2014/08/21

Kristina Mladenovic Stuns Citi Open Top Seed Lucie Safarova

Lucie Safarova photo by Christopher Levy @Tennis_Shots

Lucie Safarova photo by Christopher Levy @Tennis_Shots

By Dave Gertler

 

(July 29, 2014) WASHINGTON, DC – It’s still only the first round, but the Citi Open women’s draw is now without a defending champion or a No. 1 seed.

Top seed at the Washington, D.C. event, Lucie Safarova, has been eliminated in the first round by French world No. 78 Kristina Mladenovic.  This upset came off the back of a straightforward win by No.2 seed Ekaterina Makarova over Magdalena Rybarikova, albeit not an upset other than the fact that the Rybarikova had never lost a match at the event, include her match against Makarova at last year’s Citi Open.

 

While Makarova’s was a straightforward 6-1, 6-1 win in under an hour, Mladenovic needed two hours, five minutes and three sets to topple world No.17. Broken twice in the first set, Mladenovic would turn the match around in the second set, breaking at 4-3 on a Safarova double fault, from which point, she held and continued to pour pressure on the Czech veteran, breaking her once at 2-2, and again at 5-3, when she converted a match point brought about by three consecutive errors from the Czech 27-year-old.

 

Kristina Mladenovic  photo by Christopher Levy @tennis_shots

Kristina Mladenovic photo by Christopher Levy @tennis_shots

It will be a second-round battle of the young guns when 21-year-old Mladenovic faces 18-year-old American qualifier Taylor Townsend who won through her first-round battle in three sets against Julia Goerges. Makarova is now the top seed remaining in the WTA draw.

 

Dudi Sela

Dudi Sela

On the ATP side, Dudi Sela’s run of form since Wimbledon continued in a tight 7-6, 3-6, 6-4 win against Australian Sam Groth, which lasted exactly two hours. Sela managed to get a read on Groth’s serve – one of the biggest in the game – in time to take control of a tight first-set tie break. Groth’s reaction to losing the first set – smashing a racquet to smithereens and receiving a code violation – would normally indicate a mental breakdown, but in fact Groth was spurred on to breaks in the first and last games of the second set, which he won 6-3.

 

By the decider, Sela had regained the confidence that has seen him go 8 wins to 3 losses since Wimbledon, and although Groth would recover one of them, Sela’s two breaks of serve allowed him to take the final set 6-4. “He has a very big serve,” said Sela of Groth, “But he’s serving-volleying so I have more target on the returns, so it was a little bit easier for me. He played some great games, some terrible games, and these terrible games that he played, I took my chance and broke him.”

 

It was a successful day for American men, with Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson getting through their first-round matches in straight sets.

 

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney covering Citi Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his Twitter updates from the tournament @TennisNewsTPN, follow him on his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days .

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

Serena fistpump yell

(February 18, 2014) DUBAI -Wild Card and top seed Serena Williams was forced to save set points in her 7-6 (8), 6-0 win over Ekaterina Makarova at the Dubai Tennis Championships on Tuesday.

This was Williams’ first match since she lost in the fourth round of Australian Open where she was dealing with a back injury which she has been recovering from ever since.

The world No. 1 admitted to being rusty.

“I felt a little rusty, but it was OK,” Williams said. “Body is fine. I just had to get my feet moving, but it was OK.”

Williams saved two set points against the 24th ranked Makarova in the first set tiebreak.

“Today was really difficult for me,” she continued. “I felt so rusty out there and a little frustrated – I’ve been practicing, but I was like, ‘Gosh, this isn’t what I practiced. But I was just really excited to get through that. I was really telling myself to stay positive, because I was making a lot of unforced errors that I don’t normally make, and my serve wasn’t popping the way it usually does.

“I’m happy for the win, but I’m going to have to play better if I want to do better here.”

