April 29, 2017

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

Caroline Wozniacki, courtesy of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

Women’s
Doubles – First Round

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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U.S. Leads Germany 1-0 in Fed Cup After Outdated Stanza of German Anthem Sung as Day One is Shortened by Rain

U.S. Leads Germany 1-0 in Fed Cup After Outdated Stanza of German Anthem Sung During Opening Ceremony

(February 11, 2017) During the opening ceremonies of day one of the Fed Cup quarterfinal tie between the United States and Germany on Saturday in Maui, Hawaii, a World War II era stanza of the German National anthem was sung.

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) issued an apology for the error in a statement:

“The USTA extends its sincerest apologies to the German Fed Cup team and all of its fans for the performance of an outdated national anthem prior to today’s Fed Cup competition,” the release said. “In no way did we mean any disrespect. This mistake will not occur again, and the correct anthem will be performed for the remainder of this first-round tie.”

 

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Germany’s Andrea Petkovic, who lost in the only completed match on Saturday was very upset about the anthem.

I thought it was the epitome of ignorance, and I never felt more disrespected in my whole life,” she said. “I’ve played Fed Cup for 13 years now, and it was the worst thing that has ever happened to me.”

Alison Riske, who defeated Petkovic 7-6(10), 6-2 also commented: “You know what, as it was happening obviously, we have no idea. News got around to us, and it’s extremely unfortunate. We have nothing but respect for the German team.”

“Obviously, that will not happen again.”

Alison Riske

 

For Riske, this was her first singles victory in Fed Cup.

“It mean(s) a lot when you play for your country. I’m always emotional when I talk about America. We’re lucky to be living here and to represent America. Any time we can, it’s a real honor.”

Petkovic was serving for the first set at 5-3, when Riske came back to force a tiebreak. At 3-3 in the tiebreak, play was suspended due to rain.

“I just tried to be the one that was more aggressive in the tiebreaker, because usually that person is the one who’s going to win the tiebreaker.

“Just tried to get out there after the rain break and go after it. Yeah, I did have four set points to win it. After that, I felt like I was in a better place mentally just to have one set under my belt.”

“I was fighting a lot of nerves,” she said after the match.” Like I said, we all want to win for our country, our team, our captain.”

“Considering all the conditions, it was a good quality match in the first set,” said the former top 10 Petkovic.” I just didn’t close it out. Yeah, maybe a little unlucky in few moments; maybe a little also few mistakes that shouldn’t have happened in the important moments.

“Then, as I said, she played fantastic second set.”

Coco Vandeweghe took a 6-3, 3-1 lead over Julia Goerges before rain halted play for the day.

The United States leads Germany 1-0 after the first day of play. They will resume play at 9:30 AM local time. Vandeweghe-Goerges will be completed, followed by reverse singles – Riske against Goerges,  Vandeweghe takes on Petkovic, and then the doubles match- Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Vandeweghe versus Laura Siegemumd and Carina Witthoeft.

The winner of this tie will take on the winner of the Czech Republic- Spain tie the weekend of April 22-23.

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Venus Williams Reaches Australian Open Final, Her First Major Final Since 2009

Venus Williams

(January 26, 2017) Playing in her 21st major semifinal, the seven-time major winner Venus Williams advanced to her first Australian Open final since 2003, when she beat her American countrywoman CoCo Vandeweghe 6-7(3), 6-2, 6-3.

The last major final in which Williams competed was in 2009 at Wimbledon when she lost to her sister Serena.

At 36-years-old, the No. 13 seed will be the oldest female major tournament finalist in the Open Era.

The 25-year-old Vandeweghe, playing in her first major final four, opened the match with a break of serve, which Williams returned the favor in the next game. Both women held on to their serves to reach the tie break in which the younger American Vandeweghe dominated.

Vandeweghe reached the semifinals with back-to-back victories over reigning major tournament winners – in the round of 16 she took down No. 1 seed and Australian Open defending champion Angelique Kerber and in the quarterfinals she stopped French Open winner Garbine Muguruza.

“The way she’s been playing this tournament, it’s like knock-out, not missing, just playing beautifully,” Williams said. “Unless the nerves get to you or you just have a bad day, I had to expect that she was going to be able to execute that once again, and she did.”

CoCo Vandeweghe

“I mean, to be honest, the way she was playing the match, it was like I was just going to have to play defense, try to play offense whenever I had an opportunity,” Williams said.

