2015/07/03

Serena Williams Wins French Open for 20th Major Title

(June 6, 2015) Serena Williams won her 20th major title on Saturday defeating Lucie Safarova 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-2 for her third French Open title.

Williams remains undefeated at 9-0 against the 13th seeded Czech. She is 20-4 in major finals.

It was a struggle Williams for much of the fortnight, having to battle back from a set down in four of the five previous matches, in addition to having the flu.

Williams is now halfway through a calendar Grand Slam, winning the Australian Open in January. She has won three majors in a row – 2014 U.S. Open, 2015 Australian Open and now Roland Garros. She won four majors in a row from the 2002 French Open to 2003 Australian Open which has been dubbed “the Serena Slam.” Should Williams win at Wimbledon, it would be her second “Serena Slam.”

The last player to win the US Open, Australian Open and Roland Garros in a row was Monica Seles in 1991-92.

Williams is the first woman since Jennifer Capriati to win the first French Open and the Australian Open in the same year.

The world No. 1 is now two majors behind Steffi Graf and four behind Margaret Court on the all-time list.

Her third Roland Garros title puts her in elite company with all-time greats who have also won three Paris crowns in the Open Era – Monica Seles (1990, 1991, 1992), Aranxta Sanchez-Vicario (1989, 1994, 1998) and Margaret Court (1969, 1970, 1973).

Williams at 33 years, 254 days is the second oldest women’s winner at Roland Garros. The oldest was Hungary’s Zsuzsi Kormoczy, who was 33 years, 279 days when she won the 1958 singles title.

Playing in her 24th major final, Williams broke Safarova’s serve in the fourth game of the first set to lead 3-1. Safarova saved a set point serving at 2-5, but Williams closed out the first holding at 15 for 6-3.

Williams, who coming into a major final was 17-0 after winning the first set, broke Safarova’s serve to open the second and extended the lead to 4-1 breaking again in the fifth game. Williams a point away from a 5-1 lead, dropped three double-faults in the next game to give the break back. Williams gave the second break back in the eighth game and the set was leveled at 4-4. Safarova won her fourth game in a row to take a 5-4 lead in the second set.

Williams after yelling at herself, held serve and broke Safarova’s serve to serve for the title. Safarova broke back to send the set to a tiebreak.

Safaraova took a 3-0 lead and never looked back, winning the tiebreak 7-2 sending the match to a third set.

“I got so frustrated. I was just so angry at myself. I pretty much gave the match away,” Williams said “I just had to, like, try to pull it together.”

Safarova’s good fortune continued, opening the third set with a break of serve. At 0-2 down in the third set Williams won the next six straight games to close the match.

“When she was on, she was just serving amazing and going for the returns, pressuring me right away,” said Safarova. “It’s just hard to do anything with that.”

The world No. 1 now owns 67 career singles titles to her name.

“When I was a little girl, in California, my father and my mother wanted me to play tennis. And now I’m here, with 20 Grand Slam titles,” Williams said in French to the crowd after the win. “This is very special for me. I haven’t always played very well here, but I’m really happy to win the 20th here.”

Safarova will be making her Top Ten debut on Monday is projected to be ranked No.7. Along with Petra Kvitova, this will be the first time since the Fall of 1989 that two Czech women rank in the Top 10.

 

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Djokovic – Murray Match Suspended: Winner to Face Wawrinka in Men’s French Open Final

 

(June 5, 2015) Stan Wawrinka still does not know yet who his opponent will be in the French Open men’s final on Sunday. The Swiss, who defeated French favorite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 6-7 (1), 7-6 (3), 6-4 in Friday’s first men’s semifinal, awaits the conclusion of the Novak DjokovicAndy Murray match which was suspended due to an impending rain storm in the fourth set. No. 1 Djokovic was leading No. 3 Murray 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 3-3.

The Serb and the Scot will resume play on Saturday at 1 p.m. local time. The women’s final featuring No. 1 Serena Williams against 13th seed Lucie Safarova is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m.

Williams canceled her practice session and news conference due to trying to recover from the flu she’s had since the third round of the tournament.

“It’s just a matter of resting and keeping hydrated – there’s not much else I can do,” Williams said in regard to her illness. “I need time, and obviously don’t have a lot of it. I just have to hope that tomorrow I will be feeling a lot better and able to give my best on court.”

For Safarova, who at 28-years-old is playing her first major final it will be a new experience.

“It’s been (a) long way and a lot of hours on court,” said Safarova. “I have been on tour, it’s my 12th year, and to reach this, finally, it’s just, you appreciate it much more, I think.”

