July 28, 2015

Top Seeds Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic Win: Eugenie Bouchard Beaten by the Heat

Eugenie Bouchard

Eugenie Bouchard

(September 1, 2014) FLUSHING MEADOWS – The US Open top seeds had straight set victories on Labor Day Monday. Novak Djokovic, was a 6-1, 7-5, 6-4 winner over No. 22 seeds Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany, and Serena Williams defeated No. 50 Kaia Kanepi of Estonia 6-3, 6-3.

For the Serb Djokovic it’s his 8th straight US Open quarterfinal he’s reached and his 22nd major tournament overall.

“I’m very glad obviously that I had so many consecutive quarterfinals of Grand Slams,” said the Serb. “It says that I do value these tournaments the most and try to always perform my best tennis in them. Obviously motivates me for the future to continue that streak, of course.”

Djokovic will meet two-time major champion Andy Murray in the quarterfinals. Murray beat No. 9 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-5, 7-5, 6-4.

For Serena Williams the two-time defending US Open champion, this will be her first Grand Slam quarterfinal this year.

“I never thought it would be so exciting,” Williams said smiling. “Yeah! It feels good. Obviously I don’t want this to end. But I’m just happy that I’m able to be performing a little better at the end of the year.”

Williams has a perfect 5-0 record against her next opponent Flavia Pennetta.

“Of course, she’s better than me, but if I still believe I can beat her, maybe if she doesn’t have a good day I can do that,” Pennetta said. If I get in the court and just play and try to don’t take 6-Love 6-Love, I gonna take 6-Love 6-Love.”

Canadian Eugenie Bouchard was beaten by the heat during her fourth round match-up against Ekaterina Makarova. The Canadian said that she felt dizzy and her vision was blurry as she was bothered by the New York City heat and humidity. She took two medical time outs.

“I was feeling very light headed and dizzy on the court,” said Bouchard. “You know, just seeing things a little blurry. You know, feeling well physically on the court is very important to me, so when I don’t feel that — I just generally didn’t feel good.”

Makarova, the 17th seed from Russia beat Bouchard 7-6 (2), 6-4, ending the Canadian’s streak of reaching at least the semifinals of each major in 2014.

“I definitely felt a lot of outside expectations and pressure to win matches. I felt more like it’s normal if I win and it’s a bit more of a disaster when I lose,” Bouchard said. “But that’s something that I need to block out.”

“I remember as a junior a few times in Australia when it was hot I felt this way. Last year here actually in the second round I felt it a little bit. You know, once in a while I get a little bit light headed. That’s what happens.”

Makarova said: “Today was really tough condition definitely. So humid, and sometimes I think because of that the game was going like up and down. Against Bouchard it’s always tough because she’s running good. She’s also really — like physically she’s hard. So I think it was really good match, and I’m really happy that in the end of the first and the second set I was a little bit more aggressive.”

In round of 16 men’s matches on Monday night, No. 3 Stan Wawrinka beat No. 16 Tommy Robredo 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (7), 6-2, No. 5 Milos Raonic fell to  No. 10 Kei Nishikori 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-7(6), 7-5, 6-4, in a match which ended at 2:26 a.m. Tuesday, equaling the latest finish in US Open history.

Two-time US Open finalist Victoria Azarenka rallied past qualifier 145th-ranked Aleksandra Krunic of Serbia to win 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.

“I didn’t have a lot of data on her or, you know, much of an idea,” Azarenka said. “I think she played exceptionally well today. I’m not sure if I would have watched the matches before that would help me a lot, I think because I felt like not knowing much she still played on a really high level and pretty consistent through the whole match. She gave a fight, and she wasn’t afraid to go big on the important moments. I was a little bit surprised that she’s not that tall, and she hits the ball and unleashes her forehand with so much power. So that was quite surprising. But, you know, I think she’s a young player. She has a good future if she keeps going this way.”

 

Next for Azarenka will be Makarova. The Belarusian evaluated her next challenger.

“I think she’s a very tough opponent because she’s very consistent. You know, she reads the game really well. We had some tough matches in the past. I think she’s not afraid to play against top players. She handled herself well against, you know, big names in Grand Slams. She’s definitely playing well. I’m looking forward to that match.”

