April 29, 2017

Schiavone, Coric, Vondrousova and Johnson win Tennis Titles This Week

Borna Coric

(April 16, 2017) Francesca Schiavone, Borna Coric, Marketa Vondrousova and Steve Johnson claimed titles on the tennis tour this week.

Francesca Schiavone

In her final season on tour, 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone won her eighth career title with a 6-4, 7-5 win over fourth seed Lara Arruabarrena at the Claro Open Colsanitas on Saturday.

The 36-year-old Italian veteran had not won a main tour match all season.

Winning on Bogota ups this former world No. 4 to 168th in the world as she tries to gain direct entry into the French Open.

“I’m not thinking about retirement,” she said. “I’m enjoying tennis.”

 

Borna Coric

Croatia’s Borna Coric saved five match points to win his first ATP World Tour title on Sunday beating German Philipp Kohlschreiber 5-7, 7-6 (3), 7-5 in the Grand Prix Hassan II final. Last year’s finalist became this year’s winner in 2 hours, 38 minutes – the longest final this year according to the ATP.
The 20-year-old Coric is the third first-time winner on the ATP World Tour this year, joining Gilles Muller who won Sydney and Ryan Harrison who claimed the Memphis title.

“I would say that’s my biggest comeback, I’ve never saved five match points,” noted Coric. “Especially in such an important match, I served very well in the big points. It’s an awesome feeling. I didn’t know what to expect when I came here and I wasn’t in the best shape. But I’ve been working very hard the past three or four months and now it’s paying off.”

“It’s one of those days where you have many good opportunities,” explained Kohlschreiber. “It was a big fight and great drama in the end. Losing a match with match points and to be so close to the title is always very difficult. But it was a very good week for me. I played great tennis this week and I’m looking forward to more clay-court matches.”

Steve Johnson survived late cramps to win the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship, besting Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (5) on Sunday at River Oaks Country Club. For the 27-year-old Johnson, this is his second ATP Tour title, he won Nottingham last year.

“A lot goes into cramping. For me today, it was the nerves of trying to close out the title. I haven’t been there enough to feel very comfortable.”

“To win on U.S. soil and win when you’re not feeling great is a testament to my willpower and competitiveness,” Johnson said.”
“My body has just physically run out of gas after this week… I was very fortunate to get out of that.”

“He was playing unbelievably… I’m a little bit sad because I think I could have won, but I’m happy to make another final, Bellucci said”

Johnson beat two former champions on the way to the title, Fernando Verdasco (2014) in the quarterfinals and American Davis Cup teammate Jack Sock (2015) in the semifinals, to reach his third career final.

“Both players were very tired in the third set and we were missing more shots than before,” Bellucci said. “I’m happy for my week but today I am disappointed. I (thought) I could win because I was a little better than him physically. He deserved it more than me.”

Seventeen-year-old Marketa Vondrousova won her first WTA Tour title on Sunday, surprising Anett Kontaveit of Estonia 6-4, 7-6 (6) in the Biel Ladies Open final.

Rankled at 233rd in the world, the Czech captured the first edition of the Swiss indoor hard-court tournament.
The southpaw will be part of the Czech Fed Cup team next weekend as they take on the United States in Tampa, Florida.

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Serena Williams Avoids Early Exit, Rafael Nadal Cruises at French Open

(May 28, 2015) Serena Williams survived a possible upset on Thursday when she came beat German Anna-Lena Friedsam ranked 105th in the world 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 in the second round of the French Open.

“Probably more frustrated than relieved, but I know I’m capable of playing great tennis, just haven’t seen it yet,” Williams said.

“I feel like one thing Venus always tells me: A win is a win, and as long as you live to survive the next day, you can always improve. I know my level is literally a hundred times better than I played today, so I think I take more solace in the fact I can play better as opposed to the fact that that’s the best I could play. Then I would be in trouble.”

Next for Williams in the third round will be two-time major champion Victoria Azarenka who defeated Lucie Hradecka 6-2 6-3.
“It will be a tough match, obviously,” Williams said. “We had a really tough match in Madrid. So I do know if I play the way I did today, I probably won’t be winning my match. So I’m going to have to step it up a level. Probably just get out, start up better and be more relaxed and go from there. But it’s definitely not going to be easy, but, you know, at the end of the day it is what it is. I’m ready.”

“I think out of all the top players she’s, for whatever reason, has given me particularly some troubles. But, you know, she’s great at what she does. She fights hard and never gives up, and she’s really feisty. And I think that’s obviously why she’s been able to be a Grand Slam champion, not just on one occasion. So, I mean, yeah, those players aren’t always the easiest to play, but they also get you excited to play those matches and to be ready for that.”

