May 31, 2016

No. 53 Federico Delbonis Surprises No. 2 Andy Murray in Third Round of BNP Paribas Open

Andy Murray

Andy Murray

(March 14, 2016)  INDIAN WELLS, California – No. 2 Andy Murray lost to No. 53 Federico Delbonis 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (3) in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open on Monday in a two-hours and 46 minutes.

The southpaw from Argentina trailed 1-4 to the Brit in the third set, won five of the next six games to serve for the match at 6-5. Murray broke Delbonis’ serve to get to a tiebreak which Delbonis won 7-3 to get the biggest victory of his career. Murray’s loss is the biggest upset of the men’s tournament so far.

“Obviously a tough one to lose in the end, having, you know, kind of fought hard to get myself in a winning position you know, 4-1-up,” Murray said.

“The 4-2 game that I got broken was a tough one in the third set. I was up 30-Love in the game and had a few volleys in that game. You know, he came out with some good passing shots. I could have done a bit more with the volleys maybe.

“But, yeah, I didn’t play a great tiebreak. That was disappointing. Obviously he had the chance to serve it out, and then I got back in there and didn’t play a great breaker.”

Murray has not had a great history at Indian Wells, with his best result coming in 2009 when reached the final. “I think it’s just the conditions here I have just struggled with throughout my career. I have never really felt that I played my best tennis here.

“I have tried and had many different preparations where I’ve got here early and spent a lot of time on the courts, and sometimes I arrive later, like this time from Davis Cup. You know, obviously it takes time to get used to new conditions regardless of where it is, but I have just never really found a way to get comfortable here throughout my career.

“It’s a shame.”

 

Asked if this was his biggest win, Delbonis said: “No, I have like a couple of big wins, but in situation was special, you know. For that tournament, for that surface, for me is the best win.

“And, well, I have — I was like quiet all the match that I know he wants to be aggressive in that third set. I don’t do it my job until the 4-1. I have to play it more to his forehand.

“That, when I do that, I can break. I can play from the 4-2 to the tiebreak and I get a big win for that, you know.

“I have another one (win). The title in Sao Paulo I think is the best one.”

Delbonis did beat Roger Federer when he was No. 5 in the world three years ago in Hamburg.

Asked about his strategy to hit to Murray’s forehand, the Argentine commented: I know that his backhand is pretty good when he’s quiet, you know, in one side. I know that I have to play, hit harder in his forehand to get a good hit or a good position the court, to be aggressive or to move it to him, because this is one of the keys to get a good point.”

“I feel good the surface because it’s not too fast,” he said. “For me, I can slice in that kind of court. I like it. Also, I like it in Australia. Every tournament I come this year I like it so much. I like to play in that kind of court, in that hard courts not so fast.

“For me it’s a good court to be aggressive.”

For Murray, this is the first tournament he has played as a father. February 7, his wife Kim gave birth to a baby girl named Sophia.

A couple of surprises on the women’s side of the draw included former French Open champion Ana Ivanovic, seeded 14 lost to 18th seed Karolina Pliskova 6-2, 6-0 and No. 7 Belinda Bencic was on the short end of a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 score to unseeded Magdalena Rybarikova. With all of the upsets on the women’s side, No. 9 seed Roberta Vinci, who beat 17th seed Elina Svitolina, remains the highest seed in the bottom half of the draw.

On the men’s side of the draw, No. 8 seed Richard Gasquet won 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 over Alexandr Dolgopolov. No. 12 seed Milos Raonic advanced when 17th seed Bernard Tomic retired with a right wrist injury down. 6-2, 3-0. Tomic’s injury puts a question mark on his participation at the Miami Open.

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Roberta Vinci Victorious in St. Petersburg

Roberta-Vinci1

(February 14, 2016) Roberta Vinci surprised No. seed Belinda Bencic 6-4, 6-3 to win the inaugural St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy on Sunday.

For the 16th-ranked Italian, this is her 10th career win snapping a four match losing streak in finals going back to 2013.

Although falling short of a win, finalist Benic will move into the top 10 on Monday.

In doubles, Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza won the doubles final, defeating Vera Dushevina and Barbora Krejcikova 6-3, 6-1. The No. 1 pair has now won 40 matches in a row.

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Venus Williams Wins Wuhan Open After Muguruza Retires

 

Venus wins Auckland

(October 3, 2015) Venus Williams won the Wuhan Open on Saturday when her opponent Garbine Muguruza retired with a left ankle injury while trailing 6-3, 3-0. For the 35-year-old American, this was her 47th career WTA singles trophy.

“I had pain the ankle since yesterday,” said the fifth-seeded Spaniard. “I’ve played a lot of matches and today my body had pain everywhere. I didn’t have much time to recover from yesterday. There is nothing you can do when it’s like this. I guess I didn’t recover.

“I was feeling very tired but I said that I am going to the court even if my leg is, like broken. I woke up saying, “come on, I’m going to play,” but during the match I was like, ‘oh shit, I’m getting tired, my leg is hurting, my ankle is hurting.’ In the first set I had my chances but with Venus it’s hard. If you’re not 100% percent fit you can’t find a way to play against her. “

For the unseeded Williams, this WTA Premier 5 event is her biggest title in five years, since Dubai 2010 and her second tournament victory in 2015. She also won the event in Auckland.