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Unseeded Kanepi Earns First Title of Year at Brussels Open

 

(May 25, 2013) Unseeded Kaia Kanepi claimed her first title of 2013 by defeating eighth seed Peng Shuai in the final of the Brussels Open on Saturday 6-2, 7-5. Both women had to play both semifinals and the final due to rain earlier in the week washing out play. The Estonian Kanepi also had to win two matches on Friday.

“It was a difficult second set where I had match point in many games but just couldn’t finish it,” Kanepi noted. “I was playing really well until 62 52, but I’ve had problems like this before. I just kept trying to pump myself up and not get too negative about losing the situations I had earlier.”

“Kaia played really well,” Peng said, “heavy shots and big serves. I tried my best but it was just really hard against her. I thought I could come back at 5-all but she broke me again and held serve. I’m happy I made it to the final again here though. It was a really good week for me.”

When the new rankings come out Kanepi  will move up to No. 26 while Peng will rise to No. 23.

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Quotable Quotes: Serena, Sharapova, Nadal and Berdych March On

Bank of the West semifinals (20 of 1)

By Tumaini Carayol

(May 10, 2013) Madrid – First to book her place in the final four was Serena Williams, but it wasn’t in the manner expected. The tournament and majority of onlookers had firmly resigned themselves to a routine straight-setter to the expense of their home favorite. Early on, it appeared Williams was well on her way to a routine victory as she secured the first set 6-3. Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, the American could be found struggling to serve over 90 mph and direct the ball between the white lines as all chances of a routine victory were killed spectacularly.

After the disastrous second set, Williams spent only a quarter of the allotted time in her chair, instead deciding to rise from her chair early in in order to do squats and stretches net to her chair. It’s not something Williams has ever done before, but it worked as, with a renewed intercity – and grunt – she eventually toughed out a tight victory.

“I felt just kind of ‑‑ I don’t know. I wasn’t really there. I wasn’t really in it. My feet weren’t moving. I don’t know what happened,” she said afterwards.

To turn it around I got up earlier on the changeover and started doing high knees and just stretching and doing anything to try to get my intensity back up where it needed to be.”

Sharapova 2

In stark contrast to the world No. 1, Maria Sharapova’s 6-2 6-4 victory over Kaia Kanepi was memorable for only two reasons. Firstly because the Russian extended her red clay winning streak to a monumental 24 wins. Secondly, thanks to the mischievous message the Russian left when signing the camera after her victory. In reference to paparazzi capturing her with her boyfriend, Grigor Dimitrov, early in the week, the 26 year-old wrote “how did you catch us???”

During her news conference afterwards, there was much laughter during the Russian’s exchanges with Tennis Panorama.

 

Tennis Panorama News: So, the writing on the camera, I wonder what that was about?

Maria Sharapova: (with head in hands) I don’t know. You tell me. (Laughter.)

[..]

TPN: Ok, serious question. (Laughter.) I’m sure you’re sick of answering questions about how you’re good on clay, but when you were younger…

MS: I never thought that day would come. (Laughter.) Where’s my trophy?

TPN: When you were younger you came on the tour and played well on grass and were really good on grass and not as good on clay. Now it’s kind of switched around: You’re great on clay and your grass results haven’t been as great recently, aside from reaching…silver medal.

MS: Aside from the final a couple years ago and the silver medal last year. No biggie. For some people that’s a pretty good achievement.

TPN: OK, OK! (laughter.)

MS: (laughing.) Obviously it’s funny when people talk to me it’s like, ah, that’s not really a great result. I’m like, I don’t know. Thinking about that on surgery table, I’ll take that any time of the day. You have to be pretty realistic and fortunate. And yes, I lost in the fourth round, and two weeks later I came back at Wimbledon and got to the finals. So that was a great, great week for me.

Yeah, I definitely have improved my game on clay and improved myself physically. I also think the grass has changed over the years tremendously. The clay has pretty much stayed the same. But it’s not like I woke up one day and said, Yeah, I’m just going to get better and tomorrow I’m going to be better on clay. Instead it took many years and many matches and many practices. And mentally as well just to get myself prepared for long matches and battles and get through them.”

More notably, Sharapova had much to say about the recent prize money issues and the five-hout meeting that took place during the Istanbul WTA Championshps last year. There is a misconception that only the male players contributed to the monumental prize money changes that have occurred in all Grand Slams this year, but the champion rebuffed the notion with some interesting information.

 

“I remember sitting ‑‑ we had like a five‑hour meeting the day before the first round of Istanbul last year, the Championships. I don’t think one player in that meeting was really happy about the timing.”

