2014/11/20

It’s a New P3tra

By Jack Cunniff

(August 23. 2014) NEW HAVEN – In 2013, Petra Kvitova became known in print media as “P3tra”, due to her propensity to get involved in three set matches. In more than half of her 2013 matches (38 of 74), Kvitova was extended to a decisive third set. In the finals of the 2014 Connecticut Open, it was a new P3tra: She won the championship match with relative ease in straight sets over Magdalena Rybarikova, 6-4, 6-2. She didn’t drop a set during the entire tournament. The only “best of three” from Kvitova was winning her second of three Connecticut Opens. She first won the title in 2012, was runner-up to Simona Halep in 2013, and now has regained the title in 2014.

 

There were shades of P3tra in the opening set. She broke Rybarikova’s serve in the sixth game, to grab a 4-2 lead. When serving for the opening set, a double fault and two errors allowed Rybarikova a reprieve. Petra continued to hit her heavy groundstrokes, and earned a second service break of the set to win it 6-4.

 

Rybarikova tried to mix the pace of her shots, but Kvitova continued to apply the pressure. She dropped only four points on serve in the second set, and struck a sharply angled backhand return of serve to win the match. Rybarikova competed as best she could, although a hamstring injury obtained during her semifinal against Camila Giorgi impacted her mobility.

 

Kvitova has been in good form for most of the summer. She has won 16 of her last 19 matches, while capturing two tournament titles, bringing her career total to 13. The question is whether she can carry that form into the U.S. Open. The final Grand Slam event of the year begins next week, and Kvitova has never been past the fourth round. In the last two years, she had great form from New Haven entering the event, but suffered upset losses both years. Her comfort in New Haven does not always translate to the circus of New York City. As Kvitova states, “New York is pretty crowded. It’s always big show. A lot of people everywhere. I’m more the person who is little bit calm.”

 

Rybarikova will re-enter the Top Fifty rankings on the strength of this result, her first appearance in a Premier final. She played well and used all of her weapons to defeat three higher ranked opponents, including world No. 2 Simona Halep. But she too may find her New Haven form fleeting; not only is she nursing the hamstring injury, she must face tenth seed Caroline Wozniacki in the opening round of the U.S. Open.

 

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Familiar Face for the Finals of the Connecticut Open

Petra Kvitova photo by Jack Cunniff

Petra Kvitova photo by Jack Cunniff

By Jack Cunniff

(August 22, 2014) NEW HAVEN – The Connecticut Open has a history of players repeating as finalists, and there’s another name to add to the list. Petra Kvitova, the second seed, defeated Sam Stosur in the semifinals and advanced to her third consecutive final in New Haven. She follows the trend set by Venus Williams (four straight finals between 1999-2002), Lindsay Davenport (five appearances in six finals between 2001-2006), and Caroline Wozniacki (four straight finals between 2008 – 2011)

 

Kvitova, the reigning Wimbledon champion, easily dispatched the 2011 U.S. Open champion Stosur, 6-3, 6-1. Kvitova’s win in the semifinals was reminiscent of her Wimbledon final, where she cruised past Genie Bouchard 6-3, 6-0. Everything was working for Kvitova, most notably her serve. She served 11 aces in eight services games. Stosur, who had blasted 22 aces in her first three matches of the Connecticut Open, managed none against the Kvitova return.

 

Kvitova is at her best when she’s in her comfort zone, and New Haven provides that. With much of the tennis world’s focus on the U.S. Open preparations 90 minutes away in New York, New Haven offers a more laid back atmosphere. Kvitova has called New Haven “the calm before the storm,” and on her Twitter account this past week, the 24-year-old Czech posted that it “feels like being home when I come back here and play on this court”, and asked “Can I play in New Haven every week?” In addition to her love of this event, Kvitova has a very successful 12-4 record in tour finals. That will make things tough for her opponent in the Connecticut Open final, Magdalena Rybarikova.

