2015/07/07

Serena Williams Beats Sister Venus To Reach Wimbledon Quarters

 

(July 6, 2015)

On the second Monday of Wimbledon, it was “Sister Act” part 26 as No. 1 Serena Williams defeated her sister and the 16th seed Venus 6-4, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals. It was the younger sister’s sixth victory of the last seven, raising her head-to-head record to 15-11.

“I just thought,`Wow, I’m 33, and she just turned 35. I don’t know how many more moments like this we’ll have.’ I plan on playing for years, but you never know if we’ll have the opportunity to face each other,” Serena said after walking off the court. “I just took the moment in, and I thought, `We’re at Wimbledon.’ I remember when I was 8 years old, we dreamed of this moment, and it was kind of surreal.”

“When that moment is over, it will be over,” Venus said, shrugging her shoulders. “It’s not now.”

Tuesday’s win puts Serena closer to winning her 21st major title, fourth in a row, keeping hope alive the possibility of a Grand Slam should she win at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

“I no longer answer questions about Grand Slams,” Serena told media.

“It’s been six years since we played each other,” Serena said.  “I just really was enjoying the moment out there.  It was such a great vibe, such a great situation to be in, when we were both so young and dreaming of coming to Wimbledon.

“Not only did we fulfill our dreams, we both won it five times.  That’s pretty amazing.

“I just had an opportunity to reflect on that.”

Serena Williams will play Victoria Azarenka on Tuesday for a spot in the semis. Azarenka defeated Belinda Bencic 6-3. 6-2.

I’ve had a couple of tough matches with Victoria,” Serena said.  “It doesn’t matter who I play, I’m going to be ready.  I’m going to have to be ready.  She’s due to win big and to do really well.”

“I look forward to tomorrow.  I feel like my tournament has finally begun.  This is where I feel really comfortable in a Grand Slam.”

“Well, the key is for me, I still need to find it because I haven’t beat her in the Grand Slam,” said Azarenka.  “So for me, I still have to find that extra step to go a little bit further.

“But she’s a great player.  I mean, one of the greatest players of all time.

“I just try to really focus on what I have to do instead of thinking who is on the other side and try to execute my game.

“I think I have been playing pretty well, trying to climb and put my game together more and more.  So I’m just trying to focus on tomorrow, is another day, another match, and keep it simple.”

Two more Americans join Serena Williams in the quarterfinals – Madison Keys and Coco Vandeweghe. Keys beat qualifier Olga Govortsova 3-6, 6-4, 6-1while Vandeweghe beat French Open finalist and sixth seed Lucie Safarova 7-6(1), 7-6(4)

“I mean, every moment there is a breakthrough whether it’s in a WTA tournament or in a Grand Slam,” Vandeweghe said.  “Yes, this is the farthest I have ever gone in a Grand Slam and I’m playing really well at this time, but, you know, I’m not really considering it like, wow, a breakthrough.

I mean, I had set goals of what I wanted to do, and because I’m achieving it doesn’t mean it’s a breakthrough.  I think it’s stepping stones more than a breakthrough.  You know, I would more say it’s on the lines of it’s been a while coming because of what I felt that I have dedicated to my game of tennis.”

Vadeweghe will face Maria Sharapova next. The 2004 Wimbledon champion beat Zarina Diyas 6-4, 6-4.

 

“I think there is still going to be the nerves,” Madison Keys said about reaching her second major quarterfinal.  “It’s second quarter and it’s against a different person.  But I think there is at least some, Okay, I have done it before, I have been through it, I know what to expect.

“No matter what, it will be fun and will be exciting, and I just have to go out and try to focus on the match.”

Garbine Muguruza had the upset of the day when she ousted fifth seed Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, 6-4.

“I went very like focused and prepared because I knew that she was going to try to do a long and physical match against me,” the Spaniard said. “So I think I used my opportunities of the short balls, good shots, the serve.  I think I played really good.  This helps me a lot against these types of players.”

On the men’s side of the draw Novak Djokovic and Kevin Anderson will have to complete their match on Tuesday. Djokovic lost the first two sets in tiebreaks and won the next two. Play was halted on Court 1 due to darkness.

Marin Cilic awaits the winner in his quarterfinal.

Roger Federer and Andy Murray moved into Wimbledon’s “elite 8.” Second-seeded Federer won 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 over No. 20 Roberto Bautista Agut. Murray bested Ivo Karlovic 7-6 (7), 6-4, 5-7, 6-4

The other men’s quarterfinal pairings are: Roger Federer vs. No. 12 Gilles Simon, Andy Murray vs. Vasek Pospisil, and Stan Wawrinka vs. No. 21 Richard Gasquet.

 


Ladies’ Singles – Fourth Round

(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. (16) Venus Williams (USA) 64 63
(4) Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. Zarina Diyas (KAZ) 64 64
(20) Garbine Muguruza (ESP) d. (5) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) 64 64
CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) d. (6) Lucie Safarova (CZE) 76(1) 76(4)
(13) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. (28) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 75 64
(15) Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) d. Monica Niculescu (ROU) 16 75 62
(21) Madison Keys (USA) d. (Q) Olga Govortsova (BLR) 36 64 61
(23) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. (30) Belinda Bencic (SUI) 63 62

Gentlemen’s Singles – Fourth Round

[2] Roger Federer (SUI) d. [20] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) 62 62 63
[3] Andy Murray (GBR) d. [23] Ivo Karlovic (CRO) 76(7) 64 57 64
[4] Stan Wawrinka (SUI) d. [16] David Goffin (BEL) 76(3) 76(7) 64
[12] Gilles Simon (FRA) d. [6] Tomas Berdych (CZE) 63 63 62
[9] Marin Cilic (CRO) d. Denis Kudla (USA) 64 46 63 75
[21] Richard Gasquet (FRA) d. [26] Nick Kyrgios (AUS) 75 61 67(7) 76(6)
Vasek Pospisil (CAN) d. [22] Viktor Troicki (SRB) 46 67(4) 64 63 63

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Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams Beat Opponents and the Heat to Advance at Wimbledon

(July 1, 2015) Top seeds Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams beat their respective opponents as well as the record-setting heat at Wimbledon on Wednesday.

