September 2, 2015

Serena Williams Avoids Early Exit, Rafael Nadal Cruises at French Open

(May 28, 2015) Serena Williams survived a possible upset on Thursday when she came beat German Anna-Lena Friedsam ranked 105th in the world 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 in the second round of the French Open.

“Probably more frustrated than relieved, but I know I’m capable of playing great tennis, just haven’t seen it yet,” Williams said.

“I feel like one thing Venus always tells me: A win is a win, and as long as you live to survive the next day, you can always improve. I know my level is literally a hundred times better than I played today, so I think I take more solace in the fact I can play better as opposed to the fact that that’s the best I could play. Then I would be in trouble.”

Next for Williams in the third round will be two-time major champion Victoria Azarenka who defeated Lucie Hradecka 6-2 6-3.
“It will be a tough match, obviously,” Williams said. “We had a really tough match in Madrid. So I do know if I play the way I did today, I probably won’t be winning my match. So I’m going to have to step it up a level. Probably just get out, start up better and be more relaxed and go from there. But it’s definitely not going to be easy, but, you know, at the end of the day it is what it is. I’m ready.”

“I think out of all the top players she’s, for whatever reason, has given me particularly some troubles. But, you know, she’s great at what she does. She fights hard and never gives up, and she’s really feisty. And I think that’s obviously why she’s been able to be a Grand Slam champion, not just on one occasion. So, I mean, yeah, those players aren’t always the easiest to play, but they also get you excited to play those matches and to be ready for that.”

“Facing somebody who is, you know, No. 1 in the world is never easy,” Azarenka said. “But I just want to try to focus, you know, on my game, on my energy, and try to play the best as possible. But there is no question you have to come up with your A game and play well.”

No drama for 9-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal who dismissed Spanish countryman Nicolas Almagro 6-4, 6-3, 6-1.

“I think I played a good match against an opponent I think he didn’t play bad through a lot of very hard games, long games,” Nadal said. “The score is easier than what the match was like. Very happy, I think I did a few things very well.”

2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone saved a match point in a 3 hour 50 minute marathon against 18th-seeded and 2009 French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, 6-7 (11), 7-5, 10-8 to move into the third round. Kuznetsova served for the match four times.

Both women played the longest women’s match in Grand Slam history at the 2011 Australian Open, 6-4, 1-6, 16-14 which lasted 4 hours, 44 minutes. Schiavone won that match as well.

“She went for it,” Kusnetsova said. “She played unbelievable shot. She played the deeper ball on high bounce to my backhand. I played good angle. For one-handed backhand to play it like that down the line, she totally went for it and all credit to her. She played unbelievable point. It’s nothing I can do, you know. It’s many more other opportunities I have to think about on my serve, which I didn’t serve well. I was not too sharp today for me.”

“Today was the key that long line with backhand,” Schiavone said. “I had to, otherwise backhand against backhand she was much better than me. So I had to play over there or in or out, and I play very good long line. Long match, yeah. With Svetlana I think we can play hours and hours and hours because we know each other exactly like I said before to play. Was great for me. I don’t know. She is amazing, and every time I play against her I say, Oh, my God, now what can happen? And it’s happen a long match again.”

Another upset victim, Caroline Wozniacki, the fifth seed, fell to 72nd ranked Julia Goerges in 6-4, 7-6 (4).

“I think I don’t play the typical women’s game on clay court,” said the German. “I play a little bit more spin, a little bit higher the ball over the net than some of the other girls. Well, she gets the ball in her striking zone she doesn’t miss any ball, but if you give her different balls, then it’s tougher for her to manage to bring the ball back with good quality, what she usually does when she has it in her striking zone. You have to mix up a lot. That’s what I did in all the matches I’ve played her. It’s never a guarantee you’re going to win the match, but you have to execute well, as well, and that’s what I did mainly today very well.”

Americans Madison Keys, Sloane Stephens and Jack Sock also advanced to the third round.

The 16th seeded Keys defeated Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic 6-0, 6-3.

