July 30, 2015

Ana Ivanovic and Seven other Women Upset in First Round of Australian Open

(January 19, 2015) No. 5 Ana Ivanovic, who led the women’s tour with 58 match wins last year, struggled with her serve and hernerves as she became a first round major upset victim on the Opening day of the 2015 Australian Open. The Serb lost to Czech qualifier Lucie Hradecka, who is ranked at No. 142 in the world 1-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Ivanovic had a positive start to her year in Brisbane, reaching the final and losing to Maria Sharapova.

For Ivanovic, she became the first Top 5 player to lose in the first round of the Australian Open since Jennifer Capriati lost to Marlene Weingartner back in 2003. This is Ivanovic’s worst result in a major since 2011.

“I think the whole match I didn’t really feel like myself out there,” Ivanovic said. “It was really tough for me to find rhythm a little bit. In the third set really felt like she raised her level.”

“There is always nerves in the beginning. I felt like I was maybe lacking a little bit practice this week. I had some issues. But I’m still, you know, I played okay in the beginning. Just I felt second and third set I really dropped my level.”

Ivanovic breezed through the first set in 21 minutes, after that Hradecka picked up her game controlled the baseline rallies putting the Serb on the defense.

“I’m happy,” said the Czech. “I still don’t believe that I am true. So probably in a couple hours I will know that I am in second round in Australian and I beat Ana. Yeah, whole times, it’s two hours after match, and I’m still smiling.

“In the first set I was so nervy. Of course, I have the feeling on the court that the court is so big. I couldn’t hit any balls in the court. When I went outside, I started the serve in second set, I think, Okay, it cannot be the worst. Let’s play every point and let’s see what will happen.”

This is the fourth time in the last six Australian Opens that Ivanovic lost after winning the first set. It’s the 5th time in 41 Grand Slam appearances that she has lost in the first round.

“It’s really disappointing,” said the Serb. “It’s probably the worst thing could happen. But still, the year is young and I really have to now sit and work on few things and just maybe try to have a different approach to this kind of event and try to see what was lacking.”

Ivanovic hit 10 double-faults and made 30 unforced errors. She has reached a mere 2 quarterfinals in her last 27 majors.

Asked about the role that nerves plays in her matches, Ivanovic said; “I think it will always do. I think it does with all the players. Just some people deal with it differently and play with it differently. I’m sure if I got through this round probably it improves. But it was just very, very tough. Like I said, in third set I really felt like she played great.”

Along with Ivanovic, seven other women’s seeds fell on Monday in Melbourne: No. 9  Angelique Kerber out to Irina -Camelia Begu 6-4, 0-6, 6-1, No. 16 Lucie Safarova to Yaroslava Shvedova 6-4, 2-6, 8-6, No. 23 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova out to Yanina Wickmayer 4-6,6-3, 6-3, No. 16 Carla Suarez Navarro, defeated by Carina Witthoeft 6-3, 6-1,  No. 27 Svetlana Kuznetsova lost 6-4, 6-2 to Caroline Garcia, No. 28 Sabine Lisicki fell to Kristina Mladenovic 4-6, 6-4, 6-2, and No. 32 Belinda Bencic was defeated by Julia Goerges 6-2, 6-1.


Cornet Conquers Strasbourg


(May 25, 2013) No. 3 seed Alize Cornet of France beat Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic 7-6 (4), 6-0 on Saturday to win the Strasbourg International final. Cornet was a losing finalist at last year’s event.

Cornet is just the second French player in the tournament’s 27-year history to win the title, the other was Aravane Rezai in 2009.

“It was a very tight first set – we were both serving very well and we didn’t break each other much,“ Cornet said. “In the tie-break it came down to just one or two points, and then in the second set it went way faster because everything she had been putting on the lines in the beginning started to go out. I feel great right now, winning this title at home. It’s the accomplishment of a lot of work.”


