May 27, 2017

Sharapova 2-0 with Win Over Halep, While Pennetta Notches First Win at WTA Finals

By Ros Satar

(October 27,2015) SINGAPORE- The aftermath of Monday night’s defeat at the WTA Finals in Singapore seemed to weigh heavy in the practice courts for Petra Kvitova, as certainly the first part of her training session revolved around some earnest and animated discussion on the side of her coach David Kotyza before they finally got to hitting (the ball, not each other).


Meanwhile Flavia Pennetta looked relaxed in her warm up and despite getting broken in her first game as she took to the court in the day session against Agnieszka Radwanska, she looked to be playing far more aggressively than she had against Simona Halep.


As you might come to expect from this pair, the use of angles, the entire court and lines was on full display as the pair matched each other, a break here, a recovery there before Pennetta edged the tiebreak 7-6(5).


There was a brief pause as the Italian had to get her ankle strapped after tweaking it in the first set, but she continued to look just that little bit sharper than Radwanska whose customary magic skills seemed to falter against the Italian, as she was edged out 7-6(5), 6-4.


Pennetta can appreciate what it must be like for Maria Sharapova to have come back after such a lengthy time off the tour, and to feel she may now have some momentum.


The Italian said: “The win she had against Radwanska the first match the first day was impressive. She play good. Of course she is healthy. She has this adrenaline because she was out for three or four months, something like that. When you come in the court after so long you are with a lot of energy. It’s going to be tough for sure. “


With her 500th tour win in the balance, and of course her chances of making the semifinals of the tournament, it was going to be a very nail-biting evening for Radwanska as her place in the tournament now depends on the outcome of the match between Simona Halep and Maria Sharapova. She would need Halep to lose to keep her hopes alive.


Coming out looking fierce, Halep responded to getting broken straight away by whipping straight back but a sloppy could games where she failed to her chances to go up another break cost her dear as some pleasing variety from Sharapova saw her break on a third set point for the first set.


The second set started in the same way with Sharapova making the first strike, but this time Halep was all at sea as Sharapova broke her again to leap out to a 5-1 lead. Those couple of months out might have accounted for a little serving-out rust as Halep ground back two breaks but just could not consolidate to stay in with a fighting chance, with Sharapova winning 6-4, 6-4.


Halep acknowledged that Sharapova’s level rises when they play, saying: “She played really well today, even if she didn’t play for a long time, since Wimbledon. Yeah she knows how to play. She’s a champion. She has experience. I can say I feel she’s playing really well against me always, but that’s tennis. I have to accept and to do things better.”


Sharapova expects another grueling and physical encounter in the final round robin match, and if Pennetta and Halep both win their matches in straight sets, Sharapova will be eliminated.


She said: “I’ve always been a player that goes into a match and I don’t seek perfection because I don’t know if that’s possible. At least I’ve never proven to myself that’s possible. You’re always going to make mistakes and errors.


Sometimes, and most of the time, I feel happier when I get through a match and I didn’t play my best tennis but found a way to win. That gives me a lot more confidence.”


The second round robin stage for the white group kicks off with the all-Czech encounter between Kvitova and Lucie Safarova, with the night-match focus falling on arguably the other favourite for the title, Garbiñe Muguruza.

Ros Satar is in Singapore covering the WTA Finals as media for Tennis Panorama News. She is a British sports journalist covering tennis, and can also be found at Britwatch Sports.


Muguruza and Kerber Win Their Opening Matches at WTA Finals in Singapore

Angelique Kerber

Angelique Kerber


By Ros Satar


(October 26, 2015) SINGAPORE –  It was the turn of the White Group to get underway in Singapore, after a high quality end to the opening day, as the two busiest stars opened the evening’s proceedings.


Garbine Muguruza may have looked sluggish and like an easy target in their doubles on Sunday where she and partner Carla Suárez Navarro lost to Lucie Safarova and Bethanie Mattek-Sands, but her steely focus was back in full effect as she sought to push for a break before the first change of ends, finally coming good on her fourth break point.


She went hunting for a double break cushion in a lengthy see-sawing game but had to wait until the end of the set to get her reward, breaking the Czech for a second time to seal the first set 6-3.


Safarova kicked into gear at the start of the second set, breaking Muguruza to start, as she built up a 3-1 lead. The Spaniard edged back on equal terms as the pair upped the quality of their play, pushing each other towards a tie-break.


It was a more aggressive start by Muguruza, as she built up a head of steam, leaving Safarova on the back foot. Even a couple of mini-breaks was not quite enough to put her back in contention, as Muguruza closed out with two breaks of the Safarova serve to claim her first singles win at the WTA Finals, 6-3, 7-6(4).


Despite the loss, Safarova was able to take some positives away, and of course lives to come back another day.


She said: “It was a good match today. She was serving very well and pressuring me. Was going for her shots. I think the difference maybe a lot in self‑confidence. Even in those key moments she remained very strong.”


She continued: “So I feel like I’m slowly back in my game, but of course you need the wins. So I will keep positive and keep fighting in the next matches.”


For Muguruza it was a dream start on what has been an outstanding year.


She told media, after the match: “Obviously to go there and play and win for the first time, it’s great. So I feel now more calm, more in the tournament.


“I just went here and maybe … she hasn’t played for maybe couple of weeks. But I definitely played good today, so I think that helped a lot. (Smiling.)”


The remaining lefties came right along to do battle next. In practice, Petra Kvitova had looked happy and relaxed, but it was Angelique Kerber who made the quickest adjustment to the court, swiftly breaking to establish a lead that Kvitova never looked close to eradicating.


Things looked more hopeful for the 2011 champion as she ground away at Kerber to break away for a 3-1 lead, before the pair traded breaks back and forth on their way to a tie-break. Once ahead, Kerber hung on to grab the victory 6-2, 7-6(3).


For a match that promised so much, Kvitova could only acknowledge Kerber’s late burst of form at the tail end of the year.


She said: “I know that she’s a great player. She’s very good mover and fighter as well, so I know it’s going to be difficult. I think in the second set it was kind of the fight finally.


“I was trying what I can in the moment. I expect for sure difficult match. She play really good swing in Asia. I just knew it’s going to be good match. I didn’t really play the best in the first set, but I was trying to do something a little bit better in the second.”


It was a satisfied Kerber who took to the platform – but surprisingly may have also been gearing up for the long haul. She admitted: “I was a little bit nervous before I went on court, but I was actually trying to just play my game plan and it works.


“The second set was like a little bit close and was up and downs. Yeah, but I played the tiebreak at the end very good, so that was the key for the match at the end.”


Agnieszka Radwanska gets the singles program underway on Tuesday against Flavia Pennetta, with the evening match set for another epic encounter between top seed Simona Halep and Maria Sharapova.


Ros Satar is a British sports journalist covering tennis, and can also be found at Britwatch Sports.


WTA Finals – Sharapova Rallies While Halep Dominates in Opening Wins

By Ros Satar

(October 25, 2015) SINGAPORE –

Simona Halep [1] d Flavia Pennetta [7]

Halep fist pump-001

Any doubts over Halep’s fitness was dispelled pretty much in an instant (well, at least in the first 25 minutes) as the Romanian scampered around as well as she has ever done, to wrap up the first set over the last Slam title winner of the year in just 25 minutes without dropping a game.


Halep, who has struggled in the past with the variety and finesse that an on-form Pennetta has to offer, could seemingly do nothing wrong in the first set, as Pennetta struggled to find any way into the match.


The second set saw a lot more attacking play from the Italian as Halep maybe faltered ever so slightly, not quite finding the lines but having no trouble with the wide open space behind them.


But Pennetta admitted that she just was not on point to take her chances today as Halep set down a marker that her run to the finals last year was no fluke.


She admitted: “The second set was much better. I was trying to find something more, to be more aggressive, and I was more close and I have my chance. I didn’t make it.”


Of course the beauty of the round robin format is you live to fight another day. While Pennetta has been to the season ending finals before, winning with doubles partner Gisela Dulko in 2010, this was her first (and of course last) shot at the singles.


“I think I have to recover a little bit, to have more energy, to be more aggressive, and that’s going to be my goal for the next match for sure.”


For the Romanian – if she can keep up that level of aggression, she will be targeting her first win over Maria Sharapova.


She said: “I was well‑prepared and I knew how to play against her. I was expecting that she’s going to play the same like in US Open, and I knew how to adapt the game. So I was solid. I was smart‑aggressive, I can say. I didn’t use overpower. I just opened the court and I tried to finish the point.”


Halep started quickly last year, stunning Serena Williams in the round-robin stages before succumbing in the final on her debut. She admitted that last year she was just happy to be there, but if she plays throughout the early stages like she did today, she has to be a favourite to win at the end of next Sunday.



Maria Sharapova [3] d Agnieszka Radwanska [5] 4-6 6-3 6-4

Sharapova gets ready to serve

If Halep was speedy, we knew we were in for the long haul as Maria Sharapova and Agnieszka Radwanska embarked upon games that were almost half as long as the first set of Halep/Pennetta.


Sharapova looked to be a little rusty – something that she probably expected having not gotten through a full match since her semifinal defeat by Serena Williams this summer at Wimbledon. Fist-pumping battling, it was left to Radwanska to pull out the ninja tricks with some outstanding shot-making to keep herself in contention as they both had their chances to make a break, neither being able to convert.


After a quick start in the second set by Sharapova, they seemed to be back to their old dueling ways as Radwanska righted the ship to get back on the board at 1-3. But by now the bit was between the Russian’s teeth as she leveled the match to set up a decider, and more importantly to answer the question about how match-ready she was.


The first advantage in the decider went to Sharapova in a hold just shy of 14 minutes followed by a break to put Radwanska firmly on the back foot. By now looking spent, it was as much as she could do to stay in contention as Sharapova faltered once after breaking to serve out the match for the first time, before finally grinding out the win, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.


Radwanska had to admit this was the one that got away, after the match: “I think she is just kind of player that even that she didn’t play for couple months, she’s always ready to play matches and always in shape to play really good match.


“I think we always playing three hours match in Championships, so I’m not surprised.


“I think it was really good match. I didn’t really use my chances. Couple of off games that I just slip away a little bit.”


“Even when you lose you have chances to go for it. Of course no easy matches here, so I’ll be very happy to play the same tennis that I was playing today and we’ll see.”


For Sharapova, the relief of having completed her first match since July was palpable.


She explained: “I’ve had a lot of starts and stops, and I was just really thrilled that despite not playing these last few months and not playing my best tennis, I was facing an opponent that obviously deserved a spot in tournament and has had a really great last few months, and I just felt like I was able to take myself to another level physically, which I didn’t exactly expect that I would be able to.


“I know we have pretty long ones. I know a lot of you look forward to them. I do, too. I really do enjoy playing against her. I feel like those are some of the matches that I like to watch on TV, when different styles of games clash against each other. Becomes that bit of a cat and mouse game.”


Play will continue on Monday with both Garbiñe Muguruza taking on Lucie Safarova in the evening session, followed by Petra Kvitova and Angelique Kerber.


Ros Satar is covering this event for Tennis Panorama News. She is a British sports journalist covering tennis, and can also be found at Britwatch Sports.