“I feel like everyone else on tour, I work hard, I do my best and as long as you continue to work hard and believe in yourself then you can have the results you want,: Williams said. “That’s exactly what I’ve done and it hasn’t been the easiest road but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a road worth traveling.

“I didn’t think of quitting but it’s definitely a lot of stress to play when you’re in pain. But for me I focus on everything that I can accomplish and not on what’s bothering me. My opponent wasn’t so lucky today. The pain was just too much for her and I was really sorry to hear that.

“Today, we both play really similar. Maybe experience helped me today. I know today she couldn’t do everything that she wanted to do. She couldn’t feel free and comfortable on the court. Of course it’s not always as exciting playing an opponent who doesn’t feel their best so I hope that she gets better.”

Williams, who is ranked 24th in the world will move up to 14 when the rankings come out on Monday. Muguruza will move to a career high ranking of No. 5.

Next stop for both women will be Beijing.

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After Battling Past Vinci, Venus Williams to Face Muguruza in Wuhan Open Final

Venus Williams

(October 2, 2015) Venus Williams saved a match point to defeat Roberta Vinci to reach Saturday’s Wuhan Open final. Williams’ 5-7, 6-2, 7-6(4) win set up the WTA Premier 5 title against Garbine Muguruza after the Spaniard survived a late foot injury scare to defeat Angelique Kerber 6-4 7-6(5).

“It had a lot of ups and downs, said Williams, who saved a match point when Vinci served for the match at 6-5. “I hope that on a day when I’m playing how I’d like, it’s a more straightforward match. She’s definitely tricky.  She finds a way to hang in there.”

Williams came back from 3-5 down against Johanna Konta in the previous round. “It’s the semifinals. It’s not time to get down.  It’s time to figure it out,” said the seven-time grand slam champion.  “Even down match point, I don’t remember what happened on that point.  I do know she had a match point.  It’s not over.  Just like when I was up and she didn’t give up, I felt the same way.”

The 35-year-old Williams, who notched up her 700th career WTA match win earlier in the week, should return to the WTA Top 20 in reaching the semi-finals, and could go as high as 15 should she win on Saturday. She shows no desire to retire just yet. “I always want to be in finals,” she said. “Even if it was the last tournament of my career, I would still want to be in that final,” she said. “I don’t think that ever changes.  It just never gets old and it’s never something that is a given.  You have to fight for it.  So I appreciate it.  It’s not over yet.  I still have matches to play.  Definitely not satisfied with just making the final.  I’d like to take the title and take it a step further.”

Muguruza’s win over Kerber also had plenty of drama, notably at 3-3 in the second set tiebreaker when the Spaniard took an injury time-out after feeling pain in her left foot earlier in the set. Despite this, she managed to  reach her first final since she was runner-up to Serena Williams at Wimbledon in July.

“I felt it at 4 something in the second set.  Then in the tiebreak I felt something stronger.  So I said, No, no, I cannot wait to get worse.  So I just called the trainer,” sheexplained . “At that moment I said, Okay, Garbine, play.  Be aggressive and see what happens. You know, I was very, like, kind of brave.  I was like, Okay, come on, let’s do it.  Let’s see these couple of points and see if you can close the match. I had a lot of chances to close the match before.  I’m like, no way I’m going to lose this set. I did it and it was good.”

Williams and Muguruza have played twice before, in Florianopolis in 2013 and in Auckland in 2014, both on hard courts. “I think it’s a good final,” said Muguruza. “I face her sister in the last final, so is it good to have her again. Williams sisters everywhere,” she said, smiling. “It’s good.  She’s playing good also.  She had a very tough match also today.  So I think it’s a good final.”

RESULTS

SINGLES SEMI-FINALS
V. Williams (USA) d [15] R. Vinci (ITA) 57 62 76(4)
[5] G. Muguruza (ESP) d [6] A Kerber (GER) 64 76(5)

DOUBLES SEMI-FINALS
Irina-Camelia Begu (ROM) / Monica Niculescu (ROM) d [6] Andrea Hlavackova (CZE) / Lucie Hradecka (CZE) 64 16 10-8 (MTB)
[1] M. Hingis (SUI) / S. Mirza (IND) d [4] H. Chan (TPE) / Y. Chan (TPE) 62 61

ORDER OF PLAY – SATURDAY OCTOBER 03, 2015

Not before 12.30pm
DOUBLES FINAL
[1] M. Hingis (SUI) / S. Mirza (IND) vs Irina-Camelia Begu (ROM) / Monica Niculescu (ROM)

Not Before 3:00 pm
SINGLES FINAL – V. Williams (USA) vs [5] G. Muguruza (ESP)

Venus Williams Joins 700 (Win) Club

Venus Williams Joins 700 (Win) Club

 

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In Their Own Words – Flavia Pennetta and Roberta Vinci

 

U.S. OPEN

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Flavia Pennetta

Press Conference

F. PENNETTA/R. Vinci

7-6, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Did it come a little more easily than you may have thought it was, today’s match?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Not really. I mean, the first set was a little bit of drama. Both of us were starting really tight from the beginning. I mean, was not easy to play today with one of your best friends in the tour, with one you know since long time.

