June 27, 2017

Venus Williams Battles Back from Brink, Wozniacki calls Wildcards given to Sharapova “Disrespectful” to Other Players and Keys Posts First Win of 2017

 

Venus Williams

(March 11, 2017) In a battle between two former No. 1 players, Venus Williams rallied from 6-1, 4-1 down, saving three match points in the second set to beat Jelena Jankovic 1-6, 7-6(5), 6-1 at the BNP Paribas Open at India Wells on Saturday to reach the third round.

The seven-time major winner and 12th seed said after the match: “It aint’ over until it’s over, I didn’t see no fat lady singing.”

 

No. 9 seed Madison Keys won her first match back from left wrist surgery which had her off the tour since October, when she bested Mariana Duque-Marino 6-1, 7-5. Other seeds reaching the third round included No. 2 seed Angelique Kerber, fourth seed Simona Halep, 6th seed Agnieszka Radwanska and No. 28th seed Kristina Mladenovic.

Caroline Wozniacki, who also reached the third round was asked about Maria Sharapova’s return to the tour in April after a 15th month ban for doping. Sharapova will be making her return in Stuttgart as a wildcard on Wednesday of the tournament,  April 26th, when her suspension ends.

 

“I think obviously, she’s a good draw to tennis, women’s tennis in general,” Wozniacki said in her news conference.

“But, two, I think it’s very questionable allowing – no matter who it is – a player that is still banned to play a tournament that week. I think, from the tournament side, it’s disrespectful to the other players and the WTA.

“It is what it is. Obviously, rules are twisted and turned in favor of who wants to do what.

“I think everyone deserves a second chance and I think that she’s going to come back and she’s going to fight her way back. I’m sure she’s going to play well.

“But at the same time, I feel like when a player is banned for drugs, I think that someone should start from the bottom and fight their way back because it’s different from an injury or where someone is out because they had hurt themselves. That way, I feel like a player should be able to receive as many wildcards.

“But when someone has been banned for drugs and something that is performance-enhancing, I think you deserve a second chance like everyone else, people make mistakes, but I think you should fight your back from the bottom.”

Seeds falling on the women’s side of the draw on Saturday included (16) Samantha Stosur, (23) Carla Suarez Navarro,  (27) Yulia Putintseva, (30) Shuai Zhang, and (31) Ana Konjuh.

 

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Five Past Champions to Play the Volvo Car Open

Venus Williams

(March 1, 2017) DANIEL ISLAND, S.C. – As of today, the Volvo Car Open will welcome back at least five of its past champions for its 2017 tournament, held April 1 – 9 at the Volvo Car Stadium in Charleston, South Carolina.

Currently in the field are:

  • Venus Williams, 2004 Champion
  • Jelena Jankovic, 2007 Champion
  • Samantha Stosur, 2010 Champion
  • Caroline Wozniacki, 2011 Champion
  • Andrea Petkovic, 2014 Champion

“Our patrons have rallied behind our Charleston champions year-after-year, and have become their lifelong fans,” said Eleanor Adams, Volvo Car Open Tournament Manager. “We wish each champion the best of luck in the competition and can’t wait to welcome them home.”

Williams will make her ninth appearance in the Charleston player field, where she holds a 20-7 record. The World No. 13 recently made the finals of the 2017 Australian Open.

This year will mark Jankovic’s 13th time in the Volvo Car Open draw. In addition to winning the tournament in 2007, she reached the finals in 2013. She holds a 21-11 Charleston record.

Stosur has played the Volvo Car Open ten times, where she boasts a 15-9 record. The U.S. Open winner made the quarterfinals in Doha and Taiwan already in 2017.

The 2017 Volvo Car Open will be Wozniacki’s fifth appearance in Charleston where she holds a 14-3 record. In addition to her title in 2011, she made the finals in 2009.  The World No. 14 has started 2017 strong. She’s reached the quarterfinals in Auckland and Sydney, as well as the finals in Qatar and Dubai.

Petkovic joins the 2017 player field with an 11-3 record. She will compete in Charleston for her fifth time this year. After winning the tournament in 2014, she made the semifinals in 2015.

The nine-day Volvo Car Open is the largest women’s-only tennis tournament in North America, attracting an average of 90,000 attendees and 70+ of the top tennis players.

Tickets for the 2017 Volvo Car Open are on sale.

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Wozniacki Holds Off Osaka to Win Tokyo for First Title of 2016

Caroline Wozniacki

Caroline Wozniacki

 

(September 25, 2016) Former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki kept her streak of winning at least one tournament a year alive when she fended off a charge by Japanese teenager Naomi Osaka 7-5, 6-3 to win the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo on Sunday. Wozniacki also won the event in 2010.

Wozniacki, coming off having reached the US Open semifinals, has seen her ranking fall due to injuries this year, jumped out to a 5-0 first set lead, before Osaka fought back. She took a medical time out during the first set for a left leg injury which the Dane had taped.

Osaka was playing her first WTA final.

“I just fought for every point and tried to stay aggressive and make her move,” Wozniacki said. “She fought back in the second set so I was just happy to close it out.”

“Injuries happen and you never know when you can be taken out of the game, so I’m just enjoying every minute.”

“I’ve won a tournament every year since 2008 so I’m happy to keep that streak going,” Wozniacki said.

This was the Dane’s career 24th title win. She is currently 28th in the world.

Lara Arruabarrena

Lara Arruabarrena

In other WTA finals over the weekend, Lesia Tsurenko upset defending champion Jelena Jankovic at the Guangzhou Open for her first tour title while Lara Arruabarrena won the Korea Open over Monica Niculescu 6-0, 2-6, 6-0.