“Facing somebody who is, you know, No. 1 in the world is never easy,” Azarenka said. “But I just want to try to focus, you know, on my game, on my energy, and try to play the best as possible. But there is no question you have to come up with your A game and play well.”

No drama for 9-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal who dismissed Spanish countryman Nicolas Almagro 6-4, 6-3, 6-1.

“I think I played a good match against an opponent I think he didn’t play bad through a lot of very hard games, long games,” Nadal said. “The score is easier than what the match was like. Very happy, I think I did a few things very well.”

2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone saved a match point in a 3 hour 50 minute marathon against 18th-seeded and 2009 French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, 6-7 (11), 7-5, 10-8 to move into the third round. Kuznetsova served for the match four times.

Both women played the longest women’s match in Grand Slam history at the 2011 Australian Open, 6-4, 1-6, 16-14 which lasted 4 hours, 44 minutes. Schiavone won that match as well.

“She went for it,” Kusnetsova said. “She played unbelievable shot. She played the deeper ball on high bounce to my backhand. I played good angle. For one-handed backhand to play it like that down the line, she totally went for it and all credit to her. She played unbelievable point. It’s nothing I can do, you know. It’s many more other opportunities I have to think about on my serve, which I didn’t serve well. I was not too sharp today for me.”

“Today was the key that long line with backhand,” Schiavone said. “I had to, otherwise backhand against backhand she was much better than me. So I had to play over there or in or out, and I play very good long line. Long match, yeah. With Svetlana I think we can play hours and hours and hours because we know each other exactly like I said before to play. Was great for me. I don’t know. She is amazing, and every time I play against her I say, Oh, my God, now what can happen? And it’s happen a long match again.”

Another upset victim, Caroline Wozniacki, the fifth seed, fell to 72nd ranked Julia Goerges in 6-4, 7-6 (4).

“I think I don’t play the typical women’s game on clay court,” said the German. “I play a little bit more spin, a little bit higher the ball over the net than some of the other girls. Well, she gets the ball in her striking zone she doesn’t miss any ball, but if you give her different balls, then it’s tougher for her to manage to bring the ball back with good quality, what she usually does when she has it in her striking zone. You have to mix up a lot. That’s what I did in all the matches I’ve played her. It’s never a guarantee you’re going to win the match, but you have to execute well, as well, and that’s what I did mainly today very well.”

Americans Madison Keys, Sloane Stephens and Jack Sock also advanced to the third round.

The 16th seeded Keys defeated Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic 6-0, 6-3.

“Belinda is also a great player,” Keys said. “So I knew it was going to be tough. I knew I was going to have to be playing well and kind of in my best form in order to get past them. Just really happy with kind of how I managed to fight through the first one. I thought I played really well today.”
“I thought I came out and was aggressive and tried to play the best I could,” Stephens said about beating Watson 6-2, 6-4. “Obviously executed really well my shots and I stayed pretty consistent throughout, so that was good.”
Watson, who had never lost to Stephens before, was wearing tape on her arm. “I’ve had this with my arm for a week and a bit now, but it wasn’t the reason I lost today,” Watson said. “I felt fine. I had it all taped up and I took some painkillers before the match. But it was just me really. I was just pretty sluggish and slow out there. Finally after like a set and a bit I finally got into it, but at that point it was kind of a little bit too late.”

Jack Sock continues to win on American men’s least successful surface in recent times, but his favorite. The American defeated Pablo Carreno Busta in four sets to advance.

“I thought he played a really good match,” Sock said. “I’ve seen him play a few times, not a whole lot. Yeah, I thought he was kind of on top of his game today. It was a match I had to win. He wasn’t going to be given to me, by any means. I finally found my serve three hours in, which was nice. It was letting me down there for a while, but I was able to find a little bit and the rhythm there at the end.”

May 28, 2015 Results French Open

Men’s Singles – Third Round

[5] Kei Nishikori (JPN) d. Benjamin Becker (GER) W/O (right shoulder)

Men’s Singles – Second Round

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) d. Gilles Muller (LUX) 61 64 64
[3] Andy Murray (GBR) d. Joao Sousa (POR) 62 46 64 61
[6] Rafael Nadal (ESP) d. Nicolas Almagro (ESP) 64 63 61
[7] David Ferrer (ESP) d. Daniel Gimeno-Traver (ESP) 62 63 61
[9] Marin Cilic (CRO) d. Andrea Arnaboldi (ITA) 76(3) 61 61
[15] Kevin Anderson (RSA) d. Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE) 57 64 64 64
Jeremy Chardy (FRA) d. [16] John Isner (USA) 64 46 63 63
[17] David Goffin (BEL) d. Santiago Giraldo (COL) 63 46 75 62
Pablo Andujar (ESP) d. [22] Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) 61 76(5) 36 36 64
[23] Leonardo Mayer (ARG) d. Jerzy Janowicz (POL) 64 64 67(1) 61
Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) d. [27] Bernard Tomic (AUS) 36 36 63 64 86 – saved 3 M.P.
[29] Nick Kyrgios (AUS) d. Kyle Edmund (GBR) W/O (stomach)
Simone Bolelli (ITA) d. [31] Viktor Troicki (SRB) 62 64 63
Jack Sock (USA) d. Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) 67(2) 76(4) 61 76(4)
Andrey Kuznetsov (RUS) d. Jurgen Melzer (AUT) 61 57 76(0) 75

