2014/09/02

Barthel Tops Scheepers for Swedish Open Title

(July 20, 2014) In a battle between tow unseeded players, Mona Barthel beat Chanelle Scheepers 6-3, 7-6 (3) to win the Swedish Open on Sunday.

For the 61st ranked German, it’s her third WTA career title, her first on clay.

“It’s been an amazing week for me,” said the 24-year-old, “I cannot believe I won the title! It was like a perfect week for me. I was fighting a lot – in some matches I was behind, and I was just fighting for every point. I’m just happy everything worked out. I love this tournament so much.”

This was the first WTA tournament since Hobart in January 2009 in which no seeds made the quarterfinals. This was the second final in tournament history featuring two unseeded players.

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Checking in with the Germans at Family Circle Cup

 

By Stephanie Neppl

(April 3, 2013) CHARLESTON, SC – A talented German contingency is in Charleston for the 2013 Family Circle Cup, but it has been a mixed week for its top stars.

 

A year ago, four Germans were in the top 20: Andrea Petkovic (11), Sabine Lisicki (13), Julia Goerges (15) and Angelique Kerber (16). Mona Barthel was also on the upswing and was ranked No. 36. Fast forward a year, and Petkovic is out of the top 100 due to injury, Goerges and Lisicki have seen their form and rankings dip, and Kerber found herself the highest ranked German and cracked the top 5 in 2012.

 

Rankings – April 2, 2012                             Rankings – April 1, 2013

11 – Andrea Petkovic                                             6 – Angelique Kerber

13 – Sabine Lisicki                                                 29 – Mona Barthel

15 – Julia Goerges                                                 30 – Julia Goerges

16 – Angelique Kerber                                            41- Sabine Lisicki

36 – Mona Barthel                                                  139 – Andrea Petkovic

 

All but Kerber played in Charleston this week, with mixed results thus far. Barthel and Lisicki were upset early, while Goerges and Petkovic have each survived two rounds. Here’s a look at how the German quartet are looking at the start of the clay season.

AndreaPetkovicCalrsbad3

ANDREA PETKOVIC

In August 2011, Petkovic become the sixth German to ever crack the WTA Top 10 but injury after injury came her way in 2012 and she dealt with a lower back injury and ankle injury last year. Petkovic returned to the tour again in late 2012 at the Hopman Cup and suffered another injury, this time a rupture of the medial meniscus. She started on the comeback trail again at Indian Wells this year, and her ranking has dipped to No. 137 due to her many absences.

 

She was handed a wildcard for the Family Circle Cup, and she’s put it to good use with two wins, first over fellow wildcard Taylor Townsend of the US, and another over American Vania King. She next faces 2011 Family Circle Cup champ Caroline Wozniacki. The pair have faced each other three times, with the Dane leading 2-1, including a win on their only match on the clay.

 

Wozniacki said Petkovic is a dangerous opponent. “Petkovic is a good player.  She has been very unlucky with her injuries and she is obviously a player that does play on a very high level.” The two will kick off the day session at 11am Thursday.

Julia-Goerges-Tennis-Panorama-News-Carlsbad

JULIA GOERGES

Goerges’ two career titles are both on clay (Bad Gastein in 2010 and Stuttgart in 2011) but her 2012 season saw her go 5-5 on the dirt and she’ll be looking to improve that record. On Wednesday in Charleston, Goerges managed to come back after dropping a bagel set to Olga Govortsova to advance to the third round. She’ll next face Stephanie Voegele of Switzerland, who upset No. 7 seed Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain in the second round. Goerges said she was pleased to get the win despite not playing her best. “It’s good when you get tested right away on the clay,” she said. “It’s good to have those wins under your belt and when you’re not always playing your best and winning it’s a good feeling.” Goerges and Voegele are second on Althea Gibson Court on Thursday.

