2014/07/29

Italy Rallies Past US to Move into Fed Cup Semis

errani-vinci

Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci

(February 10, 2013) Italy came back from 1-2 down to defeat the United States in Fed Cup 3-2 on Sunday in the first round of the World Group in Rimini, Italy.

 

World No. 1 doubles team Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci sealed the win for Italy in the fifth rubber with a victory over Varvara Lepchenko and Liezel Huber 6-2, 6-2.

 

“Errani and Vinci are the weapon,” said Huber. They are like sisters. They are like best friends. They can almost see each other’s body language and predict something before it has happened. They have a different style than what we are used to and stick to their style. They are great singles players and don’t discount doubles. I enjoy watching them play, just not against me!”

 

The United States led 2-1 after Lepchenko beat world No, 7 Errani 7-5, 6-2 in the first of reverse singles on Sunday.

 

“In the first set, I had to get my body started,“ said Lepchenko. “I had a long match yesterday, so I was a bit up and down in the beginning. Once my body warmed up, I was playing better and better in the second set and got pumped and got going.”

 

Vinci rallied for Italy topping Jamie Hampton 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 to send the tie into a fifth rubber.

“I had a tough match yesterday, so I had to regroup and do my best for the team,” Hampton. ”First set, I made a lot of errors and started off like yesterday. I got back together in the second set and thought I had a hold of the match, but I made a lot of errors.”

 

 

Italy will next host defending champion Czech Republic in the Fed Cup semifinals, a rematch of last year’s semifinal. The other semifinal has Slovakia at Russia.

 

Next the United States will play in the World Group Playoff, April 20-21, to remain in contention for the Fed Cup World Group l in 2014 and to try and stave off relegation to World Group II next year. The United States’ opponent will be drawn on Wednesday, February 13, at 10 a.m. GMT at the ITF offices in London.

 

The U.S., who will be seeded will play one of the four winners of the World Group II First Round (Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, or Germany). The host site for Switzerland or Sweden will be determined by a coin toss on Wednesday. The U.S. would host Spain or Germany.

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Fed Cup Rookie Lepchenko Keeps Team USA’s Hopes Alive in Fed Cup

Lepchenko

 

(February 9, 2013) United States Fed Cup rookie world No. No. 21 Varvara Lepchenko kept US hopes alive against Italy by defeating.  No. 16 Roberta Vinci  2-6, 6-4, 7-5 in the second singles rubber on Saturday to even the first round tie at 1-1. The match, which lasted for two hours and 17 minutes marked the first time the two women had ever faced off against each other.

Italy’s Sara Errani ranked No. 7 defeated Jamie Hampton 6-2, 6-1 in the first rubber.

“Even though this was my first Fed Cup match, I wasn’t that nervous because I had the experience in the Olympics,” said Lepchenko. “I was very nervous there, so I didn’t want to let my emotions get to me here in Fed Cup. I thought of this as a first match in a tournament and I just needed to get into it. In the second set, I was in it.”

 

“I was really proud of the way Varvara approached the match and how disciplined she was,” said US Fed Cup captain Mary Joe Fernandez. “Even when she was down, she competed really well. In Fed Cup, things get complicated and there is always tension. It probably wasn’t easy for her playing for the first time in Fed Cup without a home crowd, but she did a great job blocking it out. She kept fighting and kept believing. Varvara has a great game and can play anyone. She can make anyone feel uncomfortable and she did that today. She played her heart out.”

 

 

“It has been amazing to be a part of a team this week,” Lepchenko added.” I have so much support from all of them. I feel like I can’t let them down. I played more for them today than for myself.”

 

Lepchenko led 5-1 in the third set, but the momentum shifted, and the third set was even at 5-5. Lepchenko then broke Vinci and held serve to win the final set, 7-5 on her third try serving for the match. This was Lepchenko’s best career win since beating then-world No. 13 Dominika Cibulkova in the second round of the WTA event in Montreal last year. This was also her best win on clay since upsetting then-world No. 12 Francesca Schiavone en route to the fourth round of the 2012 French Open.

 

 

“I am really proud of the way I handled myself today,” Lepchenko said. “I have had many people cheering against me in many tournaments throughout the year, so this time, I was happy to see my team cheering for me. They really helped me.”

 

The US is 1-1 against Italy going into day 2 play on Sunday. Since the Fed Cup World Group format was instituted in 1995, the U.S. is 8-4 when tied 1-1 with the opposing country. The U.S. is 8-10 when playing on the road and 4-13 when losing the first singles rubber.

Sunday’s schedule – in the first singles match of the day, Varvara Lepchenko and Sara Errani, the No. 1 players from each team, will square off in the third singles rubber followed by Jamie Hampton versus Roberta Vinci. The doubles rubber will close the tie it will feature Melanie Oudin and Liezel Huber for the US against Karin Knapp and Fed Cup rookie Nastassja Burnett for Italy.

 

“We are still in this tie and it is fantastic,“ said Fernandez. “I told the girls that the goal was to win any three matches any which way. We have one, so we are looking for two tomorrow. Varvara will play Sara, who won today, so that will be very tough. Sara has great clay-court variety and is a strong Top 10 player. Jamie will go out there against Vinci and give it her all. I’m excited.”

 

Tennis Channel will provide television coverage of the second day of play beginning at 7:30 a.m. ET on Sunday.

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US Fed Cup Team Takes on Italy This Weekend in Rimini

Fed Cup logo

(February 8, 2013) The United States will take on Italy in the Fed Cup World Group First Round this weekend. Play begins Saturday at 3:00 p.m. local time on an indoor clay court at the 105 Stadium in Rimini, Italy.

The US team goes into the tie with the pressure of being huge underdogs. “There is always pressure,” said said US Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez. “This comes with the sport and team competition, you aren’t just out there for yourself. The Italians are the favorites and they have a wonderful record, but we have been in this situation many times before. All of the players have different styles on both teams and we have to make the adjustments as they come.

“I am expecting to do well. If we win, it won’t be a surprise. We are going in with a very positive attitude and will take each match as it comes and fight our hearts out to do our best. We know the capabilities of both sides and this will bring out the best in both teams. It will be an interesting tie.”

 

World No. 64 Jamie Hampton, who will be making her live Fed Cup singles debut will open the tie against world No. 7 Sara Errani. Hampton and Errani have met once on the WTA Tour—in the first round of the US Open Series event in Cincinnati in 2010, where Errani won the meeting 6-4, 6-2. Hampton enters Fed Cup with an appearance in the third round of the 2013 Australian Open and a semifinal showing at the WTA event in Auckland, New Zealand, the week prior. Errani will be playing in her eleventh Fed Cup singles match (6-4 record), but just her fifth live singles rubber. She is 1-3 in live singles rubbers.

 

“I am excited to make my Fed Cup debut in a live singles match,” said Hampton. “Errani is a great clay court player and is having a lot of success. The match will start off level, so I’ll go out there and give it my all. It should be a good start.”

 

“Errani, as we all know, plays the best on clay and moves very well,“ said US Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez. “Through the years, the Americans have really developed on clay and like playing on clay. Everyone on my team has enjoyed practicing on it this week. They have had good results on it, as well. Unlike ten years ago, where everyone was very apprehensive about clay, we are looking forward to it and we like the challenge.”