 

Rybarikova, from Slovakia, earned her way to the final by outwitting Camila Giorgi. Giorgi had used aggressive hitting to power through two higher ranked opponents, Wozniacki and Garbine Muguruza, earlier in the week. Rybarikova changed tactics. She mixed the pace and angles of her shots, and served and volleyed on key points, refusing to get into a hitting contest. The strategy kept Giorgi off balance, and drew multiple errors from the Italian. As Rybarikova noted afterwards, Giorgi “has A plan but no B plan”, which allowed Rybarikova to stay in control.

 

The final on Saturday pits two good friends and former doubles partners against each other. Kvitova leads the head-to-head 4-1, with Rybarikova winning their most recent match, an ITF final in Prague, May 2011. That final was in Kvitova’s home country; this one will be in her home away from home.

 

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

 

CONNECTICUT OPEN PRESENTED BY UNITED TECHNOLOGIES – NEW HAVEN, USA
$ 710,000.00
17-23 AUGUST 2014

RESULTS – AUGUST 22, 2014
Women’s
Singles – Semifinals

[2] P Kvitova (CZE) d [WC] S Stosur (AUS) 63 61
M Rybarikova (SVK) d C Giorgi (ITA) 62 64

Women’s
Doubles – Semifinals

M Erakovic (NZL) / A Parra Santonja (ESP) d C Garcia (FRA) / M Niculescu (ROU) 62 57 11-9
A Klepac (SLO) / S Soler-Espinosa (ESP) d D Jurak (CRO) / M Moulton-Levy (USA) 76(3) 46 10-8

US Open National Playoffs
Mixed Doubles Championship – Semifinals

J Cako (USA) / J Kielbowicz (USA) d N Melichar (USA) / P Smith (USA) 57 60 10-8
E Shibahara (USA) / S Shibahara (USA) d B Bohrnstedt (USA) / M Rose (USA) 62 36 12-10

 

ORDER OF PLAY – SATURDAY, AUGUST 23, 2014
STADIUM start 12:30 pm
WTA DOUBLES FINAL – M Erakovic (NZL) / A Parra Santonja (ESP) vs A Klepac (SLO) / S Soler-Espinosa (ESP)

Not Before 3:00 pm
WTA SINGLES FINAL – M Rybarikova (SVK) vs [2] P Kvitova (CZE)

GRANDSTAND start 1:30 pm
USONP MIXED DOUBLES CHAMPIONSHIP – J Cako (USA) / J Kielbowicz (USA) vs E Shibahara (USA) / S Shibahara (USA)

 

 

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Kvitova, Wozniacki, Bouchard and Halep “Meet the Press” in New Haven for All-Access Hour at Connecticut Open (Podcast)

 

(August 17, 2014) NEW HAVEN – Top seeds for the Connecticut Open – Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova,  Eugenie Bouchard and Caroline Woznacki met the media on Sunday.

Petra Kvitova3

Petra Kvitova – The 2012 winner of the New Haven event is just off her second title at Wimbledon back in early July. She said the the second win at the All England Club is even more special.

Wozniacki-001

Caroline Wozniacki – A four -time champion at New Haven, the Dane says she’s very happy with her current form on the court and is looking forward to running the New York Marathon in the fall to raise money for charity.

 

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Eugenie Bouchard – The world No. 8 and recent Wimbledon finalist evaluated her season so far and spoke about what separates the Top 50 players is the mental side of the game.

 

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Simona Halep – Last year’s champion, the top seed and world No. 2 discussed her rise over the past two years and that she likes to eat chocolate.

(Note – due to the news conferences being held outside, there is background noise from the wind and crowd sounds in the recordings.)

 

 

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Connecticut Open – Day 1

Connecticut_Open_logo

Connecticut Open – Day 1

 

By Jack Cunniff

 

(August 17, 2014) NEW HAVEN -First Round Action: Sixth seed Flavia Pennetta advanced to the second round of the Connecticut Open defeating Klara Koukalova. Koukalova was a semifinalist here last year, and had defeated Pennetta in New Haven in 2011 …Ekaterina Makarova scored a routine win over Roberta Vinci, 63 63, setting up a second round match against No. 2 seed Petra Kvitova. Makarova defeated Kvitova two weeks ago in the third round of Montreal. Makarova has compiled a very consistent record in 2014; the lowest ranked player she’s lost to this year was No. 26 Svetlana Kuznetsova in Washington, D.C…. Alison Riske defeated Casey Dellacqua in straight sets, snapping a four match losing streak that dated back to her third round Wimbledon loss to Maria Sharapova… Camilla Giorgi, ranked No. 37, defeated Coco Vandeweghe ranked no. 38. Only 3 points separated the two players in the August 11, 2014 rankings.