A lot of emotion coming together since yesterday. It’s not easy to handle everything. But I’m really happy, because the first set was really tough.

In the second one I started to play a little bit better, so I’m really proud of everything this week.

Q. What do you think you and Roberta proved to yourselves and proved to everybody?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I think in woman’s Italian tennis now since already few years it’s really big, big moment for us in Italy and around the world.

So we just — I think we didn’t prove too much. I mean, we already proved during this year how we are, how good we are in what we are doing, how much heart we put all the time when we get in the court.

So it’s amazing to have the chance to play with one of your friends. Anyway, like before, like before the match we say doesn’t matter. We’re gonna win. It’s going to be a big win for both of us. It’s going to be a really big win for both of us.

It’s something amazing, something — I didn’t think to be here. She didn’t think neither to be here today. So it’s amazing for our country. Is amazing for everyone.

Q. Could you elaborate for us or explain that you are retired as of right now or you will play till the end of the year?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: No, no, I will play until the end of year, but was my last match here in New York.

Q. So what will you play now until the end of the year? You will not play the Olympics?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: For the moment it’s not on my goals.

Q. What will you play between now and the end of the year?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I’m supposed to play Wuhan, Beijing. That’s the only two I supposed to play.

I think is gonna be the schedule the same. I don’t gonna change too much.

Q. Do you have a wedding date set?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: No. (Smiling.) Not yet.

Q. You’re playing so well. Why are you retiring?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Ah, why? Because sometimes it’s getting hard for me to compete. This is the important point. When you are in the court, when you have to play 24 weeks in the year, you have to fight every week.

And if you don’t fight every week in the same way I did today, it’s gonna be like bad. For me, also. And I don’t feel to have this power anymore sometimes.

So this is the perfect moment, I think. Was a really hard decision to make, but I’m really happy that I did it. I’m really happy and proud of myself.

Q. You’re No. 6 now in the race to Singapore. Would you ever try to add maybe one more event if you needed to?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Well, of course. If I have a chance, of course.

Q. When the Olympics came up, you kind of hedged a little. Is there room for you to change your mind and maybe…
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Not really. I mean, for the moment I’m so happy that I take this decision. I don’t feel — I don’t want to change nothing. I mean, I really think it’s the good way. You never know.

But for sure this one was the last New York for me. For sure.

Q. Does winning the US Open make it tougher to walk away from tennis or does it make it easier because you’re kind of going out on top?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I mean, it will be the same. Winning or lose today, it was nothing going to change. The decision was already there. I think this is the best way that someone have — if I have to dream about how I want to finish, I want to stop playing, this is the perfect way.

Q. You told ESPN that you made your decision in Toronto.
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Yeah.

Q. Why was that the time that it was clear in your mind?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Um, because I was doing — I had a bad moment also in Roland Garros where I was almost — three days before I was thinking to withdraw myself from the tournament.

And then I keep just trying and fight and everything was going pretty good. But when you starting to think too much, it’s the time like where you have to take like a decision, going or stop. You have to do that.

And sometimes we are more scared to take the decision because we don’t know what we like or we’re going to do after, how is going to be the life after.

But I think it’s going to be a pretty good life. I mean, I’m really proud of myself. I think I did everything that I expect. More. Much more. Much more, I can say.

I mean, it’s great to do that for me.

Q. So when you made your decision to retire, how many people did you tell?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: My team, my coach, my physio, my physical coach, my family, and Fabio.

Q. Next year now when you’re retired and back in Italy, when you will think back on this year’s US Open, what is the one word or the one phrase that would best capture this US Open?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I think it’s today I have all the — not the problems, but, you know, you starting when you are really young and you make a lot of decision, hard decision to make. You lose so many things when you’re young.

I mean, with this, winning today, it’s — my life is perfect. (Smiling.) So I cannot say something different. Perfect.

Q. Why did you win today?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Why?

Q. Why.
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Ah, because I was really consistent from the beginning of the match. I didn’t play my best tennis today. I have to say I was scared and tight from the beginning.

Was not easy for me to hit the ball in the same way that I did yesterday. Roberta was playing unbelievable. I mean, she was moving good and doing perfect things all the time, but in the second set she start to be a little bit tired.

So I was focused and try to push myself to do something more, to going for the match; the match point was perfect. I mean, I push, and I make it.

Q. What did the prime minister say to you after the match?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I was so happy, so happy for us. He say, You don’t gonna understand what happen now in Italy. I mean, it’s good that you are here. He was talking with me and Roberta, because we was together. Because in Italy now is going to be crazy. It’s good to stay here a few days, just relax a little bit, and then go back home.

Q. What effect do you think your decision to retire had on the way you played and the way you were thinking, the way you were doing everything during this tournament?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Sometime is getting in my mind, but I didn’t think too much about that. I was just focused on my game. I didn’t think, Oh, this is my last one, oh, this is my last one, oh, this is my last one.

No. I didn’t think at all like this. I just try to play every match, just play tennis. I don’t want to think what I gonna do after if I win or lose. Just play tennis. Go on court and play tennis. That’s was my goal in the last two weeks.