 

The second singles rubber will see world No. 21 Varvara Lepchenko face off against world No. 16 Roberta Vinci. Like Hampton, Lepchenko will also be making her Fed Cup debut. Lepchenko reached the fourth round of the French Open last year, her career-best Grand Slam singles result, and reached the doubles semifinals at the 2013 Australian Open. Lepchenko has been living in the U.S. since 2001 after receiving political asylum. She officially changed her nationality in 2007 to play for the U.S and became an official U.S. citizen in September 2011. Vinci holds a 1-3 record in Fed Cup singles matches and has never won a live singles match (0-3 record). Vinci is also a doubles specialist and currently ranked No. 1 in doubles after winning the 2013 Australian Open doubles title with Errani, who is currently ranked No. 2 in doubles. Lepchenko and Vinci have never faced each other on the WTA Tour.

In this tie, the United States makes its return to the World Group after starting its 2012 Fed Cup campaign in World Group II for the first time ever. The match will mark the 12th matchup between the U.S. and Italy in Fed Cup competition. The two countries last met in the 2010 Fed Cup final in San Diego and also faced each other in the 2009 final in Reggio Calabria, Italy, both won by the Italians. The U.S., however, leads the overall series, 9-2. The U.S. last won against Italy in the 2003 World Group quarterfinal in Washington D.C. The winner of this tie will advance to the semifinals, held April 20-21.

 

This will be the fifth year as U.S. captain for Mary Joe Fernandez. Fernandez led the U.S. to consecutive Fed Cup finals appearances in her first two years as captain (2009 and 2010), where the team faced Italy both times. She was the first U.S. captain to accomplish that feat since Marty Riessen in 1986-87. Fernandez holds a 6-4 record as U.S. Fed Cup captain.

The order of play for the weekend:

DAY/LOCAL TIME MATCH PAIRING

Saturday, 3:00 p.m. Singles A: Jamie Hampton (USA) vs. Sara Errani (ITA)

Singles B: Varvara Lepchenko (USA) vs. Roberta Vinci (ITA)

Sunday, 1:30 p.m. Singles C: Varvara Lepchenko (USA) vs. Sara Errani (ITA)

Singles D: Jamie Hampton (USA) vs. Roberta Vinci (ITA)

Doubles: Liezel Huber/Melanie Oudin (USA) vs. Karin Knapp/ Nastassja Burnett (ITA)

Television viewers in the United States will be able to watch the tie live on Tennis Channel beginning at 9:00 a.m. ET on Saturday and 7:30 a.m. ET on Sunday.

 

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Serena Williams, Andrea Hlavackova/Lucie Hradecka and Liezel Huber/Lisa Raymond qualify for WTA Year End Championships

Serena Williams (photo from FamilyCircleCup.com)

NEW YORK, NY, USA – The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) announced today that Serena Williams and the doubles teams of Andrea Hlavackova/Lucie Hradecka and Liezel Huber/Lisa Raymond have qualified for this year’s TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships, which will be staged at the Sinan Erdem Arena in Istanbul, Turkey. The WTA’s year-end finale, to be held from October 23-28, will feature the world’s top eight singles players and top four doubles teams, competing for the coveted title and a share of $4.9 million in prize money.

 

“I would like to extend my congratulations to Serena, Andrea, Lucie, Liezel and Lisa on qualifying for the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships-Istanbul,” said Stacey Allaster, WTA Chairman and CEO. “Serena has had an incredible year, becoming the only player in history to achieve a golden career Grand Slam in both singles and doubles, and winning her 5th Wimbledon and 4th US Open titles. Serena’s love of the sport and relentless determination to win continues to inspire generations of tennis fans from around the world.”

 

“Andrea and Lucie’s outstanding play has seen them reach the finals of Wimbledon and the US Open, in addition to winning a silver medal at the Olympics. It is a wonderful moment for them to qualify for their first WTA Championships. Liezel and Lisa continue to set the bar for dedication and commitment, capturing five titles and spending 20 weeks as co-No.1s on top of the WTA doubles rankings. It will be great to see them back in Istanbul to defend their title.”

 

Serena Williams

 

This season Williams has added more highlights to her resume, including winning two gold medals at the Olympics to achieve a career golden Grand Slam in singles and doubles, securing her 14th and 15th Grand Slam singles titles at Wimbledon and the US Open, and surpassing sister Venus for the most titles won by an active player (45).

 

The 30-year-old has compiled a 53-4 record this season and a tour-leading six titles, bolstering her Wimbledon, Olympics and US Open victories with wins at the Family Circle Cup (Charleston), Mutua Madrid Open and Bank of the West Classic (Stanford). She is undefeated against Top 5 opponents this year (10-0), and with her tally of 15 wins, only one player can boast more defeats over World No.1 players (Navratilova, 18; equal with Davenport, 15).

 

Williams has qualified for the WTA Championships on nine occasions during her career, and is set to compete for the first time since 2009. The American is a two-time champion at the event – receiving a walkover in the 2001 final against Davenport, and defeating sister Venus in 2009 – in addition to reaching the final in 2002 (runner-up to Clijsters) and 2004 (runner-up to Sharapova in three sets).

 

Click on the link to hear Serena’s thoughts on her season and qualifying for the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships-Istanbul: http://youtu.be/D-xgx4R9gvg

 

Andrea Hlavackova/Lucie Hradecka

 

“It is such an unbelievable feeling to have qualified for the WTA Championships,” said Hradecka. “I watched the matches last year, and Petra Kvitova told us how amazing the tournament was, so we are really looking forward to it.”

 

“When we were planning our goals at the start of the year, our focus was really on the Olympics, but as the results started to come, we began to think it might be possible to qualify for Istanbul,” said Hlavackova. “It’s great that we’ll be playing indoors on a fast surface, and we’re going to have some fun and make the most of the week.”

 

The Czech team of Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka has advanced to seven finals so far this season, winning titles at ASB Classic (Auckland), Memphis International, and Western & Southern Open (Cincinnati), in addition to finishing runners-up at Wimbledon, US Open and the Olympics.

 

First teaming together in 2008 they have collected eight titles, including last year’s Roland Garros, and in doing so became the first all-Czech pairing to win a Grand Slam doubles title since Jana Novotna and Helena Sukova won Wimbledon in 1990. Both players will be making their WTA Championships debut, and will follow in the footsteps of Novotna/Sukova who were the last Czech team to contest the WTA Championships, also in 1990.

 

Liezel Huber/Lisa Raymond

 

“One of our goals this year was to return to Istanbul and defend our title at the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships,” said Huber. “Istanbul was a memorable experience last year and I am excited to be heading there again in October. The doubles competition there will be tough and I’m sure the fans will see some of the best tennis all year.”

 

“I’m thrilled to qualify for my twelfth WTA Championships and am looking forward to ending the year hopefully on a high note in Turkey!” said Raymond.

