2014/12/20

2014 US Open Women’s Contender Profiles

Serena Williams

(August 24, 2014) Profiles of the top Women’s Singles contenders for 2014 U.S. Open. Note: Grand Slam records for main draw matches only.  – by Jack Cunniff     http://twitter.com/jrcunniff

 

1.Serena Williams

2014 Record: 38-6

Grand Slam Record: 252-39

U.S. Open Record: 72-9

U.S. Open Best Result: Won (1999, 2002, ’08, ’12, ‘13)

Fast Fact: Serena has lost only once at the U.S. Open to a player that was not a Grand Slam champion (Spirlea, 1998).

 

2. Simona Halep

2014 Record: 38-12

Grand Slam Record: 25-17

U.S. Open Record: 5-4

U.S. Open Best Result: 4R (2013)

Fast Fact: Halep has won more Grand Slam matches (18) than any other woman over the last 12 months.

 

3. Petra Kvitova

2014 Record: 30-12

Grand Slam Record: 63-23

U.S. Open Record: 10-6

U.S. Open Best Result: 4R (2009, ‘12)

Fast Fact: Kvitova has only one win at the U.S. Open over a Top 25 player – No. 1 Dinara Safina (2009).

 

4. Agnieszka Radwanska

2014 Record: 42-15

Grand Slam Record: 89-323

U.S. Open Record: 16-8

U.S. Open Best Result: 4R (2007, ’08, ’12, ‘13)

Fast Fact: Randwanska has lost to a player ranked lower than her in her last 10 Grand Slam events.

 

5. Maria Sharapova

2014 Record: 38-9

Grand Slam Record: 162-39

U.S. Open Record: 29-8

U.S. Open Best Result: Won (2006)

Fast Fact: Since winning the U. S. Open in 2006, Sharapova has only advanced past the Fourth Round once (2012).

 

6. Angelique Kerber

2014 Record: 39-18

Grand Slam Record: 46-27

U.S. Open Record: 12-6

U.S. Open Best Result: SF (2011)

Fast Fact: Kerber has reached at least the Fourth Round in nine of the last ten Grand Slam events.

 

7. Eugenie Bouchard

2014 Record: 37-17

Grand Slam Record: 20-6

U.S. Open Record: 1-1

U.S. Open Best Result: 2R (2013)

Fast Fact: Bouchard has the best record among all women in 2014 Grand Slam events, but has lost her opening round main draw match in 8 of 14 WTA Tour Events.

 

8. Ana Ivanovic

2014 Record: 47-13

Grand Slam Record: 97-38

U.S. Open Record: 20-9

U.S. Open Best Result: QF (2012)

Fast Fact: Ivanovic leads the WTA Tour in 2014 match wins (47).

 

9. Jelena Jankovic

2014 Record: 33-17

Grand Slam Record: 102-44

U.S. Open Record: 28-10

U.S. Open Best Result: RU (2008)

Fast Fact: Jankovic is the only woman in the field who has been seeded for each of the last 10 U.S. Open events (2005-2014).

 

10. Caroline Wozniacki

2014 Record: 34-14

Grand Slam Record: 73-30

U.S. Open Record: 22-7

U.S. Open Best Result: RU (2009)

Fast Fact: Prior to the 2014 Connecticut Open, Wozniacki had won at least three matches in her previous five consecutive events, her best stretch since August – October 2010.

 

11. Flavia Pennetta

2014 Record: 25-14

Grand Slam Record: 66-44

U.S. Open Record: 20-9

U.S. Open Best Result: SF (2013)

Fast Fact: Pennetta reached a Grand Slam semifinal at last year’s U.S. Open, her first time in 41 attempts; only two players took longer to reach a Grand Slam semi (Likhovtseva – 46, Tauziat – 42).

 

12. Dominika Cibulkova

2014 Record: 29-18

Grand Slam Record: 53-28

U.S. Open Record: 10-6

U.S. Open Best Result: QF (2010)

Fast Fact: A tale of two seasons: from January through April 2014, Cibulkova’s won/loss record was 24-7 (77.4%). From May through August 2014, Cibulkova’s won/loss record was 5-9 (35.7%).

 

16. Victoria Azarenka

2014 Record: 10-7

Grand Slam Record: 97-32

U.S. Open Record: 24-8

U.S. Open Best Result: RU (2012, ‘13)

Fast Fact: In her last three U.S. Open appearances, Azarenka has a 0-3 records vs. Serena Williams, and 14-0 record against all other players.

 

19. Venus Williams

2014 Record: 24-11

Grand Slam Record: 219-56

U.S. Open Record: 63-13

U.S. Open Best Result: W (2000, ’01)

Fast Fact: Venus hasn’t reached the Fourth Round of a Grand Slam in her last 10 attempts, her last appearance in the 4R was Wimbledon 2011.

 

20. Svetlana Kuznetsova

2014 Record: 20-12

Grand Slam Record: 131-45

U.S. Open Record: 33-10

U.S. Open Best Result: W (2004)

Fast Fact: Since winning the title here ten years ago, Kuznetsova has compiled a 1-4 record vs. Top Twenty players at Flushing Meadow (d. No. 6 Chakvetadze, 2007 SF)

Related article:

2014 US Open Men’s Contender Profiles

 

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2014 US Open Men’s Contender Profiles

Djokovic

(August 24, 2014) Profiles of the top Men’s Singles contenders for 2014 U.S. Open. Note: Grand Slam records for main draw matches only.  – by Jack Cunniff     http://twitter.com/jrcunniff

 

1.Novak Djokovic

2014 Record: 39-6

Grand Slam Record: 175-32

U.S. Open Record: 45-8

U.S. Open Best Result: W (2011)

Fast Fact: Djokovic is looking for his fifth consecutive U.S. Open Final, tying Connors for third place in the Open Era (Lendl – 8, Federer – 6).