Q. So what do you think the biggest reason you were able to do all this is?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Oh, well, I didn’t start really well the tournament. I have to say the first match was tough, the second one was easy, the score, but I was shaking so much. And when I have to go to the match with Niculescu, Cetkovska, I play so bad the first time I was in panic completely. I was panic attack. I cannot move. I cannot breathe. I cannot do nothing.

So maybe I’m here just because I’m trying. I was fighting a lot. Every point. Just point by point try to do my best all the time and suddenly it’s coming. I mean, yesterday was a perfect day, because I play really well.

And today I didn’t play so well, but enough to win. So I’m happy.

Q. You talked yesterday about getting very little sleep the night before my semifinals.
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Yeah, tonight I did not sleep at all.

Q. Not at all?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: No, a little bit, yes. From 1:00 to 8:00. That was good. Not bad.

Q. We’d like to have seven hours of sleep.
FLAVIA PENNETTA: (Laughter.)

Q. When did you tell Roberta? Was it when you were hugging at the net or sitting on the chairs?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Sitting on the chairs.

Q. Is that when she hit you on the arm?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Yeah.

Q. Because she couldn’t believe? What exactly did you say and what was her reaction?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I told her, Roberta, this is my last New York. And she say, che? Che? Huh? I say, Yes. No way. (In Italian.) It’s perfect. Go. Go.

Q. You said on ESPN your night against Stosur was the one that maybe gave you the belief you could win the whole tournament.
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Well, not to believe that I can win the tournament, but at least I play my good tennis in that match, and so I starting to feel better and better.

Q. Did you receive any congratulations from Francesca Schiavone?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Yes, of course.

Q. She’s a little bit part of your success because she was the first to win a Grand Slam.
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Of course. She send a messages to both of us, because we have chat with four of us. You cannot see this chat because it’s crazy. (Laughter.)

And then she send me like a voice message yesterday, and she starting to laugh, Ha ha, now it’s your turn. Breathe. You have to go to the toilet, eh, so many times? (Laughter.)

Francesca, she’s always like this. I didn’t talk to her now because I didn’t have the chance to take a phone — I just called my mom and my dad.

Q. A lot of people wouldn’t understand how the world 26 could play the 43rd ranked player in a Grand Slam final. I’m just curious what that says about the depth of women’s tennis, and do you think it gives belief to lower ranked players they can climb to the top?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I mean, it’s happen because now I think the woman tennis, it’s a little bit — it’s not like 10 years ago where the top 10 was really high level.

I mean, it’s not that they are not more high level. It’s the one behind them they are coming stronger.

So now everything can happen. Yesterday, I mean, everyone knows Serena, she’s the best player. She’s supposed to win this tournament.

But sometimes also she can have a bad day. Yesterday for her was not a good day at all. Was a really good day for Robi, and she deserved to be here today. Was perfect for both of us.

Q. How much higher do I think that level is from, say, 10 years ago, from 1 to 50?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Now from 11 to 100, it’s much harder than before, I think.

Q. You and Roberta go way back as friends. Did you actually live together when you were kids?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Yeah, yeah. We spend four years or three years in a house together in the same room in Rome in the Italian Federation.

So we know each other really well. I mean, we have so many things in our life happening together. It’s funny to be here today, because we play the first match when we were nine years old in Brindisi, in my country club. So today was a really big day for both of us.

Q. How is she as a roommate? Neat? Clean?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: She’s perfect. (Laughter).

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

 

U.S. OPEN

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Roberta Vinci

Press Conference

F. PENNETTA/R. Vinci

7-6, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Can you just tell us, what are your first memories of Flavia, your earliest memories of meeting her?
ROBERTA VINCI: That she beat me. (Smiling.) No, I’m joking.

I don’t know. We know each other for long time, so maybe when I saw her in my mind I remember all the moments that we spend together when I was young. But one thing, I don’t know.

Q. Was it on a tennis court, the first time you saw her, or…
ROBERTA VINCI: No, no, in the tennis court. In the tennis court, yes, yes.

Q. Do you remember where or what?
ROBERTA VINCI: Where, I don’t remember. Long time no.

Q. Can you share about the hug at the net, what she said to you…
ROBERTA VINCI: I cannot tell you.

Q. You have no idea?
ROBERTA VINCI: No, no.

Q. And also courtside what…
ROBERTA VINCI: No, I said to her, Congratulation, Well done, enjoy. You played better than me today, so.

That’s it. And she said, This is my last match on the US Open, so now I have to speak and tell to everyone that this is my last match.

I say, No. That’s it.

Q. What did you think at that moment? You must have been very shocked, I would imagine.
ROBERTA VINCI: When she said me that? Yeah. Was incredible. I didn’t expect that.

But just her choice, so it’s okay.

Q. What do you think the difference was today?
ROBERTA VINCI: I was tired. I was tired especially the first set.

I think she played better. She was more solid than me and she play much better backhand, long line, and she served better than me today.

She play better, yeah.

Q. What do you think this weekend means for the sport with all that has happened?
ROBERTA VINCI: I think it’s an incredible moment for all Italian people. So now when I come back at home, I can realize what we made, because now for me not is normal, no. But I’m in New York, okay, I’m in the hotel, just have fun, but I would like to come back and try to understood what I did.