Ivanovic in press 1

In an earlier match in the evening session Ana Ivanovic saved a match point and knocked out sixth seed Angelique Kerber 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (6).

It was difficult match for Ivanovic to close. She could not take advantage of three break point against Kerber to end the match in the 12th game of the final set. Also Ivanovic built a 5-1 lead in the tiebreak but Kerber came back to have a match point of her own at 6-5. Ivanovic win the next three points to win the contest.

“I’m just so happy to be through,” said the Serbian.

 

 

Related stories:

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

Simona Halep Retires with Injury in Dubai Opening Match

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

Results – Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Singles – Second Round
(1/WC) Serena Williams (USA) d. Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) 76(8) 60

Singles – First Round
(5) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) d. (Q) Maryna Zanevska (UKR) 64 63
Ana Ivanovic (SRB) d. (6) Angelique Kerber (GER) 36 63 76(6) (saved 1mp)
Alizé Cornet (FRA) d. (7) Simona Halep (ROU) 61 11 ret. (right ankle injury)
(8) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. Sabine Lisicki (GER) 26 63 63
Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) d. (Q) Karolina Pliskova (CZE) 61 75
(Q) Flavia Pennetta (ITA) d. Kaia Kanepi (EST) 75 64
(Q) Annika Beck (GER) d. Samantha Stosur (AUS) 16 61 64

Doubles – First Round
(1) Errani/Vinci (ITA/ITA) d. Pavlyuchenkova/Petrova (RUS/RUS) 64 64
Hlavackova/Safarova (CZE/CZE) d. (4) Black/Mirza (ZIM/IND) 76(5) 57 119 (Match TB)
Kudryavtseva/Rodionova (RUS/AUS) d. Jankovic/Kleybanova (SRB/RUS) 76(4) 62

Order Of Play – Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Centre Court (from 14.00hrs)
1. Flavia Pennetta vs. Agnieszka Radwanska
2. Ana Ivanovic vs. Venus Williams
3. Sorana Cirstea vs. Sara Errani (NB 19.00hrs)
4. Petra Kvitova vs. Carla Suárez Navarro

Court 1 (from 14.00hrs)
1. Caroline Wozniacki vs. Annika Beck
2. Lucie Safarova vs. Jelena Jankovic
3. Kirsten Flipkens vs. Alizé Cornet
4. Williams/Williams vs. Makarova/Vesnina

Court 3 (from 16.00hrs)
1. Peschke/Srebotnik vs. Pennetta/Stosur

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WTA Round-up; Pavlyuchenkova wins in Paris, Makarova in Pattaya City

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova photo courtesy of Taste of Tennis

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova photo courtesy of Taste of Tennis

(February 2, 2014 )Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova rallied to beat Sara Errani of Italy 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 to claim the Open GDF Suez in Paris, her sixth career WTA title.

In a topsy turvy match, Errani came back from a1-3 first set deficit winning seven games on the trot to take a 6-3, 2-0 lead. Pavlyuchenkova took the next seven games to even the match 3-6, 6-2, 1-0. The Russian broke the Italian in the eight game of the third set to take a 5-3 lead and served out the match.

Pavlyuchenkova’s title run saw her knock out three top 10 players in the same tournament for the first time in her WTA career – Maria Sharapova in the semifinals, Angelique Kerber of Germany in the quarterfinals and Errani in the final.

“When I lost seven games in a row I don’t really know what happened – maybe I was a little stressed because I was missing some shots and she was so solid,” said the champion. “Also, I was serving so well throughout the tournament and there were times today where I was struggling on serve. But I knew it was from my side, so if I just focused and kept fighting I could get it back.”

“I’m still very happy I could make the final,” said the losing finalist. “I had very good matches from the first round, from Knapp to Svitolina to Cornet, but I was a little bit more tired than normal in the match today because of yesterday. It was very tough to recover. But it was still a very good week for me.”