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Jankovic Surprises Bencic in Dubai; Rio Open Results

Jankovic smiles in press

(February 16, 2016) Veteran Jelena Jankovic stunned fifth seed and new member of the WTA Top Ten Belinda Bencic 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 of in the Dubai Tennis Championships on Tuesday.

The former No. 1, now ranked 20th in the world took 2 hours and 31 minutes to defeat the new No. 9 player.

“Yeah, it was really difficult match,” said Jankovic. “Belinda is playing very well, and she’s in form and she’s coming from a final in St. Petersburg. Of course she was coming with confidence here. I just fought hard. I was hanging in there every point. So overall it was ups and downs. There was some good tennis but there was also tough times for me during the match. But the most important thing is that I won at the end.”

Another former No. 1 from Serbia, now 17th ranked Ana Ivanovic dismissed Daria Gavrilova 6-1, 6-0, and No. 21 Elina Svitolina advanced with a 6-3, 6-1 win over qualifier Jana Cepelova.

Ivanovic will face No. 2 in the world Simona Halep in the second round.

“I expected a very tough match because of the battle we had in Rome on clay,” said Ivanovic. “I really tried to step it up today and be aggressive. Especially here in desert I feel that the ball sometimes flies little bit through the air quicker, so I tried to use that in my advantage. So very pleased overall.

 

“I know I have done the work, and now it’s just about executing and also enjoying competition. Next match is going to be a tough one for me. Simona is a very tough, consistent player. She strikes the ball well, she moves well, so it’s going to be a good challenge.”

For Svitolina, it was her match with her new coaching consultant, seven-time major winner Justine Henin. “It’s great to have Justine in my team, and I worked with her in offseason for a little bit, and now she’s going to join us for some tournaments,” Svitolina said. “I’m looking forward to hard work. We are trying to do something new (to) refresh my game.”

 

Seventh seed Roberta Vinci who beat Bencic in Sunday’s St. Petersburg final, fell 6-0, 4-6, 6-3 to qualifier Yaroslava Shvedova.

 

DUBAI DUTY FREE TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS – DUBAI, UAE
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RESULTS – FEBRUARY 16, 2016
Women’s Singles – First Round
J. Jankovic (SRB) d [5] B. Bencic (SUI) 46 75 64
[Q] Y. Shvedova (KAZ) d [7] R. Vinci (ITA) 60 46 63
A. Ivanovic (SRB) d D. Gavrilova (AUS) 61 60
B. Strycova (CZE) d [Q] T. Pironkova (BUL) 64 63
S. Errani (ITA) d [Q] S. Zheng (CHN) 75 63
E. Svitolina (UKR) d [Q] J. Cepelova (SVK) 63 61

Women’s Doubles – First Round
[2] C. Garcia (FRA) / K. Mladenovic (FRA) d R. Atawo (USA) / A. Spears (USA) 62 63
A. Klepac (SLO) / K. Srebotnik (SLO) d [3] A. Hlavackova (CZE) / L. Hradecka (CZE) 57 76(3) 10-8
C. Chuang (TPE) / D. Jurak (CRO) d C. Liang (CHN) / Y. Wang (CHN) 46 62 10-4
[PR] G. Dabrowski (CAN) / M. Martínez Sánchez (ESP) d [PR] V. Dushevina (RUS) / K. Siniakova (CZE) 75 63
A. Groenefeld (GER) / C. Vandeweghe (USA) d [WC] P. Kvitova (CZE) / A. Rosolska (POL) 63 60

ORDER OF PLAY – WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2016
CENTRE COURT start 2:00 pm
[3] C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) vs C. Garcia (FRA)
M. Brengle (USA) vs [4] [WC] P. Kvitova (CZE)

Not Before 7:00 pm
[1] [WC] S. Halep (ROU) vs A. Ivanovic (SRB)
E. Svitolina (UKR) vs [2] G. Muguruza (ESP)

COURT 1 start 2:00 pm
B. Strycova (CZE) vs J. Goerges (GER)
[Q] Y. Shvedova (KAZ) vs S. Errani (ITA)
C. Vandeweghe (USA) vs K. Mladenovic (FRA)
A. Petkovic (GER) vs J. Jankovic (SRB)

COURT 3 start 2:00 pm
A. Klepac (SLO) / K. Srebotnik (SLO) vs C. Chuang (TPE) / D. Jurak (CRO)

Not Before 4:00 pm
B. Strycova (CZE) / R. Vinci (ITA) vs [4] T. Babos (HUN) / J. Goerges (GER)
S. Errani (ITA) / C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) vs Y. Xu (CHN) / S. Zheng (CHN)

 

 

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RESULTS – FEBRUARY 16, 2016
Women’s
Singles – First Round

P. Martic (CRO) d [1] T. Pereira (BRA) 63 75
[2] J. Larsson (SWE) d L. Domínguez Lino (ESP) 75 64
[6] L. Arruabarrena (ESP) d R. Peterson (SWE) 60 63
M. Erakovic (NZL) d M. Torró-Flor (ESP) 76(8) 67(5) 62
S. Soler-Espinosa (ESP) d R. Oprandi (SUI) 61 62
[Q] P. Goncalves (BRA) d J. Glushko (ISR) 63 61

Women’s
Doubles – First Round

[WC] A. Lim (FRA) / F. Schiavone (ITA) d [3] D. Kovinic (MNE) / C. Mitu (ROU) 64 61
[4] V. Cepede Royg (PAR) / M. Irigoyen (ARG) d L. Pous-Tio (ESP) / S. Shapatava (GEO) 63 67(4) 10-6
M. Duque-Mariño (COL) / T. Maria (GER) d E. Bogdan (ROU) / M. Buzarnescu (ROU) 46 63 12-10
C. Mchale (USA) / A. Tatishvili (USA) d G. Ce (BRA) / E. Kostova (BUL) 64 75
T. Moore (GBR) / C. Perrin (SUI) d C. Burger (NED) / L. Pigossi (BRA) 62 61

