2014/10/23

Venus Williams Dominates in First Round Victory in Dubai

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(February 17, 2014) DUBAI – Wild Card entry and two-time former champion Venus Williams was off to a winning start at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships besting Elena Vesnina 6-3, 6-2 hitting 10 aces along the way.

“The last couple matches I played against her, at Wimbledon she played so well and it wasn’t my day, and Cincy as well – I had some chances there but she was clearly more on her game,” Williams said after the win.

“These days I’m a little more on mine, so I was glad to get a win.”

Venus Williams dubai

“I definitely don’t take for granted any win anymore,” said Williams. “Not that I used to. But now it’s even more special, every win. My serve keeps improving pretty much every tournament. That always helps me.

“I think the more matches I’ll play, the better I will feel. You know, in moments where I’m controlling the match, the better I will feel in moments where things are close.”

The 2009 and 2010 champion’s win will set up a second round meeting with the winner of sixth seed Angelique Kerber and former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic.

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

Results – Monday, February 17, 2014
Singles – First Round
Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP) d. (WC) Nadia Petrova (RUS) 63 62
Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) d. Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) 64 67(3) 64
Sorana Cirstea (ROU) d. Roberta Vinci (ITA) 64 63
Lucie Safarova (CZE) d. Sloane Stephens (USA) 63 75
(WC) Venus Williams (USA) d. Elena Vesnina (RUS) 63 62

Doubles – First Round
Kops-Jones/Spears (USA/USA) d. Chan/Huber (TPE/USA) 63 76(4)
Groenefeld/Rosolska (GER/POL) d. Dushevina/Parra Santonja (RUS/ESP) 64 63
Raymond/Zhang (USA/CHN) d. (WC) Flipkens/Kvitova (BEL/CZE) 06 64 107 (Match TB)

Singles Qualifying – Final Round
Annika Beck (GER) d. (1) Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) 61 64
(3) Flavia Pennetta (ITA) d. (5) Yvonne Meusburger (AUT) 61 63
Karolina Pliskova (CZE) d. Camila Giorgi (ITA) 75 62
Maryna Zanevska (UKR) d. Mona Barthel (GER) 76(8) 64

Order Of Play – Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Centre Court (from 14.00hrs)
1. Alizé Cornet vs. Simona Halep
2. Caroline Wozniacki vs. Sabine Lisicki
3. Angelique Kerber vs. Ana Ivanovic (NB 19.00hrs)
4. Serena Williams vs. Ekaterina Makarova

Court 1 (from 14.00hrs)
1. Maryna Zanevska vs. Jelena Jankovic
2. Samantha Stosur vs. Annika Beck
3. Kaia Kanepi vs. Flavia Pennetta
4. Kirsten Flipkens vs. Karolina Pliskova

Court 3 (from 14.00hrs)
1. Hlavackova/Safarova vs. Black/Mirza
2. Errani/Vinci vs. Pavlyuchenkova/Petrova (NB 16.00hrs)
3. Jankovic/Kleybanova vs. Kudryavtseva/Rodionova

 

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Stosur and Ivanovic Among Field for WTA Tournament of Champions in Bulgaria

(October 22, 2013) SOFIA, BULGARIA – Four of the world’s Top 20 ranked women, including former world No.1 and 2008 Roland Garros champion Ana Ivanovic and 2011 US Open winner Samantha Stosur will be among the eight-player field competing at the $750,000 Garanti Koza WTA Tournament of Champions, to be staged in Bulgaria’s capital city from October 29–November 3, 2013. This marks the second year of three that Sofia will host the annual season-ending championships for the WTA’s International tournaments.

 

Serbian star Ivanovic, a two-time champion of the event when it was held in Bali, was awarded a wildcard into this year’s field. For her part Australian Stosur is among the six highest ranked winners of International Series tournament winners eligible to compete in Sofia, along with Simona Halep of Romania, Russians Maria Kirilenko, Elena Vesnina and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, and Alizé Cornet of France. Bulgaria’s own Tsvetana Pironkova has again received a wildcard to compete in front of her home fans, and will be looking to produce another strong showing following her semifinal run last year. Initially the players will be split into two groups of four for round robin competition, with each group’s top two players advancing to the semifinals.

 

“I would like to congratulate this wonderful group of players on their respective successes in 2013 as they eagerly await the start of the Garanti Koza WTA Tournament of Champions,” said Stacey Allaster, WTA Chairman and CEO. “Between them they have won 13 WTA singles titles this year and tennis fans in Sofia are in for a week of incredible tennis as our very special 40 Love season draws to a close.”

