August 3, 2015

Notes from Behind the Wall at the China Open – October 2, 2012

By Abigail Hinto

Jelena Jankovic

BEIJING, China – Jelena Jankovic’s smile will remain on her face as she easily defeated Monica Niculescu and her unusual game 6-2 6-1 in her second round match at the China Open on Tuesday in Beijing. Jankovic has plenty of fans in Beijing and they weren’t shy about showing their support and giving her encouragement. We haven’t been seeing much of Jankovic’s famous personality and smile as her form has dipped and her ranking has plummeted, so it was a welcome sight to see her smile even before the first point of the match was played. Walking to the baseline to start the match to serve, Jankovic’s effusive Chinese fans were already cheering her on which elicited a smile that hasn’t been there for quite some time now.


Jankovic’s beautiful down the line shots are still there, but the consistency off them which saw her reach the no. 1 ranking is the one that’s gone missing. And with every missed shot was an on-the-ready expression of frustration. In the end, the consistency and the smile finally wins out over the missed shots and the glares to her coach team.



Li Na

I’ve never seen a player applauded for winning a round, but that’s what Li Na received as she came in to her post-match news conference following her 6-1 6-2 win over Nadia Petrova in her 2nd round match at the China Open. Maybe it has to do with her finally breaking her 6-match losing streak against Petrova.


For Li Na, that’s the charm in playing tennis. “Every day you can challenge yourself. You are defeated consecutively, but it doesn’t mean you were defeated by her all the time. This is sport. You never know what’s gonna happen.”



Even more rare is a player applauding a reporter. And that’s what Li Na did after being asked this question:


Q. Another question is we noticed when you are in rush a little bit or when you are a little bit impatient you like to say something to your coach, and Carlos has said that you have to calm down. He give you a gesture to make you calm down. In that case, you have a very important role in balancing the relations between you and Carlos?

Li Na claps and then replies “You are absolutely correct. I think before Carlos jump in, I didn’t have any intent to share with my team. But I’m not sure ‑‑ how did you spot the detail that when I start to be impatient Carlos told me to calm down?

I have to share this information to Carlos. I think he will definitely share the same thing with me.”


Caroline Wozniacki

Tale of a set:


A set that was all on Su-Wei Hsieh‘s racquet, from starting with a double fault and getting broken in the first service game, to ending with a down the line backhand winner to take the first set in her second round match against Caroline Wozniacki 7-6 (7-5).


Hsieh came back to win the set from being down a break twice and down two minibreaks in the tiebreak as well. Wozniacki couldn’t take advantage of all the leads given to her. Serving at 5-4 in the tiebreak with a mini break, her second serve was too short which gave Hsieh an opportunity to go for a return winner which she did. Two more winners later and it was first set to Hsieh.


A female Fabrice Santoro? Wozniacki was constantly kept guessing at what shot Hsieh would go for next. Put away a short ball deep with a drive down the line shot? Or a cleverly disguised forehand dropper? How about a sliced forehand approach shot? Either Hsieh was making errors or hitting winners and Wozniacki was left reacting and defending. In the end, the winners started clicking again, and Hsieh came away with a set.

Wozniacki completed the win 6-7(5), 7-6(3), 6-0.

Abigail Hinto is in Beijing this week covering the China Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her updates on twitter @TennisNewsTPN.


Petrova Defeats Radwanska to Earn Tokyo Title



Nadia Petrova captured her 12th career WTA title on Saturday by winning the final of the Toray Pan Pacific Open over defending champion No. 3 Agniezska Radwanska in Tokyo.

“After running out of gas in the second set, I don’t know where I found the strength and willpower to fight in the third set, but I did and it feels amazing,” Petrova said. This is the biggest tournament I’ve ever won. It’s a great accomplishment. And at the beginning of the tournament I definitely didn’t expect to win the title, because of the back injury I’ve been struggling with. I’m so happy to be here right now.