ORDER OF PLAY – WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2016
QUADRA GUGA KUERTEN start 2:15 pm
ATP – [3] J. Tsonga (FRA) vs [WC] T. Monteiro (BRA)

Not Before 5:00 pm
ATP – [5] D. Thiem (AUT) vs D. Schwartzman (ARG)

Not Before 6:30 pm
ATP – A. Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) vs [2] D. Ferrer (ESP)
ATP – S. Giraldo (COL) vs G. Pella (ARG)

QUADRA 1 start 2:30 pm
WTA – [Q] M. Duque-Mariño (COL) vs F. Schiavone (ITA)

Not Before 4:00 pm
ATP – [7] F. Fognini (ITA) vs [Q] D. Gimeno-Traver (ESP)
ATP – [1] M. Melo (BRA) / B. Soares (BRA) vs [WC] F. De Paula (BRA) / O. Luz (BRA)
ATP – After suitable rest – A. Bedene (GBR) / A. Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) vs T. Bellucci (BRA) / M. Demoliner (BRA)

QUADRA 2 start 2:30 pm
WTA – [5] P. Hercog (SLO) vs [WC] S. Cirstea (ROU)

Not Before 3:30 pm
WTA – S. Rogers (USA) vs V. Cepede Royg (PAR)
ATP – P. Mathieu (FRA) / J. Tsonga (FRA) vs [4] N. Monroe (USA) / J. Sock (USA)
ATP – After suitable rest – D. Lajovic (SRB) / D. Thiem (AUT) vs A. Dolgopolov (UKR) / D. Munoz de la Nava (ESP)

QUADRA 4 start 2:30 pm
ATP – F. Delbonis (ARG) / P. Lorenzi (ITA) vs M. Gonzalez (ARG) / A. Sa (BRA)
WTA – To be finished – [1] A. Rodionova (AUS) / S. Vogt (LIE) vs B. Haddad Maia (BRA) / T. Pereira (BRA) 76(5) 00
WTA – T. Moore (GBR) / C. Perrin (SUI) vs [2] M. Erakovic (NZL) / S. Soler-Espinosa (ESP)
ATP – After suitable rest – [3] P. Cuevas (URU) / F. Fognini (ITA) vs [WC] R. Dutra Silva (BRA) / J. Souza (BRA)

QUADRA 5 start 2:30 pm
ATP – M. Daniell (NZL) / A. Sitak (NZL) vs [2] J. Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL)

Not Before 3:30 pm
WTA – [Q] C. Burger (NED) vs [Q] E. Kostova (BUL)
ATP – P. Petzschner (GER) / A. Peya (AUT) vs [Q] P. Carreno Busta (ESP) / D. Marrero (ESP)

Not Before 5:30 pm
WTA – After suitable rest – [4] V. Cepede Royg (PAR) / M. Irigoyen (ARG) vs P. Goncalves (BRA) / S. Marand (USA)

 

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Djokovic Wins Third Shanghai Crown; Jankovic, Radwanska and Pavlyuchenkova Claim WTA Titles

 

(October 18, 2015) Novak Djokovic won his third Shanghai title on Sunday besting Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final 6-2, 6-4. The victory, which gave him his 25 ATP Masters Series title and 57th career tournament win extended his current winning streak to 17 straight matches.

“Today the key was to get as many serves back into play to Jo because he has one of the biggest serves in the game,: said the world No. 1. “He has shown that in the second set, with some break points early in the set. He came up with some aces, some big serves.

“Generally I always felt in control of the match. I felt like I’ve done everything right. I’ve won many of my service games very comfortably. I didn’t allow him to get into the rhythm, get into the match. Today’s match, and overall the tournament, it’s gone incredibly well for me.”

“The first set went quick,” Tsonga said. “It’s not easy to stop him. He is really consistent on his return. Today I didn’t serve well enough, especially in the first set. After that, in the second, I served a little bit better, and it gave me the opportunity to have a chance on his serve. But finally I was not able to do it, and he broke me at 4-all.

“I’m very satisfied. To come back at your best level, it’s always a long process. I’m happy today to be back really close to the Top 10. Like I said just before, it gave me energy to continue to work hard and try to achieve other good things.”

With his performance this week, the Frenchman in now No. 9 in the Race to London for a spot in the ATP World Tour Finals.Just two spots remain in the eight-man field as Rafael Nadal and Tomas Berdych secured their places this week. They will join Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka who have already qualified.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova photo courtesy of Taste of Tennis

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova photo courtesy of Taste of Tennis

Twenty-ninth ranked Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova won her first title of the year and eighth WTA title overall defeating Anna-Lena Friedsam of Germany 6-4, 6-3 for the Linz title Generali Ladies.

 

Jelena Jankovic

Jelena Jankovic

Veteran Jelena Jankovic rallied from a set and 6-5 down to beat second seed Angelique Kerber in the Hong Kong Open final 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-1

For the former No. 1 WTA player coming into the event as a Wild Card, Jankovic this was her 15th career crown. Jankovic said that this win will improve her confidence, especially beating Kerber and Venus Williams. She said it proves that she can still play at the top level and said that if she works hard, maybe she can win a major next year.

Aga Radwanska Party with the pros

Agnieszka Radwanska easily defeated Danka Kovinic 6-1, 6-2 win the Tianjin Open title and claim a place in the WTA Finals in Singapore.

Radwanska, who won her 16th WTA title of her career, became the fifth player to qualify for the year-end championships. She will be joining Maria Sharapova, Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova and Garbine Muguruza in Singapore. No. 1 Serena Williams withdrew from the event to rest and recover.