“I want to dictate, but the way she was playing, it was almost impossible to do so. So it was just about trying to control the point in whichever way that was. If that meant that defensively I controlled the point, or I was able to get a little offense, whatever it was.

“I mean, just be the one winning the point at the end somehow.”

In the second set, Williams broke Vandeweghe to take a 2-1 lead, then broke her again to go up 4-1 when Vandeweghe hit two double-faults in a row.

Vandeweghe then had four break chances in the sixth game but could not convert.

Williams leveled the match winning the second set 6-2.

Williams opened the third set with a break. In her next game, she had to fight off two break points to hold for 2-0. Williams ended the match by breaking her opponents serve in the ninth game.

 

Williams hit 30 winners against 35 errors  with 11 aces. Vandeweghe had 37 winners, 50 errors, 10 aces and 11 double-faults. A key statistic for Vandeweghe was failing to convert on break points – she was 1 for 13.

“Everyone has their moment in the sun,” Venus said in her on-court interview. “Maybe mine has gone on a while. I’d like to keep that going. I’ve got nothing else to do.”

Venus Williams will play her sister Serena, ranked No. 2-ranked in the final.

Venus was asked about possibly playing her sister Serena in the finals: “I would more than anything love to see her across the net from me on Saturday.”

“I think Venus is an unbelievable competitor,” Vandeweghe said. “Putting age aside, age is just a number. For her to be the great champion that she is is a great accomplishment. It doesn’t matter if she’s 36 or 18 or anything like that.

“For me, I appreciate her as an athlete, as a competitor, as well as I would probably be feeling joy and glee if I had won the match today.

“I think it shows kind of the human aspect of sports. I think that’s a very important factor that sometimes gets pushed to the side. We’re all human. We’re not perfect out there. We’re going to have some screw-ups. You’re also kind of watching us have our high moments and low moments, as well.

“I think it’s great for her to make a final. To have an American in the final is a great achievement for American tennis. Hopefully Serena makes it there, as well, so we can have two Americans into the final.”

Venus was asked about her post-match celebration: “I know, that moment was just joy,” she said. “It was a heartfelt match. If the match is 6-2, 6-2, you know, the moment is kind of clear that it’s going to happen. But she played so well. There was never a moment where she wasn’t just hitting the ball amazing and striking the ball with just such precision.

“It’s always very satisfying to be able to get through in such a big match against an opponent who was just on fire.”

Venus talked about how she will play the final: “Honestly, I probably just need to continue playing like I’m playing. I haven’t played badly. I lost a set today. I was not happy about it. But my opponent deserved that set. So what else could I do? Try to get the next two.

“I will try to do the same.”

“At the end of the day, my main goal will be to execute my game. I’ve had to do that in the first round. I had to do it in this round. In the final, too.

“If I can achieve that, that’s more or less what I’ll be thinking of, not necessarily that it’s the final. Of course, you think of that, too. I mean, that’s normal. But if you’re especially mentally strong, you can block that out, too, so I’ll try.”

What would winning the final mean to Venus: “It would be beautiful. It would be beautiful. I have to earn it, so… It’s not a given. I’m going to do what I can to earn it. I’m not thinking about, Oh, what would it be like to win? I’m thinking about, What do I have to do to earn that? That’s my mentality right now.

“I’m so excited after that last match. But my mind changes over quickly into what’s at stake next, so that’s where I am.”

 

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Vandeweghe Upsets No. 1 Kerber, Venus Williams Reaches Australian Open Quarterfinals

 

(January 22, 2017) Defending champion Angelique Kerber has joined fellow No. 1 seed Andy Murray as both top seeds lost on Sunday. Kerber lost to American American CoCo Vandeweghe 6-2, 6-3 in the night session at the Australian Open.

CoCo Vandeweghe

Vandeweghe moves into the quarterfinals against Garbine Muguruza, who beat Sorana Cirstea 6-2, 6-3. Murguruza won last year’s French Open.

“It’s really special to play a No. 1 player at any stage in any round,” Vandewege said in her on-court interview with Renee Stubbs. “I believe this is my first number one win, so I will take that.”

“It was a tough match, and of course I’m disappointed,” Kerber said. “But I was not feeling the ball at all tonight. I was not playing good from the first point.

“So, yeah, it was not my day and not my match, for sure.”

“I was trying tonight, as well, everything. But, yeah, I missed a lot and I make a lot of unforced errors. So this was not my game like I play normally.”