Ekaterina Makarova won her first title in in almost four years beating Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 7-6 (7) for the Pattaya Open crown on Sunday. The Russian ranked No. 28 won Eastbourne in 2010, her only other tournament victory.

“Today was a tough match,” said the Russian. “She was playing really good tennis and serving really well. I needed to be very focused on my return. I was a little bit nervous at the end, but I’m really happy to win my second title.”

Makarova was Pattaya City’s fourth Russian champion in the last six years.

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Venus Williams Falls in Australian Open First Round

Venus Williams

Venus Williams

(January 13, 2014) Seven-time major singles winner Venus Williams fell in the first round of the Australian Open to 22nd seed Ekaterina Makarova on Monday in Margaret Court Arena.

The 33-year-old veteran blew past Makarova in the first set going 3 for 3 in break point opportunities, hitting 15 winners.

The swing to Makarova came at 4-5 in the second set with Williams serving. The American double-faulted three straight times to give the Russian a break and the second set.

Venus Williams opened the third set jumping out to a 3-0 and then her serve began to fail her. Makarova won five consecutive games to take a 5-3 lead. She would close out the match.

Williams was 5- 14 in break point conversions during the match and hit 56 unforced errors.

“I think she played really well, and I think just my level was a little bit too up and down,” Williams said.

“I was hitting the ball well this week, and, you know, obviously it was disappointing to not win the first round.”

“I just really focused on the match and just tried to put the ball in the court and played aggressive,” she said.  “That’s pretty much what I tried to do.

“I totally do want to win tournaments.  It’s fun.  So going into tournaments, that’s always something I hope for.”

Venus said that she’s feeling better. She was diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome back in 2012. “The last 12 months I have had issues, but this year I definitely am looking forward to having a good run and feeling well.”

When asked if she is close to closing the gap between where Williams knows she can play and were she is now, she responded:

“I don’t know.  That’s difficult to say, because I do play really, you know, points really well, and then sometimes I don’t put them together as well.  I feel like I have to be patient with myself, because I really haven’t had a chance to play that consistently.

“So I think I just have to be patient and keep going and just wait for it to keep coming together more and more.”

Overall, Williams is 55-6 in major first round matches, falling in the first round of the Australian Open for just the second time.

Makarova upset Venus’ sister Serena Williams in the fourth round of the 2012 Australian Open.
Makarova will play American Irina Falconi in the second round.

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Li Na into First US Open Semifinal with win over Ekaterina Makarova

 

LiNaMontreal

(September 3, 2013) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – No. 5 seed Li Na became the first women’s semifinalist on Tuesday when she defeated 24th seed Ekaterina Makarova of Russia 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-2.

The Chinese player will play the winner of the match between No. 1Serena Williams and 18th and Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain in the evening session.

“Today’s first time I was feeling so nervous,” Li said.  “Start beginning of the match until end of the match.

“But I was happy because at least I was fight(ing) a lot on the court.  Even (though) didn’t play best of tennis, but still fight and still in the tournament.

“So I think even this why I think even better in the last round, you know, because at least I try to stay as strong as I can.”

This will be the first time that Li has made the US Open semifinals, the first time a Chinese player has gone that far.

“Of course it was exciting, because first time in semi in US Open.  I was really proud for myself, because is the last Grand Slam for end of the year, but I still fighting a lot on the court to try the best.”

Asked about the possibility of playing Serna Williams Nest she said: “At least I have two days off, so of course it’s tough, tough opponent.  But is good challenge to play against her, because I think we always have tough match even in Cincy.

“Yeah, I still have a chance.  But for me today, I don’t have to think about more tennis, you know, so just relax,” she said with a smile.

“Then maybe tomorrow maybe a little bit warming up and prepare for Friday.”

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Top Seeds Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams Ease into Wimbledon Round of 16

Novak Djokovic3

(June 29, 2013) Top seeds Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams showed their dominance on the Centre Court of Wimbledon on Saturday, each with straight set victories to advance to the round of 16.

