2014/10/21

Kvitova Rallies Past Goerges in Stuttgart

Petra Kvitova

By Tumaini Carayol

(April 25, 2013) STUTTGART – Julia Goerges and Petra Kvitova put on a three-set exhibition of power in Stuttgart on Thursday at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix.

 

As expected, the battle between the two ball crushers was fought on the front line. Both women attempted to wrestle the initiative from the other, but early on it was surprisingly Goerges who easily assumed control of the match. Five games in, the home favorite found herself cruising up 6-2, 1-0 with a set and a break. Her serve provided her with free points and the opportunity to finish numerous points by her second shot, but it was her return that mostly impressed early on.

 

Once upon a time, it was Vera Zvonareva who exhibited exactly how to return the Czech’s hefty serve. The Russian notched up an impressive record over Kvitova by using her footwork to step in and intercept Kvitova’s trademark lefty swinger, neutralizing one of the best serves in women’s tennis.

 

Goerges’ movement around the ball was uncharacteristically precise and it afforded her the same freedom on return. The difference was, unlike Zvonareva who simply attempted to neutralize the effects of the Kvitova serve, Goerges attacked both first and second deliveries indiscriminately, either crushing clean return winners or else winning the initiative immediately with deep, penetrative returns which allowed her to put the ball away within two or three shots.

 

Essentially, during the early stages of the match, the German was the overwhelming victor of the “first strike” battle as she triumphed both on service and return – quite literally the first strike of every point. In no time at all, the set and break lead was hers.

 

After the turbulent last eighteen months, it’s easy to forget the mental strength Kvitova showed during the brief time she was hyped as the best of her generation. It was this mental strength that she drew on as she willed her game together and began to mount her comeback.

 

First she addressed the ease at which Goerges had dealt with her serve, implementing more variety in her delivery which relinquished Goerges’ grip on her serve. She then surprisingly began to attack with higher percentage, planning the majority of her offense either cross-court or straight down the middle, utilizing brash angles. The result was immediate. After breaking straight back, a series of quick and easy holds for Kvitova followed as Goerges service games lengthened and were subjected to immense ‘scrutiny. In reality, the Czech No. 1 should have leveled the match under far more straightforward surfaces, but when Goerges double faulted at 4-5 in the tiebreaker to hand over two set points, nobody was surprised.

 

From then onwards, Kvitova fell into cruise control as she shackles on her game were unbound. Big serves flowed into raucous winners, and before long the final ball had been struck and the match had been won 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-2. A quietly confidence-boosting win for Kvitova, as she continues her struggle to regain her form of old.

 

Tumaini Carayol is in Stuttgart covering the Stuttgart tournament for Tennis Panorama News. He is a contributing writer at On The Baseline, and writes about professional tennis at his site Foot Fault.

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Checking in with the Germans at Family Circle Cup

 

By Stephanie Neppl

(April 3, 2013) CHARLESTON, SC – A talented German contingency is in Charleston for the 2013 Family Circle Cup, but it has been a mixed week for its top stars.

 

A year ago, four Germans were in the top 20: Andrea Petkovic (11), Sabine Lisicki (13), Julia Goerges (15) and Angelique Kerber (16). Mona Barthel was also on the upswing and was ranked No. 36. Fast forward a year, and Petkovic is out of the top 100 due to injury, Goerges and Lisicki have seen their form and rankings dip, and Kerber found herself the highest ranked German and cracked the top 5 in 2012.

 

Rankings – April 2, 2012                             Rankings – April 1, 2013

11 – Andrea Petkovic                                             6 – Angelique Kerber

13 – Sabine Lisicki                                                 29 – Mona Barthel

15 – Julia Goerges                                                 30 – Julia Goerges

16 – Angelique Kerber                                            41- Sabine Lisicki

36 – Mona Barthel                                                  139 – Andrea Petkovic

 

All but Kerber played in Charleston this week, with mixed results thus far. Barthel and Lisicki were upset early, while Goerges and Petkovic have each survived two rounds. Here’s a look at how the German quartet are looking at the start of the clay season.