All Access at the WTA Finals

The 2015 BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global returns to Singapore for the second consecutive year with the top women competing for $7 million in prize money from October 23 to November 1. This year's singles field poses with the Billie Jean King Trophy in front of the National Gallery Singapore. Left to Right: Flavia Pennetta (Italy), Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland), Maria Sharapova (Russia), Simona Halep (Romania), Garbiñe Muguruza (Spain), Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic), Angelique Kerber (Germany) and Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic). Credit: Getty Images.

The 2015 BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global returns to Singapore for the second consecutive year with the top women competing for $7 million in prize money from October 23 to November 1. This year’s singles field poses with the Billie Jean King Trophy in front of the National Gallery Singapore. Left to Right: Flavia Pennetta (Italy), Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland), Maria Sharapova (Russia), Simona Halep (Romania), Garbiñe Muguruza (Spain), Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic), Angelique Kerber (Germany) and Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic). Credit: Getty Images.

By Ros Satar


(October 24, 2015) SINGAPORE – With the draw out of the way, it was time for the stars of this year’s WTA Finals to meet the press, after a week of frenzied calculations of who may or may not make the cut.


With World No. 1 Serena Williams’ absence, the field is possibly one of the most open in recent times, with an all-European cast, with three debutantes (Garbiñe Muguruza, Flavia Pennetta and Lucie Safarova), and a frenetic sprint to the finish for the last spots.

Kvitova bh-001

First up on the scene was Petra Kvitova, who clinched the title on her debut in 2011. It has been an up and down year for the Czech, who still has the Fed Cup final to go before she can call time on her season.


Kvitova took the brave move to take a couple of months off the spring hard-court swing, citing exhaustion and later it emerged she had been struggling with mononucleosis so to qualify for the WTA Finals was an achievement worth smiling about.


She said: “To qualify again after what was a tough year for me, I’m really satisfied that I made it again. In the beginning of the year if somebody told me that I’m going to qualify, I’m not really going to believe them. I hope that next year will be a bit boring.”


The fourth seed heads up a trio of lefties that have all wound up in the White Group, and felt that despite the lack of the World No. 1, the field was ready to put on a good show.


“I know that we are missing Serena. I think she needed the time off so it’s good for her. Of course she is a great champion and probably for many people she is one of the greatest player. So they are probably a little bit sad she isn’t here.


“But I think it’s still a great draw and a great two groups. I think you’re going to see great tennis from everyone here.”


Simona Halep

Simona Halep

Top seed Simona Halep is thankfully out of the leftie group, but has the challenge of Maria Sharapova in hers and feels ready to tackle the 2004 champion and get her first win over her.


Halep said: “I never beat her, but maybe I will have the chance here. I just want to play match by match, everyone is playing tough here. We are the best eight players in the world so every match is like a final. I have nothing to lose. I have no expectations.”


Halep stunned Williams last year in the Round Robin stages before meeting her again in the final, on her debut last year. With three players making their debut this year, she felt like the field could be wide open this year.


She continued: “A few players are coming very strong. Muguruza – she’s coming very strong. She’s strong, she’s a strong player. She can win many matches, many important tournaments, Radwanska, is coming back again. She’s playing well, Pennetta won US Open, for the first time.


“So of course she will give everything she has because she said she’s going to retire so she has nothing to lose anymore. It’s my second year playing the WTA Finals so I have nothing to lose too because last year I had great result. So I think everyone can win the title.”


Agniezska Radwanska

Fifth seed Agnieszka Radwanska is another player who has had a tough year, but in a spurt towards the end of the year picked up pace to qualify fifth for the WTA Finals.


“Of course, beginning of the year was tough. To be honest, I didn’t really change much. I was practicing the same. It’s just during the matches, something didn’t work. I couldn’t really play my best game during the matches.


“[The] grass court season I think gave me much more confidence on court. That was kind of a click out there. I was playing much better, feeling much better on court than beginning of the year. It was still not too late to be here, to make much more points in the second part of the season.”



The wait was possibly more nail-biting for Angelique Kerber, who was relying on the results of others to make the cut.


“You know, of course it’s better if you have it in your hands. But at the end, I was waiting and watching a little bit on the live score how the other is playing.


“At the end I did everything I could this year to be here. Of course, I’m proud that I qualified at the end. It was I think the most toughest and closest to qualify at the end.”


For Muguruza – it is her singles debut, having made the doubles event here last year, and she will be contesting both this year. Since winning her highest profile tournament to date in Beijing, she has been in Singapore preparing for this tournament, and the challenges of playing both the singles and doubles.


“I think is very tough to play singles and doubles, especially when you are really in high rankings because every match you play, you really need to be 100%. Obviously playing singles and doubles makes you more tired. You have to spend more hours in the side practicing, talking and thinking. But I enjoy playing doubles with Carla (Suarez Navarro). We said two years ago, Carla, let’s play doubles and see what happens.


“We are playing Masters again, it’s amazing. I think it helps me a lot, doubles, as a better player, to learn things. So far I’m enjoying singles and doubles, but it’s hard, really hard.”


Flavia Pennetta

Flavia Pennetta

After Flavia Pennetta triumphed in New York, winning her maiden slam and then announcing this would be her last year in tennis, she acknowledged that once she had a chance to make the cut, she would fight for it.


But she was very clear – this is her final tournament as a player, and while she emphatically shut down the thought of becoming a coach to at least a senior player, the thought of perhaps shaping how stars of the future are made appealed.


She said: “That thing is going to be something that I like to do, more to just explain them how it is the life. I mean, now I feel there is a lot of pressure [on] the young children to become champions. I think there is a right time for everything.


“They need to be a child. They need to have fun. They don’t have to be professional at 10 years old. I mean, they have so much time in the life. Why to rush too much? Now I think they are really push from the sponsor, from the family, from everyone. Before was more relaxing everything. Now they want it too much, so early.”


Lucie Safarova

Lucie Safarova

In fact Pennetta is not the only player who has found success a little later in her career, with Lucie Safarova joining the cast of players this year, following her run to the final of the French Open.


“I’ve been improving through last couple years already. I’ve been climbing the rankings. It hasn’t been as fast as some other players jump there. But the more I really enjoy it, I’m thankful for it.”


She will be partnering Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the doubles.


Pride of place in terms of the day’s procession of players was 2004 champion Maria Sharapova. One of only two players here who won on their debut, it has been an up and down year for the Russian, who battled with injury throughout the US hard court season and only took to the court after Wimbledon for the first time in Wuhan, where she had to retire in her opening match.


Sharapova might avoid the ‘group of lefties’ but with little match play and even with no nemesis Williams in the mix, and the prospect of the Fed Cup final ahead, there are plenty of challenges enough this week in Singapore.


She said: “Considering I haven’t played much, it doesn’t change much for me. I think, as I said before, it’s not so much who I’m playing against or what my record is than it is about me being out there and staying healthy and working my way through the matches.


“I feel there’s definitely been a big mix of a few players that have done extremely well at certain times of the year and not so in other parts of the year. Besides Serena, the consistency has been lacking, that’s for sure.


“Of course, there are definitely names that have been around, a younger generation that we always believed would come through, is proving to show that. There are also players that have had great potential around my age that have come through and done extremely well, and even older. There’s been a mix of everything this year.”


Sharapova will be part of the opening day’s line-up, playing on the opening night against Radwanska. Earlier in the day the WTA Rising Stars final will take place, and will be followed by Halep v Pennetta.


Monday’s schedule will see Muguruza kick off the White Group matches against Safarova while Kvitova and Kerber take the night match honours.


Play on Sunday begins at 11am with Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Safarova v Muguruza/Suárez Navarro.


Ros Satar is covering the WTA finals for Tennis Panorama News. She is a British sports journalist covering tennis, and can also be found at Britwatch Sports.


Top Two Seeds Halep and Kvitova Out of China Open

Halep 2182015-001

(October 4, 2015) Top seed Simona Halep of Romania retired from her match with a left Achilles injury while No. 2 seed Petra Kvitova lost to Sara Errani at the China Open on Sunday in Beijing.

No. 2 Halep retired against Spain’s Lara Arruabarrena at 4-5 in the first set. There were three other retirements in women’s matches on the day.

“I have pain in my Achilles,” the Romanian said. “It’s getting worse. I thought that it’s getting better and I can play. But no. I don’t want to force (it).

“It’s a tough injury because always is dangerous to continue with the tendon. So, yeah, I hope just to recover and to be healthy soon.” She had the same injury in 2011.

“My first thought is just to be healthy,” Halep said when asked about competing at the WTA Finals in Singapore. “Of course, every tournament is important. But the most important thing is to be okay, to feel no pain, and then I will see.

“I hope I can play in Singapore. Was my goal for this year. I will see. I need treatment and I need break, for sure.”

“I think all the players in the end of the year are a little bit tired. It’s tough to manage these situations,” she said.

“If you want to be in the top, you have to work hard and to be getting better year by year, you know, as soon as you can.”

No. 4 seed Agnieszka Radwanska moved on when Coco Vandeweghe retired after the first set.

“Well, I knew she retired last week,” Radwanska said. “But, you know, every week it’s different story, different tournament.

“I was prepared for whole match. We played couple times before that. So I knew what to do on court.

“But maybe still going on something with her health. I think we have to ask her.”

“I think this is the end of the year. Not everybody is fresh at the moment,” the Pole responding to a questions about the day’s retirements. “I think really that’s the main reason.

“Well, I think that’s what happen in Asia pretty much.”

Sara Errani of Italy had the upset of the day knocking out second-seeded Petra Kvitova 7-5, 6-4.

“I never beat her, so I know was a really tough match,” Errani. “Of course, she’s a really good player.”

and Sloane Stephens of the United States defeated ninth-seeded Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-2.

Errani said that the difference in the match was just a few points. “I just tried to stay there every point, solid, without too many mistakes. It’s my game.

“She hit the ball really strong, so I just tried to make her play one shot more.”

Kvitova who was a finalist at the China Open last year felt that she was not ready.

“Of course the loss is always disappointing,” Kvitova said. “I really wanted to win and kind of qualify for Singapore here. But I just wasn’t really able to.

“You know, it was kind of game which I really had to be ready physically and mentally and everything, and I just wasn’t.

“I just think it was kind of the case, I couldn’t really serve in the second set as well. I didn’t really help with anything. She (was) going for the chance. It was kind of difficult.”

“I’m kind of sleepy all day long. It’s just weird,” Kvitova said.