 

Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond are two of the WTA’s most decorated doubles players. This season they have reached eight finals and captured five titles: Open GDF SUEZ (Paris [Indoors]), Qatar Total Open (Doha), Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, BNP Paribas Open (Indian Wells) and New Haven Open at Yale.

 

Between them, Huber and Raymond own 132 doubles titles, including 11 Grand Slams and 7 Championships, including last year in Istanbul. Huber has spent 199 weeks at the top of the WTA’s doubles rankings – behind only Navratilova’s 237 weeks – while at 39 years of age, Raymond is the oldest player ever to hold the WTA No.1 ranking in singles or doubles.

 

Huber will be making her sixth appearance at the year-end finale. The 36-year-old is a three-time winner of the WTA Championships, having won in 2007-08 with Cara Black, and last year with Raymond. This will be 39-year-old Raymond’s 12th journey to the event, having first qualified in 1994. Including last year’s victory, she has won the title four times; also in 2001 with Rennae Stubbs, and 2005-06 with Samantha Stosur.

 

These players join the already-qualified Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka, and doubles team of Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci. Five singles and one doubles spot remains open for this year’s player field.

 

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USTA names US Olympic Tennis Teams

From the United States Tennis Association: The USTA announced on Tuesday the 12 players nominated to the U.S. Olympic Tennis Teams for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, July 28 – August 5.

U.S. women’s tennis coach Mary Joe Fernandez nominated a six-person team with four singles entries and two doubles teams.  13-time Grand Slam singles champion Serena Williams will compete in the singles competition along with Christina McHale, Varvara Lepchenko and three-time Olympic gold medalist Venus Williams, who will be competing in her fourth Olympics. The world’s No. 1 doubles team of Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond will compete for the U.S. in doubles, as will the Williams sisters, who are undefeated in Olympic doubles competition and will be seeking their third gold medal together (2000, 2008).

U.S. men’s tennis coach Jay Berger also nominated a six-player team consisting of four singles entries and two doubles teams.  2004 Olympian Andy Roddick was named to the team along with John Isner, Ryan Harrison and Donald Young in singles.  The 2008 bronze medalists in men’s doubles, Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan, will return to the Olympics as a U.S. men’s doubles team, with Isner and Roddick making up a second doubles team.

The U.S. will also nominate two teams in mixed doubles – which will be contested at the Olympics Games for the first time since tennis returned to the Games in 1988 – comprised from among the 12 players and named once all players are on site.

The 2012 Olympic tennis competition will be staged July 28 – August 5 on the grass courts of the All England Lawn Tennis Club at Wimbledon.  The U.S. has won 17 Olympic medals in men’s and women’s tennis since it returned as a full medal sport in 1988 – more than any other nation.

“These 12 players have worked extremely hard to earn selection to the U.S. Olympic Team, and they will be granted the tremendous honor of playing for their country on the world’s biggest stage,” said Jon Vegosen, Chairman of the Board and President, USTA.  “That the competition is being held on perhaps tennis’ most hallowed grounds, these Olympics will surely augment a memorable summer of tennis.”

“We have a very experienced team replete with gold medalists and a doubles team that is currently the best in the world,” said Fernandez, who has led the U.S. Fed Cup Team to the Fed Cup final in two of her three years as Captain.  “I am honored to have the opportunity to coach this team at the Olympics and firmly believe that we have a team capable of competing for multiple medals.”

“Our guys are honored to be representing their country, and are relishing the opportunity to compete for gold at Wimbledon,” said Berger, who has been the USTA Player Development Head of Men’s Tennis since 2008.  “I am confident that we will be in medal contention in both singles and doubles.”

Serena Williams, 30, is undefeated and a two-time gold medalist in doubles (2000 and 2008), and a quarterfinalist in her only Olympic singles appearance in 2008. She is a 13-time Grand Slam singles champion, including four Wimbledon singles titles and has captured 12 Grand Slam doubles titles (four at Wimbledon) and two mixed doubles titles. She is one of six women in history to have held the No. 1 rankings in both singles and doubles simultaneously.  Williams is a perfect 11-0 in Fed Cup play, including 8-0 in singles, and she helped the U.S. capture the 1999 Fed Cup title.

Venus Williams, 32, is the most decorated Olympic tennis player in U.S. history with three gold medals, and will become the first American tennis player to compete in four Olympic Games. She captured the gold medal in singles in 2000 and won gold medals in doubles with her sister Serena in 2000 and 2008.  She is a seven-time Grand Slam champion, including five Wimbledon titles, and has won 12 Grand Slam doubles titles (four at Wimbledon) and two mixed doubles titles.  Williams is 18-4 in Fed Cup competitions, including a 14-2 singles record, and she helped lead the U.S. to the 1999 title.

Christina McHale, 20, will make her Olympic debut in London.  She captured the bronze medal in singles and silver medal in doubles at the 2011 Pan American Games, and has reached the third round of the last three Grand Slam events to help her crack the WTA Top 30 for the first time.  She is 4-3 in singles in Fed Cup play, with all four wins coming in 2012.

Varvara Lepchenko, 26, will make her Olympic debut and represent the U.S. for the first time since becoming an official citizen in September 2011.  She is a native of Uzbekistan who received political asylum from the U.S. in 2001, and changed her nationality to officially represent the U.S. in 2007.  Lepchenko was one of just two Americans to reach the fourth round at the 2012 French Open.

Liezel Huber, 35, will make her second Olympic appearance for the U.S. after competing in doubles in 2008.  She also competed for South Africa at the 2000 games in Sydney.  She is currently the world’s top-ranked doubles player along with partner Lisa Raymond, and has captured five Grand Slam women’s doubles titles (two at Wimbledon) and two Grand Slam mixed doubles titles.  Huber has an 8-2 doubles record for the U.S. in Fed Cup play (17-4 career with U.S. and South Africa), and helped lead the U.S. to the consecutive Fed Cup finals in 2009-10.

Lisa Raymond, 38, will make her second Olympic appearance after reaching the third round in singles and the quarterfinals in doubles in 2004.  Currently the world’s top-ranked doubles player along with partner Liezel Huber (Raymond became the oldest woman to ever achieve the No. 1 ranking in either singles or doubles.).  Raymond has captured six Grand Slam women’s doubles titles, including Wimbledon in 2001, and four Grand Slam mixed doubles titles.  She has an 11-3 Fed Cup doubles record (14-9 overall), and helped lead the U.S. to 2000 Fed Cup title.

John Isner, 27, will make his Olympic debut at the site where he competed in the longest match in tennis history, defeating Nicolas Mahut 70-68 in the fifth set of their 2010 first round match that spanned 11 hours and five minutes over three days.  He has recorded victories over world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and world No. 3 Roger Federer thus far in 2012, and recently cracked the ATP World Tour Top 10 for the first time.  Isner is 7-3 in Davis Cup play, including a 4-0 mark in 2012 to help lead the U.S. to the semifinals in September.

Andy Roddick, 29, will make his second Olympic appearance after reaching the singles quarterfinals in 2004.  Roddick captured the 2003 US Open and is a three-time finalist at Wimbledon, including 2009, when he lost to Roger Federer 16-14 in the longest fifth set in Wimbledon final history.  He has also captured four titles at the Wimbledon tune-up at Queens Club, and last week he captured his first title at the grass court event in Eastbourne.  Roddick owns 33 Davis Cup singles victories, second-most all-time in U.S. Davis Cup history, and helped lead the U.S. to the 2007 title.