AndreaPetkovicCalrsbad3

ANDREA PETKOVIC

In August 2011, Petkovic become the sixth German to ever crack the WTA Top 10 but injury after injury came her way in 2012 and she dealt with a lower back injury and ankle injury last year. Petkovic returned to the tour again in late 2012 at the Hopman Cup and suffered another injury, this time a rupture of the medial meniscus. She started on the comeback trail again at Indian Wells this year, and her ranking has dipped to No. 137 due to her many absences.

 

She was handed a wildcard for the Family Circle Cup, and she’s put it to good use with two wins, first over fellow wildcard Taylor Townsend of the US, and another over American Vania King. She next faces 2011 Family Circle Cup champ Caroline Wozniacki. The pair have faced each other three times, with the Dane leading 2-1, including a win on their only match on the clay.

 

Wozniacki said Petkovic is a dangerous opponent. “Petkovic is a good player.  She has been very unlucky with her injuries and she is obviously a player that does play on a very high level.” The two will kick off the day session at 11am Thursday.

Julia-Goerges-Tennis-Panorama-News-Carlsbad

JULIA GOERGES

Goerges’ two career titles are both on clay (Bad Gastein in 2010 and Stuttgart in 2011) but her 2012 season saw her go 5-5 on the dirt and she’ll be looking to improve that record. On Wednesday in Charleston, Goerges managed to come back after dropping a bagel set to Olga Govortsova to advance to the third round. She’ll next face Stephanie Voegele of Switzerland, who upset No. 7 seed Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain in the second round. Goerges said she was pleased to get the win despite not playing her best. “It’s good when you get tested right away on the clay,” she said. “It’s good to have those wins under your belt and when you’re not always playing your best and winning it’s a good feeling.” Goerges and Voegele are second on Althea Gibson Court on Thursday.

 

Sabine Lisicki

Sabine Lisicki

SABINE LISICKI

Sabine Lisicki has also had her share of injuries and illness, and her ranking has dropped from #13 a year ago to its current No. 41. Lisicki made the final in Memphis in February, but retired from the match with illness after dropping the first set to Marina Erakovic of New Zealand. Lisicki loves the green clay of Charleston and it’s where she captured her biggest title back in 2009. In her first match on Tuesday, Lisicki double bageled Anna Tatishvili in just 41 minutes. Today she was a heavy favorite to beat Mallory Burdette of the US, who is ranked #99 but the Georgian pulled out the upset 3-6, 7-6, 7-5 to advance to a contest against Serena Williams.

 

Mona Barthel photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images AsiaPac

Mona Barthel photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images AsiaPac

MONA BARTHEL

Barthel is actually the lone member of the group to have a title in 2013 and the win in Paris is the biggest of her career. Barthel also finished runner-up in Hobart and she has had wins over top 10 players Sara Errani, Angelique Kerber and Marion Bartoli. She’s now the second highest ranked German, with a current ranking of No. 29. She faced the US’ Jessica Pegula in the second round on Tuesday, but the 8th seed was upset 7-6 (4), 6-1.

 

Stephanie Neppl is in Charleston covering the Family Circle Cup for Tennis Panorama News. She spends all her spare funds traveling to tennis tournaments and has played since her teen years. She has worked as Social Media Manager for Tennis Auckland’s ATP and WTA tournaments. Follow her live updates on Twitter at @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal Twitter @stephintheus and her blog  http://ihaveatennisaddiction.blogspot.com.

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Clinical Sharapova Continues Her Mission, Li Na Advances

Maria Sharapova 10062012 China Open Sharapova in press with pocket book part 2

By Jaclyn Stacey

(January 20, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – Kirsten Flipkens became the next victim in Maria Sharapova’s mission for a second Australian Open title on Sunday, the second seed demolishing her Belgian opponent in straight sets 6-1, 6-0 to progress to a quarterfinal clash with fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova.

 

Sharapova was clinical in disposing of Flipkens, smashing away 25 winners and succeeding on 81% of first serves in play.

 

The second set was a 25 minute thumping and the fifth bageled set of Sharapova’s tournament.

 

She was understandably pleased following the easy victory, and said the key to continuing in the winning manner is to remain focused and to stick to your game.

 

“All of a sudden, especially in women’s tennis, things can change really quickly. It’s really about, you know, sticking to your game plan, being consistent, but playing your game.”