Singles – First Round

[Q] L. Arruabarrena (ESP) d [1] S. Halep (ROU) 54 Retired (Left ankle injury)
S. Errani (ITA) d [2] P. Kvitova (CZE) 75 64
[3] F. Pennetta (ITA) d [WC] X. Han (CHN) 75 46 64
[4] A. Radwanska (POL) d C. Vandeweghe (USA) 63 00 Retired (Left ankle injury)
[7] C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) d L. Tsurenko (UKR) 63 00 Retired (Right elbow injury)
[8] C. Wozniacki (DEN) d [Q] B. Jovanovski (SRB) 62 64
S. Stephens (USA) d [9] K. Pliskova (CZE) 63 62
[16] E. Svitolina (UKR) d [Q] Y. Putintseva (KAZ) 75 62
[Q] B. Mattek-Sands (USA) d A. Cornet (FRA) 63 63
A. Van Uytvanck (BEL) d A. Schmiedlova (SVK) 62 64
[Q] I. Falconi (USA) d D. Gavrilova (RUS) 75 26 64
M. Barthel (GER) d [WC] S. Zhang (CHN) 63 62
[Q] K. Bondarenko (UKR) d B. Strycova (CZE) 63 62
D. Cibulkova (SVK) d J. Jankovic (SRB) 61 16 63
A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) d J. Goerges (GER) 62 64
[Q] M. Puig (PUR) d Z. Diyas (KAZ) 64 00 Retired (Left lower leg injury)
[Q] M. Duque-Mariño (COL) d T. Pironkova (BUL) 63 63
C. Garcia (FRA) d [WC] S. Zheng (CHN) 62 62

Doubles – First Round

J. Goerges (GER) / K. Pliskova (CZE) d [7] R. Kops-Jones (USA) / A. Spears (USA) 76(5) 36 10-6
[WC] C. Liang (CHN) / Y. Wang (CHN) d B. Bencic (SUI) / B. Strycova (CZE) 46 61 11-9
L. Kichenok (UKR) / N. Kichenok (UKR) d [WC] S. Kuznetsova (RUS) / S. Stosur (AUS) 64 26 10-8
G. Dabrowski (CAN) / A. Rosolska (POL) d A. Medina Garrigues (ESP) / A. Parra Santonja (ESP) 63 46 10-8

ATP – [8] J. Tsonga (FRA) vs A. Haider-Maurer (AUT)

Not Before 2:30 pm
WTA – [13] A. Petkovic (GER) vs E. Bouchard (CAN)
WTA – [11] B. Bencic (SUI) vs M. Brengle (USA)

Not Before 7:30 pm
ATP – V. Troicki (SRB) vs [5] M. Raonic (CAN)

Not Before 9:00 pm
WTA – S. Kuznetsova (RUS) vs S. Stephens (USA)

LOTUS COURT start 12:30 pm
WTA – A. Van Uytvanck (BEL) vs [15] R. Vinci (ITA)

Not Before 2:30 pm
ATP – [7] D. Goffin (BEL) vs A. Seppi (ITA)
ATP – [Q] D. Istomin (UZB) vs [WC] Ze. Zhang (CHN)

Not Before 6:30 pm
WTA – [4] A. Radwanska (POL) vs M. Barthel (GER)

MOON COURT start 12:30 pm
WTA – S. Stosur (AUS) vs M. Niculescu (ROU)
WTA – [Q] K. Bondarenko (UKR) vs [14] M. Keys (USA)
WTA – [7] C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) vs [Q] M. Puig (PUR)
WTA – [16] E. Svitolina (UKR) vs A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS)

COURT 3 start 12:30 pm
WTA – M. Lucic-Baroni (CRO) vs I. Begu (ROU)
ATP – F. Fognini (ITA) vs M. Klizan (SVK)
ATP – [Q] A. Bedene (GBR) vs L. Rosol (CZE)
ATP – I. Karlovic (CRO) / L. Kubot (POL) vs D. Inglot (GBR) / R. Lindstedt (SWE)

COURT 4 start 12:30 pm
ATP – [1] J. Rojer (NED) / H. Tecau (ROU) vs E. Butorac (USA) / S. Lipsky (USA)
WTA – Y. Xu (CHN) / S. Zheng (CHN) vs L. Arruabarrena (ESP) / A. Klepac (SLO)
WTA – After suitable rest – [8] A. Hlavackova (CZE) / L. Hradecka (CZE) vs I. Begu (ROU) / M. Niculescu (ROU)
WTA – After suitable rest – K. Jans-Ignacik (POL) / A. Rodionova (AUS) vs G. Muguruza (ESP) / C. Suárez Navarro (ESP)
ATP – [Q] J. Knowle (AUT) / O. Marach (AUT) vs [2] M. Matkowski (POL) / N. Zimonjic (SRB)

COURT 8 start 12:30 pm
WTA – C. Chuang (TPE) / S. Hsieh (TPE) vs [5] C. Garcia (FRA) / K. Srebotnik (SLO)
WTA – G. Dabrowski (CAN) / A. Rosolska (POL) vs [2] B. Mattek-Sands (USA) / E. Vesnina (RUS)
WTA – [6] H. Chan (TPE) / Y. Chan (TPE) vs [WC] A. Cornet (FRA) / M. Linette (POL)
ATP – J. Sock (USA) vs T. Gabashvili (RUS)




In Their Own Words – Federer, Wawrinka, Anderson, Halep, Azarenka, Pennetta and Kvitova

228 Federer hands up celebration-001



Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Roger Federer

Press Conference

R. FEDERER/R. Gasquet

6-3, 6-3, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. At 34, how do you explain continuing to peak? How are you able to maintain such a high level?
ROGER FEDERER: Ah, I don’t know. I mean, since a few years now or many years I have tried to look at the big picture to hopefully still be playing at a high level at this age. So in some ways I am not surprised I am playing as well as I am.

I think I have worked on my game moving forward, have been able to take the ball earlier, and, you know, I think I’m volleying better than I have the last 10 years. I think I was volleying well coming up on the tour when I was younger because I was spending more time at net.

I think that gave me confidence to keep working on that, moving forward. Now because my serving is working quite well, you put those two things together, and standing in on the return as well, I think has changed the dynamics a little bit. It’s all about keeping yourself in shape and staying injury-free. And motivated, I guess.

Q. You have Stan next. You know him well. What do you think it is about his game or his mentality that lets him play so well at times against the top guys? Like against you and Novak at the French.
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I think a lot comes through practice for Stan, because he’s worked very hard throughout his career. It took him a while to figure out exactly what his possibilities were. I don’t think he was a guy who always, you know, had enough confidence.

I always thought he was a better player than he actually was, but somehow something was holding him back maybe. I think only once when he really started to break through and he had some big wins — I recall a big win for him when he beat Hewitt in the fifth deciding match in Davis Cup in Sydney. Beat him on the grass two sets to one down. Came back and won it. Played unbelievable tennis at the end.

Then I think in practice he started working to hit the ball harder consistently, and today he can consistently bring the power on forehand, backhand, and serve almost anybody when he gets hot.

I’m happy he found that level of play. Two slams, got Davis Cup, Olympic gold. Has a complete career. Won a Masters 1000. Has everything he ever wanted. He has had a wonderful career.

Looking forward to playing him, because he definitely is a big test and a big challenge for me. He beat me in straight at the French, so I hope I can do better this time.

Q. During the tournament, how much time do you spend taking care of your body? How much of that maintenance is, shall we say, age-related?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I guess I’m more professional these days; whereas when I was coming up on tour I would bounce up and down for two minutes and then just walk out to the practice and do almost the same for the match.

These days I take more time, put in more of the core exercises, do more stretching. Sometimes I just can’t wait to get off the table again honestly. It’s nice not to be on there all the time.

Yeah, for me, also sleeping has become quite important. I make sure I sleep enough, as well. Like when I went to bed after the Isner match it got quite late and I couldn’t sleep quite as much as I wanted to.

Because I believe it’s really the sleep that gives you energy again down the road. That’s why the next two days are very important for me in terms of sleeping.

Q. How much is your target?
ROGER FEDERER: In terms of sleeping? Hopefully nine to ten.

Q. The other night you were asked about the Williams sisters and you said you were happy to not have a sibling in tennis. Just curious if Stan is as close to that tennis brother as you feel, and the relationship that you have guys have on court, is there any difference in approaching Stan, say, from any other opponent for you mentally or emotionally?
ROGER FEDERER: Honestly, emotionally it’s not so hard for me. I have always found it quite not easy, but it’s just another match. I’m able to see it that way somehow with him. But then of course subconsciously you know he knows what your preferences are, where you like to go, where you’re probably going to go.

Probably he feels the same way. That’s the weird part. I feel we meet each other somewhere in our minds before the point is being played out.

So that’s odd sometimes, but otherwise it’s pretty straightforward for me. I enjoy the matches, because always that means one of us moves on. For Swiss it’s huge that we have two guys in the semis of the US Open, a huge tournament, biggest arena in the world. It’s what it’s all about.

I think we are both very much pumped up that’s the case. Only better scenario would have been in the finals, but this is already very, very good. We are very proud of that.

Q. I know when you were younger you probably had more anger and these days seems like you have a wave of joy out there. How important is mood to you in terms of winning goes?
ROGER FEDERER: Mood in terms of?

Q. How important is your mood to how well you actually think you play.
ROGER FEDERER: Oh, well, I mean, I’m not the kind of guy who wakes up angry. (Laughter.) Even if I am, I don’t think it will have much of an impact of how I play.

I feel like I see the matches as an isolation. I don’t know if it’s when I arrive at the tennis, when I go warm up, whatever it is, but that’s a different world for me. You know, when I leave the grounds I feel like not I’m a different person, but like that’s my other life I have.

So I have two lives, and all the problems I might have, I feel like I drop them once I step on to the match court or when I enter the grounds. I don’t know if it makes sense, but that’s the why the mood doesn’t really matter that much to me.

Q. What does the US Open Championship trophy mean to you both in terms of the ones you have already won and the one that you’re two steps away from today?
ROGER FEDERER: I like the trophy, and I’m happy when you win it you get the same-sized one. I wish it also had engravements of all the previous winners, but I will speak at the tournament that one day I will get them all done, you know. Because I think — I love tennis history and I like to see who has won in the past, you know, here on the trophy so it feels like it’s an original one, not just a duplicate.

Yeah, it’s a good size. It’s different to the golden ones. It’s a silver one. Yeah, I like it. I would like to have another one. (Laughter.)

Q. What is the belief that you have now? How does that contribute to seeing that trophy, being so close? You’re two steps away.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, two steps, but they are not like from here to there. (Indicating few feet.) They are like… you know what I mean. Hours of work and sleeps and waits and nerves and all that. It’s still a long way.

I feel like I’m close, of course. You enter now a territory which is very interesting, and definitely Stan is going to present the big test for me. Don’t look further than that, to be quite honest.

Q. Given how well you’ve played thus far in the tournament, will it take an extraordinary performance by an opponent to beat you right now?
ROGER FEDERER: I hope so. I really do. I believe Stan can bring it, you know. That’s my No. 1 focus, that I make it as hard as possible for him to beat me. Personally I’m very happy with the where my game is at. It’s just a matter of keeping it up and adjusting to Stan now.

Q. You’re one of the few players who won this tournament when it was played on both green courts and blue courts. Wondering if you have a preference.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I have already — I hardly remember when we played on the green courts. I prefer watching it on the blue courts. Playing was nice, I guess, either one of them. But I like the blue courts. They are better on the eye, I think.

Q. Have you noticed how many courts in the world are blue now?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, many of them.

I think it’s important that you see the ball properly on the TV, otherwise why watch two players running and not seeing the ball? (Laughter.)

I mean, if you like that, sure, let’s keep it yellow courts, but…

Thankfully we have HDTV now too, so that helps.

