2014/04/24

Caroline Garcia Nets First WTA Title with Win in Bogota

 

(April 13, 2014) France’s Caroline Garcia won her first WTA title in her first final with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over top seed and defending champion Jelena Jankovic on Sunday in Bogota. The win over Jankovic was her first over a Top 10 player. Previously she was 0-6 versus the top 10.

It was double victory day for the Frenchwoman as she paired with Lara Arruabarrena to win the doubles title.

“I think I played pretty well. I’m very pleased,” Garcia said. “This is my first time in Colombia, and I loved the tournament and the people.”

“I’m very happy to win my first WTA title,” Garcia continued “It was a good week for me. It’s never easy playing with the altitude – it’s hard to adapt, and my level was going up and down throughout the week, but I think I adjusted well and I probably played my best match of the week today in the final.

“I’m also really happy I was able to beat Jelena in the final. She’s a really nice girl and a great player, she was the No.1 player in the world and I had to play the best I could today to beat her.

“To win a WTA title is always a goal. Today is the best day I could imagine.”

“I love Colombia. Bogotá is a very special place,” said Jankovic. “The people are very funny, open and very warm. There is no reason for me not to come. I owe much to Bogotá.”

Garcia becomes the first player to pull off a singles-doubles sweep at a WTA-level event since Serena Williams did it at the 2012 Olympics.

Garcia, currently ranked at 74, will see her ranking rise into the 50s.

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Photos from the Sony Open for March 19, 2014

(March 19, 2014) KEY BISCAYNE, FL – Photos from the Sony Open which includes shots from the players party on Tuesday night, Caroline Wozniacki’s visit to the Baptist Children’s Hospital and events around the grounds.

 

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Novak Djokovic and Jelena Jankovic Advance at BNP Paribas Open

Djokovic thumbs up to fans while leaving

(March 11, 2014) INDIAN WELLS – Novak Djokovic was tested in the middle set against Colombian Alejandro Gonzalez, but the Serbian pulled out a 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 win to move into the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open on Tuesday.

Other men advancing were 24th-seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia, who defeated 16th-seeded Tommy Robredo 6-4, 6-3; 30th-seeded Fernando Verdasco  who beat No. 8 seed Richard Gasquet, 7-6 (5), 6-1 24th-seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia, who beat 16th-seeded Tommy Robredo 6-4, 6- and Roberto Bautista Agut stopped  Jarkko Nieminen, 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (6).

On the women’s side. 2010 champion Jelena Jankovic defeated 2011 champion Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 6-1 in the battle of former No. 1s. Also Advancing on the women’s side were No. 6 seed Simona Halep who stopped Eugenie Bouchard 6-2, 1-6, 6-4; Casey Dellacqua of Australia moved on due to Lauren Davis pulling out of the tournament due to gastrointestinal illness and Maria Sharapova conqueror Camilia Giorgi was dismissed by her Italian countrywoman Flavia Pennetta in 56 minutes 6-2, 6-1 to reach the quarterfinals.

Two-time Indian Wells champion Djokovic had 28 winners in the match against Gonzalez. The Colombian before this week had never won an ATP Tour level match until Indian Wells.

“I honestly haven’t seen him play ever before that,” Djokovic said of his opponent.  “I got information from some other players, and my coach did preparations also for the match.  You know, asked also a few players what his weaknesses and strengths are in the game.

“It took me a little bit to get used to it, you know, but I thought I played really well from the start.  6‑1, and then his opening few games, service games, I had break points, and then suddenly I just had a big loss of concentration and allowed him to win the second set for no reason.

“Bounced back better in the third, but I obviously cannot allow myself to have these particular concentration lapses in the match at this level ‑ especially in the next match when I’m playing Cilic, you know, a guy who is in really good form and I think has gotten better in last couple of months working with Ivanisevic.

“So I’m going to have to be on top of my game throughout the whole match in order to win it.”