 

Women’s Singles – Second Round
(1) Serena Williams d. Anna-Lena Friedsam (GER) 57 63 63
(4) Petra Kvitova (CZE) d. Silvia Soler-Espinosa (ESP) 67(4) 64 62
Julia Goerges (GER) d. (5) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) 64 76(4)
(10) Andrea Petkovic (GER) d. Lourdes Dominguez Lino (ESP) 46 64 64
Andreea Mitu (ROU) d. (12) Karolina Pliskova 26 76(5) 64
(16) Madison Keys (USA) d. Belinda Bencic (SUI) 60 63
(17) Sara Errani d. Carina Witthoeft (GER) 63 46 62
Francesca Schiavone (ITA) d. (18) Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 67(11) 75 108 (saved 1mp)
(23) Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) d. Tereza Smitkova (CZE) 62 60
(27) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. Lucie Hradecka (CZE) 62 63
(30) Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) d. Ana Konjuh (CRO) 62 60
Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) d. (32) Zarina Diyas (KAZ) 06 61 64
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) d. Danka Kovinic (MNE) 63 75
Irina Falconi (USA) d. (Q) Sesil Karatantcheva (BUL) 36 61 62
Sloane Stephens (USA) d. Heather Watson (GBR) 62 64
Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) d. Denisa Allertova (CZE) 63 76(2)

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Venus and Serena Williams Have Easy Wins to Open 2013 US Open

Serena Williams photo by Josh Meiseles

Serena Williams photo by Josh Meiseles

(August 26, 2013) Sisters Venus and Serena Williams had easy opening matches on day one of the US Open. Serena destroyed Francesca Schiavone 6-0, 6-1 in the night session while older sister Venus knocked off the 12th seed Kirsten Flipkens 6-1, 6-2.

At one point in Serena’s match her opponent, a former French Open champion asked the ball boy to give her a hug as she was down 6-0, 2-0.

“A hug?, “ said Schiavone. “ No.  I don’t need a hug in that moment.  I need a game, points.  I don’t need the hug.

“No, no I went to the ballboys to say, Well, that’s tough.  No, it was just a joke.”

“She’s a great competitor,” Serena said.  “I think she played really well.  I think the scoreline had nothing to do with the match.  I mean, I just was able to win some key points.

“But I tell you, it wasn’t very easy out there.  We were both grunting and running and fighting.”

“It was very, very nice to win a game,” said Schiavone.  “For the first time in my life, I felt joy from winning a single game.”

The match ended in an hour just before the rains began and ended play for the evening, pushing Roger Federer’s match to Tuesday’s day session.

“I heard it was going to rain all day, Serena said.  “I didn’t know going into it.  I didn’t know the weather forecast.  I forget about it pretty much.”

The 33-year-old Williams resembled the Venus from the past before being struck with an auto-immune disorder in her victory over Flipkens.

Even though on paper the match is considered an upset, Flipkens said that no matter what the rankings say that when Venus is focused and fit she’s a top 10 player.

“I stay positive because I know I can play great tennis,” Venus said. “Sometimes you just have to go through more than what you want to go through.

When asked about the state of her game, Venus said:” I try not to think about the state.  I try to think about how I’m going to execute each point on the court.  There can be times you play amazing in practice or in the round before and not play well the next round.

“I try more than anything to get the best out of myself in that game and that point.  That’s kind of what I’m looking at, and of course trying to get better each round.  But, you know, that’s it.”

 

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News

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Easy Does It For Azarenka – Reaches Third French Quarterfinal

Victoria Azarenka Miami Players Party

By Ros Satar

(June 3, 2013) PARIS – It started as a baseline battle for the former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, and ended up as easy as a walk along the Champs Élysées, as the third seed reeled off 7 games in a row to win 6-3, 6-0 over Francesca Schiavone.

Conditions were cloudy and breezy on court today with Azarenka opting to stay warm with leggings on throughout the match.

Things started promisingly for the Belarusian with an early break in the third game, but that was then the start of a bit of a break-fest.