 

2. Roger Federer

2014 Record: 49-9

Grand Slam Record: 274-44

U.S. Open Record: 67-9

U.S. Open Best Result: Won (2004-’08)

Fast Fact: With 67 U.S. Open match wins, Federer could pass both Sampras (71) and Lendl (73) at the 2014 U.S. Open. Connors (97) and Agassi (79) have the most U.S. Open match wins.

 

3. Stan Wawrinka

2014 Record: 31-10

Grand Slam Record: 79-37

U.S. Open Record: 23-9

U.S. Open Best Result: SF (2013)

Fast Fact: Wawrinka’s only loss to a Top Ten opponent in 2014 came in the Wimbledon quarterfinals against Federer. He has compiled a 6-1 record vs. Top Ten opponents for the year.

 

4. David Ferrer

2014 Record: 43-16

Grand Slam Record: 120-47

U.S. Open Record: 27-10

U.S. Open Best Result: SF (2007, ‘12)

Fast Fact: On August 11, 2014, Ferrer celebrated 200 consecutive weeks ranked in the ATP Top Ten, dating back to October 10, 2010.

 

5. Milos Raonic

2014 Record: 34-12

Grand Slam Record: 32-15

U.S. Open Record: 6-3

U.S. Open Best Result: 4R (2012-‘13)

Fast Fact: Raonic will pass $6 million in career earnings after the U.S. Open. He has earned 46% of his prize money ($2.75M) over the last 12 months.

 

6. Tomas Berdych

2014 Record: 37-14

Grand Slam Record: 99-44

U.S. Open Record: 24-11

U.S. Open Best Result: SF (2012)

Fast Fact: Berdych is attempting to win his 100th Grand Slam match in the first round of the U.S. Open. In nine of the last ten years, Berdych has lost at least one first round match at a Grand Slam, but he has not in 2014.

 

7. Grigor Dimitrov

2014 Record: 38-12

Grand Slam Record: 17-16

U.S. Open Record: 0-3

U.S. Open Best Result: 1R (2011-‘13)

Fast Fact: In 2014, Dimitrov has a 9-3 record in Grand Slam events (75% winning pct). Prior to 2014, Dimitrov had an 8-13 record in Grand Slam events (38% wining pct).

 

8. Andy Murray

2014 Record: 34-14

Grand Slam Record: 130-32

U.S. Open Record: 33-8

U.S. Open Best Result: W (2012)

Fast Fact: If he fails to reach the U.S. Open final, it will be the first year since 2009 that Murray does not reach a final in a Grand Slam event.

 

9. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

2014 Record: 30-14

Grand Slam Record: 81-27

U.S. Open Record: 12-5

U.S. Open Best Result: QF (2011)

Fast Fact: Tsonga is the only player in 2014 to defeat four top ten players in the same event (Toronto, defeated Djokovic, Murray, Dimitrov, Federer)

 

10. Kei Nishikori

2014 Record: 34-9

Grand Slam Record: 31-20

U.S. Open Record: 7-5

U.S. Open Best Result: 4R (2008)

Fast Fact: Nishikori is the last player to reach the second week of the U.S. Open at 18 years old (2008).

 

11. Ernests Gulbis

2014 Record: 35-15

Grand Slam Record: 26-28

U.S. Open Record: 6-7

U.S. Open Best Result: 4R (2007)

Fast Fact: Gulbis needs only three more wins this season to break his personal record of most match wins in a season (37 wins, 2013).

 

12. Richard Gasquet

2014 Record: 25-13

Grand Slam Record: 72-39

U.S. Open Record: 19-8

U.S. Open Best Result: SF (2013)

Fast Fact: Gasquet hasn’t defeated a Top Ten opponent since David Ferrer in Beijing (October, 2013).

 

13. John Isner

2014 Record: 31-15

Grand Slam Record: 35-25

U.S. Open Record: 15-7

U.S. Open Best Result: QF (2011)

Fast Fact: The last event that Isner played where he didn’t contest a tiebreak was Nice, France (May 2013), a streak of 31 consecutive events.

 

14. Marin Cilic

2014 Record: 40-16

Grand Slam Record: 56-27

U.S. Open Record: 13-5

U.S. Open Best Result: QF (2009, ’12)

Fast Fact: Only two players in the US Open draw have more match wins than Cilic in 2014 (Federer – 49, Ferrer – 43).

 

16. Tommy Robredo

2014 Record: 29-19

Grand Slam Record: 99-50

U.S. Open Record: 30-12

U.S. Open Best Result: QF (2013)

Fast Fact: Milestones: Robredo is attempting to win his 100th Grand Slam match in the first round. If he reaches the fourth round, he will play in his 800th professional match.

 

Related article:

Serena Williams

2014 US Open Women’s Contender Profiles

 

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It’s a New P3tra

By Jack Cunniff

(August 23. 2014) NEW HAVEN – In 2013, Petra Kvitova became known in print media as “P3tra”, due to her propensity to get involved in three set matches. In more than half of her 2013 matches (38 of 74), Kvitova was extended to a decisive third set. In the finals of the 2014 Connecticut Open, it was a new P3tra: She won the championship match with relative ease in straight sets over Magdalena Rybarikova, 6-4, 6-2. She didn’t drop a set during the entire tournament. The only “best of three” from Kvitova was winning her second of three Connecticut Opens. She first won the title in 2012, was runner-up to Simona Halep in 2013, and now has regained the title in 2014.

 

There were shades of P3tra in the opening set. She broke Rybarikova’s serve in the sixth game, to grab a 4-2 lead. When serving for the opening set, a double fault and two errors allowed Rybarikova a reprieve. Petra continued to hit her heavy groundstrokes, and earned a second service break of the set to win it 6-4.