 

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Serena Williams Advances Easily While Fourth Seed Nishikori Falls on Day 1 of US Open

SerenaWilliamsFaceoff6

(August 31, 2015) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Last year’s US Open men’s finalist and fourth seed Kei Nishikori lost in the first round on Monday while several women’s seeds tumbled out on the first day of Flushing Meadows.

No such drama for the No. 1 seed Serena Williams seeking the US Open to complete a calendar Grand Slam. She moved a step closer to history with an easy win over 86th ranked Vitalia Diatchenko of Russia who retired from the match trailing 6-0, 2-0. She said that she felt a sharp pain hitting a backhand during a point.

“It was definitely different and bizarre,” the 33-year-old Williams said. “But at the same time, I was still focused. I kept thinking: Just stay focused; don’t lose it. You never know what can happen.”

Williams march to completing the first Grand Slam since 1988 seems to have been made easier when a deluge of seeds from her half of the draw lost. They included: No. 3 Maria Sharapova who withdrew on Sunday with an injured right leg, No. 7 Ana Ivanovic, No. 8 Karolina Pliskova and No. 10 Carla Suarez Navarro, No. 21 Jelena Jankovic, No. 29 Sloane Stephens (who beat Williams in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open in 2013) and No. 30 Svetlana Kuznetsova.

The 21-time major champion will play the Netherlands Kiki Bertens. “I think she’s playing well, Williams said. “She does a lot of things well. She has a big serve. It’s definitely something that I look forward to. See what happens.”

“I’m not a person that usually looks at the draws,” Williams said. “I just take it as it comes and as it goes.”

Kei Nishikori was the only shock on the men’s side when the fourth seed fell to France’s Benoit Paire Nishikori’s 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (6), 6-4 despite having two match points in the fourth set tiebreak.

“It’s very sad to lose always first round, but I think he was playing good tennis,” Nishikori said. “So, I mean, I don’t think I played bad. Didn’t play great, but still, it’s never easy first match. He’s a good player.

“You know, try to think about next one, and I hope I can come back strong next year.”

“Today for me, when I come on court I know I can beat Nishikori,” Paire said. “I place twice time; I lost two time, but very tough match.

“So when I come on the court, I say, come on. You can beat Kei. He has a game — it’s not like if I play against Roger Federer. For me it’s different because he has good serve.

“Against Kei I know I can play, and for sure some volleys. For me it’s important because I know I don’t put a lot of pressure on myself. I say, Okay, for sure you can break him.

“So the most important thing is to feel good and to have fun. I think today that’s the most important thing.”

The man Nishikori lost to in last year’s final had few problems in his 6-3, 7-6, 7-6 win.

“I think this tournament is giving me the best chance to play the best over here,” Marin Cilic said. Even before last year, in the past years I was always playing pretty well and reached few times quarterfinals. Even in those matches had some chances. Close to making it to the semis.

“Coming this year again is definitely very special moment for me in my whole career. This experience of, you know, defending the Grand Slam title for the first time is something that I’m going to learn for sure a lot from.”

No. 1 Novak Djokovic destroyed  Brazil’s Joao Souza 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 in 71 minutes.

“I couldn’t ask for a better opening of this year’s US Open,” Djokovic said.” Hopefully I can continue in that rhythm.”

Sixteenth seed Gael Monfils retired from his match with a back against Illya Marchenko while trailing 2-6, 6-4, 5-0, 30-0.

Eighth seed Rafael Nadal, playing in the Flushing Meadows for the first time since 2013, beat teenager Borna Coric 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 in second night match on Arthur Ashe Stadium. “Very happy to be back,” Nadal said, “and to be through.”

“I think I played great. The first two sets I played a very high level of tennis. Seriously, then I get a little bit tired. I had some problems. I was sweating a lot. I lost little bit — you know, I don’t feel enough strong after that, no?

“I had little bit of stomach problem so I felt not perfect, physically perfect then.

“But then in the fourth I recovered little bit. I played again more aggressive. Finally was important victory for me. Happy the way that I played when I was, you know, physically good.”

RESULTS – AUGUST 31, 2015
Women’s
Singles – First Round

(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. Vitalia Diatchenko (RUS) 60 20 retired (Left ankle injury)
Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) d. (7) Ana Ivanovic 63 36 63
(Q) Anna Tatishvili (USA) d. (8) Karolina Pliskova 62 61
Denisa Allertova (CZE) d. Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) 61 76(5)
(12) Belinda Bencic (SUI) d. Sesil Karatantcheva (BUL) 61 62
(13) Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) d. Teliana Pereira (BRA) 63 63
(15) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. Katerina Siniakova (CZE) 62 63
(17) Elina Svitolina (UKR) d. (Q) Elizaveta Kulichkova (RUS) 61 64
(18) Madison Keys (USA) d. Klara Koukalova (CZE) 62 64
(WC) Oceane Dodin (FRA) d. (21) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 26 75 63
(23) Venus Williams (USA) d. Monica Puig (PUR) 64 67(7) 63
(25) Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) d. Alison Riske (USA) 64 63
CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) d. (29) Sloane Stephens (USA) 64 63
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) d. (30) Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 63 75
(31) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) d. Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) 64 75
(Q) Kiki Bertens (NED) d. Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (CRO) 36 64 62
(WC) Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) d. (Q) Kateryna Kozlova (UKR) 64 63
Tereza Smitkova (CZE) d. Andreea Mitu (ROU) 76(4) 62
Magda Linette (POL) d. Urszula Radwanska (POL) 76(3) 61
Misaki Doi (JPN) d. Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) 63 63
Irina Falconi (USA) d. (WC) Samantha Crawford (USA) 64 62
(Q) Anett Kontaveit (EST) d. Casey Dellacqua (AUS) 75 62
Madison Brengle (USA) d. Saisai Zheng 62 57 75
(LL) Daria Kasatkina (RUS) d. Daria Gavrilova (AUS) 62 46 75
Ana Konjuh (CRO) d. Tatjana Maria (GER) 64 64
Bojana Jovanovski (SRB) d. Lara Arruabarrena (ESP) 62 62
Kaia Kanepi (EST) d. Anna-Lena Friedsam (GER) 61 61
Lauren Davis (USA) d. Heather Watson (GBR) 76(3) 76(0)
Roberta Vinci (ITA) d. Vania King (USA) 64 64
Mariana Duque-Marino (COL) d. (WC) Sofia Kenin (USA) 63 61
Polona Hercog (SLO) d. Zarina Diyas (KAZ) 62 75
(Q) Jessica Pegula (USA) d. Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) 75 63