Qualifying: Sunday’s play at The Connecticut Open saw six players advance to the main draw from the Qualifying event: Belinda Bencic, Shaui Peng, Silvia Soler-Espinosa, Timea Bacsinszky, and by winning third set tiebreaks, Misaki Doi and Irina-Camelia Begu.  Qualifiers have had great success in New Haven. In three of the last five years, a qualifier has reached at least the quarterfinals. The most successful qualifier in recent years was Petra Cetkovska, who reached the New Haven final in 2011, defeating Li Na, Marion Bartoli, and Agnieszka Radwanska en route.
All Access Hour: Petra Kvitova, comparing her 2011 and 2014 Wimbledon wins: “I enjoyed it a little bit more the second time. I feel it is more special a little bit…This year, I felt like I was the favorite for the matches, so it was more difficult.” Kvitova enjoys playing in New Haven, comparing it to the calm before the storm that is the U.S. Open… Simona Halep is attempting her first successful title defense in New Haven. There’s pressure involved in defending her title and the ranking points that come with it, but Halep is quietly confident about her chances: “I’m also relaxed because I played good last week and I’m 100%”… Caroline Wozniacki Is happy with her current form, and feels her close matches to Serena Williams in the past two weeks is proof that her play is on the upswing. But she is concerned about one thing: cookies. “The worst part about (New Haven) is they’ve opened up this cookie shop right around the corner… that is very dangerous.” Wozniacki is doing a lot of running off-court, not only to work off the cookies, but to prepare for the New York Marathon. She will be running for the charity Team For Kids., which raises funds for health and fitness programs for kids… Genie Bouchard breaks down the top 50 players: “The most important thing at this level is the mental side. It’s really about who can play their best in the high pressure situations or on big stages.” When asked about setting Canadian tennis records, Genie cited her Junior Wimbledon title (2013) and becoming the first Canadian to win a Singles Slam “It was huge for me. I made history for my country.”

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

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Wimbledon Champion Kvitova, Wimbledon Finalist Bouchard Head Connecticut Open Field

Petra Kvitova3

 