Williams won 600th career match by demolishing 42-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-2, 6-0 under the lights of the closed roof of Centre Court.  Williams has become the 15th WTA player 600 career tour match wins. Date-Krumm is the oldest woman to make the third round of The Championships.

Williams was utterly dominant against her Japanese opponent hitting 28 winners. Williams hit 8 aces and broke serve 5 times.

“I honestly never thought I would play until my 30s, to be honest,” said the 31-year-old Williams.  “I don’t see my stopping any time soon.

“However, I don’t see myself playing into my 40s.  That’s why I have so much respect for Kimiko Date.  She’s playing so well and she’s so fit and she’s so good.”

SWilliams will play 23rd seed Sabine Lisicki in the fourth round on Monday.  Lisicki defeated 2011 U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur, the 14th seed 4-6, 6-2, 6-1.

No. 1 Novak Djokovic blew his opponent off court, beating Jeremy Chardy 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.

“It was a fantastic match,” said the world No. 1.  “I felt great from the start till the end.  I had that super focus, you know, and tried to, you know, be out there every point and not allow him to come back to the match or to have any chance.

“I saw the stats that I won 100% of first serves and I served over 80% of serves in in the whole match.  That was incredible for me.  I enjoyed every moment of it, especially at the end.  I managed to read his serve.  Everything went well.  So when you play that well, obviously you feel great, you feel confident.

“This kind of performance came in the right time for me.”

Djokovic was almost perfect as he committed only three unforced errors, winning 93% of first serve points.

Djokovic will play Tommy Haas in the fourth. The 35-year-old 13th seed Haas stopped Feliciano Lopez 4-6, 6-2, 7-5, 6-4.

“I’m looking at my next opponent, that I’m playing Djokovic again, which I’m really looking forward to,” Haas said.

No. 4 David Ferrer survived a five-set clash with Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-7 (6), 7-6 (2), 2-6, 6-1, 6-2.

No. 6 seed Li Na escaped Klara Zakopalova 4-6, 6-0, 8-6.  Zakopalova actually served for the match at 6-5 in the third set, only to see Li win the next three games.

“Is pretty tough match,” said Li.  “I mean, she has to serve for the match.

“But I was really happy I didn’t give up.  Still hang in there, yeah.  Fight like crazy, but still at least I will be in the second week of Wimbledon”

Bernard Tomic who made history back in 2011 by becoming the youngest quarterfinalist  at 18 since Boris Becker in 1985 defeated 9th seed Richard Gasquet 7-6 (7), 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (5) in the third round.

Tomic’s father and coach John is prohibited from attending The Championships and other tennis tournaments. John Tomic is accused of assaulting his son’s practice partner during the Madrid Open.

Despite his father’s absence from being courtside, Tomic is still getting advice from his father.

“When I leave the site, I’m with my dad.  He’s helping me at this tournament.  We’re doing the right things.

“This is why the results are showing off now.  I’m not doing it on my own.  My dad is still involved.  That’s why I’ve gotten to where I am in this tournament and the results have shown.”

Tomic will face Tomas Berdych in the round of 16. The former Wimbledon finalist defeated 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-5.

No. 8 seed Juan Martin Del Potro survived a fall on the court to beat Grega Zemlja 7-5, 7-6 (3), 6-0.

“I was going for the dropshot and I twist my ankle,” Del Potro said describing his fall.  “I did like hyperextended my knee, as well.  It was really painful.  I was a little scared at that moment.

“I finish the match very quick.  Now I start to feel something in my knee and my ankle, as well.  I will check with the doctor very soon.”

Del Potro will take on Andreas Seppi who defeated 12th seeded Kei Nishikori 3-6, 6-2, 6-7 (4), 6-1, 6-4.

 

No. 4 seed and 2012 Wimbledon finalist Agnieszka Radwanska, withstood  the challenge from promising American teenager Madison Keys to win 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.