“It’s the first time I’ve ever beaten a world No. 1. And especially at a Grand Slam, I think it makes it that much sweeter,” Vandeweghe said.

?I just felt like I was really executing my game well, keeping her on the back foot, and just kind of playing within myself. So that’s what I felt was going on on the court.”

“We’re two totally opposite players. I would expect myself to have more winners as well as more unforced errors than she would have. So in that fact, I mean, that’s kind of an expected stat that I would have more than she would.

“I mean, what the number would end up being is kind of up to how well I’m hitting my spots and how well I’m playing out there against an opponent.”

“We’ve played a lot, a couple of times,” Muguruza said about playing the American in the quarterfinals. “It’s 1-1 head-to-head. She’s a tricky player. She has a lot of power, full shots, serve, everything. She can play very well.”

“It’s an interesting matchup because she holds a different aspect to a playing style of she’s an aggressor, as well,”  Vandeweghe commented. “She is going to play that way, and no other way.”

“For me it depends on if I can match it, as well as if I can beat her to that punch of getting first strike, first play.”

With Kerber’s loss, should Serena Williams win the tournament, she would move back up to the No. 1 ranking.

Andy Murray lost to No. 50 Mischa Zverev in four sets earlier in the day.

No. 50 Mischa Zverev Beats No. 1 Andy Murray at Australian Open; Roger Federer Advances in Five Sets

Venus Williams, reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open for the second time in the last three years by beating qualifier Mona Barthel 6-3, 7-5 on Sunday in Melbourne.

 

The 36-year-old American, seeded 13th, the oldest player female singles player left in the draw, has not dropped a set entering the final eight.

 

“I was born to play tennis,” Williams said in her on-court interview. “I found my calling. I was meant to do this.”

This will be the 37th career major quarterfinal she has played.

 

 

Williams will play 24th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova who was the first player to reach quarterfinals defeated Russian countrywoman and 8th seeded two-time major champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 6-3 in 68 minutes.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova photo courtesy of Taste of Tennis

This will be the Russian’s first-ever Australian Open quarterfinal.

 

“It feels amazing,” she said. “I’m really happy with my first quarterfinal here in Australian Open.”

 

“I have a lot of memories, because I, yeah, won it twice in juniors and was showing some good tennis, as well, also in the pros, but never achieved something, like, big here.”
“I feel much fitter, as well. And again, I repeat like I’m enjoying a bit more, like I take it a bit differently now.

“Yeah, I feel like I’m showing some good tennis at the same time, as well, and so just trying to put everything in pieces.

“Yeah, but again, I’m not going, like, super excited about it. I just take match by match, and, you know, I want to do even better.”

“Today I played a qualifier, and she hardly ever missed,” Williams said. “So it doesn’t matter who you come up against, they are coming and they want to win, too. They have nothing to lose.
“I’m going to be focused on winning one round at a time and focus on doing what it takes to be there.”

“I know her game,” Williams said of her next opponent. “I have played a lot of matches this tournament kind of not knowing what to expect. That can be a little — it’s a whole different approach.

“Now I have played her. I know what to expect. So I can almost already be settled in before I get to that match. So it’s a good thing.”

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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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April 17 Fed Cup Results

fed cup colours

(April 17, 2016) The final results for the 2016 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group semifinals, and World Group and World Group II play-offs taking place on 16-17 April.

France will host Czech Republic in the Fed Cup Final on 12-13 November. In the semifinals, France defeated Netherlands 3-2 in Trelaze, while Czech Republic overcame Switzerland by the same scoreline in Lucerne.

Belarus, Germany, Spain and USA all won their World Group play-offs and will join Czech Republic, France, Netherlands and Switzerland in the 2017 World Group.

Belgium, Chinese Taipei, Slovakia and Ukraine all won their World Group II play-offs, and will join the four World Group play-off losing nations, Australia, Italy, Romania and Russia, in 2017 World Group II. The four World Group II play-off losing nations, Argentina, Canada, Poland and Serbia, will contest their respective Zone Group I events in 2017.

The draw for the 2017 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas will be held at the ITF AGM in Zagreb, Croatia on Monday 20 June. The top two seeds in the 2017 World Group will be the 2016 finalists, while the remaining seeds will be based on the ITF Fed Cup Nations Ranking of 18 April.

