and 3-0 actually, that’s when I decided to swing a little freer, start to, you know, push the envelope a little bit and start to come in more, just assert myself to the match,” Young said. “I was going to go down swinging. That was pretty much my mentality at that point.”

“I love playing in New York. I love playing on hard courts. It’s the last slam of the year. I haven’t had the results I wanted at the other slams. I didn’t want to go out like that.

“If I was to go out, I really wanted to go out swinging and giving him a battle and making him earn it. I didn’t feel at first I was able to do that. To be able to do that was great. Emotionally I just felt, you know, it gives you confidence to know you can come back from 2 sets to love against such a quality opponent, a top 10 guy, wins titles and, competes at the highest level every week.”

This was the first time Young had ever come back in a match from two sets to love down.

There was no such drama for high seeds (2) Roger Federer, (2) Simona Halep, (4) Caroline Wozniacki, (6) Tomas Berdych and (9) Garbine Muguruza.

Federer destroyed Argentine Leonardo Mayer 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 in 77 minutes.

“I feel good now,“ Federer said. “I actually wasn’t so confident yesterday and today. I just felt like maybe could be one of those matches I just couldn’t see it coming.

“So thankfully I took this match extremely serious. I thought at times almost I was taking it a bit too serious. I got that lucky in Shanghai, so that’s why that was just — it was just creeping around in my mind that maybe today was going to be a bad day.

“Plus I had practiced with him, you know, here, I don’t know, the day of the draw, and he was playing very well in practice, too.”

A record was set for retirements during the first round of the U.S. Open than in any round at any Grand Slam tournament in the open era.

Twelve men and women have retired during matches on Monday and Tuesday. Tuesday pull-outs included Marcos Baghdatis, Ernests Gulbis, Thanasi Kokkinakis, Aleksandr Nedovyesov and Marina Erakovic.

Andy Murray bested controversial Nick Kyrgios in four sets in the night match. The young Australian Kyrgios was playing his first match since and episode in Montreal where he verbally abused Stan Wawrinka. He’s been put on probation by the ATP, and if he misbehaves in the next 6 months at an ATP event, he could face a suspension and fine. However this would not apply for the US Open as it’s a Grand Slam.

Singles – First Round

[2] Simona Halep (ROU) def. Marina Erakovic (NZL) 6-2, 3-0 (retired – knee injury)
[4] Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) def. Jamie Loeb (USA) 6-2, 6-0

[5] Petra Kvitova (CZE) def. Laura Siegemund (GER) 6-1, 6-1
Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) def. [6] Lucie Safarova (CZE) 6-4, 6-1
[20] Victoria Azarenka (BLR) def. Lucie Hradecka (CZE) 6-1, 6-2
[11] Angelique Kerber (GER) def. Alexandra Dulgheru (ROU) 6-3, 6-1

[18] Andrea Petkovic (GER) def. Caroline Garcia (FRA) 3-6, 6-4, 7-5
[9] Garbiñe Muguruza (ESP) def. Carina Witthoeft (GER) 6-2, 6-4

[22] Samantha Stosur (AUS) def. Timea Babos (HUN) 6-3, 6-4

[16] Sara Errani (ITA) def. Mayo Hibi 6-0, 6-1
Johanna Konta (GBR) def. Louisa Chirico (USA) 6-3, 6-0
Elena Vesnina (RUS) def. Laura Robson (GBR) 3-6, 6-3, 7-5

Kurumi Nara (JPN) def. [27] Alizé Cornet (FRA) 2-6, 6-4, 6-4

Petra Cetkovska (CZE) def. Christina McHale (USA) 4-6, 6-4, 6-3

[24] Sabine Lisicki (GER) def. Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) 6-1, 6-4
Varvara Lepchenko (USA) def. Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 6-1, 6-1

Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) def. Francesca Schiavone (ITA) 6-3, 6-1

Qiang Wang (CHN) def. Maria Sakkari (GRE) 7-5, 6-2

Shelby Rogers (USA) def. Sachia Vickery (USA) 6-2, 6-2
Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK) def. Julia Goerges (GER) 6-3, 6-4
Nicole Gibbs (USA) def. Lourdes Dominguez Lino (ESP) 6-3, 3-6, 6-4
Barbora Strycova (CZE) def. [14] Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) 7-5, 6-0
Danka Kovinic (MNE) def. Aleksandra Krunic (SRB) 4-6, 7-5, 6-1
Mona Barthel (GER) def. Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) 5-7, 7-6(4), 6-1
[26] Flavia Pennetta (ITA) def. Jarmila Gajdosova (AUS) 6-1, 3-6, 6-1
Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) def. Annika Beck (GER) 6-4, 1-6, 6-4
Evgeniya Rodina (RUS) def. Tereza Mrdeza (CRO) 6-2, 6-2
Karin Knapp (ITA) def. Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) 6-7(1), 6-2, 6-4
Olga Govortsova (BLR) def. [28] Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) 6-1, 0-6, 7-6(3)
Camila Giorgi (ITA) def. Johanna Larsson (SWE) 6-3, 6-3
Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) def. Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) 6-0, 6-3