Djokovic plays Mari Cilic next.

“I’ve played him (Cilic) several times on different surfaces,” Djokovic said.  “We haven’t played each other for quite a long time.

“He started working with Goran, and as I said before, you can feel and you can notice the improvement in his game.  He’s more aggressive.  He comes to the net.  He’s a big guy, and that’s what you expect from him is to serve big and to come to the net.

“He’s using his serve as a big advantage nowadays, and also I feel like he’s moving better on the court.  He did before ‑‑ obviously he had this injury and then was absent from the tour for several months, but since he came back he’s a stronger player.

“I have been watching him playing some big matches.  He won against Murray in Rotterdam in straight sets.  He can definitely can play.  And not just play, I mean, he can win against top players.  That’s why I do not even for a second underestimate him.

“I’m coming into the match knowing that I’m going to have to be playing on top of my game in order to win that match.  I’m going to get myself ready for it.”

Jankovic fh volley

Djokovic’s countrywoman Jelena Jankovic routed Wozniacki 6-3, 6-1. Depending on how other players perform, Wozniacki’s ranking could fall to No. 15 in the world.

“I lost to her the last I don’t know how many times, but I think right now I am playing some pretty good tennis,” Jankovic said of finally ending a five-match losing streak against the Dane.  “I went on court, you know, trying to wait for my chances.

“Against her, if you go sometimes for too much you just make so many errors and you beat yourself.  A lot of times it happened in the past.

“So I try to play solid and aggressive at the same time, wait for the right shots, and then execute.  I did that pretty well.  3‑1 I kind of found my way, found my rhythm, and I was striking the ball very well out there and took control of the points.

“You know, I just did not let her play what she plays.  That was very important.  So I was pretty pleased with the way I played and how composed I stayed throughout the whole match.

“I kind of surprised myself, especially because of my back.  Two nights ago I hurt my back, and yesterday did not hit at all.  Had a lot of treatment.  Could not put my shoes on and all these kind of things.

“So I went on court today not knowing how I was going to feel.  You know, if I was going to be limited with my movement or if I was going to play my game.

“But I did, and I was surprised.  I was so happy and pleased with how everything went.”

Jankovic will play second-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska in the quarterfinals.

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Ready, Set, WTA All-Access at the BNP Paribas Open

 

(March 5, 2014) INDIAN WELLS, California – The top eight women’s seeds held court on Wednesday taking questions from the media during roundtable interviews at the BNP Paribas Open. Here are a few notes and quotes from session:

Aga Radwanska

Agnieszka Radwanska and the Cheesecake Factory

Radwanska professed her love for the Cheesecake Factory. She has inked a multi-year agreement with her favorite restaurant. She’ll be sporting the logo on her visor when she plays.

Radwanska says that she can complain about her season so far – two semifinals including the Australian Open.

Last year Radwanska became a blonde and is back to being a brunette. When asked about the change back to her natural hair color, she said “I prefer the dark hair. It was good to change sometimes.”

LI Na media crush

Li Na is the No. 1 Seed

With Serena Williams absent from Indian Wells, Li Na holds the mantle as the No. 1 seed for the tournament. “Feel pretty good,” Li Na said about having the top spot. This is the first time that she’s been the top seed at WTA Premier Mandatory event.

So what’s life after winner her second major like? She says not much different. “I signed a lot of autographs. But not contracts, OK? So looking forward to signing a lot of contracts,” she said.

 

Kerber

Angelique Kerber – Germany’s Fed Cup team members get a Porsche

So what does she think makes her game special? She says she has the ability to read her opponent’s game, and her defense – how she runs and fights for every point. “That’s what I have inside,” she said. As to what she thinks she needs to improve, she says that she needs to play more “aggressive” tennis.

Kerber spot fondly of being a member of Germany’s Fed Cup. She says they are all friends so everyone wants to play and there is a nice incentive – each Fed Cup team member gets a Porsche. Porsche is the sponsor of the Fed Cup team in Germany.