Djokovic defeated Jarkko Nieminen 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 to reach the third round. The Finn, Nieminen is retiring at the end of the year, so this was his final match at Wimbledon.

“He’s been around for so many years,” Djokovic said. “A very, very nice guy, one of the nicest guys off the court.”

“I would rate probably around 7 or 8,” the Serb said about his play on court.  “I think very solid performance.  I’ve done just enough to win in straight sets.

“He started off very well, very aggressive, winners in the first couple games. Well, I managed to stay calm and, you know, believe I can come back.  That’s what I’ve done.

“I think the crucial turning point was the 10th game of the first set when I won the set and I started playing more freely.

“You know, I thought I had the match under control and everything was fine.

Serena Williams beat Timea Babos 6-4, 6-1 for her 23rd straight Grand Slam match win.

“I hope I’m not playing my best, Williams said. “I have a lot of room to improve.”

She’ll take on Britain’s top player Heather Watson in the third round.

“Serena’s a great player,” Watson said. “She’s an amazing athlete, a great champion.  She’s always the one to watch.  She’s always the favorite for every tournament she plays.

“So I think she’s the one to beat in tournaments like this.  She’s probably the toughest opponent.”

“I’ve seen her around the locker room, “Williams said. “She’s always smiling, she seems to be so super sweet”

“I know Venus has played her before. I’ve watched that match a few times. I feel like she does really well on grass – she’s played well in Eastbourne. And she had a really good win today.

“I know it’s not going to be easy for me. She has nothing to lose. She’s going forward.”

“I’ve been used to playing against a lot of local people. It doesn’t matter what country it’s in. Hopefully that experience will help me a little bit. But the home court will probably help her a little bit.”

Sister Venus won her 75 match at Wimbledon with a 7-6(5), 6-4 victory over Yulia Putintseva. The 16th seed stands alone at third on the list behind Martina Navratilova at 120 and Chris Evert at 96. Steffi Graf and Serena Williams have 74 wins.

It was a record setting day of high temperatures at the All- England Club with the temperature reaching 96.26 degrees Fahrenheit, the warmest temperature ever recording during a Wimbledon fortnight. The heat caused havoc for ball people, fans and players alike. Players used towels during changeovers.

A ballboy collapsed, Bernard Tomic needed treatment and some fans needed treatment for heat-related illnesses.

“I was very dizzy out there,” Tomic said. “I didn’t sleep well yesterday and the day before.  Probably getting three or four hours of sleep.  I was fatigued and starting to get dizzy out there with the heat hitting me.

“It was tough, so I had to slow things down. I had to catch my breath.”

High seeds who were ousted on Wednesday included fifth seed Kei Nishikori who withdrew from the tournament with a left calf injury and No. 7 Ana Ivanovic who lost to U.S. qualifier, 158th-ranked Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-3, 6-4.

For Nishikori it was an injury from when he competed in Halle two weeks ago, “Got better before the first match, you know, last week,” he said. I thought it was really going to be okay.  But last match in fifth set I was hurting too much.”

“I try this two days, and warmup today.  But it was hurting, you know, just walking and running, so I decide not to play today.”

Nishikori said it was very disappointing, “Especially it’s Grand Slam.  I thought I was playing well on grass.  So very unfortunate to lose this chance.

“But, you know, I try to keep it up.  Hopefully I can do well in the U.S. series.

2004 champion Maria Sharapova defeated Dutch qualifier Richel Hogenkamp 6-3, 6-1.

Asked about how she held up in the heat, she said: “It’s much warmer in my hometown of Long Boat Key, Florida.  There’s some cloud coverage.  I think I’ve trained quite long in the heat over there.

“I think just the preparation of understanding it’s going to be warm, not going for too much because you want to make the points quicker than normal because of the heat, just being a little bit smarter out there is the most important.”

Reigning French Open champion and No. 4 Stan Wawrinka defeated Victor Estrella Burgos 6-3, 6-4, 7-5.

In the battle royaleof the day on the men’s side, U. S. Open champion and No. 9 Marin Cilic defeated No 90 Ricardas Berankis 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (6), 4-6, 7-5.

“I would say that the match was very, very high quality match,” Cilic said.  “I think Ricardas was playing extremely well. Even after I broke him in the first set, I think he was playing really, really good until the end of the match, and there was, of course, very difficult to find some openings.

“I’m, you know, just really glad that I won and that the most positive things from today are that I was serving really, really well and, you know, I was staying mentally in the match.

“I saved a couple of break points end of the fifth, and, you know, just I think nerves got to Ricardas at the end, and that, I think, decided a little bit.”

In a battle of tall men, Cilic plays 17th seed John Isner next.

“We have played several times,” said the Croatian. “I think the only time we have played at the Grand Slam was in Australia.  It was very long match.

“With John, it’s always difficult, you know, couple balls are going to decide.  And especially here on grass, I don’t think there will be too much rallies, and, you know, it’s gonna be important who has more concentration and who’s delivering, you know, better shots at critical moments.”