Safaraova is also in the doubles final pairing up with American Betthanie Mattek-Sands. Together they won the Australian Open title in January.

In the second men’s semifinal, Djokovic rushed off to a two set lead lead, Murray broke Djokovic’s serve for the first time in the third set to take a 6-5 lead and closed out the set on his serve.

At 3-3 in the fourth set, play was called for the fading light due to the dark clouds moving in.

In the first men’s semifinal, Wawrinka had both Tsonga and the French crowd to battle. It’s been since 1983 that a French man won the French Open – Yannick Noaj and the last French man who reached the finals was Henri Leconte in 1988. The key statistic in the match was the fact that Tsonga was 1 for 17 on break points.

“Jo is always a tough player to play,” said the 8th seed Wawrinka, “especially when he’s playing at home.”

For Wawrinka, who won the French Open Junior title in 2003, Sunday will mark his second major final, he won the Australian Open back in 2014. Last year he was bounced out of the French Open in the first round.

For Djokovic, should he defeat Murray and then Warinka, he will be looking to become just the eighth man to win a career Grand Slam – winning a title at all four majors – Australia, Paris, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

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Serena Williams Rallies to Reach French Open Final

(June 4, 2015) Sick with the flu and moving slowly around a hot center court, Serena Williams came back from a set and a break down to reach the French Open final for the third time defeating 23rd seed Timea Bacsinszky 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 on Thursday.

Down 6-4, 3-2 the world No. 1 won the next 10 straight games to knock out her Swiss opponent and reach her 24th major final.

“I tried everything,” Williams said in an on-court interview after the match. ”I thought if I lose, I will lose with a fight. I tried, I tried. I found the energy. I don’t know where, but I found it. And I won. I hope that on Saturday, I hope”

She’ll face No. 13 Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic in Saturday’s final for a chance to win her 20th major title.

Safarova defeated two former Roland Garros champions on the way to the final – defending champion and No. 2 Maria Sharapova in the fourth round, 2008 titlist and seventh seed Ana Ivanovic 7-5, 7-5 in the semifinals earlier in the day on Thursday.

Safarova rebounded from a 2-5 first set deficit to win the next five games in a row.

“I started a little bit slower in the match and wasn’t swinging as much as I should. I was a little slow on my feet,” Safarova said to media. “Ana was playing well right away and going for her shots, too, but I slowly started getting into the rhythm, into the game. Then right away I took the set, took the momentum.”

She had to serve for the match twice in the second set to finally close it out.

“In the second set, when I realized I could finally be in the finals, I got a little bit tense there. And the game at 5-4, I was really overthinking and couldn’t really concentrate to be there in that moment.

“But when I lost serve, I shook it off and started to play aggressive again, and I served it out.”

After 12 years on tour, this will be Safarova’s first singles final of a Grand Slam tournament.

 

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Federer Falls to Countryman Wawrinka at French Open

Stan Wawrinka

Stan Wawrinka

(June 2,2015) Stan Wawrinka defeated his Swiss countryman and No 2 seed Roger Federer for the first time at a major on Tuesday to reach his first French Open semifinal with a 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (4) victory. This was only the third time in 199 matches between than that Wawrinka came out with the win.

This is the third straight year that Federer has been knocked out in the quarterfinals or earlier. Federer was unable to break his Davis Cup teammate’s serve.

“I played my best match in a Grand Slam tournament,” said Wawrinka after the match, “and my best match on clay.”

“I know that when I play good tennis, when I play my best tennis, I can play so heavy from both sides that it’s really tough for the opponent to play,” said Wawrinka. “That’s why Roger was struggling today. It’s because I was playing so well.”

Wawrinka will play No. 14 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga next.

Tsonga defeated Kei Nishikori 6-1, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3

After the match, the Frenchman wrote on the red clay using his sneaker “Roland, je t’aime,” and got laid down on the court under the writing

This will be Tsonga’s second semifinal at Roland Garros, and his sixth at a major.

 

Earlier in the day, the first women’s semifinal was set up when 2008 French Open winner Ana Ivanovic and Lucie Safarova won their quarterfinal matches.

Ivanovic is back in the semifinals since winning the French Open seven year ago, beating Elina Svitolina 6-3, 6-2.

“I don’t know if I should feel very old or very happy,” said the seventh seed.

The 13th seed Safarova, who upset Maria Sharapova on Monday, defeated Garbine Muguruza 7-6 (3), 6-3 to advance to just her second Grand Slam semifinal. Safarova reached the Wimbledon semifinals last year.