WORLD GROUP SEMIFINALS

 

CZECH REPUBLIC defeated SWITZERLAND 3-2

Venue: Messe Luzern, Lucerne, SUI (hard – indoor)

Barbora Strycova (CZE) d. Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) 60 62

Viktorija Golubic (SUI) d. Karolina Pliskova (CZE) 36 64 64

Karolina Pliskova (CZE) d. Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) 64 62

Viktorija Golubic (SUI) d. Barbora Strycova (CZE) 36 76(6) 61

Lucie Hradecka/Karolina Pliskova (CZE) d. Viktorija Golubic/Martina Hingis (SUI) 62 62

FRANCE defeated NETHERLANDS 3-2

Venue: Arena Loire, Trélazé, FRA (clay – indoor)

 

Kiki Bertens (NED) d. Caroline Garcia (FRA) 64 62

Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) d. Richel Hogenkamp (NED) 62 64

Kiki Bertens (NED) d. Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) 75 64

Caroline Garcia (FRA) d. Arantxa Rus (NED) 63 64

Caroline Garcia/Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) d. Kiki Bertens/Richel Hogenkamp (NED) 46 63 63

WORLD GROUP PLAY-OFFS

 

BELARUS defeated RUSSIA 3-2

Venue: Small Sports Arena “Luzhniki”, Moscow, RUS (clay – indoor)

 

Darya Kasatkina (RUS) d. Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) 63 36 61

Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. Margarita Gasparyan (RUS) 62 63

Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. Darya Kasatkina (RUS) 62 57 63

Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) d. Margarita Gasparyan (RUS) 46 61 75

Darya Kasatkina/Elena Vesnina (RUS) d. Olga Govortsova/Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) 64 62

 

SPAIN defeated ITALY 4-0

Venue: Club de Tennis Lleida, Lleida, ESP (clay – outdoor)

 

Garbine Muguruza (ESP) d. Francesca Schiavone (ITA) 76(4) 60

Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) d. Roberta Vinci (ITA) 61 61

Garbine Muguruza (ESP) d. Roberta Vinci (ITA) 62 62

Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) v Francesca Schiavone (ITA) – not played

Anabel Medina Garrigues/Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP) d. Karin Knapp/Francesca Schiavone (ITA) 11  ret.

 

GERMANY defeated ROMANIA 4-1

Venue: Sala Polivalenta Cluj-Napoca, Cluj-Napoca, ROU (clay – indoor)

 

Angelique Kerber (GER) d. Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) 62 63

Simona Halep (ROU) d. Andrea Petkovic (GER) 64 67(5) 64

Angelique Kerber (GER) d. Simona Halep (ROU) 62 62

Andrea Petkovic (GER) d. Monica Niculescu (ROU) 06 76(1) 63

Annika Beck/Julia Goerges (GER) d. Irina-Camelia Begu/Alexandra Dulgheru (ROU) 67(5) 76(4) [10-7]

 

USA defeated AUSTRALIA 4-0

Venue: Pat Rafter Arena, Brisbane, AUS (clay – outdoor)

 

Madison Keys (USA) d. Daria Gavrilova (AUS) 64 62

Christina McHale (USA) d. Samantha Stosur (AUS) 36 61 75

Coco Vandeweghe (USA) d. Samantha Stosur (AUS) 26 75 64

Daria Gavrilova (AUS) v Christina McHale (USA) – not played

Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Coco Vandeweghe (USA) d. Daria Gavrilova/Arina Rodionova (AUS) 61 64

WORLD GROUP II PLAY-OFFS

 

BELGIUM defeated SERBIA 3-2

Venue: Aleksandar Nikolic Arena (Pionir Hall), Belgrade, SRB (clay – indoor)

 

Aleksandra Krunic (SRB) d. Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 64 76(8)

Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) d. Jovana Jaksic (SRB) 75 60

Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) d. Aleksandra Krunic (SRB) 16 75 86

Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) d. Ivana Jorovic (SRB) 76(8) 64

Jovana Jaksic/Nina Stojanovic (SRB) d. Ysaline Bonaventure/An-Sophie Mestach (BEL) 46 60 [10-5]

 

SLOVAKIA defeated CANADA 3-2

Venue: AEGON Arena, Bratislava, SVK (clay – indoor)

 

Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) d. Francoise Abanda (CAN) 46 63 61

Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK) d. Aleksandra Wozniak (CAN) 64 46 64

Francoise Abanda (CAN) d. Jana Cepelova (SVK) 75 62

Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) d. Aleksandra Wozniak (CAN) 62 60