NEW HAVEN, Conn., July 8, 2014 – 2014 Wimbledon Champion and World No. 4 Petra Kvitova, 2014 Wimbledon Finalist and World No. 7 Genie Bouchard, and Defending Champion and World No. 3 Simona Halep headline the field, which has collectively won 14 Grand Slam and 188 WTA singles and doubles titles, for the 2014 Connecticut Open presented by United Technologies, it was announced today by Tournament Director Anne Worcester. The WTA event, which is part of the Emirates Airline US Open Series, will be held August 15-23, 2014 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale,
Kvitova, the 2012 Connecticut Open Champion, marched through the Wimbledon fortnight the past two weeks to grab her second career Grand Slam title in four years, becoming just the third two-time winner in women’s singles since 1996. The Czech star defeated Bouchard in the final, the first Grand Slam final of the young star’s career. The 20-year-old has rapidly ascended the rankings to become the highest-ranked Canadian player in history, thanks to semifinals appearances at both the Australian and French Opens, along with capturing her first WTA title at Nurnberg. This will be her first appearance at the Connecticut Open.
Halep is having a career season highlighted by a finals appearance at the French Open, reaching the semifinals of Wimbledon, and winning the title in Doha, all of which have catapulted her to a career-high ranking of No. 3 in the world. She returns to defend her 2013 Connecticut Open title, where she defeated Kvitova to win the trophy.
Aside from Halep, Kvitova and Bouchard, five other players in this year’s Connecticut Open field are ranked in the WTA top 20 including No. 15 and four-time Connecticut Open Champion Caroline Wozniacki, who will be chasing a record fifth title in New Haven (currently tied with Venus Williams with four Connecticut Open titles). In addition to Wozniacki, No. 13 Flavia Pennetta, who won in Indian Wells earlier this year; No. 14 and 2012 French Open finalist Sara Errani; No. 16 Carla Suarez-Navarro, who will be making her fourth Connecticut Open appearance; and No. 19 Ekaterina Makarova, a Grand Slam doubles champion, who advanced to the quarterfinals at New Haven last year, will compete for the title.
Joining the top-20 stars in this year’s field are American Coco Vandeweghe, a former US Open Junior Champion who also triumphed at s’-Hertogenbosh to capture her first WTA title;  Garbine Muguruza, who advanced to this year’s French Open quarterfinals and defeated World No. 1 Serena Williams along the way; Roberta Vinci, who teamed with Errani to complete the doubles Grand Slam at this year’s Wimbledon; Shuai Zhang, who advanced to the semifinals at Birmingham, Kuala Lumpur and Acapulco this year; Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova, who advanced to the Wimbledon quarterfinals and made a finals appearance in Birmingham, England; Klara Koukalova, a victor in Florianopolis and finals attendee in Rio de Janeiro and Hobart; Elina Svitolina, who advanced to the semifinals in Nurnberg; and Casey Dellacqua, a Birmingham semifinalist.
Rounding out the field are Magdalena Rybarikova, a four-time WTA tournament winner and semifinalist at s’-Hertogenbosch; Kurumi Nara, winner in Rio de Janeiro; Camila Giorgi, who advanced to the finals in Katowice; and Bojana Jovanovski.
“The 2014 Connecticut Open presented by United Technologies player field is loaded with talent – Wimbledon Champion Petra Kvitova and Wimbledon Finalist Genie Bouchard; Defending Connecticut Open Champion Simona Halep and four-time Connecticut Open Champion Caroline Wozniacki; and rising stars such as Spaniard Garbine Muguruza and American Coco Vandeweghe,” said Worcester. “All told, we have three of the top 10 players in the world, eight of the top 20, and with the men’s event featuring James Blake, Andy Roddick and Jim Courier, the tournament promises to be exceptionally entertaining this year.”
On Wednesday, August 20, Fairfield native James Blake, a two-time Connecticut Open Champion and former top-five ranked player, will matchup against Jim Courier, a four-time Grand Slam Champion and former World No. 1. On Thursday, August 21, Blake will face-off against Andy Roddick, another former World No. 1 and Grand Slam Champion. Both matches will be played following the 7:00 p.m. WTA feature match on their respective nights, and they will be best of three sets, with a super tie-break played for the third set. In addition, fans interested in participating in a Pro-Am with these American stars before the matches, or who want to capitalize on a party complete with dinner and a “meet and greet,” should visit www.ctopen.org for more information.
The field will be completed in the coming weeks with the addition of four wildcards, which the tournament will award, and the addition of six players who will advance through the 48 player qualifying draw. The first two seeds at the tournament will receive a bye.
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Petra Kvitova Routs Eugenie Bouchard to win Second Wimbledon Crown

(July 5, 2014) Sixth seed Petra Kvitova put on a clinic to beat 13th seed Eugenie Bouchard 6-3, 6-0 in 55 minutes to win her second Wimbledon title.
Kvitova, from the Czech Republic, hit 28 winners and won 82% of the points on her first serve to claim the victory.

Kvitova was aggressive throughout the match, blasting returns, serving hard and was 9 of 10 at the net against the 20-year-old Canadian.

“Definitely was one of the best matches what I played,” said the 24-year-old.

“I knew that I could play well on the grass, but I really played so well today.  I exactly know what I have to play to beat her.

“I just did really everything what I could in the moment.  I was very focused for every point.  I knew that I have to go forward for every shot what I’m playing to push her.”

“For sure, she was on,” Bouchard said. “She has weapons.  We know that when she’s on, she’s very tough to beat.  Especially on this surface.  She’s been in the final before, all these things.

“You know, I just have to give her credit.  You know, she deserved to win today.”

Kvitova won the final seven games to close out the match.

It was Bouchard’s first major final. Kvitova won Wimbledon in 2011. She is 26-5 at the All England Club.

Kvitova, with the win on Saturday remains the only player born in the 1990s to win a major singles title. The Czech will move up to No. 4 when the rankings are released on Monday.