Ryan Harrison, 20, will make his Olympic debut in London, after breaking into the ATP World Tour Top 50 for the first time this week.  In 2008, Harrison became the third-youngest player since 1990 to win a main draw match on the ATP World Tour, and he reached the quarterfinals on grass in Nottingham in 2010.  Harrison made his U.S. Davis Cup debut in the 2012 World Group first round against Switzerland.

Donald Young, 22, will make his Olympic debut in London.  He reached his first career ATP World Tour final in Bangkok, Thailand, in 2011, and reached a career-high No. 38 in February 2012.  Young became the youngest player to end a year ranked No. 1 in the ITF World Junior Rankings in 2005 at age 16, and captured the boys’ singles title at Wimbledon in 2007.

Bob Bryan, 34, will make his third consecutive Olympic appearance.  He captured the bronze medal in men’s doubles in 2008 with twin brother Mike.  Together, they own 11 Grand Slam men’s doubles titles (two at Wimbledon), and Bob has won seven mixed doubles titles. The Bryans own a record 78 ATP World Tour doubles titles together, and have finished as the world’s No. 1 doubles team in seven of the last nine years.  Bob and Mike are each 20-2 in Davis Cup doubles play, including 19-2 record together, which ranks first all-time in Davis Cup history.  They helped lead the U.S. to the 2007 Davis Cup title.

Mike Bryan, 34, will make his third consecutive Olympic appearance. He captured the bronze medal in men’s doubles in 2008 with twin brother Bob.  In addition to the 11 Grand Slam men’s doubles titles he won with his brother, Mike has also won two mixed doubles titles.  Mike owns 80 ATP World Tour doubles titles (two more than Bob, having posted a 14-2 record in 2002 with four different partners other than Bob).

Venus and Serena Williams are the last American women to win Olympic gold in tennis, having captured the 2008 gold medal in women’s doubles.

Andre Agassi was the last American man to win Olympic gold in men’s singles when he defeated Spain’s Sergi Bruguera in the gold medal match at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Ken Flach and Robert Seguso are the last American team to win Olympic gold in men’s doubles when they defeated Spain’s Sergio Casal and Emilio Sanchez in the gold medal match at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul.

Tennis was part of the Olympic program from the first modern Olympiad in 1896 until 1924.  After a 64-year hiatus, tennis returned to the official Olympic program in 1988, becoming the first sport to feature professional athletes.

Team nominations were made by the USTA’s Olympic Oversight Committee and are subject to approval by the United States Olympic Committee and the International Tennis Federation.

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Serena Williams, Christina McHale, Liezel Huber and Sloane Stephens Named to US Fed CupTeam

From the USTA: WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., April 11, 2012 — The USTA and U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez announced today that 13-time Grand Slam Champion Serena Williams will be joined by Christina McHale, Sloane Stephens, and world No. 1 doubles player Liezel Huber in representing the U.S. against Ukraine in the 2012 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Playoff at the Superior Golf & Spa Resort in Kharkiv, Ukraine, April 21-22. Jaime Hampton will also travel with the team. Fernandez will ultimately choose her four-person lineup prior to the draw ceremony on April 20.

 

The best-of-five match series begins on Saturday, April 21, with two singles matches and is followed by two reverse singles matches and the doubles match on Sunday, April 22.  Tennis Channel will present daily coverage beginning at 12:00 p.m. ET on Saturday and 10:30 a.m. ET on Sunday.

 

The match will mark the first-ever matchup between the U.S. and Ukraine in Fed Cup competition.  The winner of this match will advance to the 2013 World Group and a chance to compete for the Fed Cup title next year.  The loser will be relegated to World Group II in 2013.

 

“I know the team and I are very eager for the task ahead of us against Ukraine. This is our opportunity to play for our spot back into the world group for next year,” said U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez. “Playing on the road always presents a difficult challenge, but our team has been playing very well lately and will be ready to compete.”

 

Williams, 30, will make her second consecutive appearance in Fed Cup after playing in the World Group II first round against Belarus where she won both singles matches to remain undefeated in her Fed Cup career.  She captured her 13th Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in 2010, and then returned from a year-long injury hiatus to reach the final at the 2011 US Open.  She has also partnered with sister Venus to win 12 Grand Slam doubles titles, and has been ranked No. 1 in the world in both singles and doubles.  Williams is 6-0 in Fed Cup singles play, and helped the U.S. capture the 1999 Fed Cup title.  She and Venus also won the Olympic gold medal in women’s doubles in 2000 and 2008.

 

McHale, 19, will be making her third consecutive appearance on the U.S. Fed Cup team and fourth overall.  She was dominant in the World Group II first round against Belarus, losing just five games in two singles matches to record the first two Fed Cup wins of her career.  McHale had a career year in 2011, defeating world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki at the US Open Series event in Cincinnati and then upsetting Marion Bartoli en route to the third round at the US Open.  She is coming off a third round appearance at the 2012 Australian Open and is currently a career-high No. 33 in the world.  McHale trained full-time at the USTA Training Center Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla., from 2007-10, and currently trains at the USTA Training Center-East at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.

 

Stephens, 19, is currently ranked a career-high No. 75, and reached the third round of the US Open in 2011. She reached the second round of the 2012 Australian Open, and most recently the third round of the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami as a qualifier.  The daughter of former New England Patriots running back John Stephens, she won the girls’ doubles titles at the last three Grand Slam events of 2010, and helped lead the U.S. to the 2008 Junior Fed Cup title.

 

Huber, 35, has won seven of her nine career matches for the U.S. Fed Cup team, including tie-clinching semifinal matches in both 2009 and 2010 with partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands.  Currently the top-ranked doubles player in the world, Huber owns five Grand Slam women’s doubles titles, including the 2011 US Open title, and won the 2010 US Open mixed doubles title with Bob Bryan. Born in South Africa, Huber spent four years on the South African Fed Cup team (1998-00, ’03) where she posted a 9-3 overall record (9-2 doubles) in 12 ties.  She became a U.S. citizen on July 25, 2007, with the hopes of playing for the U.S. at the 2008 Olympic Games (where she teamed with Lindsay Davenport to reach the doubles quarterfinals).  Huber and Martina Navratilova are the only players in Fed Cup history to have represented another nation before playing for the U.S.

 

Fed Cup by BNP Paribas is the world’s largest annual international women’s team competition with 90 countries competing in 2012.  The United States leads all nations with 17 Fed Cup titles, the last coming in 2000.  For more information, including access to player and historical Fed Cup records, please go to www.usta.com/fedcup.

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An Interview with the US Fed Cup Team

WORCESTER, Massachusetts – US Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez, along with US team players Liezel Huber, Christina McHale and Serena Williams held a pre-draw news conference ahead of their World Group II tie against Belarus this weekend. Here is the official transcript.