“Belinda is also a great player,” Keys said. “So I knew it was going to be tough. I knew I was going to have to be playing well and kind of in my best form in order to get past them. Just really happy with kind of how I managed to fight through the first one. I thought I played really well today.”
“I thought I came out and was aggressive and tried to play the best I could,” Stephens said about beating Watson 6-2, 6-4. “Obviously executed really well my shots and I stayed pretty consistent throughout, so that was good.”
Watson, who had never lost to Stephens before, was wearing tape on her arm. “I’ve had this with my arm for a week and a bit now, but it wasn’t the reason I lost today,” Watson said. “I felt fine. I had it all taped up and I took some painkillers before the match. But it was just me really. I was just pretty sluggish and slow out there. Finally after like a set and a bit I finally got into it, but at that point it was kind of a little bit too late.”

Jack Sock continues to win on American men’s least successful surface in recent times, but his favorite. The American defeated Pablo Carreno Busta in four sets to advance.

“I thought he played a really good match,” Sock said. “I’ve seen him play a few times, not a whole lot. Yeah, I thought he was kind of on top of his game today. It was a match I had to win. He wasn’t going to be given to me, by any means. I finally found my serve three hours in, which was nice. It was letting me down there for a while, but I was able to find a little bit and the rhythm there at the end.”

May 28, 2015 Results French Open

Men’s Singles – Third Round

[5] Kei Nishikori (JPN) d. Benjamin Becker (GER) W/O (right shoulder)

Men’s Singles – Second Round

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) d. Gilles Muller (LUX) 61 64 64
[3] Andy Murray (GBR) d. Joao Sousa (POR) 62 46 64 61
[6] Rafael Nadal (ESP) d. Nicolas Almagro (ESP) 64 63 61
[7] David Ferrer (ESP) d. Daniel Gimeno-Traver (ESP) 62 63 61
[9] Marin Cilic (CRO) d. Andrea Arnaboldi (ITA) 76(3) 61 61
[15] Kevin Anderson (RSA) d. Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE) 57 64 64 64
Jeremy Chardy (FRA) d. [16] John Isner (USA) 64 46 63 63
[17] David Goffin (BEL) d. Santiago Giraldo (COL) 63 46 75 62
Pablo Andujar (ESP) d. [22] Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) 61 76(5) 36 36 64
[23] Leonardo Mayer (ARG) d. Jerzy Janowicz (POL) 64 64 67(1) 61
Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) d. [27] Bernard Tomic (AUS) 36 36 63 64 86 – saved 3 M.P.
[29] Nick Kyrgios (AUS) d. Kyle Edmund (GBR) W/O (stomach)
Simone Bolelli (ITA) d. [31] Viktor Troicki (SRB) 62 64 63
Jack Sock (USA) d. Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) 67(2) 76(4) 61 76(4)
Andrey Kuznetsov (RUS) d. Jurgen Melzer (AUT) 61 57 76(0) 75

 

Women’s Singles – Second Round
(1) Serena Williams d. Anna-Lena Friedsam (GER) 57 63 63
(4) Petra Kvitova (CZE) d. Silvia Soler-Espinosa (ESP) 67(4) 64 62
Julia Goerges (GER) d. (5) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) 64 76(4)
(10) Andrea Petkovic (GER) d. Lourdes Dominguez Lino (ESP) 46 64 64
Andreea Mitu (ROU) d. (12) Karolina Pliskova 26 76(5) 64
(16) Madison Keys (USA) d. Belinda Bencic (SUI) 60 63
(17) Sara Errani d. Carina Witthoeft (GER) 63 46 62
Francesca Schiavone (ITA) d. (18) Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 67(11) 75 108 (saved 1mp)
(23) Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) d. Tereza Smitkova (CZE) 62 60
(27) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. Lucie Hradecka (CZE) 62 63
(30) Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) d. Ana Konjuh (CRO) 62 60
Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) d. (32) Zarina Diyas (KAZ) 06 61 64
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) d. Danka Kovinic (MNE) 63 75
Irina Falconi (USA) d. (Q) Sesil Karatantcheva (BUL) 36 61 62
Sloane Stephens (USA) d. Heather Watson (GBR) 62 64
Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) d. Denisa Allertova (CZE) 63 76(2)

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Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray Advance at Miami Open

Nadal at Miami Open Media day

(March 27, 2015) Fourteen-time major champion Rafael Nadal has won almost everything there is to win on the men’s tennis tour. One of the few titles which has escaped him is the Miami Open. Nadal a four-time finalist, began his quest for his first title with an 89-minute victory over Spanish countryman Nicolas Almagro 6-4, 6-2 to move into the third round.

