2014/07/31

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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Errani and Barthel Join Charleston Field

Sara Errani2

(February 7, 2013) DANIEL ISLAND, S.C. – Sara Errani, World No. 7, and Mona Barthel, World No. 28, have committed to the 2013 Family Circle Cup, March 30th – April 7th in Charleston, SC.

The two recently met last Sunday, in the Paris Open final, where Errani, and Barthel battled it out in a tight two-setter. Unseeded, 22-year-old Barthel upset top-seed, 25-year-old Errani 7-5, 7-6(4) to win the Open GDF Suez.

“We are excited to announce Errani and Barhtel to the tournament line up, especially on the heels of their impressive performances in Paris,” said Eleanor Adams, Tournament Manager. “We can’t wait to see if the two face off again on our stadium court.”

The 2013 Family Circle Cup will mark Barthel’s first time competing in Charleston and Errani’s second, after losing in the 2nd round of the tournament in 2008.

“I look forward to returning to Charleston, and advancing further in the tournament than I did during my first visit five years ago,” said Errani. “My game has matured a lot since then and I’m happy to return to the Family Circle Cup.”

A native of Italy, Errani, had her breakthrough season in 2012, where she reached the quarterfinals, in singles, and finals, in doubles, at the Australian Open. The same year, she reached the finals of the French Open, in singles, and won its doubles title. She also appeared in the singles semi-finals at the US Open before capturing its doubles win.

Known as a clay court specialist, Errani has earned six WTA singles titles and 18 doubles titles.

Barthel, who is fairly new to the WTA, qualified for the 2011 French Open where she won her first Grand Slam main-draw match. At 2012’s Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, she recorded her first victory against a top-10 player by defeating World No.7, Marion Bartoli.

Barthel has captured two WTA singles and five ITF titles. After winning this Sunday’s Open GDF SUEZ, she reached her highest WTA ranking of 28.

Errani and Barthel join Serena Williams, Samantha Stosur and Venus Williams in a world-class player field assembling in Charleston for the Family Circle Cup, now featuring three of the world’s top 10 players.

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Vesnina Wins First WTA Title

 

(January 12, 2013) Seventh final was the charm for Russia’s Elena Vesnina  who won her first WTA title at the Moorilla Hobart International on Saturday.

 

In her first Hobart final in six appearances at the tournament the world No.68 defeated defending champion Mona Barthel of Germany 6-3, 6-4 in 1 hour and 23 minutes putting an end to her 12 match win streak in Hobart.

 

“I feel such a relief and I just want to cry honestly, “ Venina said of the victory. “ I’m so happy that I won the final and I think in general I was pretty good. I didn’t pressure myself at all I just went on to the court and was thinking that this is my time, I have to do it and if I get a chance I have to use that chance.”

 

“My plan for the game was to attack her second serve. I had to be aggressive during the whole point, try to control the point, move her round and use my ground shots, my favorite shot.”

 

Vesnina heads into the Australian Open where she plays wildcard Caroline Garcia of  France in the first round.

 

In the doubles final, Spain’s Garbine Muguruza and Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor won their first WTA doubles title over Timea Babos  of Hungaryand her partner Mandy Minella  Luxembourg 6-3, 7-6(5).

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Notes and Quotes from Day 2 of the 2012 French Open

Li Na – Remember Paris, Forget Rome

I was just arrive in Paris.  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.

 

Victoria Azarenka on committing 60 unforced errors in her comeback win over Alberta Brianti:

I think it says it all.  Bad days happen.  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.

 

Balls Banter

Novak Djokovic: Yes, the ball change is obvious.  I think last year they have made that switch with balls, and they were really fast and tough to control with conditions that are present in the Roland Garros, which are a little bit different from other clay court events, and the conditions here are a little bit faster than maybe comparing to Monte‑Carlo or Barcelona or Rome.
But, you know, many players complained a little bit about the speed of the balls last year, so it was really difficult to control.
So this year, they’re a little bit heavier, which I like.  I really don’t have any complaints about it.

 

Roger Federer:  I think they’re heavy.  I think the balls are heavy.  I think they’re slower than last year.

Conditions here are always faster during the day.  Courts are on the harder side, especially when it’s with good weather like today.  Feels like it’s faster.

I feel the balls are not the fastest ones.  I just think that also is just taking some adjustments to that, because the ball is different here again than the last six, seven weeks for us.

I think that also maybe takes some getting used to, which is normal.  That’s why I’m happy to be through to the second round, having more information on how actually the court and the balls play here.

 

David Nalbandian: I felt the balls were faster, faster than other years.  They fly more.  They’re more like lively balls.

But on the Suzanne Lenglen Court, usually it’s a court that’s slower than the other courts; whereas, you know, I had the impression that the balls were faster and more difficult to control.

 

 

Women’s 30th seed German Mona Barthel reflecting on her loss to American teen Lauren Davis:

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.

Yeah, that’s it.

 

Lauren Davis responding to a reporter’s question about how do people from Cleveland get adjusted to red clay:

Well, I played on indoor hard since I was 16, and this is actually like my third clay court tournament.  I mean red clay.

But, yeah, my game is well‑suited for clay.

 

Lleyton Hewitt asked about what makes the French Open so special:

Lleyton Hewitt:  (Smiling.)  The scores are in French.  I don’t understand.  I’ve got to look up at the scoreboard to know what the score is.

 

American in Paris on clay clay or mud it’s all the same

John Isner:  Well, for me, personally, I don’t mind clay.  I don’t care what surface I’m playing on.  I don’t care if it’s mud.

My serve is my serve.  I like to think I’m gonna hold serve a lot.  Whether it’s clay, grass or hard, I’m always gonna have that on my side.

But besides from that, with me, you know, a lot of times the ball bounces higher, which is good for me obviously, with me being so tall.

I hope that a lot of Americans can ‑‑ you know, can do well here.  I know myself and Jesse Levine have won.  I don’t know about anyone else.  I hope we can have a bunch of guys advance after tomorrow.

 

John Isner – ATP poster boy for going to college

Yeah, I hope kids in high school kinda do look up to me and the path that I personally took.  You know, for me, going to Georgia was 100% the absolute right play for me.  Going there for four years was also the right choice for me.  And, you know, I feel like I made a lot of good decisions throughout my junior career.  Best decision I ever made in my life was going to Georgia.  Wasn’t any other school for me.

Going there for four years, being coached by Coach Diaz was fantastic for me.  I became just a lot stronger physically.  My game got a lot better.  From that I also got a college degree.

It was a very good decision, and I don’t regret it at all.  I mean, I think kids nowadays should at least look at the college route at least for one year at the very minimum.  This game is so physical now.  You don’t see many 18‑year‑old kids inside the top 100, top 50 in the world.  For guys, it takes a little bit longer for, you know, kids, guys, to develop.

 

 

Michael Llodra on Strategy: Strategy? No, I have no strategy. Really, you know, serving, moving to the net, I don’t want to give him too much time, and even more for Berdych, you know. If he’s got both feet within the lines, he can hit you so much with his forehand, backhand. He shouldn’t dictate the game.

This is what I will have to do, to be aggressive during the whole match.

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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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