 

Wimbledon Singles Results for July 1, 2015

Men’s Singles Second round

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) d. Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) 64 62 63
[4] Stan Wawrinka (SUI) d. Victor Estrella Burgos (DOM) 63 64 75
Santiago Giraldo (COL) d. [5] Kei Nishikori (JPN) W/O (left calf)
[7] Milos Raonic (CAN) d. Tommy Haas (GER) 60 62 67(5) 76(4)
[9] Marin Cilic (CRO) d. Ricardas Berankis (LTU) 63 46 76(6) 46 75
[11] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) d. Steve Johnson (USA) 76(8) 62 76(2)
[14] Kevin Anderson (RSA) d. Marsel Ilhan (TUR) 67(5) 76(6) 64 64
[16] David Goffin (BEL) d. Liam Broady (GBR) 76(3) 61 61
[17] John Isner (USA) d. Matthew Ebden (AUS) 62 76(8) 64
[21] Richard Gasquet (FRA) d. Kenny De Schepper (FRA) 60 63 63
[24] Leonardo Mayer (ARG) d. Marcel Granollers (ESP) 63 76(4) 63
[26] Nick Kyrgios (AUS) d. Juan Monaco (ARG) 76(5) 63 64
[27] Bernard Tomic (AUS) d. Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) 76(3) 64 76(5)
Fernando Verdasco (ESP) d. [32] Dominic Thiem (AUT) 57 64 57 63 64
Denis Kudla (USA) d. Alexander Zverev (GER) 63 36 76(2) 64
Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) d. John Millman (AUS) 67(5) 26 63 62 64

Women’s
Singles – Second Round

(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. Timea Babos (HUN) 64 61
(4) Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. (Q) Richel Hogenkamp (NED) 63 61
(6) Lucie Safarova (CZE) d. (Q) Su-Wei Hsieh (TPE) 62 63
(Q) Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) d. (7) Ana Ivanovic (SRB) 63 64
CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) d. (11) Karolina Pliskova (CZE) 76(5) 64
(14) Andrea Petkovic (GER) d. Mariana Duque-Marino (COL) 63 61
(16) Venus Williams (USA) d. Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) 76(5) 64
Aleksandra Krunic (SRB) d. (19) Sara Errani (ITA) 63 67(2) 62
(22) Samantha Stosur (AUS) d. Urszula Radwanska (POL) 63 64
(23) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 63 63
(29) Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) d. Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) 75 67(4) 75
(30) Belinda Bencic (SUI) d. Anna-Lena Friedsam (GER) 75 46 60
Heather Watson (GBR) d. Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) 64 62
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) d. (WC) Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) 64 75
Zarina Diyas (KAZ) d. (Q) Aliaksandra Sasnovic (BLR) 75 61
Sloane Stephens (USA) d. Lauren Davis (USA) 64 64

Women’s
Singles – First Round (delayed fromTuesday)
(21) Madison Keys (USA) d. Stefanie Voegele (SUI) 67(6) 63 64
Elizaveta Kulichkova (RUS) d. Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) 36 76(8) 108 (saved 1mp)

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Serena Williams Rebounds from Slow Start, Venus Dishes Brengle a Double-Bagel at Wimbledon

(June 29, 2015) No. 1 Serena Williams bounced back from a 1-3 first set deficit to close out 113th-ranked qualifier, making her Wimbledon debut, Margarita Gasparyan 6-4, 6-1 on the first day at 2015 Wimbledon.

Williams who is seeking her second “Serena slam” and third leg of a calendar Grand Slam.

“I’ve had such an amazing year, I ended up winning the Open, the Championships, the Australian and France,” said the 20-time major champion.  “I couldn’t have dreamt of a better 12 months.  So it’s been really great.  Yeah, I’m just excited about that and really focusing on that.

“I always focus on the moment.  You know, I don’t live too far in the future, and I don’t live in the past, I just live in the present.”

“When I (saw) her before match,” Gasparyan said, “I thought, `Oh, my God. I’m playing Serena.'”

Serena’s sister, five-time Wimbledon champion Venus, dismantled U.S. countrywoman Madison Brengle 6-0, 6-0.

This was the first double-bagel at the All-England Club in six years.

“She’s had like a great last 52 weeks,” Venus said of Brengle.”  “She’s had really great results in the majors.  Definitely playing a higher‑ranked player in the first round is a challenge. But thankfully everything worked for me.

“I don’t think she played badly.  I was just able to convert on the important points.”

On the topic on sister Serena’s chances on winning a calendar Grand Slam, Venus said: “It’s a pretty good chance. Hasn’t been done that often. But then again, she’s done a lot of things that haven’t been done that often.”

There could be an all-Williams fourth round contest. When asked about the possibility, Serena said: “You know what? I’m going to just focus on right now.”

Serena Williams is 33-1 on the year.

Other former No. 1’s advancing were Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka and Ana Ivanovic. American Sloane Stephens won her first match at Wimbledon in two years defeating No. 27 Barbora Strycova 6-4, 6-2

Defending Gentlemen’s champion Novak Djokovic and the man who beat him for the French Open title three weeks ago, Stan Wawrinka won in straight sets on Monday.

No. 1 Djokovic defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.

“Honestly, I thought I started the match really well, breaking Philipp, losing the serve right away,” Djokovic said.

“All three sets were decided in the 10th game.  After I broke him to win the first set and the second set, it was the same situation.  I felt like in the third, as well.  That’s where maybe I can have a mental edge over him.  He missed couple shots.

 

“I thought return was exceptionally well, good from my side.  Serving efficiently.  Just overall a great performance against a quality opponent.”

 

The fourth seed Wawrinka stopped Portugal’s Joao Sousa 6-2, 7-5, 7-6.

 

“The mentality is the same as last year,” said the Swiss.  I know I’m playing well.  I have a lot of confidence.  It’s a new year, new tournament.  We all start from zero.  We need to win match after match.  We take match after match if we want to go through and go further in the tournament.

“I’m confident with myself, but I’m really careful with how mentally I get ready for every match.

“So far I’m really happy with the first one today. In general I feel good.  I know where is my game.  I feel ready for the next one.”