Sharon Fichman/Charlotte Robillard-Millette (CAN) d. Jana Cepelova/Tereza Mihalikova (SVK) 63 06 [10-8]

 

CHINESE TAIPEI defeated POLAND 4-1

Venue: OSiR Hala Widowiskowo-Sportowa, Inowroclaw, POL (hard – indoor)

 

Hsu Ching-Wen (TPE) d. Paula Kania (POL) 63 64

Magdalena Frech (POL) d. Lee Ya-Hsuan (TPE) 46 60 62

Lee Ya-Hsuan (TPE) d. Paula Kania (POL) 26 63 97

Hsu Ching-Wen (TPE) d. Magdalena Frech (POL) 62 46 63

Chan Chin-Wei/Chuang Chia-Jung (TPE) d. Klaudia Jans-Ignacik/Katarzyna Kawa (POL) 62 76(1)

 

UKRAINE defeated ARGENTINA 4-0

Venue: Campa Tennis Club, Bucha, Kiev, UKR (hard – outdoor)

Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) d. Maria Irigoyen (ARG) 61 61

Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) d. Nadia Podoroska (ARG) 61 64

Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) d. Maria Irigoyen (ARG) 60 63

Kateryna Bondaren

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Fed Cup: U.S. defeats Australia 4-0 to Advance to World Group in 2017

usfedcup2

(April 17, 2016) The U.S. now moves back to competing in the World Group next year by beating Australia, 4-0, in the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Playoff on an outdoor clay court in Pat Rafter Arena at the Queensland Tennis Centre in Brisbane, Australia.

In the first match of the day, world No. 36 CoCo Vandeweghe came from a set down to beat world No. 26 Samantha Stosur, 26, 75, 64, in two hours and 18 minutes to clinch the victory for the United States. The win was also the first in her Fed Cup singles career for Vandeweghe who now moves to 1-3. Vandeweghe also moved her lifetime record to 4-1 against Stosur.   The U.S. team is now 3-1 when Coco takes the court.  The Christina McHale-Daria Gavrilova match was not played.

“Well, I mean Sam’s a phenomenal player and I actually really enjoy playing against her because she is that phenomenal player,” said Vandeweghe.  “This is the first time we ever played on clay, so I mean, all the other surfaces were quicker, hardcourts or grass.  So I knew this would be more well suited for her game, she’d be more comfortable than I would be.  But you know, I still stuck to my game plan of trying to implement my game to her before she could definitely get me off balance and that’s pretty much what I try to do against her most of the time when we play.”

 

“Well that was the first Fed Cup singles win that I’ve ever had,” she said.  “The first time I ever played was in a final and I really didn’t rise to the occasion too well, I was – I think I was like 18 or something the first time I played and, you know, that was really disappointing for me as a player and also as a player representing the United States.  So, I mean I think it’s such a privilege to play for the United States and I think it’s always been my No.1 goal to play for my country and to make the Olympic team eventually more so than Grand Slams and stuff like that.  It was just the way I was raised.

 

In the dead doubles rubber, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and CoCo Vandeweghe faced Daria Gavrilova and Arina Rodionova.  Daria and Arina were substituted for Casey Dellacqua and Samantha Stosur.  In the end, Mattek-Sands and Vandeweghe won the match, 61, 64, in one hour and 17 minutes.  With the victory Mattek-Sands and Vandeweghe remain undefeated as a doubles team.  In Fed Cup, Mattek-Sands moved her doubles record to 5-0 record while Vandeweghe moved to 3-0.

 

“No the whole team is MVP, they all did their part, they all contributed,” said United Stated Fed Cup captain Mary Joe Fernandez.  “I always say the first match kind of gives you the momentum, I always say the first match is critical.  So Madison got us off to such a great start.  Hooray. And then Christina picked it up and played really, really well and fought so hard towards the end of the match, and then Coco today came back, a set and 2-love down, and you know, fought as well.  So it was an amazing effort to turn that match around and the doubles went great too.  So I couldn’t be more proud of each and every one of them.”

The U.S. remains undefeated at 22-0 when leading after the first day of play (since the World Group format was instituted in 1995). The U.S. also improves to 10-12 all-time in Fed Cup ties played on the road, and holds an overall 146-36 record.  The victory also moves the Fed Cup teams record to 11-3 in matches played in Australia/New Zealand.

With the victory, the U.S. advances to the World Group in 2017. The 2017 Fed Cup draw will be made in mid-November after the World Group Finals.