 

This year’s ‘Road to Sofia’ comprised 30 WTA International events held on six continents. The 2012 WTA Tournament of Champions attracted more than 30,000 fans over six days of competition, with host broadcaster BNT reporting average daily viewership of nearly 2.8 million households in a country with a population of 7.4 million. Matches were broadcast to more than 25 countries and Russia’s Nadia Petrova was crowned champion, defeating Caroline Wozniacki in the final. Turkish construction company Garanti Koza was recently announced as the event’s new title sponsor.

 

Garanti Koza WTA Tournament of Champions – Sofia 2013 Participants:

 

Simona Halep, Romania, No.14 

Halep is one of the WTA’s 2013 breakthrough stars, winning five titles from all five finals played, having previously been a runner-up on three occasions. Only Serena Williams has won more singles titles this year (10) and Halep holds the distinction of being the only player to win events on all three major playing surfaces (hard, clay, grass). Her debut win came at the International-level Nürnberger Versicherungscup in Germany and this was followed by victories at the Topshelf Open (‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands) the following week and the Hungarian Grand Prix (Budapest). She then captured her first Premier-level title at the New Haven Open at Yale (d. Kvitova in final) and arrives in Sofia having won her second event at that level, last week’s Kremlin Cup (d. Stosur in final). Her win in Moscow saw the 22-year-old rise to a new career-high ranking of No.14, up from No.47 at the start of the season. She is making her Tournament of Champions debut.

Ana Ivanovic, Serbia, No.16

Ivanovic is making her third WTA Tournament of Champions appearance, having won the event in back-to-back years when it was held in Bali (2010-11). The winner of 11 singles titles to date, she has reached three Grand Slam finals so far in her career, famously winning 2008 Roland Garros and rising to No.1 in the world rankings. More recently the 25-year-old Serb was runner-up to Angelique Kerber at the Generali Ladies Linz, while other 2013 season highlights have included semifinal showings at the Mutua Madrid Open and the Southern California Open (Carlsbad); she also posted strong runs to the round of 16 at three of the four Grand Slam tournaments – the Australian Open, Roland Garros and the US Open.

Maria Kirilenko, Russia, No.18

After a memorable 2012 that saw her collect the doubles bronze medal at the London Olympics as well as win the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships (both with fellow Russian Petrova), Kirilenko will remember 2013 as the year she made her singles Top 10 debut following a run to the quarterfinals at Roland Garros. A wildcard at Sofia last year, the 26-year-old booked her return visit with an early-season title – the sixth of her career, and first in five years – at the PTT Pattaya Open in Thailand, where she defeated Sabine Lisicki in a hard-fought final. Her other notable results this year have included semifinal finishes at the BNP Paribas Open (Indian Wells) and the Monterrey Open and a run to the round of 16 at the Australian Open.

Samantha Stosur, Australia, No.19

Stosur qualified for Sofia by winning the HP Open in Osaka, Japan, her second title of the season after victory at the Southern California Open (Carlsbad) where she overcame Victoria Azarenka in the final.  Indeed, this year marks the first time in her career the 28-year-old Australian has won two singles titles in a season and she went close to capturing a third just last week at the Kremlin Cup, where Halep ended her nine-match winning streak in the final. Stosur’s biggest title to date is of course the 2011 US Open, where she defeated Serena Williams in the final to become the first Australian woman to win a major since Evonne Goolagong at Wimbledon in 1980. In addition to her singles successes Stosur is also a former world No.1 and two-time Grand Slam champion in doubles, winning her 24th career title last week in Moscow with Svetlana Kuznetsova. She competed at the inaugural staging of the Tournament of Champions in Bali in 2009, going 1-1 in round robin play.

Elena Vesnina, Russia, No.25

Vesnina has enjoyed a career season in 2013, achieving a string of breakthroughs at the age of 27.  After finishing runner-up in six WTA finals she finally won her first title at January’s Moorilla Hobart International, which made her an early contender on the Road to Sofia. More success was to come when she won her first Premier-level title at the Aegon International (Eastbourne) where she defeated the likes of Ivanovic and Li Na en route. Now 2-6 in singles finals, Vesnina has continued to enjoy success in doubles, capturing her first Grand Slam title at Roland Garros with Ekaterina Makarova. The Russian duo was also victorious at Indian Wells and qualified for the four-team TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships in Istanbul, where Vesnina will compete before arriving in Sofia.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Russia, No.26

Pavlyuchenkova is making her second appearance at the Tournament of Champions, having competed in Bali in 2010. Still just 22, the former top-ranked junior reached four singles finals in 2013, winning her fourth career title at the Monterrey Open (an event she has now won in three of the past four years) and fifth at the Portugal Open in Oeiras. At January’s Brisbane International it took Serena Williams to stop Pavlyuchenkova in the final and last month at the KDB Korea Open in Seoul she was edged for the winner’s trophy by Agnieszka Radwanska in three sets. She arrives in Sofia in good indoor form having reached the semifinals at her home event, the Kremlin Cup.