 

WIMBLEDON – WIMBLEDON, LONDON, GBR
GRAND SLAM – £26,750,000
29 JUNE – 12 JULY 2015

RESULTS – JUNE 29, 2015
Women’s
Singles – First Round

(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. (Q) Margarita Gasparyan (RUS) 64 61
(4) Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. (WC) Johanna Konta (GBR) 62 62
(6) Lucie Safarova (CZE) d. Alison Riske (USA) 36 75 63
(7) Ana Ivanovic (SRB) d. (Q) Yi-Fan Xu (CHN) 61 61
(WC) Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) d. (9) Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) 62 60
(11) Karolina Pliskova (CZE) d. Irina Falconi (USA) 64 46 61
(14) Andrea Petkovic (GER) d. Shelby Rogers (USA) 60 60
(16) Venus Williams (USA) d. Madison Brengle 60 60
(19) Sara Errani (ITA) d. Francesca Schiavone (ITA) 62 57 61
(22) Samantha Stosur (AUS) d. Danka Kovinic (MNE) 64 64
(23) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. (WC) Anett Kontaveit (EST) 62 61
Zarina Diyas (KAZ) d. (24) Flavia Pennetta (ITA) 63 26 64
Sloane Stephens (USA) d. (27) Barbora Strycova (CZE) 64 62
(29) Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) d. Daria Gavrilova (AUS) 76(6) 61
(30) Belinda Bencic (SUI) d. Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) 36 61 63
(32) Caroline Garcia (FRA) vs. Heather Watson (GBR) 61 36 (play suspended: poor light)
Timea Babos (HUN) d. (Q) Petra Cetkovska (CZE) 7-6(4) 63
Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) d. Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) 75 60
Aleksandra Krunic (SRB) d. Roberta Vinci (ITA) 62 64
Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) d. Marina Erakovic (NZL) 76(5) 75
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) d. Alexandra Dulgheru (ROU) 62 61
Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) d. Annika Beck (GER) 06 63 64
Anna-Lena Friedsam (GER) d. Vitalia Diatchenko (RUS) 36 63 75
(Q) Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) d. Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) 63 62
(Q) Richel Hogenkamp (NED) d. Qiang Wang (CHN) 64 64
Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) d. Nicole Gibbs (USA) 63 63
(Q) Aliaksandra Sasnovic (BLR) d. Lin Zhu 46 75 61
Mariana Duque-Marino (COL) d. (WC) Naomi Broady (GBR) 76(5) 63
CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) d. Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK) 64 62
Urszula Radwanska (POL) d. Edina Gallovits-Hall (USA) 62 61
Lauren Davis (USA) d. Polona Hercog (SLO) 64 76(3)
(Q) Su-Wei Hsieh (TPE) d. Kaia Kanpei (EST) 61 64

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Notable Quotables from Pre-Wimbledon Weekend with Djokovic, Serena Williams, Federer, Sharapova, Nadal and Others

228 Djokovic being interviewed-001

(June 28, 2015) Saturday and Sunday some of Wimbledon’s top seeds held court with the media, here is a look at some of the notable quotables:

Defending Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic on recovering from losing a mentally tough French Open final:

“Yes, it was. Not just Roland Garros, but all the five months of the year have been really intense for me.  I played a big amount of matches.  Before Roland Garros, I’ve lost only two.  I had one of the best season starts in my career.  Of course, Roland Garros finals wasn’t easy.

 

“All in all, it was another great tournament.  But I needed some time to just mentally recover, rest ‑ more than physical rest, I needed that emotional, mental rest to recharge my batteries and get myself in a proper state of mind so I can start all over again.”

 

 

“I mean, right after I lost the match, of course, there was this sense of disappointment. There is no doubt about it.  I felt that for, you know, some days after it.

 

“Because I have a family, I have different things in life, different interest, I’ve managed to move on because of the experience that I talked about previously of learning how to handle these particular situations and circumstances. I managed to get the necessary reset in my mind.”

 

 

Djokovic says that coaching from the player’s box is fairly common:

“We can’t pretend like that’s not happening in tennis.  Of course, there’s situations when it happens, and not just with the top players, with everybody.  This is a very competitive sport.  You’re alone on the court.  Of course, there’s certain rules.

 

“But also there are times when, you know, the team of the player communicates with the player when he gets to go and take the towel in the corner, which is closer to the box, or, you know, different ways.

 

“I think it’s all fine as long as it’s not regular.  I think it just depends.  Also that’s up to the chair umpire or supervisor to decide if somebody’s breaking the rules or not.  I think as long as it’s something that you can tolerate, let’s say, within the ways of communication, I think it’s fine.”

 

He was also asked about his communication with his coach Boris Becker. Earlier in the day Becker was on radio saying that he has ways of telling Djokovic whether what he is doing is good or bad.

 

“I don’t think that we’re cheating.  I don’t think that’s how you can call it.  I mean, there are special ways of, I would say, communication.  As he mentioned, the way you look at each other, the way you feel your box, and box feels what you’re going through on the court. I think that’s something that just gives you that reassurance, gives you that confidence.

 

“It’s not necessary that, you know, he tells me where to serve or to which side of the opponent’s court I have to play, because that doesn’t happen.  But it’s more of a, you know, encouragement, and more of a support and reassurance, as I said, that’s basically present in those moments.”

 

In what seemed to be the most awkward questions of the weekend, defending champion Petra Kvitova was asked about wearing white on court while menstruating.

 

Q. Heather Watson was applauded earlier this year for breaking taboo and talking about what was phrased as girly things.  How much do you think that affects other females’ players game?

 

PETRA KVITOVA:  To be honest, I think it’s quite tough.  Of course, I have these experiences from before.  It’s never really easy to deal with one more tough thing.  I think always the beginning of this kind of period, it’s tough.  I think that for normal woman, they know about.  If we have to play the match or training or something, it’s difficult.

 

It’s one more extra thing for us.

Q. Does having to wear white as well…

PETRA KVITOVA:  No, I think it’s fine.