 

Rybarikova tried to mix the pace of her shots, but Kvitova continued to apply the pressure. She dropped only four points on serve in the second set, and struck a sharply angled backhand return of serve to win the match. Rybarikova competed as best she could, although a hamstring injury obtained during her semifinal against Camila Giorgi impacted her mobility.

 

Kvitova has been in good form for most of the summer. She has won 16 of her last 19 matches, while capturing two tournament titles, bringing her career total to 13. The question is whether she can carry that form into the U.S. Open. The final Grand Slam event of the year begins next week, and Kvitova has never been past the fourth round. In the last two years, she had great form from New Haven entering the event, but suffered upset losses both years. Her comfort in New Haven does not always translate to the circus of New York City. As Kvitova states, “New York is pretty crowded. It’s always big show. A lot of people everywhere. I’m more the person who is little bit calm.”

 

Rybarikova will re-enter the Top Fifty rankings on the strength of this result, her first appearance in a Premier final. She played well and used all of her weapons to defeat three higher ranked opponents, including world No. 2 Simona Halep. But she too may find her New Haven form fleeting; not only is she nursing the hamstring injury, she must face tenth seed Caroline Wozniacki in the opening round of the U.S. Open.

 

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Familiar Face for the Finals of the Connecticut Open

Petra Kvitova photo by Jack Cunniff

Petra Kvitova photo by Jack Cunniff

By Jack Cunniff

(August 22, 2014) NEW HAVEN – The Connecticut Open has a history of players repeating as finalists, and there’s another name to add to the list. Petra Kvitova, the second seed, defeated Sam Stosur in the semifinals and advanced to her third consecutive final in New Haven. She follows the trend set by Venus Williams (four straight finals between 1999-2002), Lindsay Davenport (five appearances in six finals between 2001-2006), and Caroline Wozniacki (four straight finals between 2008 – 2011)

 

Kvitova, the reigning Wimbledon champion, easily dispatched the 2011 U.S. Open champion Stosur, 6-3, 6-1. Kvitova’s win in the semifinals was reminiscent of her Wimbledon final, where she cruised past Genie Bouchard 6-3, 6-0. Everything was working for Kvitova, most notably her serve. She served 11 aces in eight services games. Stosur, who had blasted 22 aces in her first three matches of the Connecticut Open, managed none against the Kvitova return.

 

Kvitova is at her best when she’s in her comfort zone, and New Haven provides that. With much of the tennis world’s focus on the U.S. Open preparations 90 minutes away in New York, New Haven offers a more laid back atmosphere. Kvitova has called New Haven “the calm before the storm,” and on her Twitter account this past week, the 24-year-old Czech posted that it “feels like being home when I come back here and play on this court”, and asked “Can I play in New Haven every week?” In addition to her love of this event, Kvitova has a very successful 12-4 record in tour finals. That will make things tough for her opponent in the Connecticut Open final, Magdalena Rybarikova.

 

Rybarikova, from Slovakia, earned her way to the final by outwitting Camila Giorgi. Giorgi had used aggressive hitting to power through two higher ranked opponents, Wozniacki and Garbine Muguruza, earlier in the week. Rybarikova changed tactics. She mixed the pace and angles of her shots, and served and volleyed on key points, refusing to get into a hitting contest. The strategy kept Giorgi off balance, and drew multiple errors from the Italian. As Rybarikova noted afterwards, Giorgi “has A plan but no B plan”, which allowed Rybarikova to stay in control.

 

The final on Saturday pits two good friends and former doubles partners against each other. Kvitova leads the head-to-head 4-1, with Rybarikova winning their most recent match, an ITF final in Prague, May 2011. That final was in Kvitova’s home country; this one will be in her home away from home.

 

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

 

CONNECTICUT OPEN PRESENTED BY UNITED TECHNOLOGIES – NEW HAVEN, USA
$ 710,000.00
17-23 AUGUST 2014

RESULTS – AUGUST 22, 2014
Women’s
Singles – Semifinals

[2] P Kvitova (CZE) d [WC] S Stosur (AUS) 63 61
M Rybarikova (SVK) d C Giorgi (ITA) 62 64

Women’s
Doubles – Semifinals

M Erakovic (NZL) / A Parra Santonja (ESP) d C Garcia (FRA) / M Niculescu (ROU) 62 57 11-9
A Klepac (SLO) / S Soler-Espinosa (ESP) d D Jurak (CRO) / M Moulton-Levy (USA) 76(3) 46 10-8

US Open National Playoffs
Mixed Doubles Championship – Semifinals

J Cako (USA) / J Kielbowicz (USA) d N Melichar (USA) / P Smith (USA) 57 60 10-8
E Shibahara (USA) / S Shibahara (USA) d B Bohrnstedt (USA) / M Rose (USA) 62 36 12-10

 

ORDER OF PLAY – SATURDAY, AUGUST 23, 2014
STADIUM start 12:30 pm
WTA DOUBLES FINAL – M Erakovic (NZL) / A Parra Santonja (ESP) vs A Klepac (SLO) / S Soler-Espinosa (ESP)

Not Before 3:00 pm
WTA SINGLES FINAL – M Rybarikova (SVK) vs [2] P Kvitova (CZE)

GRANDSTAND start 1:30 pm
USONP MIXED DOUBLES CHAMPIONSHIP – J Cako (USA) / J Kielbowicz (USA) vs E Shibahara (USA) / S Shibahara (USA)

 

 

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Flipkens No Fluke

Flipkens photo by Cristiano Andujar/Foto Arena

Flipkens photo by Cristiano Andujar/Foto Arena

By Jack Cunniff

(August 21, 2014) NEW HAVEN – Samantha Stosur continued to improve her 2014 form with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 quarterfinal win over Kirsten Flipkens in the Connecticut Open. It was a competitive match throughout, with Stosur pulling ahead at the end by capturing the final three games. But she had her hands full with Flipkens. The 28-year-old Belgian is a rarity on the WTA Tour, a player who relies on change of pace and placement, frequently looking to end points at the net. She has a solid serve, that troubled Stosur most of the evening, and is dangerous from all places on the court. Flipkens, best known as a 2013 Wimbledon semifinalist, has struggled through the majority of 2014. Her solid play in New Haven shows that Flipkens is no fluke, and will continue to be a tough opponent for the top players.