Q. At any time when you were making these adjustments in the racquet and being more aggressive, was there any point where you thought, I don’t know if it’s going to work? Were you unsure or were you confident that I’m going to make these adjustments and eventually it’s going to pay off?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I mean, I was sensing that it was going to work, because I did feel in practice that I was hitting my backhand better, not shanking as much anymore.

What I wanted to — if I changed, I wanted to feel that I had more easier power on the serve. If I was not going to feel that I was not going to change. In these two main factors.

The only problem for me was that in the beginning I didn’t feel like my slice was as good and the forehand took a while. You know, when you go full swing, are you going to spray it a bit more? Naturally, yes, because it’s in your racquet, so that not scared me, but I was like respecting that fact.

But when I felt like my backhand was better my serve was better, I just said if the more hours and more months I can put on the racquet, the better I will start to feel. Hopefully down the stretch I will really be able to play good tennis again and who knows maybe even better.

So it was interesting, you know, because I did switch, go back and then switch again. I think that was the right thing to do, because first I had to figure out my back problems over trying to figure out my racquet and my racquet issues.

Q. They were talking about just how high your level was, saying maybe even the best ever. I won’t ask you to grade that. Are you amazed at all at yourself that you’re doing that at this level at this age?
ROGER FEDERER: A little bit. I mean, a little bit to the extent where it’s nice to play this way. And maybe at my age to run through, you know, five opponents the way I have done here at the US Open, I don’t consider that normal, to be quite honest, even though I expect it in some ways for myself to come out and play well.

I’ve played so well over the last one-and-a-half years. I don’t feel like I’m as old as I am. I still feel young. So it’s nice to get rewarded with the hard work and, you know, that actually I’m able to play sort of fun tennis, I maybe call it for myself. Aggressive, pick it up, you know, like half volley it, move in, serve and volley, cut the points short, and if I want to, if I want to, extend the rallies.

But it feels like on my terms. Then if you win this way, it’s a great feeling.

Q. We’re obviously getting towards the end of the tournament, but I did want to ask you about the very unfortunate incident that occurred with James Blake today and whether you had heard that or whether you had any thoughts about that.
ROGER FEDERER: I read a piece, but it’s hard for me to comment on it, to be quite honest. You know, you hope these things don’t happen. Like I think James said it the right way. I have nothing else to really add to that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports



Wawrinka in press


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Stan Wawrinka

Press Conference

S. WAWRINKA/K. Anderson

6-4, 6-4, 6-0

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Great performance. You were able to step it up at the right moment?
STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, for sure the best match of the tournament for me. I was really happy the way I play. I was focused on doing what I wanted on the match. I was trying to be really aggressive on the return and make him play a mix or some slice, some aggressive play from the baseline.

Q. Seemed like the crowd loved you there. Was it a good switch to go to Armstrong?
STAN WAWRINKA: We wanted to play on Ashe, but I think it was the better thing to do if we wanted to play all matches today. It was tough with the rain this afternoon. Was some long match with the womans.

At the end of the day, for me I don’t really mind, you know, where I’m playing. I’m trying to be focused on the match, and I was ready for both.

Q. When you think about the US Open trophy, what is the importance to your success in this tournament of the belief that you could be holding that trophy at the end of the tournament?
STAN WAWRINKA: Don’t really think about the trophy yet. I’m too far again. When I arrive here I’m trying to focus beginning of the tournament, first match. I know it’s boring, but that’s the only way. You can see how I was playing at the beginning. I wasn’t playing the best, but I was trying to get through the first week.

And now I play my best tennis so far in quarterfinal. Beating Anderson was great match for me. I’m in semifinal. I know it’s only two match left but it’s some big challenge ahead of me. I’m far away from thinking about the trophy. I think you can think about the trophy, for myself, when you are in the final. Not before.

Q. But you have won majors before. What about the belief? How did that change the belief that at the end of a major you could be the one holding that trophy?
STAN WAWRINKA: I just know that I can do it, for sure. I did twice. That’s it.

I know I can finish by winning the tournament, but I’m really far from that yet. So far I’m going to enjoy first tonight and the quarterfinal, because was a great performance for me. I’m really happy the way I was playing, the way I dealt with the way I improve and start to perform tonight.

Then tomorrow I will start to be ready for the semifinal against Roger.

Q. You know him a little bit.
STAN WAWRINKA: A little bit only.

Q. All three of your wins against Roger have come on clay, including the French, but you played him really tough in the ATP finals, winning a set there. Do you think you’re getting closer to him on hard courts?
STAN WAWRINKA: I think the past three years, for sure, I get closer from him. My level improved a lot. I’m playing better tennis. So I was always really close from him, if we look Wimbledon last year.

I will for sure need to play my best tennis. He’s playing really well so far. He loves to play. He know how to play. He had some amazing match. It’s going to be a big challenge. I think I’m ready.

Q. Before the start of the tournament you said Roger would be the only one who could play that SABR shot, and tonight you did it.
STAN WAWRINKA: I have to see how close I was from the line, but I’m still not at his level, for sure.

But, you know, I think — I’m not trying to do what he’s doing. Just the reason why I improve so much the past few years it’s also because I’m looking a lot what the top guys doing, Novak, Roger, Rafa.

I always try to see why they are so good. I’m not trying to do what they are doing. I’m just trying to see how they improve, how they can play so well, how can they play so fast, how they can do the passing shot and everything.

For sure we all see what Roger is doing right now. It’s quite impressive. He’s doing it against everybody.

I saw him play also against Anderson in Cincinnati, and I was surprised how close he was returning. But it’s actually a good way against Anderson to be closer than behind, because you completely cut the time from him.

I was trying to be really close from the line to don’t give him so much time.

Q. How different is your mindset now going into matches with Roger than it was, say, four, five years ago?
STAN WAWRINKA: I think now we both nervous when we enter the court. Before it was only me. I was nervous because I knew I wasn’t at his level, for sure.

And now I think we can see that he was also nervous every time we play each other the past few years. That’s a big difference, because that show how much he knows that I can play at his level, how much he knows that I can try to play my game and not just try to react about what he’s doing.

Q. There was a small controversy about your personal life before the French Open and you went on and won the tournament. Obviously coming into here you had some weeks of controversy again away from the court. I’m wondering how you have been able to manage those distractions and manage to play really good tennis?
STAN WAWRINKA: Great question. Just trying to focus on my tennis. When I’m on the court, there is nothing else to think. Just trying to play my best tennis.

Q. How are you able to do that?
STAN WAWRINKA: That’s my job.

Q. You mentioned on the court, you know, that Roger has invented this new shot. Do you feel like Roger has kind of reinvented himself this summer, that he’s captured something that’s helping him play like he used to?
STAN WAWRINKA: I think he’s trying some new things, for sure. He’s feeling really good at the moment.

I think probably what he did between Wimbledon and Cincinnati with his fitness trainer was something really good for him. You can feel he’s fresh and enjoy. He always enjoy. We love to watch him since more than ten years. More than that. He always do shot that no one can do. That’s why he’s the greatest.

Q. What do you admire most about him as a player? What has helped you beat him?
STAN WAWRINKA: As a player, I think it’s the way he’s playing. It’s just nice to see how he’s moving. You think he’s flying on the court.

Honestly, I watch him a lot in Cincinnati. Even here. He’s moving better than ever. Everything he’s doing, it seems so easy when we watch him. But as a tennis player, when you play against him, you know how difficult it is.

Q. How have you beaten him?
STAN WAWRINKA: By trying to play my game, to play really aggressive. Don’t give him so much time. Trying to push him, push him back. It’s going to be tough because I know he’s serving really well since the beginning of the tournament. I’m not going to have so many opportunities. He’s playing really aggressive.

That’s the way he’s going to try to play against me. That’s for sure. But I will have to play really, really fast, to be the aggressive player, if I want to have a chance to beat him.

Q. Friday’s match will be a different circumstance, but obviously Roger, wherever he plays, is a fan favorite, and he will have many, many people hoping he reaches the final. Contrast that to the experience of Paris where, you know, there was this assumption of a great moment for Novak and you were able to rise to the occasion of that remarkable moment. How are you thinking? Do you kind of like no expectation, or do you rise to it?
STAN WAWRINKA: No, I like to play when there is a big crowd. Doesn’t matter if they cheer for me or for the opponent. I’m used. We’re all used to, when we go on court with Roger, he’s the crowd favorite. That’s for sure.

Doesn’t matter. It’s normal. Everybody loves Roger. He’s the best player ever. He’s on court and off court a really good guy.

I just love when there is a lot of people watching us. Doesn’t matter if they are going to support him or support me. I think it’s always good to have a good atmosphere on the court.

Q. Roger said on the court that when you beat him in Roland Garros he was happy for you. He said it was not the first time feeling that. It would be the same for you?
STAN WAWRINKA: Beat me? Hopefully not. I’m always happy for him. You know, I’m the first fan since many years. Always watch his big match. Always happy with him, with all the titles he got.

So tomorrow it’s always the same. We are good friend. Really close friend. We always laugh together. Friday we’re gonna laugh together in the locker because we have locker next to each other before the match.

We are going to go into the match trying to win. Doesn’t matter how, but try to win. Then after the match it’s back to normal.

Q. I’m sure you’re tired of answering questions about Roger, but when you see him playing as well as he is at 34, does it make you think differently as a pro about the length of your career, what is possible in terms of if you pay the right attention to conditioning and fitness and you have luck with injuries and so on that you can play competitively later on through your career?
STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, for sure. He show that it’s possible. I’m lucky to have the same fitness trainer as him, so I’m doing right schedule. I’m doing some good work so far. And again, if I look at myself, I’m playing my best tennis. I start to play my best tennis at 29, so hopefully I can still play for few years.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Kevin Anderson

Press Conference

S. WAWRINKA/K. Anderson

6-4, 6-4, 6-0

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What are your sentiments after that one?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, it was really tough out there. Was maybe a little bit nervous just with the occasion and a lot of waiting around, switching courts. Obviously something that you deal with, but just getting out there and everything seemed to be going pretty quickly.

I thought conditions were, you know, quite quick and quite live, especially compared to my last match out there. One poor serve game in the first set and I wasn’t really making too many inroads on his serve.

I thought I sort of got it back a little bit in the start of the second set. Another poor serve game, and then things sort of went downhill a little bit.

I mean, after taking the — changing my clothes and having that bathroom break, I was just trying to compose myself and reset myself. I didn’t feel, you know, that out of sorts, but going back it sort of snowballed a little bit.

He started free flying, swinging, and I was trying to find my way a little bit. Obviously it was not a good one to be in.

Q. Did you struggle to come up after the defeat of Andy? Any letdown factor there?

Q. Physically?
KEVIN ANDERSON: No. I felt fine. Obviously it was a big moment for me, but I felt I did a good job of resetting myself and getting ready for this next match.

But just obviously wasn’t meant to be today. Stan didn’t make it easy. He was taking time, I felt, away from me. He was swinging out, and, you know, I was just a step slow. Wasn’t going to bode well. I needed to be on top of my game today.

Q. Did it feel like he was on some sort of a mission the way he was playing?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, I mean, I think he stuck to his guns and what he needed to do. He did that very well.

