2015/04/25

Kristina Mladenovic Stuns Citi Open Top Seed Lucie Safarova

Lucie Safarova photo by Christopher Levy @Tennis_Shots

Lucie Safarova photo by Christopher Levy @Tennis_Shots

By Dave Gertler

 

(July 29, 2014) WASHINGTON, DC – It’s still only the first round, but the Citi Open women’s draw is now without a defending champion or a No. 1 seed.

Top seed at the Washington, D.C. event, Lucie Safarova, has been eliminated in the first round by French world No. 78 Kristina Mladenovic.  This upset came off the back of a straightforward win by No.2 seed Ekaterina Makarova over Magdalena Rybarikova, albeit not an upset other than the fact that the Rybarikova had never lost a match at the event, include her match against Makarova at last year’s Citi Open.

 

While Makarova’s was a straightforward 6-1, 6-1 win in under an hour, Mladenovic needed two hours, five minutes and three sets to topple world No.17. Broken twice in the first set, Mladenovic would turn the match around in the second set, breaking at 4-3 on a Safarova double fault, from which point, she held and continued to pour pressure on the Czech veteran, breaking her once at 2-2, and again at 5-3, when she converted a match point brought about by three consecutive errors from the Czech 27-year-old.

 

Kristina Mladenovic  photo by Christopher Levy @tennis_shots

Kristina Mladenovic photo by Christopher Levy @tennis_shots

It will be a second-round battle of the young guns when 21-year-old Mladenovic faces 18-year-old American qualifier Taylor Townsend who won through her first-round battle in three sets against Julia Goerges. Makarova is now the top seed remaining in the WTA draw.

 

Dudi Sela

Dudi Sela

On the ATP side, Dudi Sela’s run of form since Wimbledon continued in a tight 7-6, 3-6, 6-4 win against Australian Sam Groth, which lasted exactly two hours. Sela managed to get a read on Groth’s serve – one of the biggest in the game – in time to take control of a tight first-set tie break. Groth’s reaction to losing the first set – smashing a racquet to smithereens and receiving a code violation – would normally indicate a mental breakdown, but in fact Groth was spurred on to breaks in the first and last games of the second set, which he won 6-3.

 

By the decider, Sela had regained the confidence that has seen him go 8 wins to 3 losses since Wimbledon, and although Groth would recover one of them, Sela’s two breaks of serve allowed him to take the final set 6-4. “He has a very big serve,” said Sela of Groth, “But he’s serving-volleying so I have more target on the returns, so it was a little bit easier for me. He played some great games, some terrible games, and these terrible games that he played, I took my chance and broke him.”

 

It was a successful day for American men, with Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson getting through their first-round matches in straight sets.

 

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney covering Citi Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his Twitter updates from the tournament @TennisNewsTPN, follow him on his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days .

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Li Na Ousted in First Round of French Open

Li Na photo courtesy of MiamiTennisNews.com

Li Na photo courtesy of MiamiTennisNews.com

(May 27, 2014) In less than 24 hours both reigning Australian Open singles champions find themselves victims of first round losses at the French Open. On Monday it was Stan Wawrinka, on Tuesday No. 2 Li Na fell to French woman Kristina Mladenovic 7-5, 3-6, 6-1.

It is the first time in history that both the men’s and women’s Grand Slam singles champions have lost in the first round of the next major.

Li, the 2011 Roland Garros champion had an error-filled match, 37 unforced miscues in all.

“In my mind I didn’t have any idea how to play the match,” Li told media.

“Nobody says if you’re No. 2 in the world you win all the matches. That’s tennis.”

“I don’t think it is only the bad day,” Li continued. “I think it’s probably about me. Of course the easy thing is to say today was a bad day for me, but it’s not. I’m 100% sure. The problem is me. I don’t think I’m doing well on the court. And also, even during the match, I wasn’t thinking through what I should do, especially, I didn’t follow the game plan, and even when I was standing out on the court, in my mind I didn’t have any idea how to play the match.”

For the 21-year-old Mladenovic, who won the Roland Garros Junior championship in 2009 and is currently ranked 10 in the world, this is the biggest win of her career.

Also early on Tuesday an upset on the men’s side, 11th seen Grigor Dimitrov lost to big-serving Ivo Karlovic 6-4, 7-5, 7-6 (4). Dimitrov reached the third round to Paris last year.

“Today he was all over the court,” Dimitrov said in press. “He was just hitting his shots, you know, penetrating every volley, low slice, serving really good.”

 

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Serena Williams Wins Third Family Circle Cup

 

By Stephanie Neppl

 

(April 7, 2013) CHARLESTON, SC – For the second year in a row, Serena Williams is queen of the green clay. In the first three-set final since Serena beat Vera Zvonareva in 2008, the world No. 1 came back from a set down to win her third title in Charleston 3-6 6-0 6-2 over Jelena Jankovic.

 

On a perfectly sunny Sunday, Williams and Jankovic took the court for the first clay court match since 2010, which the Serb won in a third set tie-breaker.