“There are a few players who have won Grand Slams after 30, and I feel like I don’t want to walk away from tennis without accomplishing the same. I still find the will to wake up every morning and go on the court and try to improve with each day. If it’s meant to happen it will, but if it doesn’t, at the end of my career I’ll know I’ve done everything I could.”
Petrova knocked out three top ten players during the week -Radwanska, No. 7 Sara Errani and No. 9 Sam Stosur.

“I’m disappointed, ” Radwanska said. “I wanted to win this title so much, and when you’re so close and feel you can make it, it’s always emotional if you don’t. But she was playing really well. Her biggest weapon is her serve, for sure, but also her return was very good today, and I had to serve really well myself to hold my serve. But overall I think those two shots were working really well for her today.”

Petrova, currently ranked at 18 in the world, is expected to move up to No. 14 when the rankings come out on Monday.

Tokyo, Japan
September 23-29, 2012

Singles – Final
(17) Nadia Petrova (RUS) d. (3) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) 60 16 63

Doubles – Final
Kops-Jones/Spears (USA/USA) d. (4) Groenefeld/Peschke (GER/CZE) 61 64


Sharapova Back in the Quarterfinals at US Open

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – For the first time since 2006, when she won the US Open title, No. 3 Maria Sharapova has made the quarterfinals by defeating Nadia Petrova 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 in a match interrupted by rain on Sunday night.

With Petrova up 2-0 in the third set the rains came and delayed the match for 75 minutes. It also caused a momentum shift. Sharapova pumped herself up with fist pumps and shouts of “C’mon!”

Sharapova said that during the rain delay her coach told her to get her act together.

In an on-court interview after the match Sharapova said, “I’m so glad to be back in the quarters.  “It’s been so many years.”

Sharapova will meet Marion Bartoli for a spot in the semifinals. The Russian had only dropped seven games through the first three rounds.


Sharapova wins easily, Admits Break-up with Vujacic

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – No. 3 seed Maria Sharapova who is looking to capture her second US Open title, advanced to the fourth round with an easy 6-1, 6-1 win over NCAA runner-up Mallory Burdette.

The match lasted only 58 minutes.

During her post-match news conference she confirmed the rumors that her engagement to former Los Angeles Lakers player Sasha Vujacic is no more. They were originally supposed to be married in November in Turkey.

Sharapova said that the engagement had ended in the spring. “I was waiting for someone to actually ask me that question, but nobody did directly,” said Sharapova.

“I have never really been the person to announce things,” she said. “I never announced when we were together or never announced that we were engaged. I never have in any of my previous relationships, as well.

“It’s not really the type of person that I am or the way I like to go about things. I’m not an announcer, you know. I don’t go and do interviews about it or photo ops.”

“It was obviously a challenging decision, you know, from both of our ends.  Yeah, it was a really nice period of time for both of us, but, you know, our career schedules just made it extremely difficult to see each other with the traveling, and especially his career move to Turkey.  You know, the playing there was a little bit different in terms of he wasn’t able to travel much.  He wasn’t home one time during the ten months that he was in Turkey, so that made it extremely difficult.  Yeah, but we have a tremendous amount of respect for each other.  Still would love to call him as a friend.  Yeah, we spent really great years together.

Sharapova will play Russian countrywoman Nadia Petrova in the round of 16.

“I’ve had some tough matches against her” Sharpaova said.  “Although I have a good record, they have always been really tough and have gone to some three-setters.”

“She has a big game, great serve, a difficult opponent, but I’m looking forward to that challenge.”


An Olympic View from Court 1, Third Round

By Ros Satar

WIMBLEDON – It’s not quite the AELTC, is it?

It’s all very familiar but very different.

Where once was the comfortably subtle dark green and purple livery adorning the iconic front of Centre Court, there are angular and lively 2012 shapes and colors.

The Olympic tennis is being hosted at the All England Club, where just three and a half weeks ago, tennis fans saw an emotional Andy Murray let down his guard after Roger Federer won a record-equaling seventh title.