 

Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters put women’s tennis on the map for Belgium. As they began their success in the pro ranks, Flipkens was right behind, winning the Junior Girls titles at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 2003. Results on the pro tour did not come immediately. Her career was beset by injuries, although she achieved moderate success to earn a career-high ranking of No. 59 in June, 2010. Her lowest point came in April, 2012. Diagnosed with blood clots in her calf, she was forced off the tour for two months. Shortly after, the Flemish Tennis Foundation pulled their funding for Flipkens. Her ranking dropped to No. 262, too low to enter Wimbledon qualifying. Flipkens was able to play qualifying for the Wimbledon grass court warmup in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, and she made the most of it. She qualified then reached the semifinals without dropping a set. Along the way, she defeated Roberta Vinci and Stosur.

 

This was the spark Flipkens needed. She won two ITF tournaments in the summer of 2012, then qualified for the U.S. Open before falling to No. 1 Victoria Azarenka in the second round. After the U.S. Open, she won her first WTA event in Quebec City, defeating four Top Sixty players. Throughout this period, without the support of her federation, Flipkens was on her own with no coach, no hitting partners, and no on-site support system. She relied on support from her home base, including her good friend Clijsters.

 

After Quebec City, Flipkens was on a roll. In her next four events, she reached two semifinals and one quarterfinal. At the 2013 Australian Open, she reached the Round of 16 at a Grand Slam event for the first time. Strong results continued, and her ranking was No. 20 entering Wimbledon. The next two weeks at the All England Club were the pinnacle of her career, culminating in a quarterfinal Wimbledon win over the 2011 champion Kvitova. A few weeks later, a win over Venus Williams in Toronto pushed her ranking to No. 13, which remains a career high.

 

This year has not been as successful for Flipkens. Her best result remains a semifinal in Auckland, the opening event of 2014. Her defeat of No. 19 Petkovic in the second round of the Connecticut Open was her best win of the year, and three sets against an in-form Stosur shows that she’s not ready to fade from view quite yet.

 

Around the grounds… It was a rematch of the Wimbledon quarterfinal between Petra Kvitiova and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, with the same result. Kvitova was down a break early, but swept through ten of the last eleven games to advance 6-4, 6-1… Magdalena Rybarikova withstood a second set 6-0 drubbing at the hands of American Allison Riske, and reached the semifinals 7-5, 0-6, 6-4. Riske battled throughout the third set, but three double faults in the sixth game didn’t help her cause… Camila Giorgi wasn’t as dominant in the quarterfinals, as she dropped serve six times in her match against Garbine Muguruza. But the Italian played her game of all-court aggression to reach her second semifinal of the year, 6-4, 6-7, 6-2.

 

CONNECTICUT OPEN PRESENTED BY UNITED TECHNOLOGIES – NEW HAVEN, USA
$ 710,000.00
17-23 AUGUST 2014

RESULTS – AUGUST 21, 2014
Women’s
Singles – Quarterfinals

[2] P Kvitova (CZE) d B Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) 64 61
M Rybarikova (SVK) d A Riske (USA) 75 06 64
C Giorgi (ITA) d G Muguruza (ESP) 64 67(4) 62
[WC] S Stosur (AUS) d [WC] K Flipkens (BEL) 63 46 63

Women’s
Doubles – Quarterfinals

C Garcia (FRA) / M Niculescu (ROU) d [1] C Black (ZIM) / S Mirza (IND) 76(2) 64
M Erakovic (NZL) / A Parra Santonja (ESP) d [5] A Medina Garrigues (ESP) / Y Shvedova (KAZ) 16 75 10-7

ORDER OF PLAY – FRIDAY, AUGUST 22, 2014
STADIUM start 1:00 pm
WTA – M Rybarikova (SVK) vs C Giorgi (ITA)
WTA – D Jurak (CRO) / M Moulton-Levy (USA) vs A Klepac (SLO) / S Soler-Espinosa (ESP)

Not Before 7:00 pm
WTA – [WC] S Stosur (AUS) vs [2] P Kvitova (CZE)
WTA – C Garcia (FRA) / M Niculescu (ROU) vs M Erakovic (NZL) / A Parra Santonja (ESP)

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A Former Number One Faces an Uphill Climb

Wozniacki-001

By Jack Cunniff

 

(August 20, 2014) NEW HAVEN – Caroline Wozniacki lost to Camila Giorgi in the second round of the Connecticut Open, 6-4, 6-2. Giorgi, a hard-hitting Italian player, used a strong serve and aggressive groundstrokes to keep Wozniacki on her heels from the start of the match. Wozniacki dropped serve in the opening game, and failed to convert two break points in the second game, her only break opportunities of the day. Giorgi, who also ushered Wozniacki out of the 2013 U.S. Open, gave no rhythm, going for broke on almost all of her shots. It was a decisive loss for Wozniacki in the venue of her most dominant performances.

 

It was only three years ago, August 2011, that Wozniacki was ranked No. 1 in the world, holding that spot for all but one week of the previous 10 months. She was in the process of winning her fourth consecutive Connecticut Open, and had won seven other titles over the last twelve months. Aside from the growing criticism about her failure to win a Grand Slam event, she was on top of the world. Preparing for the 2011 U.S. Open, Caroline liked her chances: “Well, definitely I feel like I’m hitting the ball well. I’m on a good roll. I’m looking forward to the Open next week.”