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova NBC Correspondent

“Carrying the torch was the biggest honor I could have received,” said  former Sochi native Sharapova in choosing between carrying the Olympic torch or Russia’s flag at the Olympic games.

In addition to her torch carrying duty, Sharapova was a correspondent for NBC during the Sochi games. “It was really fun,” said the Russian.

Asked if she would be interested in media in the future she said, ” I am not sure. I had a great time and I don’t know if that’s something I would do for long periods of time. I love that challenge of it.

“We shot for so many hours for a three minute clip.” She emphasized how it takes a lot of time to put a short piece together in television between shooting and travel time.

Her Sochi experience was a great one, but she’s happy to get back to the court.

 

Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova

When asked about whether she feels that most of the time her matches are on her racquet, she responded, When I’m playing, I’m feeling it’s about me and I’m playing aggressive myself, that’s most(ly) about me.” Not all of the time is a happy end.” Kvitova admits that she’s OK with her game but she has some  more expectations of herself.

Playing aggressively comes natural to the 2011 Wimbledon champion.

 

Halep

Simona Halep is a first-timer at the WTA All-Access

Simona Halep’s ranking has been on the rise for the past few years. Last year only No. 1 Serena Williams claimed more titles than the Romanian during the year.

To what does Halep attribute that success to? “I was more aggressive starting  with last year in Rome, becasue I played really well there. Before I had (a) back injury and it was very hard and I couldn’t play at my level but after that I did really well.”

” I am very happy to be top ten . It’s amazing. Now I can see that I can play the highest level in tennis so I want to continue to be focused.”

She admits that she enjoys the perks of being in the top ten. “I have the bigger car,” she said. As a top ten player it entitles her to a bigger car at tournaments. She enjoys driving and one of the reasons she loves this tournament is that she can drive.

She recently purchased a Range Rover back home in Romania.

Halep’s biggest triumph came in Doha last month, where she beat three top ten players for the title. ” After Australia I thought I could be at highest level of tennis, now I am really happy that I can play in top ten.”

 

Jelena Jankovic

Jelena Jankovic models new French Open Fila dress

Jelena Jankovic walked into her roundtable session modeling her new Fila outfit for the French Open accompanied by the designer Ginny Hilfiger.

Jankovic reacted to her former coach Nick Bollettieri being named for induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. “Nick is an amazing person,” Jankovic said. “He’s the one who helped me quite a  lot, you know when it comes to my game brought me a lot at young age.”

“He helped me to believe in myself,” said the former No. 1.

 

 

azarenka-cincy-slider-1

Victoria Azarenka is coming back from a foot injury

By viewing her practices on Monday, one could tell that No. 4 Victoria Azarenka was in some type of pain. She told media that her foot injury had her in a walking boot for three weeks last month. She confessed that she’s only been able to practice for less than a week.

“When you hear for the first time from the doctor that you have to wear a boot for three weeks and the tournament is four-and-a-half weeks away you’re like ‘OK, let’s see how it goes,’” she said. “I just wanted to stay positive and do the best job as possible.”

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Serena Williams Claims Spot in Dubai Semis with Win Over Jelena Jankovic

 

Serena in press

(February 20, 2014) DUBAI – Serena Williams and older sister Venus are just one win away from meeting in Saturday’s final of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships as both women claimed straight set victories.

No. 1 Serena dismissed Jelena Jankovic 6-2, 6-2 in 76 minutes to reach the semifinals where she’ll face Alize Cornet. The match had some controversy toward the end of the encounter. In the final game of the match when Jankovic was serving, chair Umpire Kader Nouni told the Serb that she was serving too quickly and then too slowly taking more time than the 25 second regulation.

Jankovic commented that Williams often took a longer than regulation time to serve also.

At the end of the match spoke to each other and ended the match on good terms.