An interview with:

THE U.S. FED CUP TEAM

WORCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS

THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, everyone, for coming.  We would like to welcome the U.S. Fed Cup team with captain Mary Joe Fernandez.

Q.  Serena, you were No.1 for a very long time.  How do you feel to be playing the world No.1 coming up?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I feel fine.  I played a lot of No.1′s.  It doesn’t change anything.

Q.  Serena, could you talk about being back in Fed Cup, what it’s like playing this event.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  It feels good being back.  I’ve really missed it.  I look forward to it.
I love the team camaraderie.  It’s a lot of fun.  It’s exciting.

Q.  Christina, coming off a great Australian Open, I know you trained really hard in the off‑season.  How did you prepare for the upcoming matches here and how is your confidence right now?
CHRISTINA McHALE:  Yeah, I had a good off‑season.  I was, yeah, pleased with Australia.  I would have liked to have done a little bit better.
But I’m excited to be here, excited to be with the team.

Q.  Christina, you faced Azarenka before.  Can you talk about that.  Is there any excitement at all to be able to play against her again?
CHRISTINA McHALE:  Yeah, the last time we played, she had an injury so she had to pull out.
I’m excited.  I’m excited to be here.  I’m excited to play.  We’ll see what happens.

Q.  It’s one thing to prepare for individual competition like Australia.  How do you prepare for a team event like this?
LIEZEL HUBER:  Well, I think we’re still individuals.  Every day when we go out there, we practice what we have to.
I think the thing about teamwork comes in whether you’re playing or you’re sitting on the bench cheering, it’s the same as if you’re hitting the ball out there.
There will be some of us that won’t get a chance to play, but at the end of the day it’s about the team.  I think we’re very individual but we all support the team.
It’s unlike football where you kind of have to strategize and work together.  I think we do strategize, we talk about our opponents, what their weaknesses are, what we’d like to accomplish.  At the end of the day, everybody just does their best, that makes up a strong team.  That’s the way I look at it.

Q.  How is the ankle?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  The ankle is better.  Every day it’s feeling better.  It’s not a hundred percent.  But it’s better than it was last week and two weeks ago.
It just needs time to heal.

Q.  Christina, I know you’ve been on the Fed Cup team a couple times before.  First time with the Williams sisters.  Can you talk about participating for your country with some of the greatest U.S. players of all time.
CHRISTINA McHALE:  Yeah, it’s a huge honor for me to be on all the Fed Cup teams I’ve played on.  I’m really looking forward to this week.  I’m excited.

Q.  Mary Joe, you have three phenomenal doubles players on your team.  How are you going to pick two?
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ:  You can’t play three on one side (laughter)?
I tend to make my decisions really last minute.  So we’ll just see how the tie is going, who is playing well, who is fresh, then we’ll go from there.  But we have good options.

Q.  Serena, how have you been preparing since you got back from Australia, with the ankle in mind?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  It was good to take a few days off ’cause it was such an acute injury.  I’ve actually been doing pretty well.  I hit some balls.  I trained a little bit.  I’ve been doing more than normally I would have done with an injury like this because I knew I had Fed Cup coming up.
That being said, yeah, I just keep going with it.  Pretty much the same training regimen.

Q.  Serena, it’s one thing to be playing tennis.  You played against your sister from time to time.  Both of you are on the same team.  What is that going to be like?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  It’s fun.  We played on the same team a few times.  We always have a blast.  We always make the best of everything.
We really enjoy every moment together because we don’t sometimes get to spend a lot of time together.  It’s something that we really enjoy.

Q.  With Venus’ sickness, her being able to come back, what was it like playing against her in that exhibition?  How do you feel she’s coming along?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  She’s coming along awesome.  She’s doing really well.  I know she’s training every day.  She’s not wanting to take it too fast, come back too soon.  But she’s been training every day since before Columbia, so I know she’s going to be ready.

Q.  Serena, I know you were disappointed with Australia, but have you put that behind you and started looking forward?  That must have been really tough to leave that early.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, you know, I don’t leave any tournament too early.  Usually I try not to.  Definitely not Australia.  I do best there.
It was a tough situation.  You know, I just feel like I can keep going.  I don’t dwell on the past too much.  I just try to make better changes and do better in the future.

Q.  Mary Joe, your thoughts about Belarus, your competition.
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ:  Yeah, it’s a tough matchup, having Azarenka coming off winning in Australia.  She’s confident.  That’s always tough.  Then their other players are good.  Yakimova, Govortsova have been in the top hundred.  I think Yakimova is around 60 in the world.  They have different game styles so we’ll see who they choose to play.
We’ll do our best.  We’ll prepare as well as we can.  We’ll get ready to take each match at a time.

Q.  Mary Joe, can you talk about Christina a little bit, what her strengths are as a player, the momentum she gained with her performance over the last year.
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ:  I’ve had Christina on many teams already.  I’ve loved seeing her progress.  She’s one of the hardest workers out there.  She’s gotten stronger, fitter.  She’s got a big game.  It’s great to see all of that paying off.
The last season, having the good wins she did, Wozniacki over the summer, doing well at the Open, doing well in Australia, is proof she is where she belongs and she’s on her way to doing better things.
It’s wonderful to have her back on the team.

Q.  Any different being in the second group?
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ:  Not really.  I mean, it’s the first time the U.S. has ever been in the second group.  But you take each tie as a new experience.  We’re going to do our very best to get back in the World Group.
But it doesn’t really change your outlook on the matchup.  You got to win three matches, and that’s going to be our goal.

Q.  Christina, any friends and family making the trip up or have they abandoned you for the Giants and the Super Bowl?
CHRISTINA McHALE:  Some of my friends are going to come up for the matches, so that will be nice.  It’s pretty close.

Q.  Serena, who are you rooting for in the Super Bowl?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I was rooting for the Dolphins.  So didn’t do so well.  I always root for the younger brother.

Q.  When you look at the singles matches, how do you determine who is going to take on who?  Is there a way of determining that?
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ:  Well, you know that 1 plays 2 the first day, then 1 plays 1 on the second day, 2 versus 2.
It’s sort of a last‑minute decision.  We’ll see how everybody is playing.  We have options for singles and for doubles.  We’ll try to make the best choice at the time.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

Tennis Panorama News is in Worcester, Mass as media this week to cover the World Group II Fed Cup tie between the US and Belarus. Follow us on www.tennispanorama.com and on twitter at @TennisNewsTPN for updates.

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USTA Announces Serena and Venus Williams, McHale, Huber on Fed Cup Team

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., January 24, 2012 — The USTA and U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez announced today that 13-time Grand Slam Champion Serena Williams will be joined by her sister Venus Williams, Christina McHale, and world No. 1 doubles player Liezel Huber in representing the U.S. against Belarus in the 2012 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II First Round at the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass., February 4-5.  Sloane Stephens will also come to Worcester to train with the team.

 

Current world No. 3 Victoria Azarenka is expected to lead the Belarusian team.  Azarenka will face defending champion Kim Clijsters in the Australian Open semifinals and could take over the world No. 1 ranking this week.