 

“You know, I didn’t start the match really great. I was facing a different type of opponent today and I was making a few more mistakes than I would have liked in the beginning.”

 

“But after, you know, I held at 2-1, you know, I really started making her play a little bit more.    Started really getting under the ball and being aggressive and just had a little bit more energy which really helped me and I carried that throughout the match.”

 

Sharapova plays Makarova in the quarterfinals who today defeated fifth seed Angelique Kerber 7-5 6-4 to progress into her second consecutive quarterfinal. Makarova is relishing the opportunity to play the second seed in a rematch of their 2012 Australian Open quarterfinal in which Sharapova won in straight sets 6-2, 6-3.

 

“I really want to play against Maria because I lost against her last year. I’m feeling really confident in my game.”

 

Elsewhere in day seven action, China’s Li Na defeated eighteenth seed Julia Goerges in straight sets. The first set was a tight encounter that lasted almost one hour with the sixth seed closing it out in a tie-break 7-6(6). The second set was was easier for 2011 Australian Open finalist as she won it 6-1 and progressed through to a quarterfinal appearance against fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska.

 

Jaclyn Stacey is a Melbourne based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open tournament as media for Tennis Panorama News.  Follow her Australian Open updates on @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal twitter @JackattackAU.

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Goerges Upsets No. 2 Radwanska in First Round of Olympics

Under a closed roof at Wimbledon’s Centre Court, Julia Goerges of Germany upset No. 2 seed and Wimbledon runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska from Poland 7-5, 6-7 (5), 6-4 in the first round of the tennis event at the London Olympic games.

No. 24 Goerges hit 20 aces and 56 winners past Radwanska in  making both her Olympic and Centre Court debuts.

“I didn’t really think about it as it’s my first time on the Centre Court, and you just go there and enjoy it,” the German said. “You just play there as you warmed up outside. The courts were different. But that’s, for both, the same.”

“I felt pretty great there,” Goerges said about her agressive game. “My game is to be aggressive, and I know that doesn’t suit her pretty well because she’s one who wants to create a little bit of angles to play clever on the court.”

This marked the first indoor match  in the Olympics since the 1912 Games in Stockholm.

Goerges will face the winner of Varvara LepchecnkoVeronica Cepede Royg in round two.

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Bartoli, Jankovic, Kuznetsova Fall in Upset Filled Monday in Toronto

By Brodie McPhee

TORONTO, Canada – Main draw action got under way on Monday at the Rogers Cup. It was a day filled with surprises and upsets as seeds Marion Bartoli, Jelena Jankovic, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Svetlana Kuznetsova all fell in the opening matches of their respective campaigns.

Perhaps the most surprising result was Galina Voskoboeva defeating Marion Bartoli 6-3, 6-3. “I think I just played pretty successful this year, and I’m pretty confident right now”, said the Kazakh. It was a different story from the French woman, however, who has had an incredibly successful year, including runs to the French Open semis and Wimbledon quarters. “It was really just one of those days where nothing [was] working.” “When you commit so many mistakes like I did today, it’s really hard to win a match, to be honest. It was really like my game was not at the level I’m supposed to play regarding my ranking.”

 

Seeded Russian Pavlyuchenkova also fell in the first round, this time on the grandstand to Spaniard Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 3-6, 6-4, 6-1. Despite taking the first set with her signature powerful ground strokes combined with some excellent passing shots, Martinez Sanchez’s variety and impressive net game managed to overwhelm and frustrate the 14th seed.

Julia Goerges of Germany celebrates a point against Jelena Jankovic of Serbia during their match at the Rogers Cup women’s tennis tournament in Toronto, August 8, 2011. REUTERS/Mark Blinch (CANADA – Tags: SPORT TENNIS)

 

In the night session, number 15 seed Jelena Jankovic was also stunned by rising German star Julia Goerges in the first match of the evening session. Goerges’ powerful serve and forehand, along with her excellent movement and defense proved too much for the Serbian. “If you play a player like Jelena, you have to play your best to beat those players. That’s what I knew before. I went for my shots and I went for my game, and, yeah, it went pretty well today.” Jankovic admitted to being “rusty” and not match fit. She remained positive, however, citing her past 3 weeks of training, and that practice is never the same as real matches.