You know, I can’t talk especially for how he felt, but obviously he did what he needed to do today. As I said earlier, he’s a very experienced player, especially at this level. He knows what it takes.

You know, it’s a very tough lesson for me today and, you know, it’s difficult not to think about it, but obviously I have got to take what I can. This week has been a great week for me, the last two weeks. There is a lot of positives.

I always try to look at that to obviously keep motivated and keep improving.

Q. That is the point, though. I mean, you have made that breakthrough. You finally got into the quarterfinals and knocking on the top 10 door. So those are the big positives for you to keep going with confidence?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, that’s what I’ve got to look at. It’s not that easy to do right now obviously just because of, you know, just the way I felt out there. It just really wasn’t my day.

But, you know, it’s the thinking that I’ve just got to take those feelings that I have had, the way I have played throughout the last few weeks, especially in my round of 16 to beat Andy there, and used it as extra motivation to give myself another chance.

I definitely know I can do better than I did today.

Q. Did you start the season with the goal of breaking the quarterfinal mark in mind and was there any other goals that you had going into…
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, it was definitely on my mind. I had been in the round of 16 a few times and put myself in that position a few times even this year.

My goal is always to give myself opportunities. I was able to capitalize on one of them, big one, getting to the quarters in this event. That’s definitely something I can take with me.

So, yes, it was a goal. It was a goal to put myself in this position through the quarters and then obviously take it from there, one step at a time. I was able to achieve that. I want to put myself in this position again, because as I was saying, I think just today I didn’t feel like I gave myself the best shot of maybe going a little bit further.

Q. Talk about the sportsmanship award. What does that mean to you?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, it was great. I mean, I didn’t expect it. Nobody had mentioned anything. I’m very, you know, honored to receive that and to be acknowledged with that. I always try my best to, you know, behave the best I can out there.

You know, especially for the many people coming to watch and always been very appreciative of their efforts, especially, you know, the younger boys and girls who come here with high aspirations. I remember when I was in that position.

So to be recognized, I have always tried to do that throughout my whole career. It’s the first time I have actually officially been recognized this way, so I guess that’s a nice little ending for me.

Q. Stan’s attempt at the SABR tactic on return of your serve, what are your thoughts about it? What might we see, do you think, between Stan and Roger?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah. I mean, definitely didn’t start out like that, but, I mean, towards the end I think when you’re in that position obviously gives you a bit more freedom in terms of what he was doing.

You know, I think it will be an interesting matchup in terms of those sort of tactics, taking pretty aggressive second serve cuts. Definitely probably expect to see a few. Seems to be pretty consistent. So, you know, we will just have to wait and see.



Simona Halep

Simona Halep



Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Simona Halep

Press Conference

S. HALEP/V. Azarenka

6-3, 4-6, 6-4

An interview with:


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Great match.
SIMONA HALEP: I know. (Smiling.)

Q. I guess I’m not the first one to tell you that.
SIMONA HALEP: Both of us, we played amazing, in my opinion.

Q. And obviously you come in here with a big smile on your face. Vika not so much. But, you know, somebody’s got to win and somebody’s got to lose. How happy are you to win that match?
SIMONA HALEP: I’m happy that I won this match. It was an amazing match. She played fantastic. But in the first set I played my best tennis, and I knew that I have, you know, I have the game to win the match. But I know also that she’s very strong and she doesn’t give up during the matches.

So after first set I did a step behind the baseline and wasn’t good. She was dominating me in the second set, and I was running well but no power to hit from very far from the court.

And then I came back a little bit, 3-2, and I had a chance to do 3-All. But I lost my serve. So then everything was negative in my head. The rain delay was perfect for me. (Smiling.) It was unbelievable that I had another chance.

So I said in the gym with my coach, I spoke and I said that I have another chance. So I have to go just to do everything I did in first set and to get this one, because it’s made for me.

Q. To reach your first semifinal here, how does that feel? Looking forward to that opportunity?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I’m looking forward for the next match to enjoy the semifinals. It’s first time when I play this.

I knew when I started the tournament that I have a good game. I feel great and I have good mentality coming in this Grand Slam. I had no expectations, no pressure. So that’s why I’m playing so good.

It’s a great feeling now that I can be in the semifinals, and of course tomorrow I want to fight to win it. But we will see. I expect a tough match.

Q. If you do win it tomorrow, then you have to look back at Cincinnati, and you told Serena at the end of that match that you’d be cheering for her to win the Grand Slam. What’s going to happen then?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I said I have one more match to get into the finals, first, and then to think about that.

But when I came here, someone asked me, You said this in Cincinnati. But I said, If I’m in the final, I want to win. (Smiling.) I want Serena winning if I’m not in the final.

Q. So you changed your mind?
SIMONA HALEP: No, no, I didn’t change. Before the tournament I said this.

So if I will be in the final, of course I will fight for my chance, but first I have to play tomorrow.

Q. You played Flavia on hard court and you beat her on hard court —
SIMONA HALEP: This year.

Q. — last time you met. What was that experience like, and what is it like playing her?
SIMONA HALEP: It’s tough. I know her. She’s very smart on court. She’s fighting. I know that she never gives up.

During the match today I saw a little bit, because I was warming up, and I know that she has a great backhand. I have just to play smarter than usual. I have to be aggressive like I did today in the end of the match. I have to keep my serve and just go in there and be focused.

Q. What are the biggest differences in your styles, yours versus Flavia’s?
SIMONA HALEP: The difference between us?

Q. Yeah, the way you play.
SIMONA HALEP: It’s tough to answer this question, because maybe we have similar game because she has a strong backhand, I have the strong backhand. It’s tough to answer, and I don’t want to make mistakes about that.

It’s just she’s aggressive, as well, and I have to make her run like I do with all the players. But first I have to think about my game and what I have to do on court.

Q. You had a difficult summer. First round at Wimbledon, early loss in France, and then turned around on the hard court season. What made the difference?
SIMONA HALEP: I had a long break home after losing in Wimbledon. That one helped me a lot to relax myself. I had a lot of pressure. I put pressure on myself for when I played French Open, because in my mind was that I have to repeat the result from last year. So it was a bad thing.

And then I relax myself, and I started to be aggressive again, to go without expectations at every tournament. Everything went in the right way in my game.

Q. Can you talk about having Nadia Comaneci in your player’s box and knowing her and what inspiration you might take from her?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, she’s a great champion. I mean, she had perfect 10, first 10. You know, to have a great champion in your box, it gives you power, that she appreciates what I’m doing. She was supporting me. I heard her sometimes when she said, Hi, Simona. So it was great, and I really want to thank her for coming. She told me that she’s coming tomorrow again. So it’s good.

Q. What did Darren tell you during the rain delay?
SIMONA HALEP: No, I’m not telling you. (Smiling.) I cannot say this.

Q. Fair enough. Second question: Vika said that she was surprised by the pace of your ball, that she didn’t think that you hit the ball as hard as you do, that you caught her a few times. I’m curious, because you hadn’t played her for three years, did anything surprise you in her game?
SIMONA HALEP: If I remember well in that match, she was hitting strong, like she does now. She has the same game. At that moment she won her Grand Slam, I think. Now she’s coming back. I think she was playing amazing today. I think she found her way back.

She’s, you know, more motivated, more focused for what she has to do. Today was really good match for her, and, you know, I think she’s stronger now. I am stronger, as well, since we played last time. I’m much stronger, and actually, mental, my mind is stronger than three years ago.

Q. Flavia was asked, before we knew the outcome of your match, she was asked to assess both you and Vika and she kind of laughed and said, Look, I’m not going to tell you. It’s strategy how she’s going to take you on. One thing she did say, because she was pressed on the topic, she talked about Azarenka’s power, she said she thought you actually had more power than Vika, and that a lot of people may not realize just how powerful a player you are. Talk about that part of your game and also, duly noted, that your next opponent is well aware of your power.
SIMONA HALEP: I think I have inside power more than during the game. I’m not very strong. Unless you see, I don’t have big muscles. I’m not tall. I have power inside. I fight. Always it’s like big challenge for me. Every point is a big challenge. So I do everything I can. I run for every ball, and that one makes me stronger, I think, in this moment.

Q. How does it make you feel to have that sort of inner strength?

Q. That strength that you just spoke about, the power inside. How does it make you feel to have it?
SIMONA HALEP: It’s natural. It’s natural. It’s coming from inside. I don’t work like this. Maybe my parents gave me this. Yeah, so I have it like natural.

Q. But what does that do for your confidence?
SIMONA HALEP: It’s like I feel strong when I go on court. I feel that, actually, when I started this tournament after coming with — I had two big results, and I thought that I have enough power to win matches here. I thought that I have my chance during this tournament, and I couldn’t accept to lose.

Like I did with Lisicki. It was an amazing match, as well. And second set where we were very close at 5-All, I said, I cannot lose.

So I was fighting, and this power came. You know, I just tried to stay calm and to think that I can win every ball.

Q. Based on your supernatural strength…
SIMONA HALEP: It’s not supernatural. It’s something normal.

Q. If you had your favorite surface, based on your strength, what would it be and why? Naturally, you know, hard court you’re mostly baseline.
SIMONA HALEP: Last year I said clay is my favorite because I had the biggest result there. This year I say hard court is my favorite.

Actually, I want to play on every surface good tennis. I know I’m able to do that. I have just to work on some things at my game and just believing in myself. Because I know if I believe, I can do many things.

Q. How much do you feel like those runs at the French Open and Wimbledon last year are helping you now? And why do you think it’s taken a full year for you to shuck away that pressure and feel like you’re just focused on what you need to do?
SIMONA HALEP: After Wimbledon I said that the year is finished for me. I cannot win a match.

So I took the pressure off of myself. I was going home, relaxing. I didn’t touch racquet for almost four weeks.

So it was just — I wanted just to forget about tennis, about official matches. I just wanted to come back with the pleasure on court and taking just, you know, the fun.

Because that’s why I played mixed here, to have fun and to refine the pleasure during the official matches. And after I lost in Wimbledon, I said that that’s the worst thing. Cannot be like worse than losing in first round in a Grand Slam. I went there with expectations in my mind. So that’s why I change my mind now, and I feel much relaxed.

Q. Is it fun to be in the semifinals of the US Open?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, a lot of fun. (Smiling.) Really happy. And I just want to enjoy tomorrow. No pressure, no expectations.

Q. How much between now and when you play about 24 hours from now will the thought enter your mind at all about the other semifinal possibility of, if you win, perhaps playing Serena Williams in the match that would have a lot of significance personally for you but also for her and what she’s trying to accomplish?
SIMONA HALEP: If I will play the final here against Serena, again, would be like a record to play two times against her in one month. I have nothing to lose. Even tomorrow it’s like big challenge and will be a big bonus for me to get into the finals here.

I didn’t expect this when I came here, but I knew that I have a chance. So I was working hard every day, and I was believing in myself that I can do it.

We will see tomorrow. It will be a tough match. I just want to be focused for that, and then we will see what is happening.