 

More to follow……….

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Williams Survives, Sharapova and Kvitova Upset, Nadal and Djokovic Set Up Quarterfinal Clash

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova

(June 1, 2015) Defending champion and No. 2 Maria Sharapova became the biggest upset victim of the French Open on Monday when she fell to 13th seed Lucie Safarova 7-6(3), 6-4.

“I feel like I had small openings, and I just wasn’t able to play a good few points,” Sharapova said. “I just wasn’t able to keep that level up today. She was able to do that for a longer period of time. She was the much more aggressive player, took the time away from me, created her angles …….and I didn’t.

Sharapova said that her opponent was at a much higher level than she was and that it was a “tough day“ for the two-time champion.

The victory was one of the biggest of the Czech’s career. She also defeated world number twos Justine Henin in 2007 and Caroline Wozniacki in 2010.

“The last few times I played Maria we had really long battles,” Safarova said after the match. “I remember they were really close, and I almost beat her in Stuttgart, but I always lost. “Yesterday I was really pumped, and really ready, and I just wanted to take this match. I was just excited to be there.”

For Safarova, this will be her third major quarterfinal. She’ll take on No. 21 seed Garbine Muguruza, who defeated 28th seed Flavia Pennetta 6-3, 6-4.

No. 1 Serena Williams looked as though she was going to be another major upset victim when she fell behind American countrywoman Sloane Stephens 6-1.

Williams righted herself in the second set and stayed even with Stephens. From 4-5, Williams won seven of the next 9 games to take the second set 7-5 and build a 4-2 lead in the third set.

Williams closed out the contest 1-6, 7-5, 6-3.

“I felt like if I had made a shot here or made a shot there, then maybe the first set could have been different,” Williams said. “But it’s not how you start, I guess it’s how you finish. That’s kind of how I’m looking at it.”

Williams has dropped sets to 3 of her 4 opponents this fort night. “I’m definitely gaining confidence,” Williams said in regard to the comebacks.

The 19-time major champion will face former French Open finalist No. 17 Sara Errani for a place in the semifinals.

In a second major upset on the women’s side, 23rd seed Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland stunned two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 2-6, 6-0, 6-3.

In men’s play, Roger Federer completed a win over Gael Monfils in a match delayed by darkness on Sunday to move into his 11th quarterfinal at Roland Garros.

“I wanted to get off to a good start, because you never know how he will be playing,” said Federer. “So I felt good. I was calm yesterday. I was calm this morning.

Federer will face Swiss countryman Stan Wawrinka in the quarterfinals.

“It [will be] a special match,” said the 17-time major champion. “It is not a traditional match. There aren’t too many Swiss players in the draw… It’s always special to play each other. There will be a Swiss guy in the semi-final. That’s positive.”

After the match, Monfils said, “It was tough because I’m sick. I have not much energy.”

“When you’re 100 per cent is it’s never easy to beat Roger, so when you’re not 100 per cent it is definitely impossible.”

Sixth seed Rafael Nadal knocked out the last U. S. man in the draw on Monday. He was extended to four sets, but defeated Jack Sock 6-3, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2.

Top seed Novak Djokovic cruised past Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 for his 26th straight win.

This sets up a highly anticipated Djokovic vs. Nadal quarterfinal on Wednesday.

“I’m not used to playing him that early, but that’s the reality and that’s a challenge that both of us have to accept,” Djokovic said.

“Probably the toughest quarterfinal in my career here in Roland Garros, without a doubt,” Nadal said.

“You can write what you want if it sells but this is not the match of the year. Matches of the year are finals, decisive matches.”
“Pressure is on both of us,” Djokovic said after the match. “People expect him (Nadal) to win always. Pressure is also part of what we do. You have to accept it.”

Nadal leads the head-to-head against Djokovic 23-20.

Andy Murray and David Ferrer will meet in the other top half of the draw quarterfinal. Murray defeated Jeremy Chardy ijn four sets, while David Ferrer beat Marin Cilic.

 

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Lucie Safarova Claims First Win over Victoria Azarenka to win Doha Title

Safarova

(February 28, 2015) Lucie Safarova beat Victoria Azarenka, 6-4, 6-3 to win the Qatar Open on Saturday for her first Premier-level championship and sixth career WTA title, her first since Quebec City in 2013.

The victory snapped Azarenka’s 14-match winning streak in Doha, which included two titles. I was also the Czech’s first win against the Belarusian.