 

The best-of-five match series begins on Saturday, February 4, with two singles matches and is followed by two reverse singles matches and the doubles match on Sunday, February 5.  Tennis Channel will present daily coverage beginning at 1:00 p.m. ET on Saturday and 12:00 p.m. ET on Sunday.

 

The match will mark the first-ever matchup between the U.S. and Belarus in Fed Cup competition.  The winner of this match will advance to the World Group Playoff and play for a chance to compete for the Fed Cup title in 2013.  The loser will compete in the World Group II Playoff and will either maintain its status in World Group II for the following year or be relegated to zonal competition.

 

“I am looking forward to having Serena and Venus on the team for the first time since I became U.S. Fed Cup captain.  They bring so much to this team, not only for what they can do on court, but the influence they will have on Christina and the rest of the team,” said U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez.” Victoria is playing the best tennis I have seen from her, so we are excited to be facing Belarus in our first match in the United States in two years.”

 

Serena Williams, 30, will make her first appearance in Fed Cup since 2007 and is undefeated in her Fed Cup career.  She captured her 13th Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in 2010, and then returned from a year-long injury hiatus to reach the final at the 2011 US Open.  She has also partnered with sister Venus to win 12 Grand Slam doubles titles, and has been ranked No. 1 in the world in both singles and doubles.  Williams is 4-0 in Fed Cup singles play, and helped the U.S. capture the 1999 Fed Cup title.  She and Venus also won the Olympic gold medal in women’s doubles in 2000 and 2008.

 

McHale, 19, will be making her second consecutive appearance on the U.S. Fed Cup team and third overall.  McHale had a career year in 2011, defeating world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki at the US Open Series event in Cincinnati and then upsetting Marion Bartoli en route to the third round at the US Open.  She is coming off a third round appearance at the 2012 Australian Open and is currently a career-high No. 42 in the world.  McHale trained full-time at the USTA Training Center Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla., from 2007-10, and currently trains at the USTA Training Center-East at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.

 

Venus Williams, 31, will be making her first appearance in sanctioned competition since the 2011 US Open when she revealed she had been diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome. She holds a 17-4 overall record in Fed Cup competition (14-2 in singles) and was a member of the title-winning team in 1999. She is a seven-time Grand Slam singles champion. She ranked No. 1 in both singles and doubles, and in addition to two Olympic gold medals in doubles with Serena in 2000 and 2008, Venus captured the singles gold medal in 2000.

 

Huber, 35, has won six of her eight career matches for the U.S. Fed Cup team, including tie-clinching semifinal matches in both 2009 and 2010 with partner Mattek-Sands.  Currently the top-ranked doubles player in the world, Huber owns five Grand Slam women’s doubles titles, including the 2011 US Open title, and won the 2010 US Open mixed doubles title with Bob Bryan. Born in South Africa, Huber spent four years on the South African Fed Cup team (1998-00, ’03) where she posted a 9-3 overall record (9-2 doubles) in 12 ties.  She became a U.S. citizen on July 25, 2007, with the hopes of playing for the U.S. at the 2008 Olympic Games (where she teamed with Lindsay Davenport to reach the doubles quarterfinals).  Huber and Martina Navratilova are the only players in Fed Cup history to have represented another nation before playing for the U.S.

 

Fed Cup by BNP Paribas is the world’s largest annual international women’s team competition with 90 countries competing in 2011.  The United States leads all nations with 17 Fed Cup titles, the last coming in 2000.  For more information, including access to player and historical Fed Cup records, please go to www.usta.com/fedcup.

 

 

The USTA is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the U.S. and the leader in promoting and developing the growth of tennis at every level — from local communities to the highest level of the professional game.  A not-for-profit organization with more than 750,000 members, it invests 100% of its proceeds in growing the game. It owns and operates the US Open, the highest attended annual sporting event in the world, and launched the Olympus US Open Series linking 10 summer tournaments to the US Open. In addition, it owns the 90-plus Pro Circuit events throughout the U.S, and selects the teams for the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, Olympic and Paralympic Games. The USTA philanthropic entity, USTA Serves, provides grants and scholarships and helps underserved youth and people with disabilities. For more information on the USTA, log on to usta.com, “like” the official Facebook page facebook.com/usta or follow @usta on Twitter.

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Stosur Shocks Serena for Championship, Huber and Raymond Rally for Doubles Title on Day 14 of the U.S. Open

Samantha Stosur of Australia holds the Championship Trophy after defeating Serena Williams 6-2, 6-3 in the Women’s Final in Arthur Ashe Stadium at the U.S. Open Tennis Championships at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City on September 11, 2011. UPI/John Angelillo

 

FLUSHING MEADOWS, New York –Samantha Stosur dominated Serena Williams to capture US Open crown, Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond comeback to win doubles title, Esther Vergeer wins 429 consecutive match in wheelchair tennis and an American girl and a British boy take junior championships on Sunday Day 14 of the US Open.

 

Stosur “slams” Serena for title

Australia’s Samantha Stosur upset three-time US Open champion Serena Williams 6-2, 6-3 to claim the US Open title, her first major tournament title. Stosur is the first Australian woman to win a Grand Slam event since Evonne Goolagong at Wimbledon in 1980. She is the first Australian to win the US Open since Margaret Court in 1973.

“I think I had one of my best days …I’m very fortunate to do it on this stage,” Stosur said.

“She was cracking them today, ” noted Williams.  She definitely hit hard and just went for broke.”

“I’m still kind of speechless” said Stosur.  “I can’t actually believe I won this tournament.  I guess to go out there and play the way I did is obviously just an unbelievable feeling, and you always, you know, hope and you want to be able to do that, but to actually do it, is unbelievable.

“I felt like I was definitely the underdog going into it, so maybe that kind of made me a little more relaxed going into this match than especially my last Grand Slam final.  I think I was able to draw on a lot of that experience from the French Open.  You know, I had to believe I had a chance to win.  I think obviously having two victories over her in the past definitely helped me feel that it was possible. I knew that I had to go out there and play well and actually do it, but I think having those victories in the past for sure made me feel a little bit more comfortable.”

Despite the dominating scoreline for Stosur, the match will be remembered for the umpire’s decision to award a point to Stosur when Williams yelled “Come on“ during a point when she thought she had a winner as Stosur was swinging at the ball.

Eva Asderaki, the chair umpire for the match ruled that Williams interfered with Stosur’s ability to finish the point and gave it to Stosur. Williams argued with the chair umpire to no avail.

“I think my opponent played really well” said Williams. ” I actually thought  it was a winner, but she did really good to even put her like racquet on it.  I thought it was a clear winner.  I thought it was the hat drop rule, where if you drop a hat you kind of replay the point. I don’t know.  I think for the most part it was just — I don’t know, I tried my best.  As always, I gave my 100%.”

The umpires’s ruling was supported by the tournament referee. According to the International Tennis Federation rules;“If a player is hindered in playing the point by a deliberate act of the opponent(s), the player shall win the point. However, the point shall be replayed if a player is hindered in playing the point by either an unintentional act of the opponent(s), or something outside the player’s own control (not including a permanent fixture).”

Two games after the incident while Williams was seated during the changeover continued to talk to the chair umpire Asderaki: “You’re out of control. … You’re a hater, and you’re just unattractive inside….Really, don’t even look at me.”