The last match of the night featured home town favorite Rebecca Marino up against Ekaterina Makarova of Russia. It was a difficult night for the Canadian, who fought back from being down 0-5 in the first set tiebreak to even it up at 6-6, only to drop the next two points and the set, 7-6(6).

The second set followed a similar pattern. Marino looked excellent on serve, relying on her powerful first serve and driving forehand to stay on the aggressive side of the ball. The return proved much more difficult. Makarova used her lefty serve to her advantage, often kicking it out wide on the ad side of the court, and mixing up her speeds effectively. This kept Marino guessing and often left her behind from the first stroke. “Her serve was actually quite difficult. That second serve, I know it may have looked easy, but it’s difficult, because there was kind of no pace on it. So it’s hard to actually create your own. She used the angles very well generally and moved me around a lot. Very smart player, I guess, is the difference.” Unable to earn any break points in the match, Marino was broken herself at 4-5 in the second set after saving three match points, losing to Makarova 7-6(6), 6-4.

Tenth seeded seeded Samantha Stosur was the only seed to advance Monday. Greta Arn, Lucie Safarova, Simona Halep and Jie Zheng all won.

Brodie McPhee is the author of the tennis web site Mind the Racket. He’s in Toronto this week covering the Rogers Cup WTA edition for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his updates on twitter at @GVTennisNews and his personal twitter @MindTheRacket.

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Madrid: Nadal Wins with a Heavy Heart, Djokovic Tested Streak at 31

 

There was more than a match on his mind when Rafael Nadal took to the court on Saturday at the Madrid Open. Rafael Nadal had to overcome more than Roger Federer on court. Nadal was visibly emotionally distressed at the death of golfer Spanish golfer Seve Ballesteros during an on-court tribute.

 

In part 24 of the Nadal-Federer rivalry, the Spaniard extended his record over the Swiss to 16-8 with a 5-7, 6-1, 6-3 victory to reach his third consecutive Madrid Open final.

“This win is much too small to dedicate to Seve—he’s one of the greatest players in the history of our sport.”

“Playing Federer always provides a special satisfaction as we have played so many important matches,” said Nadal.

 

Nadal will meet Novak Djokovic in the final on Sunday and try to win his first title against the Serb in three tries.

 

Djokovic rallied against Thomaz Bellucci for a 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 win. Djokovic has tied Bjorn Borg’s 1980 record for wins at the start of a season at 31. John McEnroe holds the record at 42.

 

Different streaks will be in play in Sunday’s final. Nadal’s current clay court win streak at 37, Nadal’s winning streak against Djokovic on clay at 9-0 and Djokovic’s perfect start to the 2011 season currently at 31.

Victoria Azarenka

The ladies final on Sunday will see Victoria Azarenka face Petra Kvitova. Azarenka snapped Julia Goerges’ 10 match winning streak with a 6-4, 6-2 win. Kvitova dominates Li Na 6-3, 6-1.

Azarenka: “I came very motivated to play this match and show my best tennis …I had to be the one dominating the game and not her, because she has really big shots and when she goes for it it’s tough to see where she’s hitting.”

Both finalists will be moving up on the rankings – Azarenka will move up to No. 4 in the world. Kvitova will enter the top ten.

Kvitova: “Yesterday I knew if I won I’d be in the Top 10. It’s good but it’s only a number and I still want to get better and better…when I was young, I was inspired by Martina Navratilova. She was Czech, played very offensive tennis and had

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Wozniacki, Stosur and Schiavone Upset in Madrid

Second straight tournament, second straight win for Germany’s Julia Goerges over No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki. This time it was 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 in the third round of the Madrid open on Thursday.

Goerges had to rally from 0-3 down in the first set while in the second set the momentum swung Wozniacki’s way as she broke the her opponent’s serve twice.

Goerges said, “the second set she started to be more aggressive and I started to get tired, so I said to myself keep yourself together for the third set and try to fight for every point.”

What made the difference in this match? Goerges was more aggressive with her shots hitting 36 winners to Wozniacki’s 11.

“I tried to get her (Wozniacki) out of her rhythm and not let her push me and be the first to push her,” she told a news conference. “I like to play high balls to her backhand and if she goes short I have a chance to go for the shots. The second set she started to be more aggressive and I started to get tired, so I said to myself keep yourself together for the third set and try to fight for every point.