 

 

Roger Federer on Serena Williams’ playing at such a high level:

 

“I’m not surprised.  I just think she’s a great talent.  She’s worked also very hard.  I think to be mentally ready for the challenge when she wants to be up for it, I think that’s what’s so admirable about her.

 

“Also Venus, I must say.  We don’t talk about Venus that often because Serena has been so dominant.  Actually that they’re both still playing is more of a surprise to me.

 

“But that they are playing, it doesn’t surprise me they’re actually playing well.  It goes hand‑in‑hand.

 

“I wouldn’t imagine them still playing and playing poorly.  Let’s put it that way.  They’re too good for that.”

 

Serena Williams was asked about coming into Wimbledon holding the first two majors, make her preparation different or make her feel any different.

“Personally, uhm, it doesn’t make it feel any different, which I think is a good thing ’cause I don’t feel any pressure to win all four.  I’ve been saying that, but I really don’t feel that pressure.  Maybe if I would happen to win here, then maybe I might start feeling it after that.

“Ultimately, I’m taking it one day at a time and I’m not thinking that far.”

 

Serena is very motivated this year:

“I think the fact that I lost so early the past couple years definitely makes me motivated.  But I think that also gives me a little less pressure because I haven’t done well here in the past two years.  It makes me feel like, Okay, I’ll be fine.  I have nothing to lose here.  I don’t have many points to defend here.  So it’s just like trying to have fun, go through it.”

 

The 20-time major champion talked about her biggest strength:

“I think for me being mentally tough is probably my biggest strength.  And my dad always said growing up, you know, Tennis is so mental, you have to have your mental, you have to be really mentally tough.  I guess I really took that to heart.

“I think also being the youngest of five really made me have to scrap and be tougher.  I think all those things kind of played into action.

“Yeah, I think that’s probably one of the biggest things in tennis.  It’s great to have a big serve, too.  But I think ultimately sometimes when you’re down and out, you could be the best player in the world, you still get down, but you have to be able to come back.”

 

She actually hates playing on grass:

“You know, oddly enough, it never has been my favorite surface, but I’ve always done really well here.  I think my game is really suited for the grass.

“You know, yeah, it’s never been someplace like, I love playing on the grass, which is just really weird.  But, again, my game works for it, so…”

 

 

Maria Sharapova on Serena:

“She’s certainly the player to beat.  With all the confidence in the world having won the last three majors, not just the two in this year.  I think those results speak for herself, and she’s certainly the one to beat.”

 

 

Andy Murray was asked about the “feminine influence” on his life – marriage and hiring Amelie Mauresmo.

 

“I mean, I’ve said as well, it’s not so much marriage.  Me and Kim have been together like 10 years now, so…

 

“You know, she’s always been a huge support to me, especially when I’ve gone through, you know, tough, tough times as well.  She’s always been there for me.

 

“Obviously, yeah, I mean, Amélie, really the last sort of 12 months that I’ve been with her, I feel like I’ve come through some difficult moments.  I feel last year, there was ‑ not me, myself ‑ I know there were a lot of people doubting me.  I feel like she stuck with me during that period.

 

“I had an extremely tough loss at the end of last year.  She was one of the people that really, yeah, stuck by me and supported me.

 

“I’m glad that I’ve been able to kind of repay her faith in me with some good tennis this year.

 

“Obviously she’s a very different character to some of the coaches that I’ve had in the past.  I’ve really enjoyed working with her.”

 

Rafael Nadal on the current problems of the Spanish Tennis Federation.

“The situation have been very unusual, let’s say, not nice for a country that has big tradition in this sport, for a country that the last, let’s say, 15, 20 years, we have been the first country in this sport around the world.  So is not nice to watch the situation that we are having today.  But things are like this.

“The thing that we have to do is to stop these crazy things that are happening.  You know, it’s not good to see bad news on our sport in the media every day.  It’s not good for our sport.  It’s not good to catch sponsors.  It’s not good to make the people involved on our sport.

“So all these kind of things are bad for everybody.  At the end of the day, you know, we are here today.  We will live tomorrow.  Players, presidents, everybody who is making this show last couple of months, what really suffers on all of this is tennis, tennis in our country.

“All the things that goes against tennis in our country is a bad news.”

Stan Wawrinka the fashion icon:

Are you surprised by how much of a fashion icon you became after the French Open?

STAN WAWRINKA:  It’s not me, my shorts (laughter).

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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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Former French Open Winners Roger Federer and Ana Ivanovic Reach Fourth Round

(May 29, 2015) Former French Open champions Roger Federer  Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic reached the round of 16 in Paris on Friday.

2009 winner, second seed Federer defeated world No. 88 Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 to move into the fourth round of Roland Garros for an 11th straight year.

The match lasted 88 minutes. For Dzumhur, this was his second time in the third round of a major. He is only man from Bosnia/Herzegovina to compete in a major championship.

Federer will face Gael Monfils for a spot in the quarterfinals.

“I think, No. 1, it’s an interesting matchup, Cuevas and Gaël,” Federer said. “I think both look really good on clay, feel comfortable on clay. I felt Cuevas was really strong in Istanbul and also in Rome. Gaël, I played him in some tougher conditions, I guess, for me potentially. Davis Cup was rough, you know. Monaco was so early in the clay court season it was always going to be tough, even though I wasn’t hitting ball so bad, but still not quite understanding how passive or aggressive I needed to play. I thought he played a good, solid match, and me, too. It came down to a few points. It was a pity for me not to get through that one. He’s played me tough, you know, throughout my career, I thought. Especially the last four, five years now. He’s been tougher for me to play against. We have played against each other here on a few occasions as well. Semis, quarters, some of my big years here. So clearly I’d love to play against him, as well. Pablo is also a great guy. I will watch that clearly with a lot of interest.”