Q. You hit a serve today at 112 miles an hour.

Q. Yeah, wow.
SIMONA HALEP: Was it an ace?

Q. Yeah, it was.
SIMONA HALEP: Okay. I had only one, no?

Q. You had a few.

Q. But can you talk a little bit about your serve? Because it’s getting bigger and it seems like you’re going for it a little bit more.
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah. It’s getting bigger, and I’m working a lot on my serve. I changed some things on it. I’m much happier now that I can feel it, and in important moments it’s helping me. Like today at 2-1 I hit an ace. So it was a great moment.

I feel the serve now. I feel stronger when I serve, so I’m not afraid anymore to serve. But actually, I feel the return better. It’s there.

Q. European players always talk about the French Open, Wimbledon, watching them growing up. How much did you watch of the US Open when you were little? Do you have memories of this tournament?
SIMONA HALEP: I didn’t watch tennis too much when I was younger. Actually, this week I was watching a lot at the TV every day.

I didn’t like to watch tennis since last year, I can say. Yeah, last year I started just to watch some players just to learn many things from them.

I’m more relaxed, to be honest, and I enjoy a lot this period of my life, of my career. So I have to get just the fun and the pleasure of everything.

Azarenka 10 5 2012


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Victoria Azarenka

Press Conference

S. HALEP/V. Azarenka

6-3, 4-6, 6-4

An interview with:


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You played so well. You fought so, so hard out there tonight. What are your emotions? Disappointment? What are your thoughts?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think I played well. I believe I could have played better. I did really fight really hard, and I was trying to find solutions. She played really well today. I was a little bit surprised by the pace of her ball, to be honest.

I think that, you know, a couple of free points that I gave away today cost me the match a little bit.

Q. Seeing how Petra was out in the morning, a big opportunity, you played Serena well here in a couple of finals, two three-setters with her. Is there a sense that maybe you could get to her in this tournament? Does that put you under any more pressure in this match? Did you feel it was a great opportunity for you going into this?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No, I didn’t really look into that because I knew I had a tough match today. So I was just trying to play today and win today. That didn’t happen. That’s out of the question.

Q. You fought hard to come back into this match. You were up in the third set. Do you think maybe what you could have done to go up 3-Love before the rain, or…
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Maybe. You know, I don’t know. It’s tough to say what could have happened. I just tried to accept what happened and learn from it, just improve, because thinking of what could have happened is pointless to me.

Q. She struggled this year. She lost first round at Wimbledon. French Open didn’t play that well. Were you surprised she played so tough at the end?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don’t usually get them when they are in the bad form. Usually they play really well against me. (Smiling.)

You know, she had a great summer. Obviously she played two finals in the two big events. Coming in she was in good form and playing well at the Open. So I didn’t expect an easy match or that she was going to give me something away.

Obviously she didn’t. She played well. She stayed strong. As I said, I believe that the couple points that, you know, I could have maybe be a little bit more aggressive or sometimes more consistent did cost the match today.

Q. You talked the other day about the dream and the passion to be back at No. 1. Obviously when you have had your share of injuries and been hampered by injury, are there things you could take from this tournament that make you feel that, you know, that the positives, if you can take out of it, that you’re on track to maybe get back to your old form?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Definitely. I have no doubt in my abilities. This tournament is just another step forward. I believe I played pretty well throughout the whole tournament. There are, I think, quite a bit of improvements in my game compared to Wimbledon or other tournaments, so, you know, I’m on the right track. You know, today I didn’t have much luck on my side today, I think.

But luck has nothing to do with it. You’ve got to create your own. I will keep working hard.

Q. Congratulations on a victorious season, at least. What do you plan to do in terms of relaxing and kind of reflecting? Do you take some time off after?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: We’ll see. It’s too close to think what I’m going to do. I’m definitely going to go home and spend some time with my family, pick my nephew up from kindergarten. So I’m looking forward to that. That’s, you know, life experiences that has nothing to do with tennis that makes me happy.

And reflecting, I’m going to reflect after I’m done with tennis. I have no time for that.

Q. Simona said some nice things about Serena after the Cincinnati final. She said she might cheer for her to get the Grand Slam. This is kind of ironic. If she ends up playing her here it will be kind of a weird situation, wouldn’t it? Do you think it was a mistake for her to say anything?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I’m not here to judge what she said. You know, she said what she wanted to say. If she ends up playing against her, you know, we will see what happens.

Q. Could be a lousy final, right?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don’t know. There is still semifinals that both have to win. So we’ll see.

Q. You said you were surprised by Simona’s pace today. Can you explain what was tricky?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah. I thought that she has more speed on the ball, and she does play with fast pace, taking the ball early. But the majority of her shots actually sits up pretty nicely. I should have adjusted a little bit better, take a little bit more advantage of that.

But she changed it up, her pace, and there were a few things that I was just a little bit surprised you don’t see that well on TV when you face that, and since we haven’t played against each other for a long time, that was a little bit of a surprise.

Q. Obviously the prime storyline here is about Serena and the slams and so forth. So if I could, could I ask you how you think Simona would line up against her, what her choices are? Just talk about…
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, if she’s going to cheer for her during the match, then she probably has less chances, as she said after Cincinnati. (Smiling.)

I don’t know. It depends on so many factors: how she’s gonna play, how Serena is going to feel, what the conditions will be.

It’s difficult to predict, you know. I just hope it’s going to be a great final or semifinal. We still have semifinals. It’s going to be great matches for women’s tennis. That’s what I’m hoping for.

Q. Do you think it feels all right to play Zhuhai instead of Singapore based on rankings at the end of the season, or do you feel very disappointed to not qualify for the Championships?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Do I not have any chance to qualify or what?

Q. You will actually have to try to qualify for Singapore?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: That’s the goal.

Q. After two close matches with Serena in majors this year, were you particularly motivated here, maybe get one more crack? You had some very good chances in those matches.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I mean, of course I was looking forward to that, but what’s the point talking about it right now? I’m out of the tournament, so I just gotta go back, back to work, and hopefully create another opportunity for the Wuhan, Beijing, next year, whenever it’s gonna happen. Right now it’s — what do you want me to say? (Smiling.)

Q. You were mentioning the concept of luck and luck not being entirely on your side today. Tough losses at the slams. Do you think there was a little bit of luck just not on your side at the majors this year? Draws? Opponents?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I mean, I’m not gonna sit and find excuses or feel sorry that I was unlucky with the draw or whatever it is. You know, maybe it’s just not my time right now. But that doesn’t discourage me to work hard. And, you know, there’s nobody in this world that’s gonna put a limit on what I want to do.

To me, it’s quite a good motivation.

Q. Does your nephew know that his aunt is a tennis star or an athlete?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I hope he just is proud that I’m his Aunt Vika, you know, regardless the rest of the stuff. You know, I hope he’s just happy to see my face and he’ll be excited. That’s what I love about kids. They don’t care about anything else but who you are as a person.

Q. And there’s more tennis to play, but this is the end of the Grand Slam season. You put so much effort, worked so hard. Just talk about your Grand Slam season this year.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think it’s not bad for the ranking that I had. I don’t think that anybody has done better than me where I am in the rankings. It could have been better. It is what it is. You know, it’s that simple.

I just want to take it and accept as it happened. I made, what, two quarterfinals? Next one I want to try to make it further.

You know, I have won Grand Slams before. I believe I can do it again. I need to put more work in, and I’ll get it.


Flavia Pennetta

Flavia Pennetta


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Flavia Pennetta

Press Conference

F. PENNETTA/P. Kvitova

4-6, 6-4, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Petra was in earlier and said she wasn’t all that disappointed because she played very, very well and you simply outplayed her. Is that how you would describe it?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I think we both play very well. It was a good fight. In the end I play a little bit better.

Physically I was better than her in the last set, so that was the difference, for sure.

Q. How do you feel about being back in the semifinals where you were a couple years ago? Who knows who you’re going to play; they are slugging it out right now. How do you feel about being back in the semis?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Of course I’m really, really happy. It’s something incredible. Before the tournament I never think to be so far in the tournament, so it’s something special. It’s something amazing for me in this moment.

Q. Why did you not think that, because you have been there before?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: No, because I didn’t play really well in the last week and the feeling was not that good. I just come here and try to practice, try to find the good feeling with the ball, with the atmosphere here, and everything it seems working. (Smiling.)

Q. Yesterday your countrywoman, Roberta Vinci, said how proud Italy was to have her in the semis, but they may be even more proud to have two women in the semis. How proud are you, and how proud is your country at the moment?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Of course I’m very proud. Of course yesterday when I saw Roberta in the locker, I mean, I hug her and I say — I mean, she was amazing yesterday also.

I think this is really important for our country. We did a lot of good things in the last 10 years. We have me, Roberta, Francesca, Sara, now Camila is coming also.

So I think it’s really good for Italian tennis to have such a good player.

Q. They say to never talk to women about their age, but Schiavone…
FLAVIA PENNETTA: We are old. I know.

Q. Thank you.
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I mean, old for tennis. For the life we are younger. (Smiling.)

Q. But just talk about that. There must be just some reason for that.
FLAVIA PENNETTA: No, there is no reason. I mean, also Serena, she is not that young. I mean, of course we are a little bit old for the age of tennis right now. A lot of young players coming in the last — since the Olympic game, I think, was a little bit of change of generation.

But we are here. We still fight. We still enjoy what we did. I think this is important.

Q. Talk about the role of Fed Cup just over the past many years. You have had success after success. Has that helped you guys? Has it pushed each of you?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I mean, I think was really important for all of us because sometimes I mean, I starting the year in 2009 with the top 10 and then Francesca won Roland Garros and then Sara come. Everyone was pushing the other one.

I think it was really important for us to have someone before us just to try to catch it all the time.

Q. People aren’t really giving Roberta much of a chance against Serena tomorrow, but from your perspective, what about Roberta’s game is so difficult on court?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I mean, Roberta, she’s completely like a different player. I mean, she’s one of the — maybe the only one. And there is another one, Niculescu. They play different in that way.

But of course — I think she have chance tomorrow. I mean, she has to go in the court and try her best. She don’t have nothing to lose. She has in front of her Serena Williams. I mean, you just have to go on court and try everything.

I mean, she make a really good tournament. She has to believe that she can make it, because if you go on the court you are not that sure or you are thinking, Okay, it’s done; I’m okay, like this, it’s going to be bad.

Q. We don’t know of course who your next opponent will be. Can we take each player separately? Would you please speak about them as individuals and what you feel about the challenge with each?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I mean, they are really good both. Amazing players. Powerful. They have everything. I mean, they are now in court and fighting and running and try everything to get through this round.

Doesn’t matter who I gonna play tomorrow, because I think they are both really good and it’s going to be a big fight with both of them.

Q. So in terms of style of play, let’s start with Vika. When you watch her play, what do you consider her…
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I cannot tell you right now. Because I cannot tell you what I want to do against her or against the other one. Maybe after the match we gonna talk about that. (Smiling.)

Q. How about just to describe Vika. When you look at her and you see her play, what are the things she does that most impress you?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I mean, she play really aggressive all the time, good backhand, good forehand; first serve really good; second one you can attack a little bit better.

You have to push her all the time, because if you give her a time to push you, you gonna die on the court.

Q. And how about Halep?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Halep, it’s look like she’s not that powerful like Vika but she is. She is more powerful, I think. To make a winner to her you have to finish the point seven times. She always there, always in — the ball is always come back.