Q. Do you still plan to make that 10:00 flight tonight or…
ROBERTA VINCI: (Laughter.) I have a private jet.

No, no, no, I don’t know. No, no, I don’t take 10:00.

Q. Will you celebrate with Flavia tonight?
ROBERTA VINCI: Maybe not. No, no, I don’t know. No, I don’t think so. Maybe. Maybe. I will ask, but I don’t know. I don’t know her program.

Q. You played the week before this event in New Haven, didn’t you?
ROBERTA VINCI: Si.

Q. Was that an advantage, to make a tournament before the US Open? Because I know a lot of players don’t play the week before.
ROBERTA VINCI: I like to play the week before the slam because I prefer to play — I prefer to play matches because I don’t like to practice one hour in the morning, okay, one hour in the afternoon. I prefer to play one match.

So, yeah, some players doesn’t like. They prefer to rest and practice, but I like to play. So it’s a good choice for me.

Q. Why the Italian women are much more successful than the men, Italian men?
ROBERTA VINCI: Aye. (Laughter) I don’t know. I don’t know. It’s a cycle. You know, sometimes the womens are better than the men, but now in Italy there are good men, good men Italian player.

Fognini, Seppi, they are good. Step by step. Now probably they will come better.

Q. What was it like playing in your first final, first slam final? What was the experience like being out there?
ROBERTA VINCI: I don’t know now. I don’t know. Maybe if you tell me this question in about more days, I can tell you.

But now it’s strange. I didn’t expect this. I’m so happy that I reach the final. Against Flavia is strange, but I’m really happy, yeah, even when I lost.

Q. Did you feel the raindrops? Were you hoping it would start raining and maybe you would get a break?
ROBERTA VINCI: When starts rain, I was 5-2 down and Love-30, so I say, two more points. (Laughter.)

So I say — No, no, I didn’t think nothing. No.

Q. What do you think the two of you proved to yourselves and proved to everybody else this weekend?
ROBERTA VINCI: (Speaking in Italian.) Miracles can happen.

Q. How about in English?
ROBERTA VINCI: What? Miracles can happen. Because I beat Serena, miracle. (Laughter.)

And then two Italian can reach the Grand Slam final, a miracle. Cycle miracle. And, bo…

One Italian player can win a Grand Slam.

Q. There is a famous fellow from your country, I think his name is Leonardo Da Vinci. Any connection?
ROBERTA VINCI: No. (Laughter.)

Q. How was his forehand?
ROBERTA VINCI: No, no, no. No, my uncle. No. (Laughter).

Non scrivere!

Q. Did you and Flavia talk before the match?
ROBERTA VINCI: Yes, yes, yes.

Q. As normal?
ROBERTA VINCI: In the gym, and about the time that we play maybe a little bit late. Normal thing.

Q. If you had played another opponent would your feeling be different? Not that you ever like to lose, but is it easier that you lost to your countrywoman and it was a great day for Italian tennis?
ROBERTA VINCI: (Through translation.) If you lost against Flavia, if you lost against Wozniacki, if you lost against Serena, always the same. You lost, no?

So now I’m happy that one Italian player won a Grand Slam. That’s for sure. But it’s normal. Nothing special.

Q. You said you had nerves yesterday against Serena.
ROBERTA VINCI: Si.

Q. Any today?
ROBERTA VINCI: Also today. Yeah, you know, it’s a final. I try my best. The beginning I was nervous, but also her. Was normal.

I try to, yeah, to play aggressive, but she play better. For me was tough. I was a little bit also tired and long point. I had such…

Q. It didn’t make it easier that it was a friend who you were playing?
ROBERTA VINCI: No. Is tough to play against one friend. I know Flavia for long time, so it’s difficult, especially mentally, mental.

Was difficult for both, I think. Not only for me.

Q. In the last day, what are the best reactions that you have received to what you did yesterday, both the match and your interview after?
ROBERTA VINCI: I receive a lot of congratulations about my interview, but my English is so bad. The press say, Congratulations, Good job. Because I beat Serena? No, for your interview. Grazie. Thank you.

I’m not joking. Is true. Thank you. I need to improve my English, eh?

Q. It was very good.
ROBERTA VINCI: No, no, no, not very good. But I can do it.

Q. How was the crowd different today than yesterday?
ROBERTA VINCI: No, the same. It was amazing. It was a lot of supports, a lot of people. The court is incredible. Is the best court I think in the Grand Slam. Center court is so nice.

Q. What did the it mean that the prime minister was there?
ROBERTA VINCI: It’s a good thing for us and also for I think Italian people is nice to see Renzi, Malagò, and Binaghi all there to support us.

Q. It’s been a great tournament for you. Why do you think you were able to do this at this point in your career?
ROBERTA VINCI: Well, maybe because I’m, yeah, I have a lot of experience. I had such result in the past; I had nothing to prove.

I’m almost at the end of my career, so I think I enjoy more the tennis and the practice and this life.

Q. Just to be clear, you’re not retiring?
ROBERTA VINCI: Maybe. No, no, no, no. Not yet (Smiling.) (In Italian.) Almost.

Q. Have you thought actively about retiring?
ROBERTA VINCI: Si. No, really. A lot of time during these years.

But, you know, I like to play tennis, so I have a passion and I work in art. Now I reach one final slam, so I’m happy.