Supported by the French crowd, Monfils rallied past Pablo Cuevas 4-6, 7-6 (1), 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 to reach the fourth round. Monfils now is 10-3 in five set matches at Roland Garros, tied for the record in wins with former player Harold Solomon.

Asked about playing Federer next, he said:

“Honestly, I don’t know. Is like, I just play my game. You know, somehow sometime, because some matches Roger kill me. Somehow I just maybe find a couple stuff, you know, in my game, to put him in trouble and to actually move him — I think Roger is very comfortable on couple of shots or couple, you know, area that I try to manage to put him out of this comfort zone. And then also I try, you know, to find a rhythm also with Roger that I’m happy with, because Roger always wants to dictate the match the way he wants, the way he make you wait or speed up the match, the way he will select his shot. And me, I really try to change out of him, and sometime Roger get pissed a little bit. And also, whether I will — and I know he will respect it, but when he’s good — actually, when I saw it the most it was in US Open, you know, Roger was very unhappy when the crowd is not behind him. And that will help me a lot, for sure,” Monfils said smiling.

 

Defending champion Sharapova is into the second week of the French Open reaching the fourth round after beating Samantha Stosur of Australia 6-3, 6-4. Next she takes on Lucie Safarova.

 

After challenges in the first two rounds, Ana Ivanovic moved quickly past Croatian Donna Vekic 6-0, 6-3 to reach the second week of the tournament in 53 minutes.

The Serb who won the French Open title in 2008 talked about her growing confidence.

“The first two matches I really felt like I had kind of a slow start, and I spoke to my coach, to Mats about it, and to my team and everything. This is something I really wanted to change today. I was happy I did that, because it’s not easy playing late and then playing first. Also today conditions were a little bit heavier, it was colder in the morning. I was really happy I was able to change that.”

“After first two matches, I really started to get a little bit of feeling and groove, and yesterday I had easy day, she said. “Today I really had strict game plan. I had an idea what I wanted to do, and obviously confidence from first two matches helped me in today’s performance, too. I really knew I was working hard for few weeks now, and I spoke about it even last few weeks. You know, when you know you are working the right direction, it always gets results. Today I did some things better than I did in my first two matches, which I was happy about.”

She’ll play No. 9 seed Ekaterina Makarova next. Makarova defeated Elena Vesnina 6-2, 6-4.

Stan Wawrinka moved into the fourth round of Paris with a 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 victory over American Steve Johnson in 89 minutes. He’ll play Gilles Simon, who beat fellow Frenchman Nicholas in five sets.

Frenchwoman Alize Cornet advanced reach the fourth round of her home major for the first time match with a 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 win over Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.

Cornet celebrated the victory as though she had won the tournament.

“At last, I’m into the second week at Roland,” Cornet said. “I’ve been waiting for this for 11 years.”

“The crowd was amazing, once more, today. It really helped me getting through tough time on the court. Mirjana was playing very aggressive, and I was playing with all my heart. The crowd being behind me like this was helping me a lot, giving me a lot of energy to keep going, not to let go. Yeah, I owe them a lot today, because I think I went over my limits. And the fact that it was in Roland Garros was definitely a big help for me today. It’s a pleasure to play here on the center court especially because I love this court. So I’m really glad.”

More good news for the home country as Richard Gasquet completed his match halted due to darkness 3-6, 6-3, 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 over Carlos Berlocq and advance to the third round.

The 20th seed will play 15th-seeded Kevin Anderson for a place in the 4th round.

Also advancing were No. 13 Lucie Safarova and No. 19 Elina Svitolina.

 

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Third Seed Simona Halep Ousted at French Open

Simona Halep

(May 27, 2015) Last year’s French Open finalist, No. 3 seed Simona Halep became biggest casualty of the tournament on Wednesday when she bowed out to the 70th ranked Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 7-5, 6-1 in the second round.

The 1999 Wimbledon semifinalist also knocked the Romanian out of last year’s U.S. Open.

“When I saw the draw and I saw who I was playing second round, I knew it was going to be really tough,“ said the Croatian. “I was going to have to play a great match again and back up sort of what I did at the US Open. Because, you know, sometimes people say, Oh, it’s one day everything went in, and I don’t look at it like that. I know I played really well. I have been working really hard, and I knew today I had to play some great tennis. I was ready for it. I have been feeling really good also in practices. Even though my results haven’t really been that great lately, I have been feeling great. I knew just it’s a matter of a moment coming, you know, winning few matches and results are gonna come. I’m glad I was able to do that again today.”
“I just tried to play really smart, really well and aggressive, not let her do what she likes to do,” Lucic-Baroni continued. “She moves the ball around really well. She’s an amazing athlete and super tough opponent. I was glad I was able to stay aggressive but not make too many unforced errors. That was the key for me.”
She played well. I couldn’t play my best today,” Halep said. “But, you know, she started to hit the ball very strong at the beginning of the match. So she was better than me today, and I have just to take, you know, this situation to handle it and just to go forward.”
Defending champion Maria Sharapova defeated Russian countrywoman Vitalia Diatchenko 6-3, 6-1. She’ll face 2010 Roland Garros finalist Samantha Stosur. Stosur destroyed French wild card Amandine Hesse 6-0, 6-1.

“Playing Maria is always a big challenge for me,” Stosur said. “No matter what surface it’s on, I don’t have a very good record at all. Obviously we played last year. That’s the last time we played against each other. So it’s always a big challenge, and I’ve got to be ready to have to play, you know, as well or maybe if not better than what I have been doing. So it’s one of those matches that’s a tough matchup, but I know I’ve got, you know, the game that can trouble here, and hopefully I can do it well and we will see what happens.”
“She’s always a tough opponent,” Sharapova said of Stosur. “She enjoys playing on clay, benefits a lot from this surface. Yeah, it will be a tough match. But, you know, I have a pretty good record against her. I enjoy our matches. I hope I can continue that.”