“I’m really excited and happy about it, because it took me quite a few years to get to this point,“ Safarova said. “I hope it’s not a finish point and I can still improve. I’m playing more consistently. My game improved a lot throughout the last couple of years. I think we did the great job together with my coach, Rob, on my game and it’s just hard work and also maturing a little bit.  I think it’s everything together.”

“There’s a lot of progress this week, a lot of good things happened. I played a lot of great matches, and that’s especially what I was looking for,“ Azarenka said. “Obviously I’m disappointed for today, but I just have to move on quickly. There is going to be another tournament in a week, so I have to prepare for that.  But I can be satisfied with the progress that I made.”

Safarova will move up to a career-high ranking of No.11 in the new rankings, while Azarenka is projected to return to the Top 40.

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Kvitova weighs in on Czech Hopes at the Apia International

By Dave Gertler

(January 11, 2015) SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – After rain prevented play for most of Sunday at the Apia International, Monday’s schedule will feature even more high-profile WTA matchups than previously planned. First up on Ken Rosewall Arena, home favorite Sam Stosur will take on Czech world No. 15 Lucie Safarova. Stosur will need all the home-crowd support she can muster, having not beaten Safarova in their last six meetings.

 

No. 2 seed Czech Petra Kvitova on Sunday weighed in on Safarova’s chances of having a standout 2015, saying, “I hope that she can make the top 10. She dreamed for it, and hopefully she can make it. I think that she really had a great off-season as well. We practiced in Prostejov at the end of last year. She came for a week, and we had a practice, and she played really well, she’s in good form.”

 

While the winner between Safarova and Stosur will most likely face No. 4 seed Caroline Wozniacki in the second round, Kvitova along with Safarova and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova – Wozniacki’s first-round opponent – are the three Czechs contending the bottom half of the draw. In the top half, up-and-coming Czech Karolina Pliskova will face a qualifier to decide who plays top seed Simona Halep in the second round.

 

Last week in Brisbane, Pliskova surprised her opponent, and the Brisbane crowd, by overpowering Victoria Azarenka in three sets on Pat Rafter Arena, and if she can navigate her way past qualifier Polona Hercog, will most likely find herself on centre court again facing top seed Halep.

 

“She went with us to be part of the team in the Fed Cup, last week of the last season,” said Kvitova of 22-year-old Pliskova, “She was great, she really handled it very nicely, and the practice with her was great, so it was very nice to have her in the team. And hopefully, with these experiences she can have now, she can play better and better. She’s playing well, I have to say, she’s serving so well. So hopefully it’s going to be a very good future for her.”

 

The most interesting matchup on Ken Rosewall Arena will be another feature match between third seed Radwanska and world No. 18 Alize Cornet. While Radwanska has enjoyed three main-tour wins to only one loss to the French player, the French player got the better of the Pole only three days ago at the Hopman Cup in Perth. Radwanska will be hoping to follow up on her Apia International title which she failed to defend in 2014.

 

Women’s defending champion, Tsvetana Pironkova, has won through qualifying to the main draw, and will face Italy’s Flavia Pennetta on Monday on Court 3.

 

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney and is covering the Australian summer of tennis for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days .

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Venus Williams Falls in Opening Round of Cincinnati

By Dave Gertler

(August 12, 2014) MASON, OHIO – The Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, Ohio, began its qualifying rounds on Saturday, and is now in the completion stages of first-round matches in both the men’s and women’s main draws. On Tuesday morning, the tournament confirmed that Victoria Azarenka – the defending champion – has withdrawn due to injury, thus adding her name to those of Rafael Nadal, Juan Martin Del Potro and Li Na as notable absentees from the event, all due to injury.

 

“I’m going to get more treatment and get more work done,” said Azarenka about her plan for the remainder of the American hard court season, “And should be good for the US Open.”

 

Venus Williams, who last week in Montreal made it to her third WTA final in the last 12 months, won’t duplicate that success this week, having lost to 16th seed Lucie Safarova in the first round. In a match lasting 2.5 hours, Williams won the first set in a tie-break, but Safarova broke her opponent first each set, never giving up the lead, despite Williams breaking back in the second before Safarova served the match out.

 

“I think she just played so well,” said Venus Williams, “No matter what shot I hit she hit a winner, or if I hit it really deep she somehow managed to control it down the line.” Williams said in the third set, “I think she got a little tight at 5‑1. So I had some chances to come back, but it’s a deep hole.”