)

Jankovic said in press that she was told she was serving too fast, then too slow. Saying it’s not a big deal, and that she played a “bad match.” She further gave credit to Serena saying you have respect for each other and that Serena believes in being fair.

“I told her at the end, `Look, I didn’t mean anything. I’m sorry if I played slow,’” Williams said to media. “She was like, `No, it was more like they say (I) play too fast and then too slow.’ She said she couldn’t get it right.

“I was like, `Look, are we cool because I’m cool with you?’”

Williams opened the match taking a 3-0 lead, at one stage in the match the American won 12 straight points. Williams said the match was an improvement from her opening match on Tuesday.

“It definitely felt a lot more comfortable,” she said. “There are some shots today that I missed that I would never have missed a month ago, so I’m still getting a little rust off. But it feels good. I’m still trying to make sure I keep going in the right direction.”

 

Related article:

Venus Williams

Venus Williams Reaches Dubai Semis

 

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

Wozniacki engagement ring

(February 18, 2014) DUBAI – Former No. 1 and Dubai 2011 champion Caroline Wozniacki battled back to stop 2013 Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki, winning 2-6, 6-3, 6-3.

“I have had to fight pretty hard against her quite a few times,” said the woeld No. 11.  “I knew she was going to come out hot and just go for her shots, and I felt like I was just a step behind.  I couldn’t really do what I wanted from my backhand side, and I was playing a little too short.

“In the second set I started serving really well, I was really pleased with my serves, and I got a lot of her returns back deep, and all of a sudden, you know, the game was different.  I started attacking more from my backhand side onto her backhand and started to make her run a little bit.”

Asked if she was disappointed with the loss Lisicki who is still nursing a shoulder injury said:

“Definitely, but I still see it as positive, because I didn’t have a racquet in my hand for more than two weeks or two weeks.  I practiced four days, and, you know, my shoulder, I did a lot of rehab to be able to come here.

“So I’m very happy that I was able to play and to actually play that well.  It wasn’t enough to play the two whole sets that way yet, but in general, I’m pretty satisfied the way, you know, I started and went into the match, so that’s definitely something that I can build on.”

Wozniacki came into her news conference, sporting her 8 carat diamond engagement ring from fiancé and fomer No. 1 golfer Rory McIlroy. She doesn’t wear it on court for fear of losing it.

She explained the significance of the 8 carats:

“That’s my lucky number.  That’s how he picked eight.  Very thoughtful.  I should have said 18, but…,” she said jokingly.

“Date, everything, location set,” the Dane said when asked about her wedding plans. “Such an exciting time.”

Asked to name the date, she quipped, “You never know.”

 

No. 5 seed, Jelena Jankovic, had to fight to get past qualifier Maryna Zanevska, winning 6-4, 6-3.

“I worked really hard. It was not easy for my first match here,” said Jankovic. “I just came from Doha like one day ago, so it’s completely different. Playing there during the night it’s slower, and here it’s faster and the balls fly. It was quite windy out there, and I felt kind of like I couldn’t play my game totally, you know, play the lines.”

Related articles:

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

Simona Halep Retires with Injury in Dubai Opening Match

 

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Canada Dominates Serbia to Win Fed Cup Tie

Bouchard 2 9 3

By Brodie Elgin

(February 9, 2014) On Saturday, Canada took a commanding lead in their Davis Cup tie as Aleksandra Wozniak toughed out an emotional win over Vesna Dolonc, and Eugenie Bouchard routed Jovana Jaksic in front of an ecstatic Canadian crowd in Montreal. Sunday featured the reverse singles, meaning both team’s top ranked players would face off to start the day, giving Bouchard the opportunity to sweep the Serbians as she took on Dolonc at the Claude Robillard Sports Complex.