Alizé Cornet, France, No.27

Having made the trip to Sofia in 2012 as second alternate – she did not get to play a match – Cornet put herself in the running again this year by winning on home soil at the Internationaux de Strasbourg in May. All three of the 23-year-old Frenchwoman’s WTA singles titles have now been won on red clay, but it is consistent results on all surfaces this year, including two semifinals, two quarterfinals and solid third round runs at Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open (where she pushed Azarenka to three sets) that have seen the former world No.11 firmly re-establish herself in the Top 30.

Tsvetana Pironkova, Bulgaria, No.118

Pironkova, the first Bulgarian to reach the semifinals at Wimbledon (2010) and also a quarterfinalist at the All England Club in 2011, will be bidding for her first WTA title in Sofia. In 2013 the 26-year-old was again at her best on Wimbledon’s lawns, where she reached the fourth round before falling to Radwanska in three sets. Other season highlights for the native of Plovdiv, Bulgaria have included quarterfinal efforts at the Moorilla Hobart International and the Topshelf Open in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Last year she advanced to the semis in Sofia before falling to Wozniacki.

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Vesnina Claims Second Title of 2013 in Eastbourne

Elena Vesnina

By Ros Satar

(June 22, 2013) EASTBOURNE, England –

Elena Vesnina def. Jamie Hampton 6-2, 6-1

Elena Vesnina followed up her maiden WTA title in Hobart with a convincing win over Jamie Hampton.

Playing in extremely blustery conditions, Vesnina seemed to handle the conditions better when it counted.

The crowd was treated to some epic games, and in truth the score line feels a little harsh for the American qualifier, who was playing her eighth match and had played through almost every type of weather conceivable.

Vesnina did have to contend with a warning for time violation as the wind played havoc first with her ball-toss and then with her outfit.

The first break, when it came, was more down to a rash of errors from Hampton, but she then failed to take three break point opportunities to break straight back.

Her concentration and confidence seemed to take a dive as another string of errors handed Vesnina the first set.

Despite calling for her coach before the second set, Hampton struggled to hold her serve, saving two break points and brought her coach out again before finally getting a game on the board.

But it really was one-way traffic after that point, as Vesnina was able to play the bigger points better.

There is a lot for Hampton to take from this week, playing matches in some really adverse conditions, including a haze so heavy it was hard to see the scoreboard at the other end of the court.

“I have given myself like a two hour time limit to sulk, basically the journey up to Wimbledon, maybe have a little chocolate (smiling) and then move on and get on with Wimbledon, start thinking about the match a little bit,” she said before going on to praise her opponent.

“I was surprised honestly how she was even hitting the ball in the court, and on top of that she was playing very good tennis. She was very deserving of the title today.”

Hampton moves up from 41 to 25 in the world rankings on Monday and will be the No. 3 American behind Sloane Stephens and Serena Williams.

Hampton will face Sloane Stephens in the first round of Wimbledon – perhaps a little unfortunate as both had good runs at the French Open.

Before the start of this year, Vesnina was 0-6 in both singles and doubles finals.

Now she has two tour titles, and a Grand Slam title, winning the doubles with Ekaterina Makarova at Roland Garros.

Battling similar conditions to her maiden title in Hobart, she described the experience after the match.

“At the beginning of the match, I was like, Oh, my God, I just need to stay in the match, just try to play every single point. Don’t think about wind and just fight.

“It was just about fighting spirit.

“If you’re able to handle this, if you’re able to play under the pressure with this kind of wind, you will do well.”

Winning a grand slam title at Roland Garros has given Vesnina a degree of confidence, but it could have also been destiny.

“Yevgeny Kafelnikov, he’s from Sochi, he’s from my home city, and when he won Roland Garros many years ago I was coached by his dad.

“I came to his house, and his dad showed me the trophy.
“He told me that it’s going to be your first Grand Slam title, believe me.

“And it happened.”

Not that boost of confidence has gone to her head.

“Everybody is joking right now about me, Oh, like you’re a Grand Slam, you can say whatever you want, like you can do whatever you want.