 

But there were signs of rust in Wozniacki’s game. In July 2011, she had to retire from a second round Swedish Open match against Sofia Arvidsson. Following that, she suffered back-to-back opening round losses for the first time in two years, losing to Roberta Vinci in Toronto and Christina McHale in Cincinnati. Wozniacki’s downward slide had begun. After beating Petra Cetkovska to defend her New Haven title, it would be over a year before her next title in Seoul, Korea, September 2012. She began losing to lower-ranked players, such as Tamira Paszek and Irena-Camelia Begu. In the process, she would tumble from No. 1 to No. 11.

 

Her struggles continued in 2013 through Wimbledon 2014. She made sporadic appearances in­­­­ finals and semifinals, usually at smaller events. Her record against Top Ten players was a dismal 2-9. She hired and dismissed a couple of different coaches during that period, while retaining father Piotr as a primary coach. Her personal life was fodder for the tabloids, culminating in a broken engagement in May.

 

But something clicked after Wimbledon this past June. She won the Istanbul Cup in July, her first title in nine months. She reached the quarterfinals in Montreal, taking world No. 1 Serena Williams deep in a three set loss. The following week in Cincinnati, she defeated Top Ten players (Angelique Kerber, Agnieszka Radwanska) in back-to-back matches for the first time since the WTA Tour Championships in October 2010. Cincinnati provided another tight three set battle against Williams, this time in the semifinals. Heading into the Connecticut Open, Wozniacki assessed her form: “My confidence is high. I feel like I’ve played really well, I’ve had some good wins and I’ve had a lot of matches, which is great leading up to the Open.”

 

The result in New Haven, long considered Wozniacki’s home away from home, is a half-step back. Wozniacki was disappointed with the loss, and that she could never get into the match. But she wouldn’t let one match result derail her successful summer results, and is expecting success at the U.S. Open.

 

In other play Wednesday at the Connecticut Open, 2011 U.S. Open champ Sam Stosur easily dismissed a hobbled Genie Bouchard. Bouchard, the third seed, had her left thigh wrapped, and could never make an impression on the Stosur serve, falling 6-2, 6-2… Kristen Flipkens won a see-saw battle over Andrea Petkovic, 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. Petkovic served for the match twice in the second set, Flipkens was up a break through most of the third set, but it all came down to a third set tiebreak. When Petkovic saved three match points to even the tiebreak at 6-6, Flipkens held her nerve. A successful serve and volley on match point puts her in the quarterfinals against Stosur… Next for Camila Giorgi is Garbine Muguruza. Muguruza, best known for her dismissal of Serena Williams in the 2014 French Open, came from a break down in the third set to win over Shuai Peng, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2.

 

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

 

CONNECTICUT OPEN PRESENTED BY UNITED TECHNOLOGIES – NEW HAVEN, USA
$ 710,000.00
17-23 AUGUST 2014

RESULTS – AUGUST 20, 2014
Women’s
Singles – Second Round

[WC] S Stosur (AUS) d [3] E Bouchard (CAN) 62 62
C Giorgi (ITA) d [4] C Wozniacki (DEN) 64 62
G Muguruza (ESP) d [Q] S Peng (CHN) 62 36 63
[WC] K Flipkens (BEL) d [WC] A Petkovic (GER) 46 76(4) 76(6)

Women’s
Doubles – Quarterfinals

D Jurak (CRO) / M Moulton-Levy (USA) d [Alt] A Riske (USA) / C Vandeweghe (USA) 76(4) 16 10-8
A Klepac (SLO) / S Soler-Espinosa (ESP) d C Dellacqua (AUS) / S Voegele (SUI) 63 26 10-6

ORDER OF PLAY – THURSDAY, AUGUST 21, 2014
STADIUM start 1:00 pm
WTA – B Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) vs [2] P Kvitova (CZE)
WTA – M Rybarikova (SVK) vs A Riske (USA)
WTA – C Giorgi (ITA) vs G Muguruza (ESP)

Not Before 7:00 pm
WTA – [WC] K Flipkens (BEL) vs [WC] S Stosur (AUS)
Men’s Legends – J Blake (USA) vs A Roddick (USA)

GRANDSTAND start 1:00 pm
WTA – [5] A Medina Garrigues (ESP) / Y Shvedova (KAZ) vs M Erakovic (NZL) / A Parra Santonja (ESP)
WTA – [1] C Black (ZIM) / S Mirza (IND) vs C Garcia (FRA) / M Niculescu (ROU)

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Former U.S. Open Champ Tries to Recapture Form at Connecticut Open

 

By Jack Cunniff

(August 18, 2014) NEW HAVEN – It has been a tough summer for Samantha Stosur. The Australian, who won the U.S. Open Ladies Singles Championship in 2011, suffered three straight opening round losses in Eastbourne, Wimbledon, and Stanford. The loss in Stanford was a low point, as she fell to a Japanese qualifier, Naomi Osaka, who was ranked outside of the Top 400. As a result of the slump, Stosur’s WTA ranking dropped to No. 25, and she finds herself outside the Top Twenty for the first time in five years. And as a result of her ranking drop, she now enters most events unseeded, facing tougher draws. That scenario played out over the last two weeks when Stosur faced world No. 1 Serena Williams in the second round of both Montreal and Cincinnati.

 

In Cincinnati, Stosur finally showed signs of life. While she lost to Williams in the second round, it was two close tiebreak sets, significantly better than the 6-0, 6-2 drubbing at the hands of Serena the week earlier in Montreal. Encouraged, Stosur took a wild card to The Connecticut Open, the final event leading into the 2014 U.S. Open.