Stosur has a seven match win streak, winning the Strasbourg event on clay last week, her first title of the year.

Stosur credits her old coach David Taylor, who is back with her as of last month for her resurgence.

“I think going back with Dave, that’s given me confidence,” Stosur said. “That’s probably a contribution, and then playing on a surface that I feel good on. Been able to get over a couple of injuries again. It all I guess makes for a better kind of couple of weeks.”

Sharapova has a 14-2 record against the Australian.
Second seed Roger Federer defeated Marcel Granollers 6-2, 7-6 (1), 6-3, while his Swiss countryman Stan Wawrinka also reached the third round with a 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 win over Dusan Lajovic.

Federer, who was approached by a fan on the court for a selfie in his last match, was happier with the on-court security on Wednesday.

“I think everybody is a little bit more alert,” he said. “That was the only wish I had. It’s just that the security is more alert. They don’t need to change anything that we need to have fences and all that stuff, not at all. Tennis is one of the most accessible sports out there, and we are unbelievably close with our fans. That’s what I love about it. So for me it was just more important that everybody was doing their job, taking it very seriously, wakes up and that they are standing in the right places and to keep an eye on what’s really important and not about just being there, you know. I think I felt that today. So now we have just got to all keep it up for years to come. I know it’s a lot of work, but it was a good exercise I think for everybody.”

American Steve Johnson has reached the third round. The world No. 56 defeated Sergiy Stakhovsky.

“He kind of came out and steamrolled me in the first set and early part of the second, but righted the ship a little bit. In the third I played a bad game to get broken back,” said the former NCAA champion. “I think it’s just a sign of maybe I’m maturing a little bit. Maybe in the past I would’ve lost my cool a little bit. I kind of stayed calm, won the breaker. In the fourth he started to serve much better. I didn’t have any looks. I think he made all kinds of first serves. I didn’t really have that many looks at seconds. So I was happy to have won that crazy last couple points in the breaker.”

It was a good day for French players 12th seed Gilles Simon, 14th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 13th seed Gael Monfils, unseeded Nicolas Mahut and unseeded Benoit Paire. All five men won, with Monfils having to survive a five set struggle 4-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 against Diego Schwartzman, Paire knocking out 28th seed Fabio Fognini in straight sets and Mahut upset 24th seed Ernest Gulbis in four sets.

 

“Actually, today I won because I had the crowd behind me,” Monfils said.

 

Nick Kyrgios, the 29th seed received a walkover into the third round as British qualifier Kyle Edmund withdrew with a stomach injury.

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Murray, Sharapova Advance as Venus Williams Falls at Roland Garros

(May 24, 2015) Third seed Andy Murray and second seed Maria Sharapova had straight set wins on day two of the French Open, while former finalist and the oldest woman in the draw, 15th seed Venus Williams lost along with four other seeds on Monday in Paris.

Making her 18th appearance in Paris, Venus Williams’ Roland Garros was ended in the first round by American countrywoman Sloane Stephens 7-6(5), 6-1. Stephens became just the second American to ever defeat both Serena and Venus Williams at a major. Stephens beat Serena in the quarterfinals of the 2013 Australian Open.

After the loss, Venus declined to speak to media. She did issue a statement which said that Stephens “just played better than me today.”

Williams said that she will be turning her focus to grass-court season.

“I have a little while now between tournaments and so now I’ll just get ready for the grass at Wimbledon.”

She is facing a potential fine for not having a news conference.

“Obviously it’s a tough first round of a Grand Slam,” Stephens said. “So going into it I knew I was going to have to just come out and be really solid and play my tennis. I did that today. That was good.”

“I didn’t really know what to expect. I mean, obviously she’s a great player and a great champion. I knew I was just going to have to get out there and do my best.”

Defending champion Sharapova defeated Kaia Kanepi 6-2, 6-4 in her first round match. Sharapova nursing a cough during the match, declined an on-court interview, which lead to spectators booing her as she left the court.

“But it’s just the way it is. I’m getting over it, and hopefully it will pass by soon,” she said.

Andy Murray stretched his unbeaten streak during the clay court season to 11, with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 win over Argentina’s Facundo Arguello, who reached the main draw as a lucky loser.

The Scot talked about the windy conditions on court.

“I felt like it was difficult. The start was very windy on the court and cold, so it was quite slow conditions. I found it difficult at the beginning. Then I felt, you know, when the wind died down a bit in the second and third set, I felt that the level of tennis was better.”

Besides Venus Williams, four other seeds made exits on Monday including No. 11 Feliciano Lopez who lost to Teymuraz Gabashvili and former Wimbledon finalist No. 14 Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 against Annika Beck.

Others who bowed out were No. 30 Adrien Mannarino and No. 22 Barbora Strycova.

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2015 French Open Women’s Contender Profiles – Fast Facts with Jack Cunniff

Serena+Williams+BNP+Paribas+Open+Day+4+smeQToASxcPl

(May 23, 2015) Profiles of the top Women’s Singles contenders for the 2015 French Open. Note: Grand Slam records for main draw matches only.  – by Jack Cunniff     http://twitter.com/jrcunniff

 

Serena Williams

2015 Record: 25-1

Grand Slam Record: 266-39

French Open Record: 47-11

French Open Best Result: Won (2002, ‘13)

Fast Fact: Serena’s record in the opening two rounds of a Grand Slam event is 112-3 (97%), but in the last three years of Roland Garros, that record is 1-2 (33%), losing to Razzano in 1R of 2012 and Muguruza in 2R of 2014.

 

Maria Sharapova

2015 Record: 26-5

Grand Slam Record: 171-41

French Open Record: 50-10

French Open Best Result: Won (2012, ‘14)

Fast Fact: Only two players in the draw have defeated Sharapova at Roland Garros (S. Williams, Ivanovic).