Radwanska Extends Win Streak to Eleven


(January 16, 2013) World No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska extended her 2013 unbeaten streak to 11 after completing a routine 6-3, 6-3 win over Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu at the Australian Open on Wednesday in Melbourne.

”I’m very happy to be playing my best tennis at the start of  the year,” Radwanska said after winning the match.

”It’s always great to win in two sets.”

Radwanska impressed spectators by hitting a left-handed forehand as well as a between the legs shot, something she said she used to practice as a child.

The Polish woman has been on fire since the start of the year capturing Auckland and Sydney titles. She’ll play the winner of the Ksenia Pervak – Heather Watson in the third round.

Fifth seed Angelique Kerber of Germany also moved into to the third round holding back a first set challenge by Lucie Hradecka 6-3, 6-1 in 69 minutes.

“It was very hot today than the last match I played,“ said Kerber.  “(It)was not so windy out there.  But she’s a tough opponent, and you need to be ready for the whole match, because she’s playing the ball very hard and deep in the court.

“So I was just try moving very good and just play my game.  Yeah, I’m happy that I won the match in two sets.”

Keber will play either American wild card Madison Keys or Austria’s Tamira Paszek next.

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News


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.



Errani and Vinci Victorious – Capture US Open Doubles Title


FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Italians Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci added to their major championship trophy case on Sunday with their win over Czechs Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka 6-4, 6-2 for the US Open women’s doubles title. Errani and Vinci won the French Open title in June.

The doubles partners and best friends who had to face each other in the singles quarterfinals, will be No. 1 and No. 2 in doubles when the rankings come out this week.

In addition to the doubles success, Errani became the first Italian woman in the Open Era to reach the semifinals of the US Open. She lost to Serena Williams.

Errani is currently ranked No. 10 in singles.


Serena Williams Captures Second Wimbledon Title of the Day – Doubles with sister Venus

WIMBLEDON – Five hours after winning her fifth Wimbledon singles title, Serena Williams was back on Centre Court with her sister Venus to collect a doubles title. The Williams sisters defeated the Czech team of Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka 7-5, 6-4 on Saturday night to take home their fifth Ladies’ doubles title and their first doubles title in two years.

“Oh, wow, it’s amazing,” said Venus Williams.  “I was definitely inspired by Serena’s single’s performance.  Obviously it’s wonderful to play on the court with her.  I couldn’t have done it without her, so it’s great.”

What the secret to never losing a doubles final together? “Serena and I both put so much pressure on our opponents with our serves, said Venus. “And our returns are also, you know, very good.

“I think maybe that has something to do with it.”

“It’s definitely more fun (than singles),” said Serena about playing with her sister.  “At the same time, the last thing I want to do is let Venus down.  In singles it’s okay if I let myself down, but I don’t want to let her down.

“Sometimes it’s almost a little bit tougher because you put so much pressure on yourself, so…”

Both women have been battling illness over the past year – Serena recovering from an embolism since last year and Venus coping with an auto-immune disorder.

“She hasn’t had an easy road,” Venus commenting on Serena’s comeback and watching her play in the final.  “You know, things have happened in her life that you can’t predict or control, so it’s hard to be in that situation.  You know, things happen, that you didn’t deserve.

“For her to fight through that and come back and be a champion, and not only that, but to have made the finals of the US Open, reached the top five, all these achievements that she’s done, you know, I don’t think anyone else can do is just amazing.

“It was definitely emotional.  I was so nervous.  I felt like I was trying to play the match, too.  I couldn’t.  You never miss in the stands.

“But she played amazing.”

“She’s such a fighter, you never say die.  I think positivity really brought her a long way in that.  I don’t think either of us believe that we can be defeated by anything.  Nothing has defeated us yet, so we’re going to keep that track record.

“For me it’s been definitely a journey.  I’m sure it still will be.  But I’m definitely very inspired by her and everything that she’s done.  Like I said, we’re not into the whole getting defeated thing; we’re into the conquering thing.

“For me, I want to try to do the same thing she’s done.”