 

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova stunned fifth-seeded Samantha Stosur 7-6 (7-4),  6-3

Bethanie Mattek-Sands

 

Another day, another WTA “Hot Shot“ makes good. On Wednesday it was Dominika Cibulkova on Thursday it was Bethanie Mattek-Sands. Mattek-Sands had the win of her career forced out No. 3 seed Francesca Schiavone 7-6(5), 6-3.

Mattek-Sands, “she was serving great today, but my return is one of my best shots and I think there was only one break in the match.” “I’m playing free, is the best way to put it. I’m playing aggressive and confident, even if I miss a couple here and there. I’m going for it and that makes the difference.”

“I’m really happy with my play on clay right now. I feel like a true dirtballer.”

“Francesca is probably one of the best competitors on the tour. We played her in doubles yesterday and she played a great match again. Today, every point from the beginning, it was on. She’s a great champion, obviously won the French Open last year, and this victory gives me a lot of confidence.”

This was only Mattek-Sands’ second career win over a top ten player.

 

Meanwhile, Victoria Azarenka is quietly moving through the draw destroying opponents. On Thursday she ran over Spain’s Arantxa Parra Santonja 6-0, 6-3. “I played a very solid game…..I was dominating the whole match, which gives me a good feeling and a lot of confidence,” said Azarenka.

WTA Results – Thursday, May 5, 2011
Singles – Third Round
Julia Goerges (GER) d. (1) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) 64 16 63
Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) d. (3) Francesca Schiavone (ITA) 76(5) 63
(4) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. (WC) Arantxa Parra Santonja (ESP) 60 63
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) d. (5) Samantha Stosur (AUS) 76(4) 63
(6) Li Na (CHN) d. Roberta Vinci (ITA) 26 62 61
Lucie Safarova (CZE) d. Jarmila Gajdosova (AUS) 63 63

Doubles – Quarterfinals
(2) Peschke/Srebotnik (CZE/SLO) d. Mirza/Vesnina (IND/RUS) 75 75
(3) King/Shvedova (USA/KAZ) d. (6) Mattek-Sands/Shaughnessy (USA/USA) 75 57 108 (Match TB)
Dellacqua/Stubbs (AUS/AUS) d. Hsieh/Yan (TPE/CHN) 46 76(5) 119 (Match TB)

Madrid Open Results and Order of Play

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Tuesday in Stuttgart

By Tumaini Carayol

STUTTGART- Sam Stosur, Julia Goerges and Sabine Lisicki all moved into the second round of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart on Tuesday with straight sets victories.

 

It was far from plain sailing for Stosur, who after speeding to an early lead against Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, was quickly pegged back to 5-5 by Martinez Sanchez. However, last year’s finalist hung on to take the first set and eased through the second with the loss of only two games.

 

“I am pretty pleased with that, I have been practicing well on clay and it’s good to get a win.” She said afterwards.

 

“It [her stellar claycourt play] just happened over the last few years, something clicked and I got used to playing on clay,”

 

Germany’s Julia Goerges quickly followed suit, fighting back from an early break to overwhelm Holland’s Michaella Krajicek and advance to the second round in her first year of direct entry into her home tournament with a 6-3 6-0.

 

Next up for Goerges is Miami champion Victoria Azarenka. She was excited about the prospect of playing such a highly-ranked player;

 

“I look forward to [playing] Victoria Azarenka. These are the matches we work towards.”

 

Finally, Sabine Lisicki upset world number 27 Dominika Cibulkova with a 7-5 7-6 victory to record her third top thirty victory since Miami.

 

“There were the nerves, and at times my hands shook, But in the tiebreak I played confidently” She said.


Andrea Petkovic defeated qualifier Tamira Paszek in a tough match 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.

Quote of the day from Andrea Petkovic: “I am not Paris Hilton”

Stuttgart results and order of play.

Tumaini Carayol is  in Suttgart covering the Porsche Tennis  Grand Prix  for Tennis Panorama News. He is a  contributing writer at On The Baseline, and writes about professional tennis at his site Foot Fault. Follow his Stuttgart coverage here and on our twitter account @GVTennisNews. Follow him on twitter at @FootFault_.

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