Men’s singles

Novak Djokovic (SRB) [1] d. Joao Souza (BRA) 61 61 61
Benoit Paire (FRA) d. Kei Nishikori (JPN) [4] 64 36 46 76(6) 64 – saved 2 MP
Marin Cilic (CRO) [9] d. Guido Pella (ARG) 63 76(3) 76(3)
Milos Raonic (CAN) [10] d. Tim Smyczek (USA) 64 76(8) 61
David Goffin (BEL) [14] d. Simone Bolelli (ITA) 64 61 62
Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) [17] d. Matthew Ebden (AUS) 64 62 64
Feliciano Lopez (ESP) [18] d. Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) 76(5) 61 63
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) [19] d. Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) 63 61 61
Andreas Seppi (ITA) [25] d. Tommy Paul (USA) 64 60 75
Tommy Robredo (ESP) [26] d. Michael Berrer (GER) 62 62 64
Jeremy Chardy (FRA) [27] d. Ryan Shane (USA) 62 61 67(6) 62
Mardy Fish (USA) d. Marco Cecchinato (ITA) 67(5) 63 61 63
Fernando Verdasco (ESP) d. Tommy Haas (GER) 36 61 67(3) 63 61
Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) d. Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE) 63 63 30 ret.
Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) d. John Millman (AUS) 61 36 76(3) 64
Marcel Granollers (ESP) d. Lukas Lacko (SVK) 62 63 61
Evgeny Donskoy (RUS) d. Lucas Pouille (FRA) 62 67(3) 62 64
Marsel Ilhan (TUR) d. Radek Stepanek (CZE) 60 26 64 32 ret,
Ricardas Berankis (LTU) d. Joao Sousa (POR) 62 62 46 26 76(4)

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News at the US Open

 

 

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Simona Halep Safely into the Final 16 in Toronto While Five Seeds Fall

Halep 2182015-001

By Brodie Widdifield

 

(August 12, 2015) TORONTO, Canada – While much of the mainstream media’s attention has been on the baffling struggles of Eugenie Bouchard, Simona Halep has quietly had a disappointing 2015. After falling in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, she went on to win Indian Wells – the biggest title of her career. Beyond that, it was disappointment as she fell in the second and first rounds of Roland Garros and Wimbledon, tournaments she had made the final and semifinals of just a year prior.

 

The 23-year- old Romanian admitted to being tired after Indian Wells and Miami. “At the beginning of the year I played some good tennis, but after I lost at two grand slams were last year I played good tennis. But maybe I couldn’t handle the pressure, and maybe I was a little bit tired. My life has changed a lot. Obviously everyone in my country is recognizing me and it’s a little bit tough. I have to accept and go forward.”

 

After a post Wimbledon break with her family, Halep decided to play Toronto, and the fans in Canada could not have been happier about her decision. Romanian fans came out in droves to support Sorana Cirstea during her unlikely run to the final in 2013 in Toronto, and they were chanting Simona‘s name after just the first game.

 

“I’m really happy that I have such a big support. Romanians are everywhere, so I really want to thank them for supporting me. It’s really nice to see our flag everywhere. Many Romanian words in the crowd. So that makes me happy on the court and makes me more, you know, more stronger that I have big support, and I can say that I fight easier.”

 

The support certainly did not hurt. Halep came out of the gate strong against Jelena Jankovic Wednesday afternoon. Changing directions early in the rally and keeping the ball deep, she was consistently on top in rallies. “I tried just to be aggressive, to take the ball as soon as possible, because I know that she has good defense. I tried to keep my first serve in because she’s returning well. I tried to play her forehand more, because I know she has a strong backhand. I didn’t want to rush myself, just go into the court and just to take the ball fast and to open the court.”

 

Continuing to move well and keeping errors low, the good form continued into the second set and Halep went on to take the second round match 6-3, 6-4. “I can say that I had stress free because I did not have expectations for this match because I had a long break. But I did pretty well today and I’m really happy I could win in two sets.” The win could set up some of the best matches of the tournament, as Halep will face Angelique Kerber on Thursday and potentially Agnieszka Radwanska in the quarterfinals.

 

Brodie Widdifield is the author of the tennis web site mindtheracket.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @MindTheRacket. He is covering the Rogers Cup in Toronto for Tennis Panorama News, follow @TennisNewsTPN for updates.

