December 3, 2016

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.   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. 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. Follow her personal twitter at @rfsatar.

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Sharapova and Jankovic Close Round of 16 Door on the Young Vanguard

Jelena Jankovic

Jelena Jankovic

By Ros Satar

(June 3, 2013) PARIS – Jelena Jankovic continued her good run of form with a systematic dismantling of Jamie Hampton 6-0, 6-2, as they took to the court after a thrilling five-setter between Richard Gasquet and Stanislas Wawrinka.

 

In an embarrassingly empty stadium, Jankovic wasted no time at all, winning the first set to love, in just 25 minutes.

 

Hampton was left looking very frustrated with herself, as she rushed shots while Jankovic exhibited pinpoint accuracy, painting the lines, and moving Hampton all around the court.

 

The second set started better for Hampton with an immediate break of Jankovic’s serve, but was broken straight back.

 

Hampton gave up a break to love after the change of ends, and from then on, Jankovic was on a mission to get the job done, in the fading light.

 

Jankovic said: “I was hitting my shots, I didn’t really allow Jamie to play her tennis.

 

“I was hitting the ball very cleanly, and very solid and went after my shots. I’m pretty pleased with my performance.”

 

Knowing that the amount of available light was limited, the Serb focused purely on her execution, explaining: “If I start rushing, I might ruin it, I might lose that lead, so I just tried to stay focused in that moment, focused on what I was doing out there.”

 

Jankovic is coming on her way back up and believes a lot of it is down to regaining the self-belief she had lost with early round defeats last season,

 

She said: “I go now for my shots and I believe I can make it, especially that backhand which is the shot that pays my bills [laughing].”

 

But for Hampton, it was a time to reflect on what went wrong, and how to go forward.

 

After the match, she said: “Obviously you don’t want to lose 0 and 2 in the R16 at a grand slam.

 

“Today was just a tough day.”

 

But despite the loss, she can take a lot of positives from this year’s clay court appearances, and has a lot to look forward to.

 

Compared to last year, with a single win on clay, and a back injury, she has made the semifinals of a WTA Premier event, made it to the second week of a slam for the first time, and uninjured.

 

She said: “I’m really looking forward to the grass because it suits my game a bit more ad I really have nothing to defend until the US Open.

 

“It’s a good time for me.”

 

Jankovic will meet Maria Sharapova, who halted the progress of another promising young American, Sloane Stephens.

 

Sharapova defeated the twenty-year-old in Rome 6-2, 6-1 and Stephens certainly gave a better account of herself today, mostly going toe to toe with Sharapova.

 

Losing today, 6-4 6-3, Stephens gave this analysis of her performance.

 

“It was just kind of a couple points here and there, she broke me, and things like that.

 

“But I thought I stayed pretty tough and I played solid, so I was happy with it.”

 

Sharapova agreed that Stephens’ performance had improved from their match in Rome.

 

She said: “I think she has a tremendous amount of potential.

 

“I think she has a lot of things in her game that she can ‑‑ in which there is a lot of room for improvement.”

 

Looking ahead to the quarter-final against her old Bollettieri Academy alumni, she said: “I think the clay really suits her game.

 

“I think she’s a great retriever, gets, you know, a lot of balls back.

 

“She’s playing much more consistent I believe than maybe she’s done in the last couple of years, which is nice to see, because she was at that level, you know, and she maintained that level for quite a bit of time.

 

“But, yeah, she’s a tough opponent.”

 

 

 

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American Jamie Hampton Upsets Safarova at French Open

Jamie Hampton

(May 29, 2013) American Jamie Hampton stunned the 25th seed Lucie Safarova 7-6(5), 3-6, 9-7 on Wednesday in the first round of the French Open.  Hampton rallied after Safarova served for the match at 7-6 in the third set.

For Hampton, it’s her first career French Open match win. Despite 50 unforced errors, she put seven aces past the Czech in the 2 1/2-hour match.

“Lucie is a very tough competitor and she stayed a really even keep throughout the match, I was kinda like this emotionally,” Hampton said.

“She’s a really great shot maker as well and I think everyone saw that, especially at the end.

“I’m just happy to come through with the win and have my first Roland-Garros main draw win.”

Hampton moves into the second round to join nine other U.S. women in advanced that far. Fifteen U.S. women began the tournament in the singles draw.

“I mean a couple of years ago, we weren’t even in the same there wasn’t even a group of us,” Hampton said about the strides American women are making in tennis these days.

“We’ve progressed, and I think the whole group will continue to progress, and we’ve all got really good games.

“We’re just trying to find our way on the clay right now.”

Hampton admits that she is still finding her way on clay.

“It’s tougher,” Hampton said.

“The American style is a little more powerful and a little less patience and it’s tough to translate that from hard to clay.

“It’s definitely doable – I just think it takes a lot of determination, a lot of patience in general.”

Hampton continued: “I think my game has more dimensions than other players so it gives me a few more options even clay is not my best surface, or it’s not my favorite, or you know if it’s annoying me, if I am not hitting one shot great I can go to a plan b.”

The 23 year-old Hampton has moved up in the rankings from 70th in the beginning of the year to No. 54 after making WTA Tour semifinals at Auckland and Brussels.

She severely tested Victoria Azarenka in the third round of this past Australian Open extending the eventual Australian Open Champion to three sets 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.  Hampton injured her back during that match. She says that her injury has been better since Australia.

“The trainers have done a really good job of keeping me in one piece, “Hampton said.

She’ll face qualifier Anna Karolina Schmiedlova of Slovakia for a place in the third round.

 

Ros Satar and Karen Pestaina contributed to this report.

 

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