 

In her opening round in New Haven, Stosur battled past a game opponent in Kurumi Nara. Nara is relatively new to the scene. “I never played her before, never seen her hit a ball, to be honest with you,” Stosur admitted after the match. But the Japanese player has had recent success, reaching the finals of Washington D.C. a few weeks ago, propelling her to a career high ranking of No. 32, not that far from Stosur’s own ranking. It was an up and down match: Nara grabbed an early lead, Stosur came from a 1-5 deficit to win the first set, Stosur lost match point opportunities in the second set, and finally took hold of the match in the final set. Stosur was happy to come through with the win. “Anytime you can battle through a match like that, it’s great for your confidence and belief… you can’t work on those things in practice.”

 

Like Montreal and Cincinnati, the road in New Haven gets much tougher for Stosur in the second round. Genie Bouchard, the Canadian success story who has risen to No. 8 in the world with her Wimbledon runner-up result, awaits. Stosur beat Bouchard in a tournament final in Japan last October, but they have been on separate paths since then. Stosur acknowledged the battle ahead against Bouchard: “She’s obviously improved a lot in the last ten or twelve months, and (she’s) putting consistent results together especially in grand slams. Two semis [Australian and French Opens] and a final [Wimbledon], you’re doing something well.” A win over Bouchard would be the best win for Stosur over the last 12 months, and could put her back on the road to the Top Twenty.

Around the grounds… Four time New Haven champ Caroline Wozniacki overcame a slow start to defeat Timea Bacsinszky, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2… Bouchard nabbed her first win since Wimbledon, crushing Bojana Jovanovski, 6-1, 6-1… Caroline Garcia of France lost in the final round of qualifying, but advanced to the main draw when the No. 8 seed, Carla Suarez Navarro, withdrew with a gastrointestinal ailment. Garcia’s first round opponent? Irina-Cameila Begu, who defeated her in qualifying. Garcia turned the tables, winning 7-6, 7-6… Sara Errani, seeded No. 7, became the first seed to tumble, losing to Garbine Muguruza, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1.

 

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

 

 

CONNECTICUT OPEN PRESENTED BY UNITED TECHNOLOGIES – NEW HAVEN, USA
$ 710,000.00
17-23 AUGUST 2014

RESULTS – AUGUST 18, 2014
Women’s
Singles – First Round

[3] E Bouchard (CAN) d B Jovanovski (SRB) 61 61
[4] C Wozniacki (DEN) d [Q] T Bacsinszky (SUI) 46 61 62
[WC] A Petkovic (GER) d [5] [WC] D Cibulkova (SVK) 76(2) 63
G Muguruza (ESP) d [7] S Errani (ITA) 62 36 61
M Rybarikova (SVK) d [Q] S Soler-Espinosa (ESP) 64 63
[Q] S Peng (CHN) d E Svitolina (UKR) 64 63
[WC] K Flipkens (BEL) d [Q] M Doi (JPN) 63 46 62
[WC] S Stosur (AUS) d K Nara (JPN) 76(5) 67(10) 62
[LL] C Garcia (FRA) d [Q] I Begu (ROU) 76(4) 76(4)
B Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) d [Q] B Bencic (SUI) 64 57 63

Women’s
Doubles – First Round

[5] A Medina Garrigues (ESP) / Y Shvedova (KAZ) d S Peer (ISR) / K Piter (POL) 64 61
C Garcia (FRA) / M Niculescu (ROU) d A Groenefeld (GER) / K Koukalova (CZE) 60 57 14-12
C Dellacqua (AUS) / S Voegele (SUI) d O Kalashnikova (GEO) / A Rosolska (POL) 76(3) 61

USONP
Men’s
Singles
Championship – Finals

[1] S Singh (IND) d [2] J Dadamo (USA) 62 62

USONP
Women’s
Singles
Championship – Finals

C Whoriskey (USA) d M Gordon (USA) 26 62 61

ORDER OF PLAY – TUESDAY, AUGUST 19, 2014
STADIUM start 12:00 noon
WTA – A Riske (USA) vs [6] F Pennetta (ITA)
WTA – [LL] C Garcia (FRA) vs B Zahlavova Strycova (CZE)
WTA – [Alt] A Riske (USA) / C Vandeweghe (USA) vs [WC] N Gibbs (USA) / G Min (USA)

Not Before 7:00 pm
WTA – [1] S Halep (ROU) vs M Rybarikova (SVK)
WTA – E Makarova (RUS) vs [2] P Kvitova (CZE)

GRANDSTAND start 2:00 pm
WTA – [1] C Black (ZIM) / S Mirza (IND) vs K Pliskova (CZE) / K Pliskova (CZE)
WTA – G Muguruza (ESP) / C Suárez Navarro (ESP) vs M Erakovic (NZL) / A Parra Santonja (ESP)

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Connecticut Open – Day 1

Connecticut_Open_logo

Connecticut Open – Day 1

 

By Jack Cunniff

 

(August 17, 2014) NEW HAVEN -First Round Action: Sixth seed Flavia Pennetta advanced to the second round of the Connecticut Open defeating Klara Koukalova. Koukalova was a semifinalist here last year, and had defeated Pennetta in New Haven in 2011 …Ekaterina Makarova scored a routine win over Roberta Vinci, 63 63, setting up a second round match against No. 2 seed Petra Kvitova. Makarova defeated Kvitova two weeks ago in the third round of Montreal. Makarova has compiled a very consistent record in 2014; the lowest ranked player she’s lost to this year was No. 26 Svetlana Kuznetsova in Washington, D.C…. Alison Riske defeated Casey Dellacqua in straight sets, snapping a four match losing streak that dated back to her third round Wimbledon loss to Maria Sharapova… Camilla Giorgi, ranked No. 37, defeated Coco Vandeweghe ranked no. 38. Only 3 points separated the two players in the August 11, 2014 rankings.