“I will say that every tournament director and a couple of their staff made their way. Craig Tiley flew all the way from Australia just for that meeting. We sat there and they presented kind of their future prize money ideas.”

DavidFerrerbyAbigailHintoShanghaiTennisPanorama

 

The men were next. After an embarrassing performance in the Acapulco final which saw the world No. 4 capture only two games against a returning Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer brushed off the embarrassment and played calm, aggressive tennis to establish a lead over the King of Clay. An early 4-1 lead in the first set fast became a set lead, and before long the set lead was complimented with a second set break.

Still, at a set and 4-2 many still expected the champion to triumph and as Nadal charged back to steal three games in a row and serve for the set, not many were surprised. The pendulum swung again, however, with Ferrer showing an abundance of typical resilience to capitalize on a few thoughtless unforced errors. By the time the pair next sat down, Ferrer was a game away from the big win.

Three points later, it happened. With the score at 6-4 6-5* 15-30 to the underdog, Ferrer contested seemingly the perfect point, dragging the champion from tramline to tramline and exposing his hampered movement. After having his way with Nadal for a series of shots, the elder Spaniard was finally presented with an open court forehand to catapult him to double match point. Instead, he opted to hit the ball straight to Nadal, who pulled out a spectacular defensive lob to win the point. From that tragically missed opportunity, Ferrer failed to win a single game for the remainder of the match.

After the defeat, Ferrer had some interesting things to say about his mentality and outlook, which perhaps explains why he so seldom emerges victorious over the four players above him.

Q. Rafa said that you deserved to be in the semis. Do you think that is a smaller gap with the top 4, or do you think they’re too good and when you reach the moment of truth they have got a little extra?

David Ferrer: Sincerely, I don’t care. I think they’re really good. I’ve always said that. They’re the four best players of the world. They make the difference compared to the other players.

I always talk about the same thing. Berdych, Tsonga, Del Potro, they all come like airplanes. Now Dimitrov and Wawrinka and Almagro too are pushing really hard.

With the amount of good players we’ve got down there, I’m not thinking about getting up there with the top 4. It’s really complicated.

 

TomasBerdych

Finally, after his impressive victory over Andy Murray, Tomas Berdych displayed some of his polarizing confidence as he amusingly tipped himself to win a Grand Slam

TPN: As you said before, your level doesn’t seem to change depending on the surface. You’re one of the few players. Even the big four have their favorite surfaces. What is your favorite surface?

Tomas Berdych: Well, it’s really tough to say. I can find good results on the grass, on the hard, and on clay as well.

So, you know, probably when I’m going to reach my first slam, then we going to see which surface is that going to be. (laughter) Then I can point this is the one that is the really on top, and then we don’t have to talk about the others.

So far, there is only the final and then the rest with some semifinals, so it’s not enough. Really, I want to do more. Then I can I tell you the one.

Tumaini Carayol is in Madrid covering the Madrid Open 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 tournament updates on @TennisNewsTPN and his personal twitter @TumCarayol.

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Wozniacki Nets First Title of The Year in Seoul

 

Caroline Wozniacki ended her drought of tournament titles by netting the title at Korea Open in Seoul by dropping only on game to Kaia Kanepi in the final.

No. 11 Woznicki stopped Kanepi 6-1, 6-0 for her first tournament victory since capturing the New Haven Open crown back in August of 2011. The Dane avenged her third round loss to the Estonian at this year’s French Open.

“Today I did well at turning defense to offense and offense to defense, “ Wozniacki said. “That’s actually a strength of mine. I want to enjoy it and be positive – so that’s what I’m thinking about right now. I want to build up for the next season and hopefully my results this week will help me move forward and get back to playing my best.”

“My season has definitely had its ups and downs because of my injuries, “ Kanepi said. “But last year was the same, and my whole career has been a little bit up and down as well. It’s nothing new and I’m used to it.”

 

This was Wozniacki’s 19th WTA title.

KDB KOREA OPEN
Seoul, South Korea
September 17-23, 2012
$500,000/International
Hard/Outdoors

Results – Sunday, September 23, 2012
Singles – Final
(1) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. (3) Kaia Kanepi (EST) 61 60

Doubles – Final
(1) Kops-Jones/Spears (USA/USA) d. Amanmuradova/King (UZB/USA) 26 62 108 (Match TB)

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