Nadal was asked about his ankle which he hurt during practice earlier in the week.

“I am well, no?,” said the second seed. “I had just a little bit, how do you say, small torn in the beginning, so it was going to be tough.

“The day after I had pain, but after two days I improved 50% and stays the same. It’s not limiting my movements.”

“The real thing is the wind was really high,” Nadal said of the breezy conditions on court. “Very difficult to find a positive feeling on court.

“But in general I think I played a solid match. I played well. I had a good movement. I think I moved myself quick for moments, and when I had to put the balls in and play with no mistakes ‑ that was the idea today with that very tough conditions ‑ I did, I think.

“For some moments I went for the points. I worked well with my forehand. I had some good winners.

“Yeah. I’m happy the way that I played. Sure, second round against I don’t know yet, but Almagro was not an easy opponent for the first round. I am happy for that.”

Nadal who raised his record against Almagro to 11-1, will face the winner of Fernando Verdasco, and James Duckworth in the third round.

“The court in Miami I think is the same than since 10 years, since I came here,” Nadal said. “I don’t see difference with the court, no?

“The ball is heavier here than in Indian Wells for the humidity, so the ball flies is little bit slower through the air. That’s it.”

Two-time Miami champion Andy Murray defeated Donald Young 6-4, 6-2 in 82 minutes in an earlier match. Murray defeated the American recently – in Glasgow during the first weekend in March, when Great Britain defeated the United States 3-2 to reach the quarterfinals of Davis Cup.

“I played well against him the last couple of times,” said the third seed. “Obviously today was a very different match to Davis Cup; completely different conditions.”

“The tactics that you go into the match with completely change because of the weather and the wind.”

The Scot is just two wins away from reaching a milestone – to become just the ninth active player to win 500 ATP World Tour –level matches.

Murray will match-up against 27th seed Santiago Giraldo in the third round.

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Nicolas Almagro Withdraws from the U.S. Open

NAlmagroMadrid5-7-12

(July 18, 2014) Spain’s Nicolas Almagro has withdrawn from the U. S. Open which begins on August 23  in Flushing Meadows, Queens, New York.

The world No.  27 Spaniard has not been on the court since retiring from his first round match at the French Open in May due to a left foot injury.

The 28-year-old also missed Wimbledon.

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Players React to Lance Armstrong in Notes and Quotes

Players at the Australian Open were asked about Lance Amstrong in the January 18, 2013 news conferences.

 

Q.  There was a lot of talk today about the Lance Armstrong interview.  Did you catch any of it?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I saw a little bit of it, yeah.

Q.  Do you have any thoughts on his admission today, how he justified it as not cheating?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I think it’s just a really sad story, sad for that sport itself.  I’m happy that our sport is as clean as it can be and that we’re constantly tested.  You know, we give whereabouts of where we are every single day of the year.  Hopefully not on birthdays and Christmas Eve, that would be pretty tough.

Although they did show up on my birthday and I was very disappointed.  They did a couple of years ago.  I said, Unless you bring flowers, I’m okay with it.  But they came empty‑handed (laughter).

So as long as we’re getting tested, whatever it takes, urine, blood, we’re all here to make the sport as clean as it can be.

 

Q.  Do you feel tennis is pretty clean at this moment?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I do very much.  For the amount of times that we get tested throughout the year and as random as they are, definitely.

 

 

Q.  I’m not sure if you saw today, but Lance Armstrong admitted to playing performance enhancing drugs.  I was wondering if you thought tennis had a vigorous enough policy on anti doping?

JANKO TIPSAREVIC:  You know what, you’re probably asking the wrong guy.  You know, actually came to Kenya to test me.  I wasn’t going to Kenya to hide from anti doping.  I was actually doing my pre season there.

One morning a person was waking me up.  I was so shocked and afraid somebody was like robbing us.  I wasn’t sure.