 

The Canadian stormed out of the gate once again, taking the first set emphatically, 6-0, and in just 18 minutes. Despite some better serving from the Serbian and needing to save break points early in the second set, Bouchard stayed composed and went on to win 6-0, 6-3 in just 50 minutes. “I played two solid matches this weekend and I am happy that I was able to help the team win,” the 19th ranked Canadian said after her victory. “I love playing for my country, I am very patriotic.”

 

The win for Canada sees them advance to the World Group playoffs in April, where a win would see them advance to the 2015 Fed Cup World Group which consists of only eight elite teams from across the world. The win represents another massive victory for tennis in Canada after the men advanced to the Davis Cup semifinals in 2013.

 

“We are doing good things in Fed Cup because everyone is working together,” said Canadian Fed Cup captain Sylvain Bruneau. “We are very motivated to get to World Group I with the eight best countries in the world. That’s where we want to be, that’s our goal.”

The growing success of Canadian tennis was a common theme of the weekend, as the entire tie was broadcast nationally on the country’s largest television sports channel, Sportsnet. “I hope the popularity of tennis gets bigger in Canada, and if I’m part of that, well that makes me happy,” Bouchard said.

 

The draw for the World Group I and World Group II Fed Cup playoffs will be held Tuesday, February 11th in London.

 

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Favorite Canada Lead by Bouchard Take 2-0 Advantage over Serbia in Fed Cup World Group 2 Play

 

Aleksandra Wozniack

Aleksandra Wozniack

By Brodie Elgin

(February 8, 2014) It has been an exciting time for Canada in the past several years. From the break out of Milos Raonic as the first Canadian to win an ATP title and reach the top 10, to the Canadian team’s success in Davis Cup and the emergence of Vasek Pospisil all the way to Eugenie Bouchard‘s semifinal run in the Australian Open – the first Canadian women to advance to the final four of a major tournament in 30 years. After the Canadian team failed to advance past the first round of Davis Cup in Tokyo, the women took center stage as they got under way against Serbia in Fed Cup at in Montreal.

 

The Canadian team looked to be heavy favorites to advance out of the World Group II as Serbia’s top three ranked players, Jelena Jankovic, Ana Ivanovic, and Bojana Jovanovski were all absent. Serbia called upon Vesna Dolonc in the first rubber to take on the previously top ranked Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak in front of a large crowd at the Claud Robillard Sports Complex.

 

Before the match, the crowd appeared ready to cheer on the Canadians, but were quickly stifled as the Serbian raced out to a 5-1 lead. Wozniak, who is still returning from a series of serious injuries, looked a step slow and failed to properly impose herself in the match.

 

However, things quickly changed as the Canadian found her feet and started to find more consistent depth that caused problems for Dolonc. The Serbian did not make matters easier for herself, as she double faulted four times in two service games, including once on break point, and Wozniak fought all the way back, winning six straight games and taking the first set 7-5.

 

A disheveled Dolonc left the court with her coach’s arm around her in an attempt to regain her composure, and it worked as she broke in her first return game, and took the second set decisively, 6-2.

 

The beginning of the third set featured some of the best tennis of the match, as both players raised their level and fought out several long games on serve. But it would eventually be Wozniak who would break in the middle of the set and hold on, taking her first match point and the match, 7-5, 2-6, 6-4.

 

“It was an emotional win for me. I wanted so badly to get back on the Fed Cup team,” said Wozniak, who was brought to tears after her hard fought win. “It was a tough match with a lot of long points, so I had to stay focused. The crowd was amazing and really helped me get through. It’s special to play at home.”

 

Eugenie Bouchard'

Eugenie Bouchard’

Next up was young star Eugenie Bouchard, now ranked at a career high number 19, versus 20 year-old  Jovana Jaksic, ranked 149. Clad in red and featuring a fake Canadian flag tattoo on her right cheek, Bouchard turned the match into an exhibition as she routed the Serbian 6-1, 6-0.

 

The 19 year-old showed off not only why she managed to make the Australian Open semifinals, but why so many are hyping her game for the future. She mixed in plenty of effective net play and her forehand was particularly dominant as she hit 16 winners and won 85% of points behind her first serve en route to a 50 minute victory that puts Canada in a commanding position.