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Strycova, Garcia, Svitolina and Errani Reach Dubai Semifinals

(February 18, 2016) DUBAI – In a topsy-turvy tournament which saw the top 8 seeds knocked out of the tournament before the quarterfinals, Elina Svitolina will face Sara Errani and Caroline Garcia will play Barbora Strycova in the semifinals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

No. 47 Barbora Strycova came back from a 3-5 deficit in the first set tiebreak to defeat former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic 7-6(5), 6-3.

What made the difference for the Czech, who came in 0-3 against the Serb?

“I believed myself,” said Strycova. “And I changed a little bit some things before I went on court, because I lost the previous matches against Ana, so I had to change a little bit the return.

“I was trying to be aggressive because the conditions on this court is really fast, so you have to also play a little bit quick not to spin all the time the balls.

“So that was working well, and I think I was returning also very well.”

“I was 5-3 down (in the first set tiebreak). “I was playing very good four balls in a row. I told myself when I was 5-3 down I was playing a little bit like didn’t believe that I can do it, so I changed that. I played very well the last four balls. That gave me so much confidence for the second set.”

No. 21 Svitolina defeated CoCo Vandeweghe 6-4, 1-6, 6-2.

“Good start. Then I was struggling a bit,” said Svitolina. “I think it was just something in my head. I was just somewhere not on the court. Was really happy that I could find a way to start third set well. Okay, 2-0 down but still I felt that I’m getting there.”

This is the first tournament with a new member of her coaching team – former No. 1 champion Justine Henin.

“I met her first time in her academy in Belgium after winning Roland Garros juniors,” said the Ukrainian. “And then, you know, she’s seven times a Grand Slam champion, so she was always on my mind and I was — you know, she had amazing game.

“She was not that tall, so, you know, there was always some things which I was trying to take from her. Yeah, it’s just amazing that she accepted.”

Sara Errani rallied to win in two hours 22 minutes to beat Madison Brengle 4-6, 6-1, 6-4. Errani led the first set 4-1 and lost the next five games.

“Really strange match, yes,” said the Italian said. “I don’t know. I mean, she had a game that she did not miss a ball sometime. She’s more aggressive. Sometimes she just wait more. So is not easy to play against her. I could have lost easily, so I don’t know why I won the match. There is no explanation to this. Just keep fighting.”

Caroline Garcia reached her first Premier-level semifinal beating Andrea Petkovic 6-3, 6-4.

“You always have to fight very hard and work hard against Andrea,” said Garcia. “She is big fighter, always trying to come back in the match. It was very difficult conditions, very windy, sometimes more than yesterday. So always have to be ready for the ball. Yeah, sometimes was not very nice tennis, not very rhythmic, but you have to stay focused and, yeah, just keep your tactics on.”

 

All photos by Nida Alibhai

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Errani 1 ddtc 218

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Errani 3 ddtc 218

Errani 4 ddtc 218

Errani Brenglem hand shake 218

Garcia 1 ddtc 218

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Garcia 8 in press ddtc 218

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Madison Brengle 1 ddtc 218

Petkovic 1 ddtc 218

Petkovic 2 ddtc 218

Petkovic 3 ddtc 218

Petkovic 4 ddtc 218

Petkovic 5 ddtc 218

Petkovic 6 wakes goodbye ddtc 218

Petkovic Garcia handshake

Svitolina 2 ddtc 218

Svitolina 3 ddtc 218

Svitolina ddtc 218

Vandeweghe ddtc 218

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Vandeweghe Takes Down Sixth Seed Pliskova in Dubai for First Win of the Year

CoCo Vandeweghe

CoCo Vandeweghe

(February 15, 2016) CoCo Vandeweghe notched her first win of 2016 by defeating last year’s finalist Karolina Pliskova 7-6 (5), 6-1 in the first round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Monday. The American who ended last season with an ankle injury, lost in first round of all of her previous events this year – Auckland, Sydney and the Australian Open.

 

Wolrd No. 46 Vandeweghe, who knocked out the 14th-ranked Pliskova in the second round of Wimbledon last year reflected on her upset victory. “I went out there not banking on because I won at Wimbledon that I’m going to win today,” said Vandeweghe “When someone is serving as well and playing as well off of their serve you have to really focus on taking care of your service games.

 

“That was my main focus. And then in the tiebreaker, I mean, every point matters. So when I had my opportunity, I was going to take it. Then the second set, getting that early break was really key.”