“It gave me that confidence, gave myself belief even more.
“But I didn’t change as a person. I’m same.”

Vesnina has been as far as the Round of 16 at Wimbledon but in recent years has struggled to get past the first two rounds.

She will face Andrea Hlavackova in the first round, and Wimbledon starts on Monday, June 24th.

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

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Hampton in the Hunt for Maiden Title in Eastbourne

By Ros Satar

(June 21, 2013) EASTBOURNE, England –

Jamie Hampton def. Caroline Wozniacki 6-7(8), 7-5, 6-3
Qualifier, Jamie Hampton is hunting for her maiden WTA tour title, after scoring another good win in the Aegon International, Eastbourne.

Hampton started strongly, taking the initiative early, but Wozniacki dragged the first set into a tiebreak.

Momentum again looked to be with the American, but set points went begging partly down to two outlandishly missed volleys.

Suddenly the Dane was in the driver’s seat, rounding out the first set 10-8 in the tiebreak.

It was all looking like a formality, as Wozniacki’s experience seemed to serve her better in the blustery conditions.

But Hampton fought back to break as Wozniacki was serving for the match at 5-4.

Hampton had her tail up and broke again to take the match into a decider.

Wozniacki broke early in the third set, only to lose the advantage immediately, and in a match that had seen swings of momentum throughout, it was Hampton who nudged ahead.

Serving for the match at 5-3, Wozniacki saved one match point, but there were no mistakes on the second as Hampton put a volley slap bang in the corner of the court.

Wozniacki could only wryly smile as the American qualifier reaches her first tour final.

It seemed less like a sleepy seaside town and more like playing in the middle of a tornado at times.

Hampton joked about the conditions in her post match press conference:
“Conditions are a little rougher than everywhere else, but you guys make up for it with the nice courts.”

Although mindful that she has a shot at her maiden title tomorrow, Hampton could not resist a peek at the Wimbledon draw, where she will face fellow American Sloane Stephens.

“It’s a bit of a bummer that two Americans have to play first round considering we both had great French Opens, but I’m going to treat it just like every other match.”

 

Elena Vesnina def. Yanina Wickmayer 6-2, 6-0
Hampton will face Russia’s Elena Vesnina, who overcame Yanina Wickmayer rather easily than she anticipated.

Wickmayer handed over two breaks of serve, and called down her coach after losing the first set.

However, it seemed to do her no good at all as she did not register another game for the rest of the match.

“I was expecting it’s going to be very long and difficult match for both of us.
“I think after first set she kind of lose her concentration, and it looks like she didn’t know what to do,” said Vesnina after the match.

Looking ahead to tomorrow’s final, the Russian had been playing some attention to Hampton’s progress through the tournament this week.

“It’s going to be very interesting match, I think. Jamie is a very talented player. It’s her first final.

“I’m pretty sure she’s very excited about that.”

Wickmayer had taken out two top ten players this week, first dispatching Petra Kvitova and then Maria Kirilenko, both in three-setters.

But there was none of that fight left in her today, leaving Vesnina looking to follow up her own maiden title from Hobart this year.

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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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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Vesnina Stuns Ivanovic in Eastbourne

Elena Vesnina

Elena Vesnina

By Ros Satar

 

(June 17, 2013) EASTBOURNE, England –

 

Elena Vesnina def. Ana Ivanovic 2-6, 6-4, 6-3

Elena Vesnina overcame the seventh seed Ana Ivanovic in the first match on Centre Court as the women had to regroup and restart when rain halted the beginning of their match.

 

Ivanovic certainly started well, racing to the first set, but soon after she started to struggle with key aspects of her game – the ball toss and also crucially her first serve deserted her long enough to give Vesnina an all important break.

 

The loss of the second set seemed to deflate the Serb, as she handed over a break at the start of the deciding set on a double fault.

 

The wind was occasionally gusting, sometimes perhaps guiding the odd ball on its way out, and it certainly seemed for a while that the South Stand side was the problem side for both.

 

For a while it looked like Vesnina would defeat herself after delivering a shocker of a game with three double-faults and a lot of frazzled yelling.

 

Somehow, the Russian regrouped, edging ahead before a long, tortuous Ivanovic service game where even the umpire lost where she was.

 

Three match points later – Ivanovic was left to consider what she would need to do ahead of the start of Wimbledon next week.

 

“I think on grass it’s very hard to get rhythm,” she said.

“It’s something that I want to build towards and now hopefully have another few good days of practice before Wimbledon.”