Monica Niculescu (ROU) def. Alexandra Panova (RUS) 7-6(3), 5-7, 6-3

Singles – First Round

[2] Roger Federer (SUI) d. Leonardo Mayer (ARG) 61 62 62
[5] Stan Wawrinka (SUI) vs. Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) 75 64 76(6)
[6] Tomas Berdych (CZE) d. Bjorn Fratangelo (USA) 63 62 64
Donald Young (USA) d. [11] Gilles Simon (FRA) 26 46 64 64 64
[12] Richard Gasquet (FRA) d. Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) 46 61 46 63 20 ret.
[13] John Isner (USA) d. Malek Jaziri (TUN) 62 63 64
[21] Ivo Karlovic (CRO) d. Federico Delbonis (ARG) 63 75 75
[30] Thomaz Bellucci (BRA) d. James Ward (GBR) 61 75 63
Jurgen Melzer (AUT) d. Denis Kudla (USA) 63 75 61
Austin Krajicek (USA) d. Santiago Giraldo (COL) 36 76(6) 76(6) 76(1)
Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) d. John-Patrick Smith (AUS) 61 36 75 76(4)
Jiri Vesely (CZE) d. Paolo Lorenzi (ITA) 64 64 64
Gilles Muller (LUX) vs. Ruben Bemelmans (BEL)
Aljaz Bedene (GBR) d. Ernests Gulbis (LAT) 36 64 30 ret.
Robin Haase (NED) d. Dustin Brown (GER) 46 46 63 75 64
Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) d. Paul-Henri Mathieu (FRA) 64 26 67(7) 61 62

More to follow…


2015 Connecticut Open Preview

petra kvitova CTOpen15 all access by Jack Cunniff

Petra Kvitova (Photo by J. Cunniff)

By Jack Cunniff

(August 23, 2015) NEW HAVEN, Connecticut – For the first time since 2006, the field at the 2015 Connecticut Open features five of the world’s top ten women’s players, and that depth should make for an unpredictable event. Here are some highlights of this year’s top entrants:


Simona Halep (No. 2) 2013 New Haven champion was the top seed, and she has played well this summer, coming off of back-to-back finals in Toronto and Cincinnati. She withdrew from the tournament on Sunday night.


Second seeded Petra Kvitova (No. 4), the defending champion, also receives an opening round bye. Kvitova has not won a match since Wimbledon, and she recently disclosed that she was diagnosed with mononucleosis, which helps to explain her recent listless form. The good news for Kvitova is that she thrives in the laid-back environment of New Haven, having reached three consecutive finals here, and is one of two players to have defeated top ranked Serena Williams in 2015.


Caroline Wozniacki (No. 5) is a four-time winner in New Haven, and seeded third at this year’s event. She was not initially planning to play the Connecticut Open, but early round losses in Stanford, Toronto, and Cincinnati have her looking for more match play before the U.S. Open, which begins August 31st. In pre-tournament interviews, Wozniacki has proclaimed herself fit and ready for action.


Lucie Safarova (No. 6) had the best result of her career in advancing to the 2015 French Open final, where she battled Serena Williams for three sets before losing. That result has catapulted her into the top ten for the first time in her career. Safarova has had mixed results since Paris, including a first round exit in Toronto to Daria Gavrilova, who she will face in a re-match in her opening round in New Haven.


A year ago, Karolina Pliskova (No. 7) was ranked 69th and won only two games in her first round qualifying match in New Haven. Much has changed in the last 12 months for the 23-year old Czech. She has reached eight WTA finals, winning three of those (Seoul, Linz, Prague). Success has evaded Pliskova in the Grand Slam events, but she has proven to be a consistent threat at the other tour stops.


Other players that could contend at the Connecticut open include: a pair of Wimbledon finalists, 2012 runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska (No. 15), and 2014 runner-up Genie Bouchard (No. 24); another major finalist in 2012 French Open runner-up Sara Errani (No. 16), former top ten player Flavia Pennetta (No. 26), rising young American Madison Keys (No. 19) who reached the 2015 Australian Open semifinals, the Swiss veteran Timea Bacsinszky (No. 14) who reached 2015 French Open semifinals, and Elina Svitolina (No. 20) a 20-year-old Ukranian who has risen quietly up the rankings in 2015.

Jack Cunniff is covering the Connecticut Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his updates on twitter @TennisNewsTPN. His personal twitter is @JRCunniff.



WTA All-Access at 2015 Rogers Cup


By Brodie Widdifield

(August 10, 2015) TORONTO, Canada – The beginning of August always represents one of the most exciting times of the year for Canadian tennis fans with the Rogers Cup tournament getting underway. For players on the WTA, it represents the beginning of the North American hard court swing, and the end of a short but enjoyable post-Wimbledon holiday.