But I think it’s not cool what he did, cheating the sport and cheating so many people in the sport and so many people around him, believing that what he did actually did it on a clean and regular way.  So that’s really not cool what he did.

In regards of tennis, I think they test me often enough, blood and urine.  So, sure, if they want to increase it, why not?  But we have a tough enough time with this WADA process of us telling them every single day of our life where we need to be.

So I don’t really see how can it be more strict than that.

 

Q.  How comfortable are you that drug testing in tennis is rigorous enough?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, in tennis, you know, at least from my perspective, it’s really good.  Anti doping regulations a little bit maybe more strict in sense that you have to fill the whereabouts documents and you have to basically give an hour or two in every day of your life in a whole year, where you are.

But on the other hand, it gives them an opportunity to test you.  And you know it is the same for the other players.  At least from that point of view it’s fair.  And I have nothing against, you know, the anti doping federation, association, testing me 10, 20, 30 times a year.

I think as long as I know as many numbers of testing for the other players, I’ll be happy.

 

Q.  How about blood testing?  The ITF records tell us in the whole of 2011 there was only 18 blood tests taken of the top players.  How often would you or Andy or Roger or Rafa be blood tested?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, I wasn’t tested with blood for last six, seven months.  It was more regularly in last two, three years ago.  I don’t know the reason why they stopped it.

As I said, I mean, as long as it’s fair, it’s clean, we’re trying to protect the identity of this sport.  I believe tennis players are one of the most cleanest athletes in the world and one of the most competitive sports.

So as long as we keep it that way, I have no complaints about testing.

 

Q.  Would you disagree with Darren Cahill who said today that he believes the Anti Doping Program in tennis is inadequate and it’s been going backwards in recent years?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  What is the reason for that?

 

Q.  That’s his opinion.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I mean, I don’t know.  There has to be a reason why he said that, backstory.

I know Darren.  He’s a great guy, somebody that knows tennis really well, so must be something why he said that.

But in my opinion, yeah, there has been a complaints from players in few years, last few years, about this whereabouts system.  Why do we need to write where we are every single day of our 365 days when most of the time we’re spending on the courts and so forth.

Maybe that is something that is, you know, questionable.  But on the other hand as many urine, as many blood sample tests they take, the better.  Then you’re aware that it’s a clean sport and everybody has the same treatment.

 

Q.  I think part of the issue is out of competition blood testing is expensive to carry out.  Do you think the ITF should make it more of a priority to spend more money on that?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I mean, it’s a question for them, I guess.  From my point, I mean, I was more than clear.  I have nothing against the blood tests, you know.

Even though I prefer urine more.  I don’t like the needles too much.  But, of course, I mean, you know, the money in that direction should be invested because, you know, it’s always let’s say a safeguard for our sport that they’re investing money in our sport that is going to protect our sport and players.

 

Q.  A lot of cycling fans have lost a lot of faith in that sport now.  Do you think tennis fans should be confidant that nothing like this…

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I lost a lot of faith in cycling.  I used to watch it.  All the big champions that were there, Marco Pantani, now Lance Armstrong.  Yeah, I don’t want to say all.  I really don’t know.  There has been so much controversy about that sport.

I’m sure that there are many cyclists in the world who are training very hard and trying to not use any enhancing drugs for their competition.

But I think it’s not acceptable that they have physically so much races in short period of the time.  I think basically every single day, day and a half, they have to go through 200 miles.  Uphill, downhill in Giro D’Italia, Tour de France, that’s inhuman effort.  As you can see, Lance Armstrong, many other big champions, had to use something to succeed.

 

Q.  Do you think tennis fans should have faith that that won’t happen the same way?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  The results are showing that.  In last few years there maybe has been one or two cases, but those players were more or less outside of the hundred.  We are keeping this sport clean.  We are working towards it.  There is awareness with the players and with the officials.  As long as is like that, we are in a good road.

 

Q.  Would you be in favor of like a biological passport program that they’re instituting in cycling for tennis?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I mean, you know, we can discuss about the options for a while.  But generally I believe that the present regulations about anti doping tests in tennis are good, in my views.  I don’t think there should be any major changes because, as you know, it’s official.  We have to write where we are every day of our lives so they have an opportunity to test us every day of 365 days in a year.