Keys fired 15 aces in the loss. “I was kind of impressed with my serving today,” Keys said with a smile.

“I think (the momentum changed) in the third set when she broke me, that really just kind of, you know, changed the momentum up a little bit,” Keys commented.

“She was really playing great tennis,” Radwanska said.  “Especially she was serving unbelievable.  Even when I have some breakpoints and couple times couldn’t do anything.”

2011 champion Petra Kvitova came back from a break down in the final set to stop Ekaterina Makarova of Russia 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 in a resumption of a match halted by darkness on Friday with Makarova up 2-1 in the third set.

“It was another day for me,” Kvitova said.  “Yesterday when we start to play was quite close every game, and we were keeping our serves with 3‑All.  Then after suspended, I play so well, I came back to the court.  I was really on fire.”

“I should go for every point and play my game, Kvitova said.  “So I played quite aggressively.  That was the key.”

Laura Robson made the home folks happy for the second day in a row when the Briton came back from a set and a break down to erase Marina Erakovic of New Zealand 1-6, 7-5, 6-3. Robson broke Erakovic’s serve as the New Zealander was serving for the match in the second set.

A controversial call came in the second set when Robson challenged a call which was called out and overturned. The point was replayed and Erakovic double faulted to give Robson the set 7-5.

Robson explained the turnaround to press: “In the beginning she was just playing really, really well.  And, you know, her serve was firing, so I wasn’t getting a chance on her service games.

“Then, you know, wasn’t quite, uhm, hitting the ball well enough in my service games as well.  So she was just on top of things.

Y”eah, that’s the way it goes sometimes.  But you just have to hang in and wait for them to start making a few errors.”

With the win Robson becomes the first British woman since 1991 to reach the fourth round at Wimbledon. She will also be the first woman to reach the WTA top 30 since 1987.

“It’s now my second time in the second week of a Slam, so that’s pretty cool. Except at the U.S. Open, I played on the Sunday, so it didn’t quite feel like a `second week,’” Robson said to media, “and my brother said it didn’t count.”

Sloane Stephens the 17th seed completed a darkness-delayed match by stopping 196th ranked qualifier Petra Cetkovska 7-6 (3), 0-6, 6-4.

It’s been good fortnight for the over-30 set at Wimbledon. Nine players 30-and-over have reached the round of 16 at 2013 Wimbledon -Tommy Haas, Jurgen Melzer, David Ferrer, Lukasz Kubot,  Mikhail Youzhny, Serena Williams, Li Na, Flavia Pennetta, and Roberta Vinci. It’s a record for the most combined 30-somethings into the fourth round at Wimbledon in the Open Era, equaling the feat also done in1975.

On Monday both the men and women will play in the round of 16, here are the match-ups:

Men

Novak Djokovic vs. Tommy Haas

Bernard Tomic vs. Tomas Berdych

David Ferrer vs. Ivan Dodig

Andreas Seppi  vs. Juan Martin Del Potro

Lukasz Kubot vs. Adrin Mannarino

Fernando Verdasco vs. Kenny De Schepper

Mikhail Youzhny vs. Andy Murray

 

Women

Serena Williams vs. Sabine Lisicki

Laura Robson vs. Kaia Kanepi

Agnieszka Radwanska vs.  Tsvetana Pironkova

Roberta Vinci vs Li Na

Sloane Stephens vs. Monica Puig

Marion Bartoli vs. Karin Knapp

Petra Kvitova vs. Carla Suarez Navarro

Kirsten Filpkens vs. Flavia Pennetta

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Thursday’s Roundup at Eastbourne

By Ros Satar

(June 20, 2013) EASTBOURNE, England – The playing conditions on Thursday started in the murk of a mist coming in off the sea, a complete contrast to the hot sunny conditions the day before.

 

No sooner had the first players made their way out and finished knocking up, a persistent bout of rain saw play suspended for over an hour.