 

“It’s tough to play against her,” Pliskova said. “Obviously my game is a little bit better from the baseline, but there was no chance to show it because there was no rallies. So it was just tough.”

Julia Goerges Tennis Panorama News Carlsbad

In another upset Julia Goerges defeated three-time Dubai finalist Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-0, 6-1.

“Well, I would say it was, yeah, a very solid performance but at the same time being aggressive and didn’t make that many mistakes,” said Goerges. “I just didn’t give her any chance to get into the match and get into her rhythm, because if she has time she creates good balls and deep balls, and that’s what I tried to take away from her. That worked pretty well today.”

DUBAI DUTY FREE TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS – DUBAI, UAE
$ 2,000,000
15-20 FEBRUARY 2016

RESULTS – FEBRUARY 15, 2016
Women’s Singles – First Round
C. Vandeweghe (USA) d [6] [WC] Ka. Pliskova (CZE) 76(5) 61
J. Goerges (GER) d [8] S. Kuznetsova (RUS) 60 61
C. Garcia (FRA) d A. Schmiedlova (SVK) 64 61
A. Petkovic (GER) d C. Giorgi (ITA) 62 61
M. Brengle (USA) d E. Makarova (RUS) 64 75
K. Mladenovic (FRA) d L. Tsurenko (UKR) 62 76(1)

Women’s Doubles – First Round
S. Errani (ITA) / C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) d [1] B. Mattek-Sands (USA) / Y. Shvedova (KAZ) 60 46 10-6
Y. Xu (CHN) / S. Zheng (CHN) d [WC] F. Al Nabhani (OMA) / T. Pironkova (BUL) 46 62 10-8

Women’s Qualifying Singles – Final Round
[6] S. Zheng (CHN) d [1] V. Lepchenko (USA) 75 61
T. Pironkova (BUL) d [2] A. Friedsam (GER) 57 75 63
Y. Shvedova (KAZ) d [4] D. Allertova (CZE) 64 46 76(6)
J. Cepelova (SVK) d B. Mattek-Sands (USA) 64 16 63

ORDER OF PLAY – TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2016
CENTRE COURT start 2:00 pm
E. Svitolina (UKR) vs [Q] J. Cepelova (SVK)
A. Ivanovic (SRB) vs D. Gavrilova (AUS)

Not Before 7:00 pm
J. Jankovic (SRB) vs [5] B. Bencic (SUI)
[7] R. Vinci (ITA) vs [Q] Y. Shvedova (KAZ)

COURT 1 start 2:00 pm
B. Strycova (CZE) vs [Q] T. Pironkova (BUL)
[WC] P. Kvitova (CZE) / A. Rosolska (POL) vs A. Groenefeld (GER) / C. Vandeweghe (USA)

Not Before 5:00 pm
[Q] S. Zheng (CHN) vs S. Errani (ITA)
R. Atawo (USA) / A. Spears (USA) vs [2] C. Garcia (FRA) / K. Mladenovic (FRA)

COURT 3 start 2:00 pm
[PR] V. Dushevina (RUS) / K. Siniakova (CZE) vs [PR] G. Dabrowski (CAN) / M. Martínez Sánchez (ESP)
[3] A. Hlavackova (CZE) / L. Hradecka (CZE) vs A. Klepac (SLO) / K. Srebotnik (SLO)
C. Chuang (TPE) / D. Jurak (CRO) vs C. Liang (CHN) / Y. Wang (CHN)

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Serena Williams, Sharapova, Radwanska and Muguruza Reach Wimbledon Semis

 

(July 7, 2015) Serena Williams kept her hopes for a fourth straight major alive on Tuesday, rallying to defeat Victoria Azarenka, taking 10 out of the last 13 game to win 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 and reach the Wimbledon semifinals. Williams blasted 17 aces and 46 winners en route to her 26th straight Grand Slam match win.

“It’s been up and down, up and down, but somehow I’m still alive. I don’t know how,” said Williams. “So we’ll see what happens, but I’m just happy to still be here.”

“I can’t lie and say I’m not disappointed, because that’s a normal reaction,” Azarenka said. “But it is what it is. It was a high quality match. I can’t say I went out there and didn’t play well – we just saw why Serena is No.1. I haven’t seen her play like this, honestly, even the last matches before that.”

“I feel like Victoria and I always have really wonderful matches. She’s always able to push it to three sets, we always have some great three set matches,” Williams said to media.