I think that doesn’t give anybody a chance to do something that is unsportsmanlike.

 

 

 

Q.  The Lance Armstrong interview today, I was wondering what your thoughts are on drug testing in tennis?

NICOLAS ALMAGRO:  I’m not going to say nothing because I didn’t see nothing about that.  I want to see before to speak.

I don’t know what happened.

Q.  My question is what about the authorities in tennis are doing.

NICOLAS ALMAGRO:  You need to ask to someone better than me because I not going to say nothing.  Sorry.  It’s a very important things, and I not going to talk.

I thinks our sport is clear, is fair, and I won’t believe that is the only thing I can say.

Q.  I’m not sure if you saw today, but Lance Armstrong admitted to playing performance‑enhancing drugs.  I was wondering if you thought tennis had a vigorous enough policy on anti‑doping?

JANKO TIPSAREVIC:  You know what, you’re probably asking the wrong guy.  You know, actually came to Kenya to test me.  I wasn’t going to Kenya to hide from anti‑doping.  I was actually doing my pre‑season there.

One morning a person was waking me up.  I was so shocked and afraid somebody was like robbing us.  I wasn’t sure.

But I think it’s not cool what he did, cheating the sport and cheating so many people in the sport and so many people around him, believing that what he did actually did it on a clean and regular way.  So that’s really not cool what he did.

In regards of tennis, I think they test me often enough, blood and urine.  So, sure, if they want to increase it, why not?  But we have a tough enough time with this WADA process of us telling them every single day of our life where we need to be.

So I don’t really see how can it be more strict than that.

 

Q.  On a non‑tennis note, did you watch any of Oprah’s interview with Lance Armstrong?

VENUS WILLIAMS:  No, I didn’t.

Q.  Is it something that players are talking about, his confession to doping?

VENUS WILLIAMS:  I think everyone is pretty much focused on the tennis.  Maybe other players are talking about it.  I have no idea.

Q.  Do you have any reaction?

VENUS WILLIAMS:  I can’t talk about anything I don’t know anything about, so I’m just going to keep my mouth shut.  I’m not an expert on that stuff.  That’s all I can say.

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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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Sony Ericsson Open Players Party – Welcome to the Oscars


View the slideshow

by Craig Hickman

Tuesday night, the players chose their fashion-forward best for the “Oscars” of the player party circuit. Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova, and Ana Kournikova were the biggest stars of the tennis world in attendance, as well as world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, Fernando Verdasco, and pretty boy Feliciano Lopez, who made one of the photographers weak-kneed.

Robin Soderling
, along with his girlfriend, were among the first to show up and they were already walking out when we arrived. Tomas Berdych and Lucie Safarova were the last to arrive on the red (blue) carpet. An adorable couple close up, their chemistry was palpable. Tomas has always had the look of an angel and Lucie’s baby-doll face was all aglow. I was thrilled to see Anastasia Myskina who arrived with the self-proclaimed “Russian Mob,” led by Svetlana Kuznetsova in another one of her head-scratching get ups.

Mixed in with the players were a few actors, a couple professional gamers, some well-known local DJ’s, and a few mystery men.

Venus Williams arrived about midway through and when Serena Williams wasn’t far behind, it was clear the superstar wasn’t coming. Also noticeably absent was Andy Roddick, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, and Kim Clijsters.

Tweeting the photos was a stroke of genius suggested by photographer  JD Blom. I was all set to tweet my best descriptions of the outfits when he looked over my shoulder and said, “Just snap a photo.” Ah, technology. I’m not a wizard with the latest toys, so I had no clue you could do such a thing. Once I got the hang of it, it was all over. Would love to do that again someday.

Right before the paparazzi packed up equipment to leave, one of the Getty photographers asked my to identify most of the players he’d just captured for he only recognized a few big names. Who knew?

More photos from the live tweets – here.

On the Red (Blue) Carpet of the Sony Ericsson Open Players Party

Craig Hickman is founder and editor of Craig Hickman’s Tennis Blog He is covering the Sony Ericsson Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow him on twitter @CraigHickman.  Find his Sony Ericsson Open tweets on @GVTennisNews.

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