Qualifying: Sunday’s play at The Connecticut Open saw six players advance to the main draw from the Qualifying event: Belinda Bencic, Shaui Peng, Silvia Soler-Espinosa, Timea Bacsinszky, and by winning third set tiebreaks, Misaki Doi and Irina-Camelia Begu.  Qualifiers have had great success in New Haven. In three of the last five years, a qualifier has reached at least the quarterfinals. The most successful qualifier in recent years was Petra Cetkovska, who reached the New Haven final in 2011, defeating Li Na, Marion Bartoli, and Agnieszka Radwanska en route.
All Access Hour: Petra Kvitova, comparing her 2011 and 2014 Wimbledon wins: “I enjoyed it a little bit more the second time. I feel it is more special a little bit…This year, I felt like I was the favorite for the matches, so it was more difficult.” Kvitova enjoys playing in New Haven, comparing it to the calm before the storm that is the U.S. Open… Simona Halep is attempting her first successful title defense in New Haven. There’s pressure involved in defending her title and the ranking points that come with it, but Halep is quietly confident about her chances: “I’m also relaxed because I played good last week and I’m 100%”… Caroline Wozniacki Is happy with her current form, and feels her close matches to Serena Williams in the past two weeks is proof that her play is on the upswing. But she is concerned about one thing: cookies. “The worst part about (New Haven) is they’ve opened up this cookie shop right around the corner… that is very dangerous.” Wozniacki is doing a lot of running off-court, not only to work off the cookies, but to prepare for the New York Marathon. She will be running for the charity Team For Kids., which raises funds for health and fitness programs for kids… Genie Bouchard breaks down the top 50 players: “The most important thing at this level is the mental side. It’s really about who can play their best in the high pressure situations or on big stages.” When asked about setting Canadian tennis records, Genie cited her Junior Wimbledon title (2013) and becoming the first Canadian to win a Singles Slam “It was huge for me. I made history for my country.”

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

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The Newport Club

International Tennis Hall of Fame Class of 2014: Nick Bollettieri, Jane Brown Grimes, Lindsay Davenport, John Barrett, and Chantal Vandierendonck   Photo by Kate Whitney Lucey

International Tennis Hall of Fame Class of 2014: Nick Bollettieri, Jane Brown Grimes, Lindsay Davenport, John Barrett, and Chantal Vandierendonck Photo by Kate Whitney Lucey

The Newport Club

By Jack Cunniff

(July 12, 2014) NEWPORT – With apologies to the late John Hughes.

Five students of the game of tennis – “executive” Jane Brown Grimes, “journalist” John Barrett, “survivor” Chantal Vandierendonck, “coach” Nick Bollettieri, and “champion” Lindsay Davenport – all come from different backgrounds. On Saturday, they reported for Saturday “detention” at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, RI. At the end of day, by sharing their life experiences, we learn that they aren’t just the executive, the journalist, the survivor, the coach, the champion. We see them for what they are: tennis fans. They are “The Newport Club”, Class of 2014.

 

To look at the resume of Jane Brown Grimes, she’s the consummate tennis executive. President and CEO of the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Managing Director of the Women’s Professional Tennis Council (now known as the Women’s Tennis Association). Chairman of the Board of the United States Tennis Association. Professional tennis has always had a fragmented political structure, and it is never easy to get each body to agree on the issues facing the sport. It was Brown Grimes’ love of tennis that allowed her to succeed in each of these roles by moving the sport forward. In her own words, “If you can kind of get on the same page with various groups, really convince them something you think should happen is good for the game overall, if you can back your own ego out of it, I think you can get a lot done.”

It’s easy to label Barrett a journalist. For over forty years, he was the tennis correspondent for The Financial Times of London. He was editor of World of Tennis, and publisher of Wimbledon the Official History. He was the Wimbledon announcer on the BBC from 1971 until 2006. More than this, however, he is a fan of tennis and feels incredibly lucky to have made his life in the sport. Regarding his broadcasting career, Barrett says “I had the best seat in the house. I could comment about the game I loved from an early age and they actually paid me for it! What could be more wonderful than that?” He married tennis as well, taking three-time Grand Slam champion Angela Mortimer as his bride in 1967.

 

Vandierendonck was born into a tennis family. At age 18, tennis took a back seat when she became a paraplegic as the result of an auto accident. Chantal would have to learn to accept life in a wheelchair. How could she survive life without tennis? Her uncle told Chantal about wheelchair tennis. Upon seeing the sport for the first time in Paris, she saw it was “still real tennis”. Her family organized wheelchair events in her native Netherlands, and with her love of practice and hard work, Vandierendonck soon became a champion in the sport. Because of her dedication to tennis, Vandierendonck learned how great her life in a wheelchair could be. She’s not only the first women’s wheelchair player inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame, but also the first Dutch player inducted.

 

The “Coach”, Nick Bollettieri, is famous for many reasons. He has a number of successful former pupils, including Hall-of-Famers Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, and Monica Seles. He partnered with Arthur Ashe to start the Ashe Bollettieri Tennis Program in Newark, NJ, then started the Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, FL. He’s the author of several instructional books. His commitment to tennis continues to drive him. His sponsorship for children’s tennis programs is well-documented, but in Newport, Bollettieri partnered with AARP Rhode Island to hold a free clinic for senior players. As he announced in his induction speech, “I’m just beginning my journey.” This fan of tennis says that retirement is not in his vocabulary.

 

Lindsay Davenport has always been known as a champion. She won regularly in the junior ranks of tennis. Within four months of turning professional, she won her first of 55 tournament titles. After turning twenty, she claimed the gold medal in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. And she continued to win on the biggest stages of the sport, taking the Women’s Singles trophies at the 1998 U.S. Open, 1999 Wimbledon, and 2000 Australian Open. It’s been only recently that we’ve come to view Davenport as something other than a champion. Certainly, as the wife and mother of four, she has new responsibilities today. Yet her love of the sport has returned her to the scene as a respected tennis commentator. “I always loved to study the game,” Davenport admitted, “I would spend a lot of time trying to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the players at the very top. I’m a tennis junkie.”