Q. What are your emotions about all of this right now?
ROBERTA VINCI: About all?

Q. About everything. What are your emotions?
ROBERTA VINCI: I love New York. (Smiling.) Today probably this is my last cheeseburger, and then tomorrow pasta, real pasta at home.

But, no, I enjoy all the season, all the US Open season. I play so good. Yeah, my emotion are difficult to say, especially in English.

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In Their Own Words – Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Novak Djokovic, Marin Cilic and Roberta Vinci

 

Serena Williams

Serena Williams

U.S. OPEN

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Serena Williams

Press Conference

S. WILLIAMS/V. Williams

6-2, 1-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You and your sister have played each other a number of times in the past, but never before with the calendar Grand Slam on the line. In terms of mental preparation, did you do anything different this time compared to the last times that you played each other?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, there’s nothing that I did different. I just was out there to play a really tough opponent today.

Q. What did that embrace with Venus at the end mean to you and how do you think you’ll look back on it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think I will look back on it fondly. It means a lot to me. Obviously we are very, very tough competitors on the court, but once the match is over and the second it’s done, you know, we’re sisters, we’re roommates, and we’re all that.

Q. Venus came up with some incredible level of play tonight. People kept talking about she’s the older sister looking out for you, but she’s gone through a lot. What does it mean for you that she’s back to this level again and you were able to go out there tonight and do that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It’s really great to see her do so well. She was at an unbelievable level today. Down to the match point it just was not easy. It’s probably the toughest match I have played in a really, really, really long time where I wasn’t actually beating myself. I was out there facing an incredibly tough opponent.

Yeah, so it was just seeing and knowing that she has that level is so good and inspiring, as well, and hopefully it’s encouraging for her, too. I think against any other player she for sure would have won.

Q. Was there a point in the match early on when you thought or you can tell Venus has her A game and this is going to be trouble?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, just in the very first game I knew she was playing well. But she played really well in her last match and she’s been playing really well all tournament.

She’s been going through this tournament really sneaky and on the low, and that was, I think, also really good for her.

Q. She knows your game very well. How do you play against that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Because I know her game well, so I think it actually evens out.

Q. Is there any other opponent across your career that has consistently given you as much trouble as your sister?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. No, I mean, she’s still playing, as well. I have played a lot of great players like Lindsay and Jennifer and Martina and Kim and Justine. I have had a lot of losses against those players, as well. They just didn’t have, I think, what the pressure — they didn’t know my game and they just didn’t beat me as many times as Venus has.

Q. One of the great players you faced very early in your career a couple of times was Steffi. Could you take a minute and just talk about her game, break down her game a bit and what made her so tough?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, she was Steffi Graf. I think that’s what made her really tough. You know, when you’re young and going against Steffi Graf, I mean, that, I think, pretty much sums it up.

Q. Her forehand, how does that compare with some of the other strokes you faced in your career?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, honestly it’s been a really long time since I have played her, but I just do remember her having an unbelievable forehand. I think her backhand was amazing, too, because she had that really good slice.

She was very athletic and very fast. She did a lot of things really well.

Q. When you split sets and you are sitting there in changeover chair and your sister is a few feet away from you, what’s the narrative going through your head going into that the final set with so much on the line? What’s the talk?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I’m thinking, at that point I was glad to be starting out serving. Just thought, Okay, I want to hold serve early on and see what happens. Just, What am I not doing? What am I not doing? What can I do better?

Nothing different goes in my mind as when I’m playing anyone else.

Q. That pragmatic? Nothing else swirling around?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, there is a lot of things going on in my mind, but nothing different from when I’m playing anyone else.

Q. These matches really intrigue the tennis public when you play your sister, and nontennis fans, too. Most important part of this is winning the match, but can you enjoy that at all in terms of what it means for the sport, or is the feeling, we’re going through this again and we will hear a lot of the same? Everybody will talk about me playing my sister again, and you just kind of want to be done with it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I didn’t really listen to a lot of the press and read anything about it, so I kind of was in a hole and I didn’t turn on my TV and didn’t watch any of the matches yesterday, men or women. I didn’t really live in that world.

But, yeah, it’s a big topic because I think it’s the greatest story in tennis because we really — you know, with our how we started and how we grew up and how we were able to win Championships and be, you know, such inspirations for so many women across the globe, I mean, it doesn’t get better than that.

Q. You just won a match. Normally you smile when you win you come here, you laugh. What happens tonight? Is just because you beat Venus or because you’re thinking about what is going next? What’s wrong?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It’s 11:30. To be perfectly honest with you, I don’t want to be here. (Laughter.) I just want to be in bed right now. I have to wake up early to practice.

I don’t want to answer any of these questions and you keep asking me the same questions.

It’s not really — you’re not making it super enjoyable. (Laughter.)

Q. At least I made you laugh.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I’m just being honest.

Q. At least I made you smile. Can I just ask you…
SERENA WILLIAMS: Is it about Venus again?

Q. About Roberta Vinci, of course. Even in Italy we think that she has no chance, but what is your opinion about it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think it’s good. I played her in Canada. She played me really tough, and I didn’t really expect that. That’s how I sprained my finger actually, was playing against her.