 

On Sunday, both women showed the crowd why their head to head was 5-4 and played a match full of great rallies and clay court sliding. Williams had several break points on both of Jankovic’s first two service games but failed to capitalize in a 10-minute game. The next game, Jankovic broke Williams at love and the momentum was firmly in her favor. She held, then broke again to take the first set 6-3.

 

Williams broke immediately at the start of set two and reeled off six games in a row to bagel her opponent for the first time in their 10 matches. Williams broke early again in the third and was able to break again and serve out the match to win her 49th career title.

 

Coming off a win in Miami and now Charleston, Williams said she never goes into a tournament expecting to lose.

 

” I just expect to do the best I can,” she said. “If that meant that I won, then that’s great and if it meant that I lost but I played a good match, then I have to learn to be okay with that.”

 

Before she heads onto the red clay, Williams said she was keen to go home for a bit and didn’t plan any celebration other than sleeping in her own bed. “The last three weeks have been intense. I don’t really celebrate so much anymore,” she said.

 

Williams’ win was her third title of 2013, and she is expected to hold on to the No. 1 ranking at least through May 6, according to the WTA.

 

Jankovic, who had been on a 10-match winning streak on clay and said she thought she’d had a great week. “I think I did a great job. I fought very well. I played some good tennis throughout the week, and you know, today playing Serena was great, too. It’s been a while since I played against her, so it’s always fun to play against a champion like her.”

 

The Serbian said there is a reason why Serena is the world’s top ranked player and said she felt she’d given her best on the court. “She is serving very well and she hits the ball harder than anyone else. Physically she is the strongest out there.”

 

The doubles title was won by Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic and Kristina Mladenovic who defeated Andrea Hlavackova and Liezel Huber 6‑3, 7‑6 (6).

 

Stephanie Neppl was 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 personal Twitter @stephintheus and her blog  http://ihaveatennisaddiction.blogspot.com.

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After 24 Hour Trip and Lost Luggage, Mladenovic Survives First Round in Florianópolis

Kristina+Mladenovic+2011+Hopman+Cup+Day+3+BGX6GpRjVzPlBy Barbara Galiza

(February 26, 2013) Florianópolis – The young French hope Kristina Mladenovic had to endure a few setbacks before playing her first round match in Florianópolis today. The 19-year-old arrived yesterday in Brazil, after a 24 hour trip and having her luggage lost, but still managed to advance to the second round. Mladenovic beat the British qualifier Anne Keothavong, 6-3, 6-4.

 

“I arrived yesterday, it was like a 24 hour trip from Memphis to here. So long, it’s one day! (laughter) So I’m really happy to have won today”, said Mladenovic, who captured the doubles title in Memphis, alongside Galina Voskoboeva.

 

“Yesterday afternoon my luggage didn’t arrive. I was waiting for my bag all night, I couldn’t practice. I came early this morning just to have an hour (hitting session) with my doubles partner (Petra Martic).”

 

The French player, 58th in the WTA rankings, is the seventh seed on the draw that also features the American Venus Williams. In the second round, Mladenovic faces the German Tatjana Malek.

 

“I came here with no expectations. I know it’s very hard, I was in indoor hardcourts in Memphis and here it was sort of a shock. I just tried today to be really focused on every shot and find a rhythm.”

Barbara Galiza is a journalist from Rio de Janeiro and is covering the WTA tenis tournament in  Florianópolis Brazil as media in  for Tennis Panorama. She likes tennis and writing. Sometimes she blogs, most of the time she tweets. – @fiercetennis. Follow her update s on @TennisNewsTPN.

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Sloane Stephens – Already in Vogue, Soon to Step into Jimmy Choos

SloaneStephens

(January 17, 2013)  Back in November Sloane Stephens was included in one of Vogue Magazine’s  best dressed lists as one of “The New Wave of Style Stars.”

The 19-year-old American who reached the third round of the Australian Open on Thursday by defeating former junior foe Kristina Mladenovic 6-4, 6-3 has decided to reward herself with a special gift only a fashionista or Carrie Bradshaw of Sex in the City could love – a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes.

“It’s nice to be in the third round of a tournament and passed the quarters the last two weeks,” Stephens told a small group of media after her win. “I told my friend today that I can’t wait to get those Jimmy Choo shoes I promised myself. They’re not heels, their flats and their white with studs.”

Stephens, the No. 29 seed said if she stays focused and concentrates she’ll reward herself with the shoes which retail for at the least 500 dollars a pair. “It’s like five meals. And I eat a lot,” said Stephens.

“It’s pretty hard when I’m staying at the Hyatt and right next door is Louis Vuitton and Gucci. I’m trying to save myself for them.” Stephens said. “I asked my mom to get me them and she said, ‘No,’ so I’m going to have to go behind her back and get them when I get home. If I order them and have them sent home she’ll obviously send them back because I’m not there.”

Stephens will continue her quest for the Australian Open title and thinking of further incentive rewards beyond the Jimmy Choo shoes, in the third round when she takes on fellow teenager 18-year-old Laura Robson of Great Britain in a match on Saturday. Stephens is one of five American women who have made it into the third round of Melbourne, the most American women in the third round since 2005.

 

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama.

Jaclyn Stacey contributed to this report.

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