 

The five most recent inductees had been labeled and stereotyped into a role. But after the 2014 Tennis Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, we learned that the reason for their success was that they were, and still are, tennis fans.

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Wimbledon Ladies’ Contender Profiles

Serena Williams Beijing

(June 22, 2014) Profiles of the top Women’s Singles contenders for 2014 Wimbledon. Note: Grand Slam records for main draw matches only.  – by Jack Cunniff     http://twitter.com/jrcunniff

 

1.Serena Williams

2014 Record: 24-4

Grand Slam Record: 250-38

Wimbledon Record: 70-9

Wimbledon Best Result: Won (2002, ’03, ’09, ’10, ‘12)

Fast Fact: Serena has lost before the Quarterfinals of the last two Grand Slam events she’s played; the last time she lost before the Quarterfinals in three straight Grand Slams was 2005 Wimbledon – 2006 Australian Open.

 

2. Li Na

2014 Record: 26-6

Grand Slam Record: 88-30

Wimbledon Record: 17-7

Wimbledon Best Result: QF (2006, ’10, ‘13)

Fast Fact: Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam or WTA Premier event in which Li Na hasn’t reached the Semifinals.

 

3. Simona Halep

2014 Record: 26-9

Grand Slam Record: 20-16

Wimbledon Record: 2-3

Wimbledon Best Result: 2R (2011, ‘13)

Fast Fact: Halep has earned as many Grand Slam victories in her last two Slam events (10) as she had earned in her first 14.

 

4. Agnieszka Radwanska

2014 Record: 32-12

Grand Slam Record: 86-32

Wimbledon Record: 28-8

Wimbledon Best Result: RU (2012)

Fast Fact: Radwanska has lost to players ranked outside the Top Twenty in her last four consecutive Grand Slam events, the first time that’s happened in her career.

 

5. Maria Sharapova

2014 Record: 31-6

Grand Slam Record: 159-38

Wimbledon Record: 38-10

Wimbledon Best Result: Won (2004)

Fast Fact: In her last seven Wimbledon appearances, Sharapova has reached the Quarterfinals only once (2011, runner-up).

 

6. Petra Kvitova

2014 Record: 18-10

Grand Slam Record: 56-23

Wimbledon Record: 20-5

Wimbledon Best Result: W (2011)

Fast Fact: Kvitova is tied with Serena Williams for the most Wimbledon match wins (20) since 2010

 

7. Jelena Jankovic

2014 Record: 30-14

Grand Slam Record: 102-43

Wimbledon Record: 17-10

Wimbledon Best Result: 4R (2006, ‘07, ’08, ‘10)

Fast Fact: Jankovic has lost 6 of her last 7 grass court matches, dating back to the 2012 Birmingham event.

 

8. Victoria Azarenka

2014 Record: 7-4

Grand Slam Record: 96-31

Wimbledon Record: 21-8

Wimbledon Best Result: SF (2011, ‘12)

Fast Fact: Since reaching the U.S. Open final nine months ago, Azarenka has won only eight matches.

 

9. Angelique Kerber

2014 Record: 30-14

Grand Slam Record: 42-26

Wimbledon Record: 8-6

Wimbledon Best Result: SF (2012)

Fast Fact: Kerber has reached the 4R in eight of her last nine Grand Slam events, failing to do so only at 2013 Wimbeldon (l. 2R, Kanepi)

 

10. Dominika Cibulkova

2014 Record: 26-13

Grand Slam Record: 51-27

Wimbledon Record: 10-6

Wimbledon Best Result: QF (2011)

Fast Fact: Cibulkova’s last win over a player ranked in the Top 50 was in March (Miami).

 

11. Ana Ivanovic

2014 Record: 37-9

Grand Slam Record: 95-37

Wimbledon Record: 21-9

Wimbledon Best Result: SF (2007)

Fast Fact: Ivanovic is ranked 11th, just one position out of the Top Ten; her last appearance in the Top Ten was over 5 years ago (May, 2009).

 

12. Flavia Pennetta

2014 Record: 21-10

Grand Slam Record: 65-43

Wimbledon Record: 17-11

Wimbledon Best Result: 4R (2013)

Fast Fact: Pennetta reached the 4th round last year after an absence of 7 years (2006), the longest absence between 4th round appearances since Amy Frazier (1996-2004).

 

13. Eugenie Bouchard

2014 Record: 30-13

Grand Slam Record: 14-5

Wimbledon Record: 2-1

Wimbledon Best Result: 3R (2013)

Fast Fact: Bouchard is the Wimbledon Junior Girls Champion from 2012, and is looking to become only the third woman to win both the Girls and Ladies titles (Hingis, Mauresmo).

 

16. Caroline Wozniacki

2014 Record: 18-10

Grand Slam Record: 70-29

Wimbledon Record: 13-7

Wimbledon Best Result: 4R (2009, ’10, ‘11)

Fast Fact: Wozniacki has failed to reach the 4th round at five straight Grand Slam events, the longest drought of her career.

 

19. Sabine Lisicki

2014 Record: 8-8

Grand Slam Record: 40-23

Wimbledon Record: 19-5

Wimbledon Best Result: RU (2013)

Fast Fact: Lisicki has defeated the French Open holder in the last three Wimbledon events (def. Li, 2011; def. Sharapova, 2012; def. Serena Williams 2013).

 

30. Venus Williams

2014 Record: 15-7

Grand Slam Record: 217-55

Wimbledon Record: 71-11

Wimbledon Best Result: W (2000, ’01, ’05, ’07, ‘08)

Fast Fact: Venus has 71 career match wins at Wimbledon, one more than Serena, and fourth in the open era behind Navratilova (121), Evert (98), and Graf (74).

 

 

 

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