 

Sabine Lisicki

Sabine Lisicki

SABINE LISICKI

Sabine Lisicki has also had her share of injuries and illness, and her ranking has dropped from #13 a year ago to its current No. 41. Lisicki made the final in Memphis in February, but retired from the match with illness after dropping the first set to Marina Erakovic of New Zealand. Lisicki loves the green clay of Charleston and it’s where she captured her biggest title back in 2009. In her first match on Tuesday, Lisicki double bageled Anna Tatishvili in just 41 minutes. Today she was a heavy favorite to beat Mallory Burdette of the US, who is ranked #99 but the Georgian pulled out the upset 3-6, 7-6, 7-5 to advance to a contest against Serena Williams.

 

Mona Barthel photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images AsiaPac

Mona Barthel photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images AsiaPac

MONA BARTHEL

Barthel is actually the lone member of the group to have a title in 2013 and the win in Paris is the biggest of her career. Barthel also finished runner-up in Hobart and she has had wins over top 10 players Sara Errani, Angelique Kerber and Marion Bartoli. She’s now the second highest ranked German, with a current ranking of No. 29. She faced the US’ Jessica Pegula in the second round on Tuesday, but the 8th seed was upset 7-6 (4), 6-1.

 

Stephanie Neppl is in Charleston covering the Family Circle Cup for Tennis Panorama News. She spends all her spare funds traveling to tennis tournaments and has played since her teen years. She has worked as Social Media Manager for Tennis Auckland’s ATP and WTA tournaments. Follow her live updates on Twitter at @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal Twitter @stephintheus and her blog  http://ihaveatennisaddiction.blogspot.com.

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Stosur Building Confidence, Comes Back to Beat Peng

Sam Stosur interview

By Curt Janka

(March 11, 2013) INDIAN WELLS, California – Sam Stosur had to dig deep and come from behind in the third set to beat Shuai Peng 6-3, 3-6, 6-2. Peng may have been a familiar opponent, but the match was much more tightly contested than their lopsided head-to-head record would suggest. Stosur has now beaten Peng all 5 times they have met.

Sam Stosur

Sam Stosur

Asked if her previous record against Peng helped when the match was close, Stosur responded “Not necessarily, but I guess knowing that in the back of your head it does give you a little bit of comfort knowing that, ok, I’ve had success against her. There’s something about my game she doesn’t like and if I can get back to that then I’m in with a good shot.” However, she also added “You’ve got to stay focused on the match at hand. Having won those four doesn’t mean you’re going to win five.”

That was certainly true today when Peng upped her level of play in the second set, grabbing an early lead. Stosur fought her way close to breaking back, but couldn’t convert against her determined opponent.

Shuai Peng

Shuai Peng

Again in the third set, Stosur found herself down an early break. “When I lost serve early in that third, I knew that I really had to step it up,” she said. “I wasn’t playing bad, but I probably wasn’t doing enough. Then I played two really good games to get back on track, and then those last four, which I was really happy with.”

Stosur next faces the winner of a later match between Ana Ivanovic and Mona Barthel. Asked who she would prefer to play, Stosur said, “I’ve played Ana quite a few times—had some success, had some close matches—but I’ve never played Mona. I know Ana very well, I don’t know Mona so much, so I’ll take a little bit of a look at that one.”

Over Stosur’s career, her wins seem to come in patches when her confidence is elevated. This year got off to a rocky start, but it appears that she is starting to accrue confidence, reaching the quarterfinals in Doha and Dubai. The setting here in Indian Wells also seems to add to her comfort level.

“I do feel like I’m in a good spot at the moment. I feel like the conditions here suit my game. I’ve made it to the semis here one time. I do feel like I’ve played really good matches here and I’ve won the doubles as well. I think getting through a mach like today is really important for me.”

On the topic of doubles, Stosur was in that draw as well this year, playing with Lisa Raymond, until they ran into her countrywoman Casey Dellacqua. Asked what it was like losing to another Aussie, Stosur smiled wide and said, “I’m disappointed to lose not matter who I’m playing, but I guess if it’s Case, and she can go through, hopefully they can do very well.”