Thankfully my finger is a little better now. But, yeah, so I’m not going to underestimate her. She played really well. She’s not in the semifinals of a Grand Slam for no reason. She knows what to do and she knows what to play.

I think it was really good. Again, I just think it was great that I played her because I kind of know what to expect, and I’ll be more ready for it this time.

Q. Venus said that one of the best things even about losing was taking pride in you and watching you go on in your quest for the calendar year slam and how that was very important to your family. How does your success and your family’s success all blend together?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think my success is our success. You know, we all started together and we all are still together. So I think, yeah, I didn’t know it was important to my family, actually, but…

It is important to me, but at the same time, you know, it is what it is. I’ll do what I can.

Q. Do you get more drained emotionally, physically, mentally playing against Venus than anybody else? When you’re done, are you more tapped out than when you play anybody else?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It depends. Today was a very tough match today. It wasn’t an easy match.

So just thinking what I could do better. Yeah, so it just really depends.

Q. You said you were an inspiration to women around the world. I know it’s late, but can you give us some feedback on how you’ve gotten feedback about that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, just nowadays with social media you can get a lot of feedback. It’s kind of cool. You can sometimes see people say things that are just so positive or people post things like how inspiring my family is or Venus and I are and how they want to do it, they want to be like us, and how they started school or they started tennis.

It’s not always tennis. It’s just about how they started their lives and how we were able to inspire them. So I think that’s really kind of cool. You know, every time I read one it’s almost surreal like knowing that I and my sister have been able to inspire so many people and so many women.

It’s definitely something that when you’re growing up you don’t think, like, you know, I want to inspire people to do this. I just want to win some Grand Slams.

There is so much more to it that you don’t realize at the time.

Q. Venus said at the net when she hugged you she said, I’m just so happy for you.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, everyone in this room knows that Venus is probably one of the greatest people on the tour. She’s really great. She’s super professional. Complete opposite of me. (Laughter.)

Which actually that’s not true, but I’m just making a joke since you said I’m not laughing.

Q. Thanks. Did she saying else, and what did you say back to her at the net?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Just, Thanks. I don’t remember, to be honest, actually. Usually I do, but I don’t remember.

Q. Would you say that Vinci is a vintage tennis player? She plays one-hand backhand? Nobody else does it after Justine Henin.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I played someone first round at Wimbledon who hit some rocket one-handed backhand. Yeah, they are very few and far between. I don’t know if she’s a vintage because she’s such a good one-handed backhand.

Yeah, she’s definitely — she has that mean slice on that backhand, too.

Q. Coming to the net a little bit more?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. Definitely a little bit more old school, but also a really great matchup, because it’s fun to see people that can still come to the net and still hit slice and still hit one-handers. It’s different. It’s good for tennis.

Q. You’re very demonstrative tonight in a way you haven’t against Venus. Clearly you obviously wanted this match. After all that, how gratifying was it to walk to the net and get that hug from Venus? It was a nice moment.
SERENA WILLIAMS: It was gratifying because you’re out there and you want to win so bad in that moment, and then when the moment is over — because every single match I root for her every time, and so it’s interesting to be in a position to what you’re trying to win.

Q. What was the most satisfying part of the experience for you tonight?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Walking off the court and it being over with.

 

 

Venus in Press

U.S. OPEN

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Venus Williams

Press Conference

S. WILLIAMS/V. Williams

6-2, 1-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. The embrace at the end of the match, what did you say to your sister after an amazing match?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I just said I’m so happy for you. I don’t remember what else I said after that. Just moments. Just the moment.

Q. You and Serena played on the big stage tonight, but obviously as sisters you grew up playing against each other. What advice do you have for other sibling sets who are coming up in the sport and have to face off?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Just enjoy the moment and try your best and keep practicing. I don’t know.

Q. Can you walk us through what was going through your head after the second set? You were sitting there in your chair, one set to go. What’s in your head?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, the first set was close. Lost serve a couple times, but I was still leading in both of those games.

Knew I had opportunities and just tried to capitalize on them.

Q. Do you remember the early days when you and Serena would play in the (indiscernible) foundation, playing the Jensens in doubles and playing one another in singles?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, I remember that.

Q. Yeah. Good memories back then of that fun stuff?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah. Anything for charity.

Q. What’s the toughest part about playing Serena both in terms of strokes and in terms of mindset?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, she has of course a wonderful mental game, but she also has ability to come up with a great shot when she needs it. That’s just been the hallmark of her game.

Q. This match more important than any of the others you have played in terms of the gravity at the moment?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it was more unique, definitely.

Q. What makes it more unique?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, obviously because Serena is going for the Grand Slam and I think everybody is interested because she has to play her sister to get to that.

People want to see, you know, how that’s going to come out. So it was definitely a different moment.

Q. Did that play on your mind at all during the match? I mean, it seems like you’re conscious about it, obviously, but once you get into the match you’re focused.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, you have to be focused or else you’re going to lose serve. Just try to hold.

Q. What you and Serena did tonight probably promoted tennis as much as the Billie Jean King/Bobby Riggs as far as interest and enthusiasm. What’s that make you feel like? How much gratification is there for you in that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I’m not sure anything can top Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs.