It’s definitely my favourite time of the season,” said Caroline Wozniacki. The Dane has dealt with a back injury this season and stressed the importance of fitness for this difficult yet important part of the season. “The most important thing is to stay healthy.”


Petra Kvitova has been less lucky with her health, unfortunately. “I spent a few days off in Monaco as a vacation. I was trying to practice a little bit, but unfortunately I was diagnosed with mono.” The Czech emphasized that she was working with her team to properly schedule her practicing in order to conserve energy. “I probably got it during the spring time and I still have a little bit of it. I’m still going to play, but I need to worrying about the practicing, and I’ll try to be ready for the matches.”


Ana Ivanovic also took some time off, and emphasized switching to hard courts would not be a challenge. “It’s not such a difficult change. A lot of players take time off, which was the case with me. The hardest transition is clay to grass, so I look forward to playing on the hard courts here in the United States and Canada.”


Romanian Simona Halep was one of the stand out players of 2014, but has found success more difficult to come by in 2015. She seemed excited to get her hard court season under way in Toronto after deciding late to enter the tournament on a wild card. “I need some matches.” However, she enjoyed her time off after Wimbledon and is looking forward to getting back on court. “It was really good. I stayed calm, all four weeks, with my family, with my friends. Now I feel good, I feel confident, and I hope to have good matches here.” “I was a little bit tired after Indian Wells and Miami.”


The other hot topic on the lips of reporters and players was the continued success of the world’s best player, Serena Williams. With the season’s first three grand slams in her pocket, she will look to complete what was originally known as “The Grand Slam” – winning all four majors in a calendar year.

Not even Serena Williams herself could say it would be business as usual in New York. “It definitely feels different. Winning the Serena Slam this year took some pressure off.” Even at age 33, the world number 1 has no intentions of slowing down as she enjoys one of the best years of her career. “I feel like every year that goes by I start to love the game more than I did the previous year.”

Other players were genuinely happy for the success of Williams this year. Ana Ivanovic even said she would like to see her win the US Open. “I really hope she can do it. She’s been working really hard, she’s been on top of the game so long so I think she deserves it. We’re so lucky to have someone like her in our sport, and I don’t think she gets enough credit for what she has achieved.”

Simona Halep shared her views. “For me she is the best player in the world. She has a lot of power, and also mental power. I think she can do all four, and win the US Open this year.” But when asked if it was frustrating to constantly have such a dominant player, the Romanian only laughed. “For me it is not. It’s really nice to have a player [like her]. She’s very competitive and she loves to be number one.”

Finally, Garbine Muguruza was perhaps one of the most engaging interviews on the afternoon. Now in the top 8, the Spaniard invites all the attention that comes along with reaching a grand slam final at just 21. “Obviously things are changing, media, people are looking more at what I’m doing, but I’m enjoying it. You have to be ready, you have to be more mature. The good moments go so quickly, and the bad ones are so slow.” She mentioned that she learned a lot from the Wimbledon final, but laughed when asked if she had watched any of the match again. “I just watched the two minute highlights. No more than that.”

Brodie Widdifield is the author of the tennis web site mindtheracket.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @MindTheRacket. He is covering the Rogers Cup in Toronto for Tennis Panorama News, follow @TennisNewsTPN for updates.


“Nobody beats me 5 times,” Lepchenko Upsets Wozniacki at Stanford

Varvara Lepchenko

Varvara Lepchenko

By Curt Janka

(August 6, 2015) STANFORD, CaliforniaVarvara Lepchenko played steady to beat top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki at the Bank of the West Classic 6-4, 6-2 despite a number of brief rain delays. Neither player exhibited much emotion on court, as Wozniacki appeared slowed by a leg taped heavily from the knee down. The win is Lepchenko’s third over a Top 5 player, but only her first over Wozniacki who held a 4-0 record over the qualifier.


“Nobody beats me 5 times,” Lepchenko finally cracked a smile in her on-court interview.


Asked if her leg was her main problem tonight, Wozniacki said “Physically, I wasn’t feeling 100 percent. It wasn’t pretty out there, that’s for sure. At the end of the day she played better. Hats off to her.” The injury did not seem to worry her too much, however, as she explained “Hopefully, a few days and I’ll be okay.”


Lepchenko, who battled illness early in the season, has worked hard to get back in good condition. “The very first day after Wimbledon I started my physical conditioning,” she said. “I worked pretty hard to get myself to this point. I think I’m in better condition now than at the beginning of the season.”


Both players remarked on how quick the court is playing here, but Wozniacki thought that might help her for her next event. “Now, hopefully everything will feel slow in Toronto.” At least she found a silver lining amidst tonight’s scattered showers.


Curt Janka is covering the Bank of the West Classic this week. Follow his updates on twitter at @TennisNewsTPN and his personal twitter @CurtJanka.


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Varvara Lepchenko

Varvara Lepchenko