 

When play did resume, it was in a backdrop of mist or, as we learned, a sea-fret [a wet mist or haze coming inland from the sea].

 

Either way, visibility was poor for the first set or so, causing issues in the early matches.

feliciano-lopez-tennis-panorama-300x450

Feliciano Lopez def. Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 7-6(6)

Verdasco had not been happy about the restart even before the match started, complaining to ATP tour supervisor Tom Barnes.

 

The conditions better suited Lopez, who dialed into his serve well today, taking advantage of the muggier conditions to put his slice to effective use.

 

Verdasco was less than pleased with the decisions made after the match, claiming: “(If) I was Rafael Nadal, I can say, I don’t play, and I’m pretty sure that the ATP will say, Okay, we wait till the court is good.

 

“But because I’m not Nadal or Federer or any of these guys, I need to do what the ATP wants, because if I said, I go, the tournament will not say, we wait.

 

“Then I will get a fine from the ATP because I didn’t want to play in the bad conditions.”

 

Verdasco went on to describe the close friendship that he shares with Lopez, and how he was able to joke about hating him (not to mention a description that would send the elderly of Eastbourne to an early grave).

 

Lopez agreed that conditions today had been difficult with the humidity but took Verdasco’s comments at the end in good humor.

 

Lopez will face Ivan Dodig in the semifinals.

 

Jamie Hampton def. Lucie Safarova 3-6, 7-6(1), 6-4

Another player who had to contend with the unusual weather was Jamie Hampton who took a couple of tumbles on her way to winning a taut three-setter against Safarova.

 

The haze over Court 1 was quite considerable when they resumed play, as Hampton explained.

 

“We were basically playing in a cloud.  There was so much moisture in the air, and the court was slick so I was having a hard time with my footing and my movements.”

 

Hampton will become the No. 3 American on Monday when the new rankings come out, behind Serena Williams and Sloane Stephens.

 

Elena Vesnina

Elena Vesnina

Elena Vesnina def. Li Na 7-6(4), 6-3

Another top seed was heading up to SW19 early, as Li Na headed out of Eastbourne, care of Vesnina.

 

By her own admission, the match had been a little in and out for her: “Sometimes I can play well, but sometimes I think I lose concentration on the court.

 

“Of course I would like to do more matches [and] still looking forward for Wimbledon.”

Caroline Wozniacki

Caroline Wozniacki def. Ekaterina Makarova 4-6, 6-0, 6-3

Caroline Wozniacki made sure a lines-judge felt her wrath after being called on a foot fault in the second set.

 

First arguing with the umpire, then demonstrating to the judge in question how her heel bone was connected to the anklebone, or at the very least explaining the rules.

 

Finally the umpire had to intervene and redirect Wozniacki’s focus back to playing the match.

 

Whatever the issue was, it irked here enough to rip through the second set without dropping a game, leaving Makarova looking stunned at the changeover before losing the deciding the set.

 

Wozniacki was unrepentant in her press conference about perhaps the lines judge wanting to feel “important”:

 

“I don’t see a reason other than that why you wanted to call a foot fault on a second serve that isn’t a foot fault.”

 

Wozniacki is the sole surviving seed, and faces Jamie Hampton in the semi final.

GilliesSimonTasteofTennis

Gilles Simon def. Bernard Tomic 7-6(8), 6-3

The last match of the day saw France’s Gilles Simon advance to the semifinals over Bernard Tomic.

 

Tomic seemed to have lost heart after losing a tight tie-break, down 1-4 after a brief rain shower but managed to regroup a little.

 

Rounding out the singles action, Yanina Wickmayer knocked out the sixth seed Maria Kirilenko 6-2, 1-6, 7-5.

 

Ros Satar is a British Journalist – an IT journalist by day, and a sports journalist in all the gaps in between. She’s covering the AEGON International this week as media for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her tournament updates on twitter @TennisNewsTPN. She is the co-founder of Britwatch Sports (britwatchsports.com). Follow her personal twitter at @rfsatar.