ROGERS CUP PRESENTED BY NATIONAL BANK – TORONTO, CANADA
$ 2,513,000.00
10- 16 AUGUST 2015

RESULTS – AUGUST 12, 2015
Women’s
Singles – Second Round

[2] [WC] S. Halep (ROU) d J. Jankovic (SRB) 63 64
V. Azarenka (BLR) d [3] P. Kvitova (CZE) 62 63
B. Bencic (SUI) d [4] C. Wozniacki (DEN) 75 75
[5] A. Ivanovic (SRB) d [Q] O. Govortsova (BLR) 64 76(4)
[6] A. Radwanska (POL) d [LL] J. Goerges (GER) 75 63
D. Gavrilova (RUS) d [7] L. Safarova (CZE) 46 75 75
[Q] L. Tsurenko (UKR) d [8] G. Muguruza (ESP) 75 61
[Q] P. Hercog (SLO) d [11] E. Makarova (RUS) 62 67(2) 75
[13] A. Kerber (GER) d [Q] M. Puig (PUR) 62 63
[15] S. Errani (ITA) d M. Brengle (USA) 63 26 63
[16] A. Petkovic (GER) d [Q] H. Watson (GBR) 64 63
R. Vinci (ITA) d [Q] M. Lucic-Baroni (CRO) 63 63
S. Lisicki (GER) d B. Strycova (CZE) 76(3) 64
[Q] C. Witthoeft (GER) d A. Riske (USA) 64 57 63
A. Cornet (FRA) d D. Cibulkova (SVK) 63 62

Women’s
Doubles – Second Round

[3] B. Mattek-Sands (USA) / L. Safarova (CZE) d D. Jurak (CRO) / R. Kops-Jones (USA) 62 62
I. Begu (ROU) / I. Olaru (ROU) d [8] G. Muguruza (ESP) / C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) 76(5) 06 10-4
First Round
[6] S. Errani (ITA) / F. Pennetta (ITA) d [Alt] M. Barthel (GER) / M. Minella (LUX) 61 63
H. Chan (TPE) / Y. Chan (TPE) d [7] A. Hlavackova (CZE) / L. Hradecka (CZE) 64 36 10-8
A. Medina Garrigues (ESP) / A. Parra Santonja (ESP) d C. Chuang (TPE) / C. Liang (CHN) 36 61 10-8
[WC] F. Abanda (CAN) / H. El Tabakh (CAN) d G. Dabrowski (CAN) / A. Rosolska (POL) 75 75
[WC] B. Bencic (SUI) / D. Cibulkova (SVK) d L. Arruabarrena (ESP) / A. Klepac (SLO) 61 76(5)
[WC] S. Fichman (CAN) / C. Zhao (CAN) d C. Chan (TPE) / P. Kania (POL) 16 64 10-5

ORDER OF PLAY – THURSDAY, AUGUST 13, 2015
CENTRE COURT start 11:00 am
R. Vinci (ITA) vs D. Gavrilova (RUS)

Not Before 1:00 pm
[13] A. Kerber (GER) vs [2] [WC] S. Halep (ROU)
[15] S. Errani (ITA) vs V. Azarenka (BLR)

Not Before 7:00 pm
[1] S. Williams (USA) vs [16] A. Petkovic (GER)
[Q] P. Hercog (SLO) vs [5] A. Ivanovic (SRB)

GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am
[Q] L. Tsurenko (UKR) vs [Q] C. Witthoeft (GER)
B. Bencic (SUI) vs S. Lisicki (GER)
[6] A. Radwanska (POL) vs A. Cornet (FRA)

Not Before 6:00 pm
K. Mladenovic (FRA) / K. Pliskova (CZE) vs M. Krajicek (NED) / B. Strycova (CZE)
A. Medina Garrigues (ESP) / A. Parra Santonja (ESP) vs H. Chan (TPE) / Y. Chan (TPE)

COURT 1 start 12:00 noon
[WC] S. Fichman (CAN) / C. Zhao (CAN) vs [2] E. Makarova (RUS) / E. Vesnina (RUS)

Not Before 1:00 pm
[4] C. Garcia (FRA) / K. Srebotnik (SLO) vs [WC] F. Abanda (CAN) / H. El Tabakh (CAN)
[1] M. Hingis (SUI) / S. Mirza (IND) vs J. Goerges (GER) / K. Jans-Ignacik (POL)

Not Before 3:00 pm
After Suitable Rest – [6] S. Errani (ITA) / F. Pennetta (ITA) vs [WC] B. Bencic (SUI) / D. Cibulkova (SVK)

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Jelena Jankovic Upsets Defending Champion Petra Kvitova at Wimbledon

Jelena Jankovic

Jelena Jankovic

 

(July 4, 2015) Former No. 1, 28th seed Jelena Jankovic pulled off the biggest upset of the Wimbledon fortnight on the Ladies’ side when she defeated No. 2 and defending champion Petra Kvitova 3-6, 7-5, 6-4.

The Czech looked to be confidently cruising past the Serbian, with a 6-3, 4-2 lead, but Jankovic turned the match around from that point onward.

“Playing on grass is very difficult for me. It does not come natural,” Jankovic said. “I just tried to stay one point at a time, just hang in there, stay positive and fight, and I made it. But playing on Centre Court against the defending champion was just unbelievable. I’m really really happy to win this match!”

“I’m overwhelmed. I’m so excited. My heart is still pumping,” Jankovic said after the match.

“It didn’t matter how badly I was playing or what was happening out there, I really just tried to stay one point at a time and fight, and when I won that second set I knew I just had to keep going out there.

“When I won, I couldn’t believe what just happened. I lost to Petra the last time we played in Rome, and I know she plays amazing here. But that’s what this sport is all about. It’s such a great excitement for me – I’m so glad I was able to win and this gives me a lot of confidence the rest of the tournament.”

For Kvitova who also won Wimbledon in 2011, this was her earliest exit from the All-England Club since 2009.

“I’m not really sure what happened out there,” Kvitova said in press. “Suddenly I felt like she’s coming back, playing a little bit aggressive.

“Suddenly from my side, I didn’t have answer for it. My serve didn’t help me at all this time, as well. I was really struggling with each shot which I played.”

“But I don’t think that I lost today because I was defending champion from last year,” Kvitova said.  “I don’t think is really the thing why.

“I think that she really played a good match.  Looked a little bit on the other side when I played Venus last year, when I was the worst player in the first two sets, then I won.  This time just turn the other side for her.”