 

 

Heather Watson

Heather Watson

Heather Watson def. Varvara Lepchenko 6-3, 6-4

 

British No. 2 Heather Watson delivered some home cheer in the sunshine, defeating Varvara Lepchenko 6-3, 6-4.

 

Watson gave the crowd a few reasons to utter a collective sigh while serving out the match, having to claw her way back to match point after being a break point down.

 

It just needed the one match point to set Heather on her way in this tournament, putting aside the disappointment of an early exit at the French Open, and only a couple of rounds in Birmingham.

 

“I felt very motivated this week,” she said.

“I was mentally up for this match.”

 

There is still some room, she feels, for improvement saying that she had felt she had not made a lot of returns and could have a higher first serve percentage.

 

Watson, who had to take time out to recover from glandular fever, confessed to sometimes still feeling a little tired, but is looking forward to the grass season.

 

“People don’t think grass matches my game,” she said, “but it’s one of my favourite surfaces.”

 

Kyle Edmund def. Kenny De Schepper 6-4, 6-4

 

There was more British celebration when the junior sensation from Queens, Kyle Edmund, won his first round match against big serving qualifier Kenny De Schepper.

 

There are 360 places between him and his opponent today and he was very happy with his win.

 

“It’s nice to be able to know that I can play at that level,” he said, “but my goal is to play at that level and also have a ranking out of it.”

 

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.

AEGONInternational

AEGON INTERNATIONAL
Eastbourne, England
June 17-22, 2013
Grass/Outdoors

Results – Monday, June 17, 2013
WTA Singles – First Round
(6) Maria Kirilenko (RUS) d. Bojana Jovanovski (SRB) 76(5) 61
Elena Vesnina (RUS) d. (7) Ana Ivanovic (SRB) 26 64 63
Marion Bartoli (FRA) d. Flavia Pennetta (ITA) 63 62
Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) d. Christina McHale (USA) 63 64
Heather Watson (GBR) d. Varvara Lepchenko (USA) 63 64

WTA Doubles – First Round
(1) Petrova/Srebotnik (RUS/SLO) d. Raymond/Robson (USA/GBR) 46 64 105 (Match TB)
Hsieh/Lucic-Baroni (TPE/CRO) d. (WC) Kvitova/Wickmayer (CZE/BEL) 61 64
Niculescu/Zakopalova (ROU/CZE) d. Babos/Minella (HUN/LUX) 64 63

WTA Singles Qualifying – Final Round
(1) Jamie Hampton (USA) d. Gabriela Dabrowski (CAN) 62 61
Yulia Beygelzimer (UKR) d. (3) Jana Cepelova (SVK) 61 76(4)
Kristyna Pliskova (CZE) d. (7) Karolina Pliskova (CZE) 76(5) 36 63
Olga Puchkova (RUS) d. Melanie Oudin (USA) 75 36 64

ATP Singles – First Round
F Verdasco (ESP) d [6] A Dolgopolov (UKR) 16 63 62
[7] A Seppi (ITA) d [Q] G Rufin (FRA) 36 63 64
[8] F Fognini (ITA) d G Zemlja (SLO) 67(6) 62 64
A Ramos (ESP) d [Q] J Blake (USA) 62 64
[Q] R Harrison (USA) d P Mathieu (FRA) 64 26 76(4)
[WC] K Edmund (GBR) d [Q] K De Schepper (FRA) 64 64

ATP Doubles – First Round

M Matkowski (POL) / F Nielsen (DEN) d [2] R Lindstedt (SWE) / D Nestor (CAN) 62 63
[3] L Paes (IND) / R Stepanek (CZE) d I Dodig (CRO) / M Melo (BRA) 57 76(5) 10-6
M Klizan (SVK) / M Matosevic (AUS) d D Istomin (UZB) / J Monaco (ARG) 36 76(6) 10-2
P Hanley (AUS) / K Skupski (GBR) d T Bednarek (POL) / P Marx (GER) 26 64 10-8    


Order Of Play – Tuesday, June 18, 2013
CENTRE COURT start 11:00 am
B Tomic (AUS) vs [WC] J Ward (GBR) – ATP
Not Before 1:00 PM
A Cornet (FRA) vs [2] [WC] N Li (CHN) – WTA
[Q] Y Beygelzimer (UKR) vs L Robson (GBR) – WTA
Not Before 4:00 PM
[5] K Anderson (RSA) vs J Benneteau (FRA) – ATP
[WC] J Delgado (GBR) / J Ward (GBR) vs [4] C Fleming (GBR) / J Marray (GBR) – ATP