The women traded 5 successive breaks in a row, before Azarenka managed a hold, and it was to be the start of her run of games to the end.

Schiavone at times seemed to be struggling with her serve, stuttering her feet as if to try and catch up with a wandering ball toss.

It was a costly shuffle, with a couple of foot-faults which hardly helped her cause today.

At her post match conference, Schiavone acknowledged that a good serve was very important today, but that it had not been the contributing factor.

“She [Azarenka] has an intensity & high level for an hour and a half, and I had [it] for [a] shorter time.

“I have to be used to keep going that way, and I think that was the key.”

Azarenka gave credit to her opponent, despite such a dominating win.

She said: “It was definitely a very good challenge for me to play against Francesca, especially knowing how well she’s done here in the past.

“I’m glad with the way I played today.

“I just always try to take it one at a time, and I know the next match will have nothing to do with what happened today.”

She felt that she was finally learning what she needed to do to improve on the surface.

“I understand that it’s not about the game that you really have to adjust.  It’s about your movement.

“You have to not only think of how you move left to right but how you come [with] small steps to the ball.

Azarenka reaches her third quarter-final, having reached it twice before in 2009 and 2011.

Azarenka has never progressed further than the QF in 7 years.

She concluded: “I’m excited, you know, definitely that all the preparation I have been doing is doing well.

“It’s definitely a great opportunity to take that step.”

Azarenka will face Russia’s Maria Kirilenko, who defeated Bethanie Mattek-Sands 7-5, 6-4, and knows it will be a tough match to come through.

“She’s definitely improved a lot over the last couple years since she’s very motivated player.”

Azarenka leads their head–to-head 3-2, and the pair have never met on clay.

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Sharapova, Azarenka Advance to Roland Garros Fourth Round

Maria Sharapova

(June 1, 2013) After and easy first set defending champion Maria Sharapova had to fight to close out the match in two sets 6-1, 7-5 over Zheng Jie on Saturday at Roland Garros.

For the No. 2 seed it was the third straight day on the court due to her rain-delayed second round match was pushed into Friday.

After an easy 6-1 first set, Zheng jumped out to a two break lead 4-1. The Russian came back to even the set at 4-4 and then dropped serve for 4-5. Zheng lost serve while attempting to even the match at 1 set all and Sharapova moved thought the next two games to close the match.

Sharapova, who hit 8 double-faults during the match, disputed a double-fault call. “It hit the outside line,” she told the chair umpire. The umpire did not change the call which proved to be incorrect.

“Well, first of all, it’s not even about the fact of the call, whether it was in and out ‑‑ or out,” said Sharapova.  “I think for me it was the fact that the umpire did not recognize that the mark he pointed out was about a foot away from the actual mark.  So that’s a huge question mark, to begin with.

“Second of all, yes, all the other Grand Slams have Hawk‑Eye.  And I know these types of situations, although much more rarely on the clay, happen.  Why not?  Why don’t we have a system like this?  I mean, is it a money concern?  I don’t think so.

“This is just absolute proof that, you know, it’s a big point and it can happen in any situation.”

Sharapova is into the round of 16 where she’ll play American Sloane Stephens.

“I’m happy with the way I fought back and I found a way to win,” said Sharapova.

No. 3 Victoria Azarenka hit 10 double-faults and had her serve broken six times in her three set win over Alize Cornet 4-6, 6-3, 6-1..

“I think I left it home today,” Azarenka said of her serve. “If I can win with serving like this, that’s pretty remarkable.”

“It was a tough match,” Azarekna continued.  “I don’t think I played really the right way or, you know, I was playing my best way, taking my chances in the first set.  And she definitely took advantage of that and really took chances on the important moments, which I didn’t.

“You know, I felt like I had to close a lot of my opportunities in the first set, and it didn’t go my way.

“But it was important to turn things around and finally start playing the right way in the second set, because I felt that I was playing very comfortable for her, and she started to, you know, make a lot of winners, you know, fight and make a lot of balls.

“So I changed that a little bit in the second set and really took my chances moving forward and continued to stay aggressive, and that’s what was bringing me after the points and the victory in the end.”

Azarenka will get former French Open titlist Francesca Schiavone in the next round.

Francesca Schiavone dominated 13th seed Marion Bartoli 6-2, 6-1 to reach the fourth round of the French Open on Saturday.

It was a total obliteration by the 2010 Roland Garros winner. The Italian broke the top Frenchwoman’s serve five times, with 31 winners overall.

“On clay she’s always very dangerous and she won a clay court tournament again this year and this is a surface that suits her,” said Bartoli.

“When she starts winning matches and becomes more confident, then she can be very dangerous. So maybe she can sort out Azarenka and then if she arrives in the quarter-finals, who knows what can happen?”

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