 

First-round men’s action saw Lleyton Hewitt and Alejandro Falla both advance before the end of the weekend, while Monday’s matches saw no significant upsets. American Jack Sock succumbed to Spaniard Tommy Robredo, while 23-year-old Ohio State graduate Chase Buchanan went down to Portugal’s Joao Sousa in an epic three-setter that lasted over 2.5 hours, touted match of the day by those who saw it.

 

British qualifier James Ward has provided the upset of the day so far on Tuesday, beating No.32-ranked Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. In the second round, the 27-year-old Brit will face either Julien Benneteau or another local favorite, Blaz Rola, another graduate of Ohio State.

14th seed Marin Cilic advanced past Feliciano Lopez in two tight sets to face Spain’s Fernando Verdasco, who overcame compatriot Marcel Granollers in one of Grandstand Court’s most entertaining matches on Monday, 5-7, 6-3, 7-6.

 

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

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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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WTA Event Enters Its Fourth Year at Citi Open

Alison Riske at  Kid's clinic at Citi Open. Photo by Christopher Levy @tennis_shots

Alison Riske at Kid’s clinic at Citi Open. Photo by Christopher Levy @tennis_shots

By Dave Gertler

 

(July 28, 2014) Now in its fourth year, the WTA Citi Open event in Washington is hosting one of its most impressive fields to date, even with the withdrawal of tournament favorite Eugenie Bouchard. Now seeded at No.1, Lucie Safarova leads an exciting field of 32 women including some top European hard-courters as well as American up-and-comers.

 

For the last two years running, it has been Slovakian Magdalena Rybarikova who has capitalized on a line-up that has been improving from scratch since Washington began hosting the WTA International event in 2011. The world No. 37 is undefeated across ten straight matches at the tournament, and has defeated the top seed both years – Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in 2012, and Angelique Kerber in 2013. Russian Pavlyuchenkova was ranked 28 at the time, while this year all eight top seeds are within the WTA’s top 29. Rybarikova did not play the Citi Open’s inaugural tournament in 2011, when world No.24 at the time, Shahar Peer, reached the final as No.1 seed, losing to second-seeded Nadia Petrova.

 

While Rybarikova is back in 2014 to attempt to prolong her dynasty at the Citi Open, Bouchard, Peer, Petrova, Kerber and her opponent in the 2013 final, Germany’s Andrea Petkovic, are prominent names missing from this year’s player field. The impact of their absences on the tournament, however, will be heavily reduced by the fact of the players that ARE attending.

 

Sloane Stephens leads the camp of exciting ‘new-wave’ of WTA players that will be in attendance this year. The world No. 22 – known for being much more solid at majors than she is across the WTA Premier and International calendar year – first entered the Citi Open in 2011, when she was 18 years old and ranked outside the top 120, losing in the first round. The following year, ranked just inside the top 50, she would reach the Washington semi-finals, losing to the eventual champ Rybarikova. In 2013, as a top 20 player, she would lose in the first round once again. It would seem apparent, therefore, that she’s due for another enduring showing at the Citi Open this year.

 

Although Bouchard has withdrawn from the 2014 tournament as the top seed, citing a knee injury, her results have been mixed since the Citi Open initiated their relationship with the Canadian in 2011 when they offered her a wildcard into her first main draw of a WTA event. In 2012 she lost a quarterfinal to Stephens, while last year – ranked No.62 in the world – she lost in the first round. Having reached at least the semi-finals of all three grand slams since then, Bouchard’s ranking has shot up to No.7 at the start of the Emirates Airlines US Open Series.

 

While the tournament has secured the first-time attendance of its high-profile Czech top seed Lucie Safarova, this only serves to augment the returned appearance of Romanian Sorana Cirstea, France’s Alize Cornet and American Madison Keys.

 

Cornet last year reached semi-finals on her first appearance at Citi Open. While the third seed will be vying for her fifth career WTA title, many Washingtonian tennis enthusiasts will have their eye on rising American talent, Madison Keys, who will be taking her career-high No.27 ranking into the Citi Open draw for her second appearance there. Despite retiring injured from her most recent match, a third-rounder at Wimbledon, Keys has been one of the big movers since clay season ended, going 8-2 on grass, and taking her first WTA title at Eastbourne along the way. Keys’ big serving game is a force to be reckoned with on hard courts, and has already ushered her to two WTA Tour semi-final appearances over the past year.

 

While unseeded Magdalena Rybarikova has managed to upset the field for the past two years straight, this year she faces a much tougher task if she’s to three-peat, considering the elevated level of play that will be coming off the racquets of top seeds with whom the Citi Open has been developing strong relationships over the past few years.

 

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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