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Sharapova Continues Stunning Form to Reach Semifinals in Melbourne

 

SharapovaseoC

By Jaclyn Stacey

(January 22, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – Maria Sharapova stormed into the semifinals of the Australian Open after crushing fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova 6-2, 6-2 in 66 minutes.

 

Sharapova didn’t manage any bageled sets in the match but was still very impressive and completely dominated her opponent. She has dropped just 9 games for the duration of the tournament.

 

“I thought today was going to be a really good test. She’s beaten quality players over the course of last week, and I know that she’s capable of playing really good, you know, with deep hitting. Also a lefty, which is a bit tricky. So, yeah, I thought I handled that pretty good and was able to keep my focus all the way through the match.”

 

Sharapova hit 22 winners and won 83% of her first serves in play on her way to the quick victory.

 

She will meet Li Na in the semifinals and leads their head-to-head 8-4.

 

“Yeah, I mean, I’ve beaten her the last few times that we’ve played, but they’ve always been really good matches, really tough matches. I certainly expect it in the next one.”

 

“She’s had a great start to the year and playing really well. She was, you know, the most-improved player towards the end of last year as well, so that will be hopefully a high-quality semi.”

 

Sharapova has yet to be troubled during the tournament and was asked if it worries her knowing she hasn’t had to surpass any big challenges going into the semifinal.

 

“Well, going into the match, my goal is not really to be tested. I don’t know how else to put it. If I do come into a situation where I feel like I have to pull through or I’m not playing my best tennis or she’s up and I have to find a way to win, then that’s what you have on that given day.”

 

“Do I want to be in that position? Absolutely not.”

 

Jaclyn Stacey is a Melbourne based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open tournament as media for Tennis Panorama News.  Follow her Australian Open updates on @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal twitter @JackattackAU.

 

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Makarova and Soares win US Open Mixed Doubles Title

 

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova and Brazil’s Bruno Soares won the U.S. Open mixed doubles title by defeating fourth-seeded Kveta Peschke of the Czech Republic and Marcin Matkowski of Poland 6-7,  6-1, 12-10 on Thursday.

Makarova and Soares decided to play the tournament at the last minute.

 

Here is there post-match interview:

An interview with: EKATERINA MAKAROVA and BRUNO SOARES

Thursday, September 6, 2012

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

 

Q.  How you both are feeling right now?

BRUNO SOARES:  I’m very, very happy.  Katia?

EKATERINA MAKAROVA:   Me, too.  I have,  I don’t know, have something different feeling.  (Laughter.)

BRUNO SOARES:  Best feeling.  It’s good.

 

Q.  Can you tell us a little bit more about how you two ended up actually been playing together at the tournament this time?

BRUNO SOARES:  We played twice, couple times.  We know each other.  I was actually sad to play with Gajdosova, Australian girl, that I have been playing with her.  Katia actually asked me and I was sad.  I told her that unfortunately I couldn’t do it and she decide not to play.  But couple minutes before the sign‑in, I thought I was out with Gajdosova, and I started like being for Katia, because with her I would be in.  Five minutes to go, I’m here in the referee’s office and I find out Katia is practicing in the park.  So I had to run ‑‑ actually, my coach did that.  He went running all the way over there and talked to her and called me like 30 seconds to go and said, You can sign.  So very last minute, 11:59, I signed us in.  I guess it work out.

 

Q.  You seemed much more relaxed on court than Bruno.  The end of the first set seemed a little bit nervous, and also at the match tiebreak.  You hold things much better than him.  Did you feel that?

BRUNO SOARES:  The whole tournament.

EKATERINA MAKAROVA:  Actually, no, I didn’t feel that.  I think I was more nervous than Bruno in this match, for sure.  The tiebreak first set and the final tiebreak, I don’t know, maybe I seem like too good, but inside I was really nervous.  Like when it was 8‑4 for sure I started to be tight.