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Bouchard to Face 2011 Champ Kvitova for Wimbledon Title

 

 

 

(July 3, 2014) WIMBLEDON – Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard will face off against 2011 champion Petra Kvitova for the Wimbledon title on Saturday at the All England Club.

Bouchard became Canada’s first Grand Slam finalist by beating French Open runner-up Halep 7-6 (5), 6-2, while No. 6 Kvitova defeated countrywoman and friend No. 23 Lucie Safarova 7-6 (6), 6-1 in the first all-Czech women’s major semifinal.

In the fourth game of the Bouchard – Halep match on Thursday, play was delayed for five minutes for a medical time out for Simona Halep in the fourth game due to a left ankle injury.

Play was also halted again, in the middle of a first set tiebreaker, due to a spectator being ill. Despite the distractions, the 13th seed Bouchard still held her concentration.

The 20-year-old Bouchard who is playing in just her sixth major said: “What I do well is I really don’t let it get to me or affect me.”

Halep, the No. 3 seed said of her injuries: “It was difficult to continue because I twist my ankle and was very hard.  I felt a big pain in the moment, but then was better with the tape.

“But still I couldn’t push anymore in my leg.  My first serve was really bad after that.  Yeah, it was difficult to continue with another injury.”

“As I said, in tiebreak was a lucky ball at 4-2 and she came really well back after that.

“After losing a set, it’s really tough to say, Let’s play two more to win with two injuries, I can say.

“I lost my energy because I am a little bit tired also.  I played many matches.  After French Open was really short the time to recover.  But, you know, I’m really happy that I could play semifinal here.  Is my best result in Wimbledon.

“I cannot be sad now.  I just want to enjoy this result and to look forward to play many more matches at the Grand Slams.”

“She played also well when we played together in Indian Wells.  But, of course, here, this surface, is better for her I think because it’s faster and she’s staying very close to the baseline.  She hitting the ball very early and very fast.

“Yeah, I think she improved more maybe in confidence.  She has more confidence now and more experience because she played well also in French Open.

“She’s a great player, and for sure she will be in top very soon.”

“It’s not like a surprise to me,” Bouchard said of her success here at Wimbledon.  “I expect good results like this.  So for me, I was like, Okay, good.  It’s a step in the right direction.  I get to play in the final.  You know, I still have another match, so it’s not a full celebration yet.”

“I get to make Canadian history again,” Bouchard said about being the first Canadian to reach a major final in the Open Era.  “It’s always exciting and special when I can make history.  My job is not done.  I want to go another step further.

“So I’m going to stay focused and enjoy it after.”

 

 

It was a battle between longtime friends with Kvitova and Safarova. After a tight first set which went to a tiebreak, the match went all the former champion’s way. From 6-6 in the first set, Kvitova using a dominating serve and forehand won 31 of the next 48 points to complete the victory and reach her second Wimbledon final.

“She was just better there today,” Safarova said.  “We had a really close first set; second set she was just a step better.

“So it was a good run for me.  I mean, it’s the best result of my career.  She’s my friend, so once the match was done I just wished her all the best.  I hope she’s going to win it.”

“Today, of course, to play Lucie on the Centre Court in the semifinal of Wimbledon, it’s never easy,” Kvitova said.  “I did everything what I could.  I mean, I was just very happy after that.

“I mean, it’s still one more to come.  I want to be focused on that now.”

“I think these three years (since winning Wimbledon) was really up and down during the season,” the 24-year-old said.  “I knew that a lot of people are expecting from me something more than I did probably.

“But on the other side, I was still in the top 10 and I did everything what I could.  I was practicing very hard and everything.  But it’s never easy with the girls obviously.

“Yeah, was a lot of positive things I got, but definitely when I won here 2011 I needed to change a little bit myself on the court and off the court, as well, to used to the pressure, media, and everything like that.”