COURT 1 start 11:00 am
T Paszek (AUT) vs [5] C Wozniacki (DEN) – WTA
J Nieminen (FIN) vs F Lopez (ESP) – ATP
V Troicki (SRB) vs M Klizan (SVK) – ATP
[1] A Radwanska (POL) vs [Q] J Hampton (USA) – WTA

COURT 2 start 11:00 am
[3] A Kerber (GER) vs S Cirstea (ROU) – WTA
M Niculescu (ROU) vs [4] P Kvitova (CZE) – WTA
[WC] S Stosur (AUS) vs [8] N Petrova (RUS) – WTA
J Murray (GBR) / J Peers (AUS) vs F Fognini (ITA) / A Seppi (ITA) – ATP

COURT 3 start 11:00 am
[WC] J Konta (GBR) vs S Hsieh (TPE) – WTA
[WC] E Baltacha (GBR) vs [Q] K Pliskova (CZE) – WTA
D Istomin (UZB) vs I Dodig (CRO) – ATP
R Stepanek (CZE) vs M Matosevic (AUS) – ATP

COURT4 start 11:00 am
K Zakopalova (CZE) vs L Safarova (CZE) – WTA
D Jurak (CRO) / H Watson (GBR) vs [2] L Huber (USA) / S Mirza (IND) – WTA
[Q] O Puchkova (RUS) vs E Makarova (RUS) – WTA
[4] F Pennetta (ITA) / E Vesnina (RUS) vs C Black (ZIM) / M Erakovic (NZL) – WTA
N Grandin (RSA) / V Uhlirova (CZE) vs O Kalashnikova (GEO) / A Rosolska (POL) – WTA

COURT 5 start 12:00 noon
[1] A Peya (AUT) / B Soares (BRA) vs J Cabal (COL) / R Farah (COL) – ATP
[WC] K Edmund (GBR) / S Thornley (GBR) vs [PR] E Butorac (USA) / A Ram (ISR) – ATP
H Chan (TPE) / L Safarova (CZE) vs J Husarova (SVK) / V Lepchenko (USA) – WTA

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Azarenka Through to Second Round of the French Open

Victoria Azarenka 10 5 2012

(May 29, 2013) No. 3 seed Victoria Azarenka finally completed her first match on the fourth day of the French Open. Rain washed out her match on Tuesday. The two-time Australian Open champion defeated Elena Vesnina of Russia 6-1, 6-4.

“I felt like I’m one of the last ones to start,” said the Belarusian of the long wait to finally play a match.. “It was a long wait, but I think performance-wise it was a good match.”

“I felt good, “ Azarenka said about her play.  “It was, you know, important to finally start the tournament.  I felt like I’m one of the last ones to start.

“It was a long wait, but I think performance‑wise it was a good match.  It was a quality match.  Elena is a very tough opponent.  I was actually surprised she wasn’t seeded at the tournament, and we know each other pretty well, so it was important to start right away from the beginning, you know, with a determination and a good focus because, you know, she’s a very dangerous opponent, has a very flashy game.”

So what did Azarenka do on Tuesday with her match delayed then canceled?

“I went back and just really was chilling the whole day, watching The Voice.  It was incredible.  I was so entertained.  Watched some, you know, parts of the matches when it’s on, when it’s off.”

“There’s this girl, her name is Judith, Azarenka continued. . She was a duet singer with Michael Jackson. She’s absolutely incredible. I mean, I have no idea how sounds like that can come out of somebody’s mouth. It’s just, wow.”

The focus on women’s tennis these days seems to be on Serena Williams and Maris Shrapova, No. 3 Azarenka doesn’t mind being out of the spotlight at all.

“Serena always has attention, no matter where she is,” Azarenka said. “She has been around the game so much and the No. 1 player in the world. It’s usual. For me it’s important to show up for my job. Whatever is going on around, it’s just entertaining for people. But I’m just focused on what I do and nobody else, really.”

Azarenka gets Annika Beck in the second round.

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Azarenka in Fine Form, Meets Refreshed Kuznetsova in Quarterfinal

 

Azarenka smiles

By Jaclyn Stacey

 

(January 21, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – Victoria Azarenka kept her Australian Open title defense on track on Monday after comfortably disposing of Hobart champion Elena Vesnina 6-1, 6-1 in 58 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.

 

She moves into a quarterfinal matchup with Svetlana Kuznetsova after the Russian defeated Caroline Wozniacki in a grueling encounter 6-2, 2-6, 7-5.

 

Kuznetsova will carry a 4-3 head-to-head lead into the match against Azarenka and will be determined after re-discovering her passion for the game during her six month hiatus from the sport in the second half of 2012 due to a knee injury.