There are some things that are reassuringly the same.  The stoic sighs of the fans on Court 1 who take their seats in the rain.  The queues for food and drink (and yes you CAN get the SW19 drink of choice, but due to sponsorship and licensing, it cannot be referred to by a trade name)!


Roger Federer (Switzerland) def Denis Istomin (Uzbekistan) 7-5, 6-3

On Court 1, as the rain was spitting down, the players were brought out, including a reluctant looking Roger Federer, who was facing Denis Istomin, in the third round.

No sooner than they had sat down, the rain came down heavier, so off they went.

Play got underway around 45 minutes later, and although both players seemed to need time to find their range, Federer was soon away with a break, but did not have it all his own way, as Istomin clawed his way back, before another rain delay came.

As the resumption, Federer got the late break he wanted, taking the first set.  The second set started in much the same way, with Federer breaking Istomin in his first game.

This time there was no clawing back, although Istomin had played very well, and at times Federer had not looked as convincing as he did in the opening rounds of The Championships a few weeks ago.


Victoria Azarenka (Belarus) def Nadia Petrova (Russia) 7-6(6), 6-4

As the sun shone down, finally, on Court 1, these ladies slugged away at each other from the baseline.

Neither were giving ground, although every now and again Petrova would throw out a hefty kick serve which left Azarenka all at sea.

Petrova had the edge on Azarenka in the first set tiebreak, and it was only after saving the first set point against her that Azarenka suddenly stepped up a gear, fighting back and eventually winning the tiebreak.

Although Azarenka started the second set with the momentum with her, she was broken before the first change of ends, although Petrova made heavy work of consolidating the break.

Azarenka got the better of Petrova with a single break, and although Petrova challenged on match point, it was to no avail.


Maria Sharapova (Russia) def Sabine Lisicki (Germany) 6-7(8), 6-4, 6-3

It was almost a month ago to the day that Sabine Lisicki put paid to Maria Sharapova’s run to a consecutive Wimbledon final.

And it was like nothing had changed.

Neither was giving any leeway until the eighth game, when Lisicki stepped up her play and broke Sharapova.

However, a costly double fault sent her on the way to being broken straight back, to love.

The first set went to a see-saw tie break with Lisicki being let back in to the tiebreak that saw Sharapova edged out for the first set.

A single break margin saw Sharapova level the match and take things into a decider.

The third set started with two breaks of serve until things proceeded with serve as the clouds rolled in over the setting sun, and the light was fading.

Sharapova had the all-important break to lead 5-3 and serve out for the match.

David Ferrer and Kei Nishikori had been scheduled to finish up the day’s action but had been moved to Court 14, and then moved again to Centre Court to finish the action.

All in all, there are enough things familiar and heaven knows it was nice to spend some time in the sun, after such a rain-soaked Wimbledon.

But the volunteers sometimes enthusiastically let people in at non-change of ends pauses in matches, the ball boys and girls are maybe not as strictly drilled, and the numbers lines judges also seem to be pared down.

But for the most part the fans are reveling in a couple of weeks of extra tennis at SW19 and turn a bit of a blind eye to the different colors.

Ros Satar is a British Journalist- an IT Journalist by day, a Sports journalist part-time and her match observations can be found at the Chalkdust Chronicles ( Follow her on twitter at @rfsatar.



On the Green Carpet – Photos from the BNP Paribas Open Players’ Party


INDIAN WELLS, California (March 8, 2012) – The BNP Paribas Open held their players’ party at the IW club on Thursday night. Driving up to the “Green Carpet” in classic cars included the likes of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Victoria Azarenka, Petra Kvitova, Andy Murray, Ana Ivanovic, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, John Isner, Agnieszka Radwanska, Jelena Jankovic, David Ferrer, Feliciano Lopez and a host of others.

Photos by Curt Janka and Jennifer Knapp.  Follow Tennis Panorama News’ BNP Paribas Open coverage here an on our twitter @TennisNewsTPN.


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