On whether or not Williams regretted what she said to the umpire at the chamgeover after call:” I just am really excited to be here really and to have gotten so far.  To get here has been a really great experience for me.  I regret losing, but I think there was nothing I could do today.  I think Sam played really, really well.

“I don’t even remember what I said.  It was just so intense out there.  It’s the final for me, and I was just  –  I have to go  –  I guess I’ll see it on YouTube.  I don’t know (Laughter.) I don’t know.  I was just in the zone.  I think everyone, when they play, they kind of zone out kinda thing.  I don’t know, I’ll see it later, I’m sure.”

“I just yelled, ‘Come on.’  It was a great shot.  It was beautiful.  I hit it like right in the sweet spot.  I don’t know.  It was a good shot, and it was the only good shot I think I hit.  I was like, Whoo Hoo, so…”

Stosur’s thoughts on the incident,“I was just kind of there, realizing what was happening. It had never happened (to me) before. I was trying to see what was happening. I’m aware of the rule. Obviously, it was something I’d never had to deal with before.”

In 2009 in the US Open semifinals against Kim Clijsters, Williams disputed a foot fault call against her and received a point penalty which gave Clijsters the match.

“The last 14 months has been anything less than disastrous,” said Williams. “And it’s been really, really, really hard.  You know, to even have a chance to play for the US Open I would have never thought I would have had that chance, you know, seven weeks ago, I mean during Wimbledon or whatever, you know, let alone six months ago.  I just would have never thought that that opportunity would have been available. So I can’t be too upset at myself.  I think I’m excited that I’m healthy and alive and still, you know, competing with the best.

“I definitely wanted to win today all because of 9/11 and everything that New Yorkers and Americans and — you know, 10 years ago I was actually at the same stage right before this all happened.  It was a really deep moment for all of us.  So obviously as the last American left I kinda wanted to do well, but it didn’t — I mean, it didn’t work out the way I planned.  Like I said earlier, my prayers are always with, you know, the victims and like everyone that worked so hard and risked their lives for our safety.  It’s unbelievable, really.”

The win improves Stosur’s record against Williams to 3-4. This is Stosur’s first tournament title of the 2011. She now has three career titles. At 27 Stosur became the oldest US Open winner since Martina Navratilova won the title at 30 in 1987.

 

Huber and Raymond rally from match point down to take doubles crown, Huber back to No. 1 in doubles

Americans Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond survived a match point to stop defending US Open doubles  champions Vania King  and Yaroslava Shedova for the US Open title 4-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3).

The win propels Huber back into the top spot in the doubles rankings. Huber said: “I’m speechless, really.  I think that ranking definitely doesn’t define you as a person.  We have a ranking system and that is great, but — and it’s definitely I think a goal of everybody to be No. 1, but it’s definitely not been my goal.  My goal has been to play with Lisa and reach success with Lisa.  So I think that goal is achieved to some extent, and we’re gonna keep working hard through the rest of the year.  So I think the ranking, you know, is sweet.  It’s nice.  But this US Open title is much bigger for me today than the ranking.”

“I think that’s probably one of our biggest assets as a team is our experience., Raymond said. “You know, we have numerous titles and numerous Grand Slams and we’ve been in these positions before.  Yes, they were the defending champs, you know, and they have two Grand Slams and they’ve done well, but, I mean, we have years and years and years of being, you know, in finals of slams, you know, winning the championships, you know, being down breaks in the third set to win or lose a slam. So I think we just, you know, we really relied on our experience today and sticking together. You know, and also, you know, with a bit of grace of God a little bit of a rain delay, we kind of, you know, changed it up a little bit after that rain delay.  You know, we just really just stuck together, even when we were down when they were serving for the match.  Just grinded it out, and now we’re sitting here as US Open champions.”

At 38, Raymond is now the oldest Grand Slam women’s doubles champion surpassing Billie Jean King who was 36 when she won the 1980 US Open championship.

After holding the joint No.1 doubles ranking with Black from November 12, 2007, to April 18, 2010 (127 weeks), Huber became the stand-alone No.1 after taking the title at the 2010 Family Circle Cup in Charleston (with Nadia Petrova). Huber remained at the top of the rankings for an additional seven weeks, bringing her total to 134 consecutive weeks, before relinquishing the top spot to Venus and Serena Williams.  After an eight-week hiatus, Huber returned to No.1 for 13 weeks (August 2 to October 31, 2010).

429 consecutive wins and counting

Esther Vergeer of the Netherlands, won her 429th consecutive singles match today at the US Open, defeating countrywoman  Aniek Van Koot, 6-2, 6-1 for the US Open wheelchair title in women’s singles. Vergeer  has won 429 consecutive singles and last lost a match in  January 2003. Her US Open title on Sunday is her 19th consecutive Grand Slam singles title.

“I am happy with the result, said Vergeer Today, I was confident, even though I didn’t feel as strong as the past two years. Aniek definitely came out tough.

“I enjoy the environment here. The fans are incomparable to any other Grand Slam. There were so many people watching this week and it was great. If there are a lot of people enjoying the game and cheering at the right time, it makes me feel good.”

What player inspires her: “The best example for me is Roger Federer, said Vergeeer, “his attitude, his calmness, his way of playing. Even though he lost yesterday, he still had a great attitude. He is an inspiration.”

“There are things in life you don’t plan for and that come unexpectedly. But, it is all about how you deal with that. You are the one that can make something out of your life.”

 

Min upsets Garcia for US Open Junior Girls title

American Grace Min upset top-seeded Caroline Garcia of France 7-5, 7-6(3) capture the US Open girls’ singles title. Min becomes the first American to win the US Open girls’ singles title since Coco Vandeweghe in 2008.

“I think I moved well said Min.  She hits a big ball, so I knew I had to play some big defense, and, you know, bring the ball back an extra time and hopefully make her hit — force an error from her.  Just letting her know that I was going to be in there every single point and not back down.

I mean, it gives me a lot of confidence that I’m able to like be put in tough situations and come through.  Yeah, the indoor courts were a lot faster than these; the matches were back to back and they were tough matches.  So being able to come through that and come back after I was down 5-2 in my next match, just like little things like that, it’s a good confidence booster.

 

Seven matches in five days gives Golding the Junior Boys’ crown

Great Britain’s Oliver Golding stopped top-seeded Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic 5-7 6-3 6-4 for the US Open Boys’ title.

I didn’t think it was gonna be that easy, to be honest.  I played a really good game.  He made a couple of errors at the beginning of the game which helped me out, but just was trying to think, just keep playing the same way you have been playing the whole match and you’ll get through it.

“It’s kind of something I have been working for for a long time, and, you know, feels unbelievable.  I don’t have the words, ” said Golding.

Golding had to play seven times in five days due to the rain postponing junior tournament matches, he spoke about where he found the energy to play, “I have no idea.  You know, it’s been a really tough few days.  There has been so many matches.  You know, he was obviously pretty tired, as well.  We both were.  But considering the circumstances, I think it was pretty high quality match.
“I played seven matches now in three days.  I think my body has held up pretty well.  I try and keep recovering after all the matches to the best that I can.  Yeah, I think it’s only gonna get tougher when you start playing best of five sets.  But I thought I handled it pretty well this week.”