 

Kuznetsova won the 2004 US Open and the 2009 French Open and was asked how it felt to make a quarterfinal of a Grand Slam on the comeback trail.

 

“Yeah, it’s amazing. It’s my best result. I have been two times to quarterfinals, so I’m just kind of replaying that.”

 

“It’s very good result for first tournament, for first Grand Slam, and especially I don’t remember when I was in quarters.”

 

Kuznetsova raced to a one set lead over the Dane and said she was feeling so good that she stopped and before she knew it she was into a decider and needing to fight for the match.

 

“I was very happy with the first set, so happy that I stopped to do anything.”

 

“And third set I just had to fight every ball as I could, try to still dictate, try to do the things what I was doing well.”

 

Kuznetsova said that the knee injury was the one of the best things to happen to her as it forced her to take time off from the tour and re-discover her passion for tennis.

 

“Here I think it was time to just stop. My body was not able to hold anymore, and mentally I was not there, as well.”

 

“Never had a thought of stopping tennis. I was just laying in bed, and I was like, thanks my knee. At least I can rest, you know.”

 

“But anyway, I had time home and just refresh my mind, and then I just understood that I want to play this game. I mean, I always loved it, but I wanted to have this desire to bring me back; this is what happened.”

 

Kuznetsova said that her quarterfinal opponent will be tough to beat, saying that the Belarusian is a more complete player and has been able to rein in her emotions in the big points of a match.

 

“But, I mean, she’s tough; she’s No. 1; I have nothing to lose; she has all the pressure. I know I got the game to give her some problems, and I will just do my best and just try to enjoy it.”

 

Azarenka knows how hard it will be to take on Kuznetsova and said, “I think it’s going to be very tough match. I can see Sveta came back much fresher, much stronger. She knows how to handle big stages, big tournaments. She’s a Grand Slam champion, as well.”

 

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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Kvitova Outmuscles Schiavone, Defending Champion Azarenka Progresses

Petra Kvitova

By Jaclyn Stacey

(January 15, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – Eighth seed Petra Kvitova outmuscled 2010 Roland Garros champion Francesca Schiavone in a tough three set match on Margaret Court Arena in day two action at Australian Open 2013.

 

The mental strength of the 2011 Wimbledon champion showed as she overcame a flurry of unforced errors and a second set thumping to regain control in the third set and seal the match 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 in just over two hours.

 

Kvitova hit 42 unforced errors to Schiavone’s 23 and after the match said she was struggling to breath during much of the match.

 

“I have asthma so I had a little bit of trouble on court with my breathing on court but what’s important is that I came back.”

 

Schiavone saved a break point in the opening service game of the match to hold and lead 1-0. Kvitova didn’t need many more games to have another opportunity to break, taking her next opportunity in the fifth game to gain the advantage in the match 3-2. She broke Schiavone again in the seventh game to go up 5-2 and have the opportunity to serve out the set.

 

Schiavone fired up and broke Kvitova while she attempted to serve out the set. She then held to love to trail Kvitova 4-5.

 

Kvitova capitalized on her next chance to serve out the set, moving Schiavone out of the court and coming into the net to volley a forehand cross court to seal the first set 6-4.

 

In a second set reversal it was Kvitova that came under pressure early, saving a break point in her opening service game before the fighting spirit of Schiavone sealed a break point in the fourth game. Schiavone broke Kvitova another two times to level the match at one set a piece 4-6, 6-2.

 

The Italian struggled in her opening service game of the deciding set as Kvitova upped her intensity and determination to claim a break with a Schiavone double fault. She then held serve to go ahead 2-0 with a fist pump. Kvitova breaks again before the women swap breaks in the next three games before Kvitova manages to hold for 5-1. Schiavone holds her next service game and forces kvitova to serve for the match. She fires down a strong first serve on match point to seal the win 6-4, 2-6 6-2.

 

Kvitova increased her head-to-head lead over Schiavone to 4-1 on Tuesday. She says it is always difficult to play against the Italian.

 

“We played three times last year and it was always great tennis and a tough match and the last time we played was in Wimbledon and it was three sets so I expected the same, a big fight today and I was the lucky one in the end.”

 

On her slow start to the season where she lost in the second round in Brisbane and the first round in Sydney Kvitova says “It is always hard when you lose two times in a row and it is the beginning of the year but I had a great off season so I hope that the results will come.”