 

Q.  Did you expect that you can win such hard player as won Raymond who had brothers Bryan?

BRUNO SOARES:  Yeah, we knew we were pretty good team.  When we saw the draw, they made very tough for us.  We didn’t know really what to expect against Mike and Lisa Raymond.  Katia played them at Wimbledon.  It wasn’t that good, but it was grass.  It was different surface.  We just came to play, tried to do our best.  After the first match we played really good, and we talked to each other and said, If we keep playing like this, for sure we’re going to have a chance to win the title.  That’s what happened.  We had an amazing second round, and after that we knew it was just a matter of keep playing good.  We knew we were gonna have a chance.

 

Q.  Bruno, what’s her best shots, the best things she has on court?

BRUNO SOARES:  Well, I think, I mean, overall she’s very solid.  She serves well; she’s lefty; she’s got good hands; good volleys.  But in mixed, one thing that really helps us is because she returns really well.  So I think we managed to keep putting pressure even when the guy is serving.  That’s very important in mixed.  I mean, give us more room to work on our serve because we don’t serve that big.  I’m not a huge server, so I have to work a lot on my serve, as well, and Katia, too.  So when we’re returning good I think it adds a lot to our service game.  That’s for me the best thing because she keep putting pressure, I move forward the net, and that works well for both of us.

 

Q.  Same question for you, too.

BRUNO SOARES:  What do I do good?

EKATERINA MAKAROVA:  Volleys, it’s definitely volleys.  Because I just returning, and then Bruno did everything else, like close all the court.  (Laughter.)  So I think in mixed for sure, like moving when the guy is moving really good and volleys.  I’m like I’m just standing there on the baseline.  (Laughter.)

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‘Oz and Ends’ – Dead Spots and Macaroni

Dead spot on Hisense

Lendl on ESPN

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=espn:7492195

If Ivan Lendl s not on twitter yet, someone needs to convince him. He’d be funny.

 

Don’t call her Macaroni

 Serena Williams conqueror Ekaterina Makarova in her post-match news conference.

Q.  Does your last name mean anything?  Sounds a little bit like macaroni in Italian.

EKATERINA MAKAROVA:  I know, but I don’t like it.  When sometimes you are playing, the crowd, they start, Macarena or Macaroni, I don’t like it really, so…

 

Q.  You don’t like the macaroni or…

EKATERINA MAKAROVA:  No, the Italian food, I really like it (smiling).  I don’t like how they call sometimes.  Because in Russia, it’s really popular family name.  The international people, they didn’t understand.  That’s okay.  I’m used to it.

 

Q.  You look a little bit like Gwyneth Paltrow.  Do you know her?

EKATERINA MAKAROVA:  I know her, but I don’t think that we look similar.  You like strange questions (laughter).

 

Dating a golfer

Q.  (Question off mic.)

ANA IVANOVIC:  We just, you know, just support each other and try to be there for each other as much as we can.

 

Q.  You ever talk to Caroline about dating a golfer?

ANA IVANOVIC:  Well, I don’t think either of us plays really well.  You mean playing golf or…

 

Q.  No, dating a golfer.

ANA IVANOVIC:  No, she did ask me like what kind of shoes should I take to walk on the course.  Just the most comfortable ones.

 

Q.  Kukushkin is coached by his wife.  If Kim was helping you this week, what do you think she’d be telling you?

ANDY MURRAY:  I mean, she’s been around tennis pretty much her whole life, so she at least has an understanding of it.  To be honest, I have very few conversations with her about tennis.  To be honest, it’s not really necessary.  You just get the, Well done, or, Bad luck.  That’s pretty much it.

I’m sure she would be okay.  She might be better than most because her dad’s been a coach for a long time, so she understands a little bit.

 

 

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