THE CHAMPIONSHIPS – WIMBLEDON, GREAT BRITAIN
$ 18,575,979
JUNE 23-JULY 5, 2014

RESULTS – JULY 3, 2014
Singles – Semifinals
(13) Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) d. (3) Simona Halep (ROU) 76(5) 62
(6) Petra Kvitova (CZE) d. (23) Lucie Safarova (CZE) 76(6) 61

Doubles – Quarterfinals
(2) Errani/Vinci (ITA/ITA) d. (6) Barty/Dellacqua (AUS/AUS) 64 26 60
(9) Hlavackova/Zheng (CZE/CHN) d. Pavlyuchenkova/Safarova (RUS/CZE) 61 46 63
(14) Babos/Mladenovic (HUN/FRA) d. (11) Kudryavtseva/Rodionova (RUS/AUS) 63 26 64

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In a Battle of Past Champions, Venus Willams Loses to Petra Kvitova at Wimbledon

 

(June 27, 2014) WIMBLEDON – 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova beat five-time champion Venus Williams for the fourth time in five matches moving into the round of 16 with a 5-7, 7-6, 7-5 victory on Friday on Centre Court.

The 34-year-old Williams dismissed any talk of retirement in the near future.

“People have been trying to retire me since I was like 25,” she said. “For some reason in tennis we always do that to our players.  It’s weird.  We don’t encourage them to stick around.  It’s like, Get out of here.

“So I’m not getting out of here.  I think this year has been a great year for me.  I’ve had some tough losses, but I’ve learned a lot from them.  I’m finding my way back on my feet.

“I’m proud of myself for what I’m achieving on the court..”

Williams was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease a few years ago.

“I want to win Grand Slams,” she said. “Everybody does. No one gives it to you. They snatch it away and say, `Mine.’ That’s what I’ll have to do is snatch it, say, `Mine,’ too, growl if need be. `’

“She’s doing good job, Kvitova said.  “Of course, for us it’s always tough to see the opponent who is really trying and fighting.

“She’s a huge player, big champion.  So we all have respect to her, definitely.”

“Definitely I’m pleased that I won, the Czech added.  “I’m in the second week of the Grand Slam, so that’s really nice to have this feeling.

“I’m pleased with my performance.  I mean, I don’t think that I was better player today actually all the match, but I just keep it and try to win the important points in the tiebreak, then I just tried to wait for some breakpoint.

“Yeah, of course, I won three matches here on the grass.  I love it.  I will try not to be the end.”

Kvitova will play Shuai Peng next in the fourth round.

 

THE CHAMPIONSHIPS – WIMBLEDON, GREAT BRITAIN
$ 18,575,979
JUNE 23-JULY 5, 2014

RESULTS – JUNE 27, 2014
Women’s
Singles – Third Round
Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) d. (2) Li Na (CHN) 76(5) 76(5)
(4) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. (Q) Michelle Larcher de Brito (POR) 62 60
(6) Petra Kvitova (CZE) d. (30) Venus Williams (USA) 57 76(2) 75
(23) Lucie Safarova (CZE) d. (10) Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) 64 62
(16) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. (Q) Ana Konjuh (CRO) 63 60
(22) Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) d. Caroline Garcia (FRA) 75 63
Peng Shuai (CHN) d. Lauren Davis (USA) 06 63 63
(Q) Tereza Smitkova (CZE) d. Bojana Jovanovski (SRB) 46 76(5) 108

Singles – Second Round
(3) Simona Halep (ROU) d. (Q) Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) 63 46 64
Belinda Bencic (SUI) d. (Q) Victoria Duval (USA) 64 75

Doubles – Second Round
(11) Kudryavtseva/An.Rodionova (RUS/AUS) d. Keys/Riske (USA/USA) 62 62
(12) Medina Garrigues/Shvedova (ESP/KAZ) d. Diyas/Mayr-Achleitner (KAZ/AUT) 60 60
Pennetta/Stosur (ITA/AUS) d. (13) Hradecka/Krajicek (CZE/NED) 75 63
Aoyama/Voracova (JPN/CZE) d. (15) Huber/Raymond (USA/USA) 06 76(5) 64
(16) Muguruza/Suárez Navarro (ESP/ESP) d. Koukalova/Niculescu (CZE/ROU) 62 46 64