 

Elsewhere in Day two action at Melbourne Park world number one Victoria Azarenka defeated Romanian Monica Niculescu 6-1, 6-4 on Rod Laver Arena. The defending champion breezed through the first set dropping only one game before going down 0-3 at the beginning of the second set. She went on to break back and the set remained on serve until Azarenka was able to break in the eighth game and serve out the match. She next plays the winner of Eleni Danilidou and Karolina Pliskova.

 

Serena Williams played through a right ankle scare to completely dominate her opponent Edina Gallovits-Hall 6-0, 6-0 and progress through to the second round.

 

Two time grand slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova won through to the second round confidently defeating Spaniard Lourdes Dominguez Lino 6-2, 6-1 on show court three and will face Su-Wei Hsieh of Taipei in the second round.

 

Former world number one Caroline Wozniacki came back from a terrible first set defeat to overcome German Sabine Lisicki 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 on the first match on Hisense arena. Wozniacki will play Croat Donna Vekic in the second round on Thursday.

 

Hobart International winner Elena Vesnina had a tough opening round win over Caroline Garcia, losing the first set before recovering to win in three 3-6, 6-3, 6-1. Vesnina plays 21st seed Varvara Lepchenko in the second round who today defeated Polona Hercog in straight sets 6-4, 6-1.

 

For updated scores, draws and results visit AustralianOpen.com

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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Venus Williams Ousted in Wimbledon First Round

WIMBLEDON – Five-time champion Venus Williams was dismissed in straight sets by Russia’s Elena Vesnina 6-1, 6-3 on the tournament’s opening day. It was only the second time that the 32-year-old has ever lost in the first round at Wimbledon.

“I did my best today,” the 58th ranked Williams said. “ You know, my opponent played well.”

“Well, I think that’s the biggest win in my career,” Vesnina said.  “Beat Venus in Wimbledon is just something amazing.

“Actually, I really wanted to play against her ’cause I have so much respect to both Serena and Venus.  It’s always really tough to play against them.  They’re great champions.

“Today I was just enjoying my time on that court.  I was really believing in my win today, that I could really win that match, and I think that really helped me today.”

Vesnina will face third seed Agnieszka Radwanska in the second round.

“I think she’s one of the greatest athletes,” Vesnina said of Williams. “First of all, in the whole sport.  And she’s a great champion.  She won Wimbledon so many times.  Like on the court, you can see that she has really great attitude on the court.

“Even now, I mean, she’s not in the top 10, but you can still feel she will get few more matches and she can be back again.  Williams sisters, they have this power.  They have this ability to come back from nowhere.  They know how to do that.  They know how to play Grand Slams.  They know how to win Grand Slams.  I think that’s the most important thing from them.”

The American only held serve once in the first set, but was more competitive in the second.

Williams is looking forward to the Olympics.

“Well, that’s all I’ve fought for this whole year,” Williams noted, “so I hope that I can play well there.  For me it will just be an honor to be there, and try to capitalize on that moment.

“I’m really proud of my efforts to get my rankings up for the Olympics.  That’s one of the toughest things I’ve ever done in my life.  So now I don’t really feel that much pressure, to be honest.  I want to win.”

Williams  who suffers from an autoimmune, fatigue-inducing illness called Sjogren’s Syndrome spoke about her drive to continue to play after the Olympics: “I feel like I am a great player.  I am a great player.  Unfortunately, I had a deal with circumstances that people don’t normally have to deal with in this sport.

“But I can’t be discouraged by that, so I’m up for challenges.  I have great tennis in me.  I just need the opportunity.

“There’s no way I’m just going to sit down and give up just because I have a hard time the first five or six freakin’  tournaments back.”

Williams lists her sister Serena as “inspirational” in her comeback. “Of course Serena Williams has been inspirational, said Venus Williams.  “She’s fought back near‑death experiences ‑ several.  I’m very motivated by her and nothing getting her down and everything that she’s been through that no one even knows about.  That’s definitely inspirational, that in itself.

“There’s been a lot of people in this world that fought back from the brink.  I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself because of everything that’s going on.  I have to be positive.

“I love this sport.  I feel like I can play well and I’m not going to give up on that.”

 

I don’t have time to be negative.  I don’t know if you’ve had any negative experience, but it’s not fun.  I like to use the same time to be positive because it feels a whole lot better.  And also it’s easier to be productive when you’re positive, so that’s what I work on.”

“But I’m tough, let me tell you, tough as nails.”

Wimbledon singles may be over for Williams this year but she will compete in the doubles with her sister Serena and plans on playing Wimbledon in 2013.

“I’m playing doubles here, so I’m going to really try to hone my doubles, do that, and then I’ll go to the Olympics,” said Williams.

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