“Here I am in the fourth round, in the second week of Wimbledon,” Jankovic said.  “I just beat a defending champion.  I mean, it’s unbelievable.  You know, I don’t think I can ask for more.  I hope to keep going.”

“I think I always believe in myself, no matter what.  Like I said, if I’m healthy, if I can put that work in on a daily basis and work hard, improve.

“You know, to be honest, right now I’m not at the level I want to be at. First of all, physically I have to get a lot stronger a lot faster.  As I said before, getting injured, not being able to go to the gym, to spend some time on the practice court.  I will need some time to get to the form, to the level I want to be at, and where I can be. That’s what will satisfy my, you know, needs and wishes.

“So we’ll see.  I always think I can do it.  I’m not old. I’m still young at heart.  I look pretty good, so why not (laughter)?  I mean, give me a break, guys.  What’s old?”

“I’m very determined.  Like I said, I want to get, you know, to where I think I belong.  I’ve done it in the past.  I’ve been many years in the top 10, I’ve been No. 1 in the world, I’ve played against all these players.

“Like I said, just if I’m able to work hard and believe in myself, hopefully my time will come again.”

Other winners on the Ladies’ side included fifth seed Caroline Wozniacki over Camila Giorgi 6-2, 6-2, No. 20 Garbine Muguruza dismissed 2012 semifinalist Angelique Kerber 7-6 (12), 1-6, 6-2, No. 13 Agnieszka Radwanska, No. 15 Timea Bacsinszky, No. 21 Madison Keys, Olga Govortsova and Monica Niculescu also advanced.

Seven-time Wimbledon winner Roger Federer dropped a set to advance to the round of 16 beating hard-hitting Sam Groth 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-2.

Groth hit the second fastest serve in Wimbledon history – 147 mph.

No. 3 Andy Murray beat No. 25 Andreas Seppi of Italy 6-2, 6-2, 1-6, 6-1.  Seppi received a visit from a trainer to work on his lower right leg, and won the next six game. Murray also received a medical time out for a stiff right shoulder after trailing 1-0 in the fourth set, and then took next six game to win the match.

Dustin Brown, the qualifier who upset Rafael Nadal, lost his very next match to 22nd seed Viktor Troicki 6-4, 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-3.

“Obviously having the pleasure and being able to play on Centre Court and then to play a match like that (on Thursday), doesn’t make a difference if I lost today or not, no one will ever be able to take that away from me,” said Brown.

“I think I played well and I wouldn’t compare it to any other matches.  That’s what I said after winning against (Rendy) Lu, and Rafa (Nadal), it’s always a totally different match.  I’m happy with my tournament.  When I came to quallies, someone would have said sign here for beating Rafa, making second round and qualifying, I would have signed that paper.”

Completing a match held over from Friday at 10-10 in the fifth due to darkness, Marin Cilic bested John Isner 7-6 (4), 6-7 (6), 6-4, 6-7 (4), 12-10

Also Saturday, Wimbledon’s marathon man fell short this time. John Isner, the American who won the longest tennis match in history in 2010, lost 12-10 in the fifth set to U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic. The Croat beat Isner 7-6 (4), 6-7 (6), 6-4, 6-7 (4), 12-10 in a match that resumed Saturday at 10-10.

“Marathon man” Isner defeated Nicolas Mahut 70-68 in the fifth set at Wimbledon in 2010, the longest match in tennis history.

No. 12 seed Gilles Simon defeated French countryman No. 18 seed Gael Monfils in five sets, in a match which had to be moved from
Court 1  when darkness came early in the fourth set, and completed under the roof of Centre Court.

Other men moving in to the fourth round: Vasek Pospisil, No. 23 Ivo Karlovic and No. 20 Roberto Bautista Agut.


Ladies Singles – Third Round

(28) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) d. (2) Petra Kvitova (CZE) 36 75 64
(5) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. (31) Camila Giorgi (ITA) 62 62
(20) Garbine Muguruza (ESP) d. (10) Angelique Kerber (GER) 76(12) 16 62
(13) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. Casey Dellacqua (AUS)
(15) Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) d. (18) Sabine Lisicki (GER) 63 62
(21) Madison Keys (USA) d. Tatjana Maria (GER) 64 64
(Q) Olga Govortsova (BLR) d. Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) 76(4) 63
Monica Niculescu (ROU) d. Krystina Pliskova (CZE) 63 75

Gentlemen’s Singles

Third Round – Third Round

[2] Roger Federer (SUI) d. Sam Groth (AUS) 64 64 67(5) 62
[3] Andy Murray (GBR) d. [25] Andreas Seppi (ITA) 62 62 16 61
[6] Tomas Berdych (CZE) d. Pablo Andujar (ESP) 46 60 63 76(3)
[9] Marin Cilic (CRO) d. [17] John Isner (USA) 76(4) 67(6) 64 67(4) 12-10
[12] Gilles Simon (FRA) vs. [18] Gael Monfils (FRA)
[23] Ivo Karlovic (CRO) d. [13] Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) 76(3) 46 76(2) 76(9)
[20] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) d. Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) 76(4) 61 60
[22] Viktor Troicki (SRB) d. Dustin Brown (GER) 64 76(3) 46 63
Vasek Pospisil (CAN) d. James Ward (GBR) 64 36 26 63 86

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Catching up with Jelena Jankovic

Jelena Jankovic

Jelena Jankovic

By Ros Satar

(June 20, 2015) BIRMINGHAM, England – It has been something of a turbulent year for the always-entertaining Serbian, Jelena Jankovic. She had laughed and joked her way to the Indian Wells final earlier this year, a venerable ‘old woman’ against the young 20-somethings that litter the top rankings, before injury crumbled her clay court season to dust.