 

Sunday’s matches will include the reverse singles at 11am EST time as Wozniak will now take on Jaksic and Bouchard against Dolonc. If necessary, the doubles will feature Gabriela Dabrowski and Sharon Fichman for Canada against Aleksandra Krunic and Nina Stojanovic for Serbia.

 

All photos by Marc-André Gauthier

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Serena Williams to Face Li Na for WTA Championships

(October 26, 2013) A sluggish Serena Williams overcame her fatigue to stop Jelena Jankovic 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 to move into finals of the WTA Championships.

Williams who appeared to be in pain during the match said that she hit a wall after playing so much tennis this year. She’s 77-4 on the year and looking for her second straight year-end title, which would be her fourth overall.

Williams will be meeting Li Na in the final on Sunday. Li defeated Petra Kvitova 6-4, 6-2 to make her first appearance in the year-end tournament. This will be a match-up between the two oldest women in the tournament with Williams at 32 and Li at 31.

 

TEB BNP PARIBAS WTA CHAMPIONSHIPS – ISTANBUL
Istanbul, Turkey
October 22-October 27, 2013
$6,000,000/Season-Ending Championships
Hard/Indoors

Results – Saturday, October 26, 2013
Singles – Semifinals
(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. (7) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 64 26 64
(4) Li Na (CHN) d. (5) Petra Kvitova (CZE) 64 62

Doubles – Semifinals
Makarova/Vesnina (RUS/RUS) d. (1) Errani/Vinci (ITA/ITA) 46 75 103 (Match TB)
(2) Hsieh/Peng (TPE/CHN) d. Petrova/Srebotnik (RUS/SLO) 76(5) 62

Order Of Play – Sunday, October 27, 2013
Center Court (from 14.30hrs)
1. Doubles Final: Makarova/Vesnina vs. Hsieh/Peng
2. Singles Final: Serena Williams vs. Li Na (NB 17.00hrs)

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Serena Williams to Face Jelena Jankovic in Istanbul Semis

 

Serena Williams

(October 25, 2013) Serena Williams will face off against Jelena Jankovic in the semifinals of the WTA Championships in Istanbul on Saturday while Li Na will play Petra Kvitova.

No. 4 seed Li Na earned her semifinal berth with a 6-2, 6-1 win on Friday over Victoria Azarenka who was suffering from a back injury. Li won the White Group with a perfect 3-0 record.

2011 WTA Championships winner Petra Kvitova, came back against Angelique Kerber 6-7 (3), 6-2, 6-3.

Defending champion Serena Williams has a 7-4 career edge against Jankovic. Li and Kvitova are even at 3-3 in head-to-head meetings.

The Williams-Jankovic match-up will be just the second time that two thirty-somethings are in the final four of the year-end championships.

Not in  action on Friday, Williams accepted her award for finishing 2013 with the top ranking for the third time. Williams also finished as the year-end No. 1 in 2002 and 2009.

 

TEB BNP PARIBAS WTA CHAMPIONSHIPS – ISTANBUL
Istanbul, Turkey
October 22-October 27, 2013
$6,000,000/Season-Ending Championships
Hard/Indoors

Results – Friday, October 25, 2013
White Group
(4) Li Na (CHN) d. (2) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) 62 61
(6) Sara Errani (ITA) d. (7) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 64 64

Red Group
(5) Petra Kvitova (CZE) d. (8) Angelique Kerber (GER) 67(3) 62 63

Order Of Play – Saturday, October 26, 2013
Center Court (from 13.00hrs)
1. Petrova/Srebotnik vs. Hsieh/Peng
2. Li Na vs. Petra Kvitova (NB 15.00hrs)
3. Serena Williams vs. Jelena Jankovic
4. Errani/Vinci vs. Makarova/Vesnina

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