Doubles – First Round
(5) Makarova/Vesnina (RUS/RUS) d. Begu/Knapp (ROU/ITA) 67(8) 64 64
(7) Kops-Jones/Spears (USA/USA) d. (WC) Broady/Daniilidou (GBR/GRE) 76(3) 75
(Q) Kichenok/Kichenok (UKR/UKR) d. Davis/Puig (USA/PUR) 62 76(5)
(Q) Gajdosova/Ar.Rodionova (AUS/AUS) d. Schiavone/Soler-Espinosa (ESP/ESP) 63 36 63

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Ana Ivanovic Beaten in Third Round of Roland Garros

Lucie Safarova

Lucie Safarova

(May 31, 2014) 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic’s dreams of a second Paris title were dashed on Satruday, when the 11th seed was beaten by 23rd seed Lucie Safarova 6-3, 6-3. It was Ivanovic’s fifth straight loss to the Czech woman. Safarova is now 5-2 against the Serb.

Safarova will play 2009 French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova who had to battle past fifth seed Petra Kvitova 6-7 (3), 6-1, 9-7 in an over three-hour match.

Fifteenth seed Sloane Stephens advanced into the French Open’s fourth round for the third straight time with a 6-3, 6-4 win over No. 22 Ekaterina Makarova.

Stephens will face off against No. 4 Simona Halep for a place in the quarterfinals. Neither woman has ever reached the final eight in Paris.

Due to the upsets on No. 1 Serena Williams, No. 2 Li Na and No. 3 Agnieszska Radwanska, Halep is the top women’s seed remaining at Roland Garros.

“That’s a surprise for everyone,” said Halep. “Is not easy to be the (top) seeded now, during the tournament. But I try just to keep — the pressure (away).”

 

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Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova Set Up Semifinal Meeting at Sony Open

 

(March 25, 2014) It will be a Serena Williams versus Maria Sharapova semifinal at the Sony Open as both women defeated quarterfinal opponents in straight sets.

No. 1 Serena Williams made quick work of No. 5 seed Angelique Kerber 6-2, 6-2, winning 62% of all of the points in the match,  in the first match of the night session on Tuesday.

Williams’s match demonstrated total dominance, unlike her last two matches in which she was pushed to three sets.

“I’m playing a little better,” Williams said.  “I had to play better.  As the tournament progresses you can’t get worse, you have to get better.

“I’m happy to be doing a little better.”

The 17-time major winner still is not totally happy yet.

“The good news is I can play better, so that keeps me really happy, actually.  “So knowing that I can still play several levels higher is good for me.”

No. 4 seed Maria Sharapova came back from a break down in the first set in a rematch of the 2011 Wimbledon final to top Petra Kvitova 7-5, 6-1. She won 11 of the last 13 games.

“I started getting more chances as we played more games in the first set,” Sharapova said.

“Little by little I started seeing more opportunities and started getting myself back in the points and playing my game, playing well, going inside the baseline.

“You never are sure until you finish the match and you win the last point, but I really felt like I started doing the right things.”

Sharapova, always a bridesmaid but never a bride in Miami – she’s been a finalist five times has never won a Sony Open title.

It will be Williams against Sharapova for a place in the Key Biscayne final. Williams holds an overwhelming record against the Russian 15-2. The last time Sharapova beat Williams was back in 2004.

“Well, when you’re playing, you know, champions, you have to play your best.” Williams said.  “So she always plays her best and her heart out against me.

“We just have to bring the best because we both are really good players.”

“It’s no secret that she’s been a big challenge of mine, an opponent that obviously I would love to beat,” Sharapova said.  “There are certainly, you know, ways that I need to step up in certain situations that I haven’t been able to do in the past against her.

“But it’s great that I have come to that stage and have the opportunity to play her again.”

“I love playing her,” said the six-time Sony Open winner Williams about playing Sharapova.  “I really do.  Doesn’t matter what surface or anything.  She’s one of my favorite people to play. And so I think that helps, too, when you’re like playing people.  I think it just gets you really pumped.”

“I feel in the last few times I have played I have had my chances and opportunity and something that maybe I didn’t quite create, you know, say, a couple years ago,” Sharapova said to media.

“It’s about taking those.  Someone, an opponent that plays with so much confidence and so much power, you really need to take those few opportunities that you have.”

 

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