 

Simona Halep

2015 Record: 29-6

Grand Slam Record: 31-19

French Open Record: 7-5

French Open Best Result: RU (2014)

Fast Fact: In her career, Halep has only defeated two Top Ten players on clay (No. 4 Radwanska, 2013 Rome; No. 6 Kvitova, 2014 Madrid).

 

Petra Kvitova

2015 Record: 21-6

Grand Slam Record: 67-25

French Open Record: 15-6

French Open Best Result: SF (2012)

Fast Fact: Outside of Wimbledon, Kvitova hasn’t reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam event since the 2012 U.S. Open.

 

Caroline Wozniacki

2015 Record: 23-10

Grand Slam Record: 80-32

French Open Record: 13-8

French Open Best Result: QF (2010)

Fast Fact: Wozniacki has been past the third round of the French Open only once (2010).

 

Eugenie Bouchard

2015 Record: 7-9

Grand Slam Record: 27-8

French Open Record: 6-5

French Open Best Result: SF (2014)

Fast Fact: All of Bouchard’s Grand Slam losses have been to players ranked in the Top 20.

 

Ana Ivanovic

2015 Record: 11-9

Grand Slam Record: 98-40

French Open Record: 30-9

French Open Best Result: Won (2008)

Fast Fact: In 2014, Ivanovic lost her opening match only once, in September at Wuhan; through the first five months of 2015, Ivanovic has lost her opening match on three occasions.

 

Carla Suarez Navarro

2015 Record: 31-10

Grand Slam Record: 45-25

French Open Record: 15-6

French Open Best Result: QF (2008, ‘14)

Fast Fact: Suarez Navarro’s record vs. Top Ten opponents in 2015 is 9-6 (60%); prior to 2015 it was 11-33 (25%).

 

Ekaterina Makarova

2015 Record: 15-9

Grand Slam Record: 53-30

French Open Record: 6-7

French Open Best Result: 4R (2011)

Fast Fact: Makarova is the only woman who has reached at least the quarterfinals in the last three Grand Slam events.

 

Andrea Petkovic

2015 Record: 16-9

Grand Slam Record: 32-21

French Open Record: 11-4

French Open Best Result: SF (2014)

Fast Fact: Petkovic won five matches en route to the semifinals of Roland Garros last year, which accounts for half of her ten Grand Slam match victories since 2012.

 

Angelique Kerber

2015 Record: 23-11

Grand Slam Record: 48-29

French Open Record: 11-7

French Open Best Result: QF (2012)

Fast Fact: Kerber has never defeated a higher-ranked opponent at Roland Garros.

 

Karolina Pliskova

2015 Record: 29-10

Grand Slam Record: 8-11

French Open Record: 1-3

French Open Best Result: 2R (2012)

Fast Fact: Pliskova has never advanced past the third round at a Grand Slam event.

 

Lucie Safarova

2015 Record: 16-10

Grand Slam Record: 42-39

French Open Record: 11-10

French Open Best Result: 4R (2007, ’14)

Fast Fact: Since 2014, Safarova has a winning record of 13-5 (72%) in Grand Slam events; prior to 2014, it was 29-34 (46%).

 

Agnieszka Radwanska

2015 Record: 15-12

Grand Slam Record: 93-35

French Open Record: 18-8

French Open Best Result: QF (2013)

Fast Fact: Seeded 14th for Roland Garros, it’s Radwanska’s lowest seed in a Grand Slam event since 2008 Wimbledon, having been seeded higher in the last 26 Slams.

 

Venus Williams

2015 Record: 20-6

Grand Slam Record: 225-58

French Open Record: 42-17

French Open Best Result: RU (2002)

Fast Fact:   Venus has won 20 matches this year entering the French Open, her best start to a season since 2010 (26-4), when she was ranked No. 2.

 

Madison Keys

2015 Record: 15-8

Grand Slam Record: 15-11

French Open Record: 1-2

French Open Best Result: 2R (2013)

Fast Fact: Keys has won more than half of her career Grand Slam victories (8 of 15) in her last three Grand Slam events.

 

 

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Maria Sharapova Wins Third Italian Open Title

(May 17, 2015) Once Maria Sharapova was a self-proclaimed “cow on ice,” in terms of her game on a clay court. Years later with 11 clay court crowns to her name including two French Open titles, the phrase almost seems laughable.

No one was laughing on Sunday, when the Russian rebounded from a first set loss to topple Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 to win the Italian Open in two hours and 35 minutes, her third championship in Rome and 35th career title.

“It wasn’t easy to find a rhythm out there, with the way she plays, and the wind….I really had to adjust,” Sharapova said. “But I’m proud I was able to stay in there. I never felt I was playing very clean until the end of the third set. So it shows that it’s good to hang in there and just stay positive out there.

“In the end I was the fresher one, and the more aggressive one, so it’s all a positive. And looking at how I started the clay court season in Stuttgart and where I am now, I feel I’m in a much better spot.”

Sharapova’s week, moves her up a spot in the rankings to No. 2, which means she’ll be the second seed at next week’s second major of the year, the French Open.

Despite the loss in the final Suarez Navarro had a week in which defeated three Top 10 players at the same tournament for the first time in her career, including No. 2 seed Simona Halep. The Spaniard is being rewarded with a jump in the rankings next week from 10 to No. 8.

“I was practicing really hard before Madrid and Rome, and I’m playing some good tennis right now,” she said. “Maria was just too good today. It was a really close match, and I started really well, but at the end of the second set she started playing more aggressive, and I think that was the key.”

“I remember coming to Italy as a little girl and this was one of the tournaments I dreamed of playing,” Sharapova said. “Now to win it for a third time is very special.”

Sharapova has won 62 of her last 68 matches on clay as she heads into the French Open trying to defend last year’s title.

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