It’s gonna be like marathon, I think.

Q. Her getting to No. 2 in the world, what do you consider her greatest attributes that have brought her to that place?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: She’s really consistent. I mean, from the beginning of the year until now she’s really like — she didn’t play really well Roland Garros and Wimbledon, but I think for different things, not about tennis.

Maybe she had too much pressure outside the court. I mean, everyone expecting so much. She has two months where she was a little bit like scaring, not of everything. But now she’s back in the same way she start the beginning of the year, focus and with a lot of the determination.

Q. You mentioned Niculescu, who of course at Indian Wells played Serena and gave Serena a big, big headache. Just talk about how that might be a matchup problem in terms of Roberta going in.
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Well, Roberta has two things much better than Niculescu. She serve much better and with the forehand she can make a lot of winners. You cannot compare one with the other one because they do like different thing comparing to the other player.

But Roberta and Niculescu, they are different player. I mean, Niculescu is more physically maybe, stronger. She is running much more. But Roberta has winner, has a good serve. I mean, it’s different in this way.

Q. Regardless of who you play tomorrow you have beaten them before. What would it mean to you to make a final?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I don’t know. I gonna tell you if I have a chance to beat her. (Smiling.)

Q. How does being in the semifinal here before help you? You have been in the semifinal before. How does that help you?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Nothing today. I mean, you just go on court and play. I mean, doesn’t matter if you make final, semifinal, quarterfinal years before. You just try to play the match the best you can and nothing more.

Q. Are you happy it’s being played at night rather than the weird sunny/shade like today?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: If I could choose I prefer night session, of course, because I like the light. It’s not the big problem for me with playing with light.

And play with this, I mean, the shade on the court was a disaster today. I was not able to see. I mean, was the same for her, for sure. I mean, it’s not easy.

But it was the same for both of us.

Q. New York obviously has a big Italian-American population. Do you have any contacts here? Family here? Have you gone to Little Italy?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: No, no, I didn’t have any family here, but I like a lot to go to Italian restaurant when I can. I have some friends, they have restaurant here. I try to be home just to with the good food. (Smiling.)

Q. Playing doubles last year with Martina, what kind of tips did she give you for singles and playing well in majors?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I mean, she’s a good player and you can — she’s a champion, no? So it’s always nice to have someone like her with you.

But she didn’t say, told me nothing like different that I already know, but was a really nice to play with her. I really enjoyed the time we spent together.

Kvitova bh-001


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Petra Kvitova

Press Conference

F. PENNETTA/P. Kvitova

4-6, 6-4, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Did you have some injury that we saw?

Q. Not at all? No, honestly.
.PETRA KVITOVA: No, no injury.

Q. But you had something wrapped up.

Q. Your leg. At the end of the second set you seemed to be a little tired.
PETRA KVITOVA: I am tired. (Smiling.)

What you saw on my leg, it’s from the first match already. It was just protection. It wasn’t really nothing serious.

I think just from the beginning of the match I didn’t really feel 100% ready today. I’m just glad that I left everything what I could today. I suffered a lot, but I’m still here. That’s good.

Q. Did you suffer because of the heat or something else?
PETRA KVITOVA: Probably. Yeah, I was kind of hot out there today. But my energy-wise wasn’t probably the best today, as well.


Q. Do you have explanation for the fact that on the first set nine games out of ten were won when you were playing on the shadow, and one the sun — only one and you won the first set because you won one game against the sun. In the second set this completely changed. I mean, five games won in the sun, five in the shade. Did you change the situation completely or you just get adjusted to the situation?
PETRA KVITOVA: Yeah, I think that both of us, we just need some time to get used to the shades over there. It’s not very nice when you’re playing out there. Of course you’re feeling much more better if you are in the shades. You’re just feeling a little bit like cooler.

But when you see the ball it’s kind of a little bit tricky because you really don’t see as well as you normally do. That’s why probably we were kind of suffering from the first set. But then probably we just get used to when it was — just doesn’t matter if it’s the shades there or no.

Q. Do you feel like you played the best game that you could play today? I think I heard you sort of say that before that you played well, but she was just the better player today. Is that how you feel?
PETRA KVITOVA: I think I should a little bit serve better, but on the other side, I think that she returned very well. I made a lot of double faults today, and it was just presents to give her.

On the other side, I mean, if I am not really counting the serves sometimes, I left everything what I could today, s I said already, and she didn’t miss at all. She was very consistent player. She moves very well, and it was tough to have any winners and everything.

So, yeah.

Q. Quarterfinals is your best final here, but certainly to the level you have achieved at the other Grand Slams. Is it a bit frustrating you haven’t been able to get beyond this point and maybe get to the semis or the finals?
PETRA KVITOVA: Yeah, of course. I’m disappointing that I lost today for sure, but on the other side, I think I have a lot of positive things to take from the tournament.

You know, it wasn’t really easy situation. I’m just very — I’m kind of proud of myself how I played here, anyway. I didn’t really practice that much before. Everything was just like puzzles to take it together somehow and just take it together somehow and everything.

Of course, I wish to play tomorrow semifinal, but on the other side is good.

Q. The third set, do you think it’s normal fatigue or do you think it is from your asthma?
PETRA KVITOVA: I think I never have the explanation for that. I mean, you never know what is it. I just know that from the first point I don’t really feel like energy level great.

Really tough to say. I think it was kind of combination of everything.

Q. There was a heat policy today or not? You stopped at eight minutes…
PETRA KVITOVA: I don’t know. They didn’t tell us.

Q. They didn’t tell you anything about that?
PETRA KVITOVA: No, so probably not.

Q. I saw at the end you were nice to Flavia and you embrace each other. Do you know each other well? Are you friends in a way or not? She’s eight years older than you, so, I mean, I don’t know.
PETRA KVITOVA: I think the age doesn’t matter. I know her long time, of course, on the tour. We meet each other very often. She’s very nice person and I like her.

I mean, she’s a good, I don’t know to say good friend, but for sure nice person, as I said. I just wished her best of luck. She really deserved to win today. I just felt it like that. So that’s why.

Q. Nice of you. Of course you probably don’t care very much who is going to win next match, but do you see Flavia has more chances in your opinion versus Halep eventually or versus Azarenka in terms of technical abilities or situation?
PETRA KVITOVA: Tough to say. I think either if she gonna play Azarenka or Halep, I think both of them playing very consistently. I think very similar game as Flavia has.

Difficult to say. I mean, for sure it’s going to be a lot about the physical side kind of and who gonna serve probably better.

Q. Was it more difficult to wake up this morning than it was other days?
PETRA KVITOVA: A little bit. (Smiling.) Actually, I couldn’t fall asleep last night, so it was kind of difficult anyway.

Yeah, when I heard my alarm I didn’t want to wake up. Yeah, I’m kind of sleepy right now, as well. I’m okay. It’s fine.

Q. And you mentioned before that there were positives to take out of this tournament. Can you be a little more specific? What positives do you take out of it?
PETRA KVITOVA: I think the positive things, for sure, it’s kind of in the mind that even I wasn’t 100% ready, my body wasn’t really ready, I was still able to play really good tennis.

Which I know in the past, as well, that if I feel kind of suffering with some injuries or something I was still able to play good, so that’s nice to have it back, for sure.

Another positive is that a played a lot of matches, as well. It’s great to have it, because last couple of months I didn’t really have that many. I mean, I played French Open and Wimbledon, so it was kind of difficult time.

And I’m looking forward for the next matches again.

Q. Just wondering how is your body holding up right now after this long, exhausting, really hot summer in North America? Do you think you will be fully recovered to play in Wuhan and Beijing?
PETRA KVITOVA: I wish so, for sure. I mean, I really don’t know. I’m coming back to make some blood test how is it everything looking right now. Now I’m feeling really exhausted, so I’m really glad I can sit now.

But I have really no idea. I gonna talk with the doctors again and see how everything is working, but if I’m okay I will come there, for sure.

Q. How much attention do you think you’ll pay to the rest of the tournament here?
PETRA KVITOVA: I think it’s not that much because it’s only two matches, so I think it’s fine.

I have no idea. Normally when I lost I really don’t care about the others, how the tournament is going to continue. I will see. I have no idea.

Q. Would you be surprised at this point if Serena Williams did not win the title?
PETRA KVITOVA: Yes. (Smiling.)

Q. Is there anything in your mind that could prevent that from happening, either because the players who are left or any other reason?
PETRA KVITOVA: Of course it’s still great players playing, two of them right now. But I think I saw the match Serena played yesterday with Venus, and I just felt that she’s more focusing than she did before, the matches before, and I think that she’s kind of the player who with the tournament she’s playing better and better every match.

So I think that if she gonna be in the final, I think she gonna put everything what she has inside and she gonna win it.


Note from the US Open Media Operations Guide as to why Tennis Panorama News is allowed to post transcripts:

Transcripts of player interviews cannot be posted until one (1) hour after the interview has ended. Player transcripts can only be posted on the website of the publication that was accredited.

Simona Halep and Flavia Pennetta Reach US Open Semifinals

Halep fist pump-001

(September 9, 2015) World No. 2 Simona Halep defeated No. 20 Victoria Azarenka, while No. 26 Flavia Pennetta rallied to defeat No. 5 Petra Kvitova on Wednesday to reach the US Open semifinals, where they will face each other on Thursday night.

The 23-year-old Halep won 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in a match which was delayed 1 hour, 25 minutes by rain in the third set. Pennetta, 33, defeated Kvitova 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 in two-hours and 23-minutes to reach her third US Open semifinal within three years.

Halep had 40 winners to 19 unforced errors, while Azarenka had 38 winners to 42 unforced errors. Halep was 6 for 19 on break point chances while the two-time Australian Open champion Azarenka was a perfect 5 for 5. This will be Halep’s first US Open semifinal.

“I think I played well,” said Azarenka. “I believe I could have played better. I did really fight really hard, and I was trying to find solutions. She played really well today. I was a little bit surprised by the pace of her ball, to be honest.

“I think that, you know, a couple of free points that I gave away today cost me the match a little bit.”

“I’m happy that I won this match,” Halep said. “It was an amazing match. She played fantastic. But in the first set I played my best tennis, and I knew that I have, you know, I have the game to win the match. But I know also that she’s very strong and she doesn’t give up during the matches.

“So after first set I did a step behind the baseline and wasn’t good. She was dominating me in the second set, and I was running well but no power to hit from very far from the court.

“And then I came back a little bit, 3-2, and I had a chance to do 3-All. But I lost my serve. So then everything was negative in my head. The rain delay was perfect for me.She said with a smile. “It was unbelievable that I had another chance.

“So I said in the gym with my coach, I spoke and I said that I have another chance. So I have to go just to do everything I did in first set and to get this one, because it’s made for me.”

Kvitova bh-001

“Just from the beginning of the match I didn’t really feel 100 percent ready today,” Kvitova said of her match against the Italian. “It wasn’t really easy situation. I’m just very — I’m kind of proud of myself how I played here, anyway. Kvitova had been suffering from mononucleosis earlier in the year.