Sunday Results

Women’s Singles – Final
(9) Samantha Stosur (AUS) d. (28) Serena Williams (USA) 62 63

Women’s Doubles – Final
(4) Huber/Raymond (USA/USA) d. (3) King/Shvedova (USA/KAZ) 46 76(5) 76(3)

Girls’ Singles – Final

Grace Min (USA) def. (1) Caroline Garcia (France) 7-5, 7-6(3)

Girls’ Doubles – Final

Irina Khromacheva(RUS)[6] /Demi Schuurs(NED)[6] def.  Gabrielle Andrews(USA) / Taylor Townsend(USA) 6-4 5-7 1-0(5)

Boys’ Singles – Final

Oliver Golding (Great Britain) def. (1) Jiri Vesely (Czech Republic) 5-7 6-3 6-4

Boys’ Doubles – Final

Robin Kern(GER) / Julian Lenz(GER) def. Maxim Dubarenco(MDA) / Vladyslav Manafov(UKR) 6-4 7-5

Wheelchair Men’s Singles – Finals

Shingo Kunieda(JPN)[1] def. Stephane Houdet(FRA) 3-6 6-1 6-0

Wheelchair Women’s Singles – Finals

Esther Vergeer(NED)[1] def. Aniek Van Koot(NED) 6-2 6-1

Monday Schedule

Arthur Ashe Stadium 4:00 PM Start Time
1. Men’s Singles – Finals
Novak Djokovic (SRB)[1] v. Rafael Nadal (ESP)[2]

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Paes, Huber named World TeamTennis MVPs, Kastles’ Jensen Nabs Coach of the Year Honor

Liezel Huber (Photo by Enrique Fernandez)

The Washington Kastles and St. Louis Aces swept the post-season honors for the

Leander Paes (Photo by Tennis Panorama News)

2011 World TeamTennis Pro League presented by GEICO.  Leander Paes of the Washington Kastles andSt. Louis’ Liezel Huber were announced as League MVPs Friday evening prior to the opening matches of the 2011 WTT Finals Weekend presented by GEICO at the Family Circle Tennis Center in Charleston, S.C.

 

Arina Rodionova of the Washington Kastles and Jean-Julien Rojer of the St. Louis Aces were named as WTT Rookies of the Year, while Murphy Jensen was named WTT Coach of the Year in his third season at the helm of the Washington Kastles.

 

Leander Paes, the former world No. 1 doubles player, with an astounding 46 titles on the ATP Tour, secured this year’s MVP distinction for the men. Paes is no stranger to this award, having earned the honor in 2009 en route to leading the Kastles to the title that year.  Paes finished the 2011 regular season as part of the top-ranked team in both men’s and mixed doubles.    Paes teamed with Bobby Reynolds to post a 64-45 record and .587 winning percentage.  Paes also topped the rankings in mixed doubles teaming with several partners, including regular partner Rennae Stubbs, Serena Williams and Venus Williams.

 

“I am humbled to get this award again,” said Paes.  “After three unforgettable years with the Kastles, I feel like a real Washingtonian.  It’s been a joy comparable to any in my career to play on this memorable team with Murphy, my wonderful teammates, Mark Ein’s organization, and the great Kastles fans inWashingtonD.C.Without them, nothing that happened this season would have been possible.”

 

For the women, another doubles standout Liezel Huber of the St. Louis Aces earned the Female MVP award. Also a former world No. 1, Huber has earned 44 doubles titles in her distinguished career. She’s also been a committed WTT competitor, playing in her 11th season this year.  Huber topped women’s doubles rankings with a .693 winning percentage.  Huber also finished second in mixed doubles with a .591 winning percentage.

 

“I’ve been part of a great team and it’s been a very enjoyable season,” said Huber.  “I’m lucky and honored to receive this award and I’m looking forward to the weekend.”

 

Huber’s teammate Jean-Julien Rojer was named Male Rookie of the Year.  Rojer teamed with Roman Borvanov and Mark Philippoussis to finish as the third-ranked men’s doubles team, winning 58 games.  Rojer partnered with Huber to finish second in mixed doubles, winning 65 games for a .591 winning percentage.

 

“I would like to thank the St. Louis Aces for drafting me,” said Rojer.  “They are truly a first-class organization.  I’m very honored to receive this award.  I was truly blessed having a wonderful team.  I’m looking forward to the weekend and hopefully we can bring home a title for the St. Louis Aces.”

 

For the women, Rookie of the Year goes to Arina Rodionova of the Washington Kastles.   Rodionova finished 5th in the League in women’s singles and teamed with Rennae Stubbs to finish as the League’s third best doubles team.

 

“I have loved playing World Team Tennis and this honor is the icing on the cake,” said Rodionova.  “It has been an incredible experience that I will never forget; playing for the Kastles during this amazing undefeated season with Bobby, Leander, Rennae and Murphy.”

 

Helping to lead Rodionova and Paes to victory this season is Coach Murphy Jensen, who will be awarded Coach of the Year for his efforts, which have earned the Kastles a perfect 14-0 regular season.  This is Jensen’s third season coaching the Kastles.  He led the franchise to their first WTT title in 2009 and the Kastles are the top seed in tonight’s Eastern Conference finals.

 

“I’m really honored to be named Coach of the Year for 2011,” said Jensen.  “I give all the credit to (owner) Mark Ein, my team and my mother and father. I dedicate this season to my father Howard O. Jensen who taught me and showed me everything I know about coaching.”

 

The Kastles and the Aces are both the top seeds in their respective divisions at the WTT Finals Weekend.  Three of the four playoff spots were decided on Thursday, the final night of the 2011 regular season.  The St. Louis Aces posted a 23-15 win over the Kansas City Explorers to earn the top seed in the West.  The Boston Lobsters overpowered the Newport Beach Breakers 22-14 to advance toCharleston, where they will take on the Washington Kastles. Washingtoncompleted only the second undefeated regular season in WTT’s 36-year history with a 25-11 win over Philadelphia Freedoms.  The only other team to finish 14-0 during the regular season was the 1994 Newport Beach Dukes.

 

For more information on the WTT Finals Weekend presented by GEICO, visit www.WTT.com/Finals.

 

SCHEDULE 2011 WTT Finals Weekend presented by GEICO

July 22-24 – Family Circle Tennis Center inCharleston,S.C.

 

Friday, July 22 – 7 p.m.:  Eastern Conference Championship -  #1 Washington Kastles (14-0) vs. #2 Boston Lobsters (7-7) — Live Video Streaming onhttp://video.wtt.com

Saturday, July 23 – 5 p.m.:  Western Conference Championship — #1St. LouisAces (8-6) vs. #2SacramentoCapitals (8-6)

Sunday, July 24 – 5 p.m.:  WTT Finals – Eastern Conference Champion vs. Western Conference Champion — LIVE Broadcast on Tennis Channel // Live Video Streaming on http://video.wtt.com

Courtesy of  World TeamTennis

 

 

 

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