Stosur didn’t have a steady doubles partner lined up at the beginning of the year, but  she said, “Lisa’s partner that she was signed up with pulled out after Australia, so I said that I would play the Middle East, here and Miami. Now actually we’re going to go through and play the Slams together and a few other events. We’ll play a little bit more and hopefully we can do well.”

More wins in doubles could only add to her growing confidence in singles and bodes well for the rest of the season.

While it was a little cooler here earlier in the week, today was hot and sunny, which seems to be Stosur’s preference. Since spring is almost underway here and summer is just ending back in her Australian home, does she ever get to experience the winter season?

“I don’t typically like the cold too much,” Stosur laughed. “Tennis players follow the summer around the world. This is a really nice part of the year at home in Australia that I’m never home to experience, but this isn’t too bad either.”

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Azarenka Survives, Li Cruises, Davis Stuns Barthel at Roland Garros

No. 1 seed Victoria Azarenka was five points away from becoming the first top French Open woman’s seed in the Open Era to fall in the first round. Azarenka won 12 of the last 14 games to move into the second round escaping Italy’s Alberta Brianti of Italy 6-7 (6), 6-4, 6-2.

The 32-year-old WTA tour veteran lead Azarenka 7-6(6), 4-0, with a chance to go up 5-0 when the Belarusian captured six straight games.

It was a mistake-strewn performance for the World No. 1 who committed 60 unforced errors.

“Bad days happen,” Azarenka said.  “Unfortunately today I had way more mistakes than I usually do, but, you know, it happens sometimes.”

“The first match, they’re not easy.  But in the end of the day I still won the match, I manage to go through those 60 mistakes and still win the match.  I think that’s pretty good statistics.

“If it would be 60 winners and I would lose that match, or win this match this way, I think that would suck a little bit more.”

The match was a learning experience for Azarenka. “Before maybe I would just give up and go home.  I was kind of thinking there was a flight straight to Minsk around 3:00 tomorrow so I could catch that, but I didn’t want to leave too soon.”

 

Defending French Open champion Li Na had no problems with Sorana Cirstea topping the Romanian 6-2, 6-1.

Li spoke to media about her clay court preparation:

“Every court is different.  You have to do different exercise as well.  In clay court you couldn’t do something like grass court.  Of course, this you have to slide on the court, right?  It’s clay court.

“So you start clay court season, I always do a lot with the footwork, as well.  In the clay court you have to use your legs a lot. ”

Li reflected on her return to Paris after winning Roland Garros last year and discussed last week’s devastating loss in the Rome final to Maria Sharapova.

” All of the airport I think I doing well last year and here.  So today I come to center court I was feeling  I was walking to the center court, and I saw the national fly, I was behind, and I was thinking about, oh, I did well here last year.  Last year also the last match was playing on center court, and this year first year on center court, as well.

“So I was tell myself, okay, wish you can doing better, because, you know, last week, no, maybe one week ago the final in Rome still killing me.  After final I tell everyone don’t talk to me about tennis like three days.  I can’t quiet every second.”

US qualifier Lauren Davis upended 30th seed Mona Barthel of Germany 6-1, 6-1. It was the 18-year-old’s first match win in a major in her third attempt.

“I feel really good,” the 162nd ranked Davis said of her win.  “I mean, she’s 30 in the world.  I’ve seen her play on TV.  She’s a really good player.”

“I knew what to expect.  But I just went out there determined, and I played good.  I played well.”

“I don’t know what happened today,” Bathel said.  “It’s difficult for me.  I don’t know what I can say for this match.  It happens.”

“I had a great year.  I played really good, on a high level.  I cannot expect that it’s going on forever like this.  There is going to be some ups and downs for sure.

“Of course I’m a little bit sad about it, but these things happen in life.  That’s the way tennis goes.  You win; you lose.”

Davis will meet fellow American Christina McHale in the second round. McHale outlasted Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.

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