Kvitova made 60 unforced errors to 41 winners while, Pennetta had 21 winners to 16 unforced errors. Pennetta was 6 for 16 in break point chances to Kvitova’s 4 for 9.

“I think we both play very well,” Pennetta said. “It was a good fight. In the end I play a little bit better.”

“Of course I’m really, really happy. It’s something incredible. Before the tournament I never think to be so far in the tournament, so it’s something special. It’s something amazing for me in this moment.”

Flavia Pennetta

Flavia Pennetta

With Pennetta reaching the semifinal, it means that three of the four final four women are 30-somethings. Pennetta and Serena Williams are 33 and Roberta Vinci is 32. It means for the first time two Italian women are in the semifinals of a major in the Open Era.

“Of course I’m very proud,” Pennetta said. “Of course yesterday when I saw Roberta (Vinci) in the locker, I mean, I hug her and I say — I mean, she was amazing yesterday also.

“I think this is really important for our country. We did a lot of good things in the last 10 years. We have me, Roberta, Francesca (Schiavone), Sara (Errani), now Camila (Giorgi) is coming also.

“So I think it’s really good for Italian tennis to have such a good player.

On playing 20-something Halep in the semifinal, Pennetta said: “Halep, it’s look like she’s not that powerful like Vika but she is. She is more powerful, I think. To make a winner to her you have to finish the point seven times. She always there, always in — the ball is always come back.

“It’s gonna be like marathon, I think.”

“It’s tough,” Halep said about paying Pennetta in the semifinals. “I know her. She’s very smart on court. She’s fighting. I know that she never gives up.

“During the match today I saw a little bit, because I was warming up, and I know that she has a great backhand. I have just to play smarter than usual. I have to be aggressive like I did today in the end of the match. I have to keep my serve and just go in there and be focused.”



Kevin Anderson Upsets Andy Murray to Reach US Open Quarterfinals


(September 7, 2015) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Andy Murray lost for the first time before a major quarterfinal since 2010 when the third seed was toppled by 15th seed Kevin Anderson 7-6 (5), 6-3, 6-7 (2), 7-6 (0) in the fourth round of the US Open on Monday.

“Obviously something that is disappointing to lose because of that (record)” Murray said of the loss. “Obviously that’s many years’ work that’s gone into building that sort of consistency. To lose that is tough.

“Also to lose a match like that that was over four hours, tough obviously after a couple of tough matches earlier in the tournament, as well, it’s a hard one to lose, for sure.”

The 6’8” South African who his 81 winners broke a 0 for 7 string of losing in the fourth round of majors. Most recently at Wimbledon to Novak Djokovic, whom he led by two sets to none.

“Sitting here having played the match and winning it, it’s hard to describe how I’m feeling,” Anderson said in press. “I felt I played one of the best matches of my career. To do it at this stage, at this round, obviously to get through to the quarters the first time in a slam definitely means a lot to me.”

“I was playing against an excellent player,” Murray said. “He served extremely well. And I would say, you know, the service game I played at 4-1, I was up 40-Love in the second set, got broken there. Then that was really around the time when I was starting to get the momentum a bit back on my side.

“I obviously broke him straight after that, held serve, then had breakpoints the next game. You know, maybe if I’d held serve there at 40-Love, I might have been able to snatch that second set but obviously didn’t. Then fought hard through to the end.”

Anderson will face Stan Wawrinka next. The world No. 5 bested American Donald Young 6-4, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4.

“It’s going to be just a tough matchup in my next round, Anderson said. “I mean, it’s definitely not going to be any easier than it was today. As I was saying, I think Stan is a terrific player. Especially at majors he’s really stepped it up, I think one of the people you really have to watch out for.

“I’m just so pleased to get through the quarters for the first time here. Got tomorrow to prepare. Right now it’s nice to think about from today’s match. It really meant a lot to me. There’s a lot of good feelings here.”

The South African holds a 4-3 record against the Swiss.

Roger Federer straight setted the last American man in the singles draw, No. 13 John Isner 7-6 (0), 7-6 (6), 7-5. The first set tiebreaker was the first time that Isner has ever been shutout.

Federer will play world No. 12 Richard Gasquet, who defeated No. 6 Tomas Berdych 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-1.

As for his match-up against the Frenchman, Federer said: “I’m not sure if I’ve seen maybe Gasquet play as well as he has right now. I really like the way he played in Wimbledon, and also now here. I haven’t seen that much. But the match I saw that he played against Stan and Novak at Wimbledon was impressive. He had a good attitude. He was fighting. Good shot selection. I don’t know, it was nice, you know.

“Now he’s backing it up. I’m sure he gained confidence from Wimbledon. That’s why I expect it to be tougher than maybe in previous years against him or previous times. I know he can play much better at Davis Cup. I know I played very well, as well. Still I expected him to be tougher there, because I beat him in straight sets. I don’t know, he kind of went away. In Dubai, of course, he was injured. That doesn’t count. I don’t remember when I played him the last times.

“I feel like this could be one of the tougher Gasquets I’ve played in previous years, so I expect it to be difficult.”

Two of the women’s quarterfinals match-ups are set. It will be No. 2 Simona Halep against No. 20 Victoria Azarenka, and No. 5 Petra Kvitova versus No. 26 Flavia Pennetta. Halep defeated 24th seed Sabine Lisicki 6-7(6), 7-5, 6-2, fifth seed Kvitova stopped qualifier Johanna Konta 7-5, 6-3, 20th seed Azarenka topped Varvara Lepchenko (USA) 6-3, 6-4 and 26th seed Flavia Pennetta defeated 22nd seed and 2011 champion Samantha Stosur 6-4, 6-4.


Petra Kvitova and Kevin Anderson Win Titles Leading into the US Open

Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova

(August 29, 2015) In New Haven, second seed Petra Kvitova defended her Connecticut Open title on Saturday, taking down Czech country woman Lucie Safarova 6-7 (6), 6-2, 6-2 in an all-left handed battle.

Kvitova has now won the tournament three times 2012, 2013, 2015, she’s just one title behind Venus Williams behind Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki for the tournament record.

“It’s the first time I’ve defended a title, it’s a really good to have that experience,” said Kvitova.

“It definitely helps with my confidence going to the US Open. I’m looking forward to my next match.”

“I feel terrible, but it doesn’t matter. I will have day off tomorrow.” Kvitova has been recovering from mononucleosis.

“I’m really pleased,” Kvitova said about the win. “I didn’t really come here with a good kind of confidence and game and everything. But everything turned around. I have it again. I’m happy because of the trophy here.”

“She’s a big hitter, so she is putting a lot of pressure on you serving really big,” said friend and Fed Cup teammate Safarova. “It’s kind of hard to break into her serve, and it puts extra pressure on your serve.

For Kvitova, it’s her third title of the year and 17th of her career.

For both women, the next stop will be the US Open which begins on Monday, but both women play their opening round matches on Tuesday.


Kevin Anderson of South Africa returned to the winner’s circle for the first time since 2012 when he beat French qualifier Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-4, 7-5 in the Winston-Salem Open final on Saturday.

No. 15 Anderson last won a title in March 2012 at the Delray Beach. This was his third career title on the ATP World Tour

“Coming into the week, I had some high expectations,” Anderson said. “But I was thinking back to my first match against (Kazakhstan’s Mikhail) Kukushkin on Court 2, and not playing the best first set. I had to save a bunch of break points and getting broken, and even breaking my racket.

“But things seemed to click after that – I felt I served very well throughout the week. But as each match progresses and you get closer to the finals, and a chance of winning the tournament, that starts to play in your mind.”

The victory for Anderson breaks a seven-match losing streak in ATP World Tour finals, dating back to Sydney 2013.

“I’ve been in a few finals and come up short, which is always tough. Each final is a different situation, and for some reason it just hadn’t happened for me. Someone has to win and someone has to lose.

“Maybe it’s a bit of an added pressure to be the favourite coming into the final, but [Herbert] has been playing great to get here. In my mind we were completely even before the match.”

“But if feels fantastic to get that win. It’s been a few years since I’ve won a tournament, and it’s definitely something I can look back on and feel happy about.”

“It’s been a very positive week,” Herbert said. “I came here to play some matches; I didn’t expect to play that many matches. But I’m arriving at the U.S. Open with a lot of optimism.”

Herbert came into the tournament through qualifying. “I came here to play some matches, but I didn’t expect to play that much. I’m really happy since it’s the best result of my career. There are no regrets because I think I played a good final, but [Anderson] was better and more experienced today.”


2015 Connecticut Open Preview

petra kvitova CTOpen15 all access by Jack Cunniff

Petra Kvitova (Photo by J. Cunniff)

By Jack Cunniff

(August 23, 2015) NEW HAVEN, Connecticut – For the first time since 2006, the field at the 2015 Connecticut Open features five of the world’s top ten women’s players, and that depth should make for an unpredictable event. Here are some highlights of this year’s top entrants:


Simona Halep (No. 2) 2013 New Haven champion was the top seed, and she has played well this summer, coming off of back-to-back finals in Toronto and Cincinnati. She withdrew from the tournament on Sunday night.


Second seeded Petra Kvitova (No. 4), the defending champion, also receives an opening round bye. Kvitova has not won a match since Wimbledon, and she recently disclosed that she was diagnosed with mononucleosis, which helps to explain her recent listless form. The good news for Kvitova is that she thrives in the laid-back environment of New Haven, having reached three consecutive finals here, and is one of two players to have defeated top ranked Serena Williams in 2015.


Caroline Wozniacki (No. 5) is a four-time winner in New Haven, and seeded third at this year’s event. She was not initially planning to play the Connecticut Open, but early round losses in Stanford, Toronto, and Cincinnati have her looking for more match play before the U.S. Open, which begins August 31st. In pre-tournament interviews, Wozniacki has proclaimed herself fit and ready for action.


Lucie Safarova (No. 6) had the best result of her career in advancing to the 2015 French Open final, where she battled Serena Williams for three sets before losing. That result has catapulted her into the top ten for the first time in her career. Safarova has had mixed results since Paris, including a first round exit in Toronto to Daria Gavrilova, who she will face in a re-match in her opening round in New Haven.


A year ago, Karolina Pliskova (No. 7) was ranked 69th and won only two games in her first round qualifying match in New Haven. Much has changed in the last 12 months for the 23-year old Czech. She has reached eight WTA finals, winning three of those (Seoul, Linz, Prague). Success has evaded Pliskova in the Grand Slam events, but she has proven to be a consistent threat at the other tour stops.


Other players that could contend at the Connecticut open include: a pair of Wimbledon finalists, 2012 runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska (No. 15), and 2014 runner-up Genie Bouchard (No. 24); another major finalist in 2012 French Open runner-up Sara Errani (No. 16), former top ten player Flavia Pennetta (No. 26), rising young American Madison Keys (No. 19) who reached the 2015 Australian Open semifinals, the Swiss veteran Timea Bacsinszky (No. 14) who reached 2015 French Open semifinals, and Elina Svitolina (No. 20) a 20-year-old Ukranian who has risen quietly up the rankings in 2015.

Jack Cunniff is covering the Connecticut Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his updates on twitter @TennisNewsTPN. His personal twitter is @JRCunniff.