 

Returning to a surface that has not always been her friend, despite providing her one and only Grand Slam title to date (Mixed doubles with Jamie Murray in 2007), she put together a run to the semi-finals of ‘s-Hertogenbosch before bowing out to fourth seed Angelique Kerber in the third round in Birmingham this week. Ironically that was also the year that she won the title in Birmingham (beating Maria Sharapova) and made the final of Den Bosch (losing to Anna Chakvetadze).

 

We caught up with her after her loss to Kerber, which seemingly hung on a pivotal point in the sixth game of the first set.

 

She said: “I was playing quite well in the first set, and you know I lost my focus a little bit. Kerber is quite solid. She does not give you any mistakes, she’s not going give you any gifts, so while I was being aggressive and hitting my shots, all of a sudden I got into a bad rhythm and I started making all these mistakes.”

 

In true Jankovic form, she proceeded to give an in-depth analysis complete with laughter and trying to demonstrate how frustrated she was at balls refusing to bounce.

 

She elaborated: “It was unbelievable, it was 3-2 and I had many break points and she’s a leftie and she kept serving that serve out wide and I would return at times a really good return and she would just kind of block it and the ball wouldn’t bounce, and I would have trouble reaching the next one.

 

“It was just unfortunate. She did really well you know, she came up with the good answers. I tried hitting down the line, cross court and somehow she would get those balls back and the ball wouldn’t really bounce for the next shot.

 

“I would run there and I would be at the ball and I couldn’t dig it out. And that game was quite crucial. If I went up a break, you know who knows what would happen. It would of course make a big difference.”

 

It is the first time Jankovic has put together a couple of tournaments in a row, and picked up some solid wins, opting to stay here in Birmingham as the field dwindled to practice, and can often be heard in peals of laughter from the players’ lounge, just across from the media centre.

 

She told us: “This is the first time that I’ve played two tournaments in a while and we’ll see. I know what I need to improve, the little segments, the little things that will make a big difference in my game.

 

“I asked for a wildcard [to Birmingham]. I was not supposed to play here, because in the previous years I only played Wimbledon, or barely one tournament if not. This year I decided to play a little bit more so that I would give myself a chance to play well at Wimbledon.

 

“You know I think played some really good matches, I played quite a lot of tennis for so long there has been sitting on the sidelines for maybe five/six months of the season. So you know, I have to take care of my body, I’m not at the stage where I can play really a lot, so I have to play, be smart do the rehabilitation, recover my body and then start fresh again.”

 

Since that decent run in 2007, Jankovic and grass have not necessarily been a good mix, but that has not deterred her from trying to conquer the slick surface this year.

 

She mused: “Actually I think I have pretty good shots to play on grass. I have a ball that’s quite flat, I move quite well, I can slice, I can drop-shot, I can play pretty good volleys, there’s no reason for me not to play decent on grass. Of course it’s not my favourite surface, because I like to construct my points and be a little smarter than just slapping the ball.

 

“It’s just that sometimes the ball digs in (laughs) I cannot get it up from the ground and yeah you have to have strong legs, a low centre of gravity. You’ve got to have strong quads to keep up with those shots. Not just today, day after day and that’s a big difference.”

 

Jankovic is currently ranked 29 in the world.

 

Ros Satar is a British sports journalist covering tennis, and can also be found at Britwatch Sports.

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Birmingham Day 4 – Weeding Out the Field

 

By Ros Satar

(June 18, 2015) BIRMINGHAM, England – With seeds and home favourites having stumbled over the past few days in the Midlands, the championship is now largely on Simona Halep’s racquet to lose. Having come through a good brace of results now, she is putting what was ultimately a disappointing clay court season behind her and pushing on impressively on the grass.

 

After dashing British hopes in the second round, beating Naomi Broady 6-4, 6-2, she eased into the quarter-finals with a 50 minute workout over Klara Koukalova, 6-1, 6-3.

 

Having been usurped over the clay court season, where she was expected to shine, Halep was taking nothing for granted.

 

She said, after the match: “I expected a tough match because she plays very hard on grass with her type of game. It’s difficult to play her on this surface but I didn’t really want to think about that – I just came out here and played my game, played my style, stayed aggressive and especially served very well in the match.”

 

She later joined British No. 1 Heather Watson, who was edged out in her opening round in straight sets, and looking for some wins under her belt – but it certainly was not looking likely as the pair were swiftly battling against a 0-5 deficit in the opening set.

 

The first time pairing got themselves together in the second set, breaking for the advantage, and although they were pegged back, another break to the scratch twosome meant they could serve out for the set.

 

It was nip and tuck throughout the match tie-break until Watson and Halep close out a 1-6, 6-3, 10-7 win.

 

She said: “It was difficult at the beginning because, [it] was my first match on grass, doubles on grass. It’s not easy. The ball was coming very fast and I didn’t know where to hit because I saw both of them there. So it was really difficult, and I’m really happy we could win this match. It’s really important. It’s good we played first time together, so it’s a nice game.”

 

She continued: “I have no expectation from me this grass season, so I just want to go on court and play what I know. On clay I had pressure and I couldn’t handle it. I played bad and I couldn’t feel like relaxed on court. So that was the bad thing.

 

“So I just took some days off home and I said that I have to relax my mind and just going on court to play.”

 

With third seed Carla Suarez Navarro also posting a solid win today, the field looks set for a high quality finale, as the pair were joined by Angelique Kerber who got the better of former champion Jelena Jankovic, and fresh from her record breaking ace haul, Sabine Lisicki looks to be returning to the kind of grass form that put her in her maiden Grand Slam final.

 

The quarterfinals start on Friday at 11am.

 

Ros Satar is a British sports journalist covering tennis, and can also be found at Britwatch Sports.

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