“Whenever I see her name I get excited, because I feel like there’s going to be an opportunity to see how well I’m doing. We play each other pretty much every tournament. I’m getting used to that.”

“I’ve been really proud of her and her comeback,” Williams said when asked about her post-match hug at the net. “I told her in Madrid, ‘Man, you’ve gone through a lot. I really support that. I really support you coming back.’ And we really get along off the court. She’s so sweet – we always text each other when we’re doing well.

“She’s a really nice girl. I really admire her because she’s so intense on the court, but the second she comes off the court, she’s just so different. It’s really interesting to see. It’s super respectful.”

“I have a lot of respect for Serena,” said Azarenka.  “We have a great friendship off the court.  You know, once the match is over, we put it out a long time ago.  We’re going to put it out all on the court.  She played a great match and I respect that.”

Williams, who is now 37-1 on the year is looking to complete a second “Serena” Slam with a Wimbledon trophy, which would mean she would be holding the last four major trophies. She did this in 2002-03.

Winning Wimbledon would also give her the third leg of the calendar-year Grand Slam.

Next for the world No. 1 and 20-time major winner, will be the fourth seed Maria Sharapova who bested unseeded American youngster CoCo Vandeweghe 6-3, 6-7 (3), 6-2.

“I’ve played five matches already, I’ve faced different challenges, matches, opponents, circumstances – the first four matches I was playing quite well and got the job done in two sets,” Sharapova said.

Sharapova led 6-3, 5-3 when Vandeweghe made a comeback.

“Today, serving for the second set, I could have made it easier,” Sharapova said. “It went to a third, but I still got the job done. I have to be pleased with that, that I’m in the semifinals again here after so many years.”

“I thought I relished it pretty well,” said the young American about her fortnight.  “I enjoyed my experience.  I enjoyed the crowd out there.

“I didn’t enjoy the result too much.  But I’m sure tomorrow I’ll be feeling even less happy about this, at least body‑wise.

“It’s been a long two weeks, playing singles and doubles here.  So I’m happy with my progress through the tournament, and I’m happy with the whole experience of it.”

Williams owns a 17-2 record against Sharapova, including a winning streak against her at 16 in a row.

“Definitely no secrets between each other’s games,” Sharapova said.

“But, I mean, look, I haven’t played Serena here in 11 years.  That would be an incredible moment for me to step out on Centre Court against her again.”

“I love playing Maria,” Williams said.  “I think she brings out the best in me.  I think I bring out the best in her.  I thought we had a wonderful final in Australia.  It was very entertaining.  She played really well.

“For me, I don’t feel like I have any pressure going into this match.  We both actually lost early last year.  We both are kind of enjoying this moment and one of us will be in the final.”

The other semifinal will pit No. 13 seed and 2012 Wimbledon finalist Agnieszka Radwanska against No. 20 Garbine Muguruza.

Radwanska beat No. 21 Madison Keys 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-3. Muguruza defeated No. 15 Timea Bacsinszky 7-5, 6-3 to reach her first major semifinal.

“I couldn’t feel any better, I’m just so happy I managed to stay in that match. It was very tight and I just tried to play it point by point, game by game,” Radwanska said. “That’s how you have to play it and in the third set one break was the difference.”

“I’ve seen a few of her matches this tournament and she’s playing great tennis,” Radwanska said. “She’s actually playing very similar to Keys so I think it could be a similar match.

“It’s the semifinals so, of course, there’s nothing to lose. All the players are playing great tennis. I’m just going to fight for each point and try to play my best. One day’s rest and I’ll be ready to go.”

“It’s amazing, I’m so happy. It was a very tough match,” said Muguruza, the first Spaniard to reach the Wimbledon semifinals since Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario in 1997. “The last game was a very intense one, so there was so much relief after that.”

“It’s very hard to achieve this, so I’m very proud and happy for Spain also! All this experience helps you a lot and makes you believe that you can do it. So I’m going to be confident and ready for the match.”

Novak Djokovic completed a five-set match held over from Monday, due to darkness with a win over to reach the Gentlemen’s quarterfinals 6-7(6), 6-7(6), 6-1, 6-4, 7-5.

The world No. 1 will play Marin Cilic on Wednesday. The other men’s quarterfinal match-ups include: Roger Federer vs. Gilles Simon, Andy Murray vs. Vasek Pospisil, and Stan Wawrinka vs. Richard Gasquet.

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