Q. It was very close.
VENUS WILLIAMS: But it definitely was intriguing.

Q. How do you think you played tonight? And second to that, what did you say to Serena at the net at the end?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I thought I played pretty well tonight and served well. Just tried to play aggressively. That’s always how I want to play.

I just told her I was really happy for her, and like I said earlier, I don’t remember what I said after that.

Maybe she’ll remember.

Q. What is the emotional challenge when you play Serena?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I thought I answered that last time. (Laughter.) You know, when you get in the tournament, you want to win the match, you want to win the tournament, so that’s both of our focus when we get out there, is to try to be our best.

Q. You said the other day that when you were kids you both dreamed of duking it out on the biggest of stages. What do you think you showed tonight with the way you conducted yourself on the court and after?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don’t know. I wasn’t trying to show anything. I’m just being myself when I’m out there, so whatever that is, that is.

Q. Is it any different when you played now as opposed to five, ten years ago in terms of all of this? Has it changed at all? And if so, how so?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don’t think it’s changed. Not for me, no.

Q. When you were young you were very much the caretaker of your little sister, giving her a trophy once, and when she lost, giving her a bunch of money and so forth. Do you still feel like you’re the older sister taking care of her and so forth? Can you talk about that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I will always be the older sister. That’s never going to change. (Smiling.)

Q. But aside from chronologically, how do you feel in terms of the dynamics between you and your sister?
VENUS WILLIAMS: We have always taken care of each other, but also that goes for the rest of my family and other sisters. We have always taken care of each other no matter what.

So it’s just that you see Serena and I a little more often, but it’s a family thing.

Q. You both obviously have done something very special over the years and played a lot of special matches. We don’t know if you’ll ever meet in a stage like this again. Was there any part at the end or in breaks or anything where you looked around and just took it in a little bit?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Actually, no. Sorry. (Smiling.)

Q. Too intense?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don’t think like that. I feel that, you know, luck and chance and blessings from God and we stay healthy, we’ll play again.

Q. What was most gratifying and what was most dissatisfying about the experience for you tonight?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, yeah, losing isn’t fun. I mentioned that part.

And then gratifying, I don’t know if I thought about that yet, but probably the most gratifying is I’m still very excited to see Serena have an opportunity to win the four majors.

I think that’s the best part.

Q. You made the quarterfinals at the US Open; got a set off the No. 1 player in the world. At age 35, what do you think of what you still have left in the tank?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I try my best every match, and sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.

I generally play against a lot of inspired opponents. No easy matches for me ever. So I think when I play people they come out swinging because they feel like either they have to or that they have — that they have to.

It’s wonderful to play and win against opponents that are playing well and to be able to move on and continue to do so.

Q. Is it emotional to still to face your sister? What’s it like playing her?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Is that the question?

Q. Is it still emotional? I mean, was it emotional for you out there tonight facing your sister, even though you have talked about so many times?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, my main goal when I go out there is to hold serve. I think that’s her main goal, too. Then you have to look at a break. That’s a lot of what I’m looking at when I’m out there. That’s kind of a peek into my mind.

Q. You mentioned a couple times holding serve. Does that pressure feel different against Serena because you know she has such a good serve to hold on to?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, she has great returns, as well. How she ends up returning my serve is unlike any of the other players that I have played.

So on my first serve in my other matches I’m definitely getting easier points, but I think the trick is not to go for too much. She’s a good shot. Hey, what can you do? Try to put another first serve in.

Q. Serena said after the match that when she’s playing against you she doesn’t think of you as her sister. What do you think of Serena during the match?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I still think of her as Serena still, but I don’t — I don’t separate it.

Q. You were playing your sister out there on Arthur Ashe Stadium in front of a packed stadium. Presidential candidate, Oprah, and other dignitaries. If Arthur Ashe was there, what do you think he might have to say?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I have no idea. That’s a good question. I never knew him so well. You might have to ask someone who knew him well. I imagine he would enjoy the moment.

His exact words, that’s a mystery right now.

Q. Serena said that you helped create her in a way and made her the player that she is. What would it mean to you if she doesn’t go on and go for the Grand Slam and actually succeed?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that would be a huge, not just for me, but for my family just for what it represents and how hard we have worked and where we come from. So it would be a moment for our family.

But at the same time, if it doesn’t happen it’s not going to make or break you. We don’t have anything to prove. She has nothing to prove.

She’s really the best ever, so what are you going to do? Just try to make it. If you don’t, then that’s that and go to the next one.

Q. How do you feel when you say that she’s the best ever? What feeling does that give you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think she is the best ever because of the level of competition that she’s faced. There have been some unbelievable players in the past, but I have played in this, you know, seems like multiple eras at this point.

I have played the best from different eras, as well. I have seen the level of competitiveness go up, and I have seen players who are ranked 100 who didn’t believe they could win a match against you to this point fight you tooth and nail and try to take you down.

So that didn’t happen when I started. So just to be able to win at this level, I think that’s what makes her the best.

Q. If you have the chance to win your sister, will you take this chance?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I tried. Were you there? (Laughter.)

Q. What do you still want from tennis?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, of course I want to win majors and I want to feel good when I’m on the court and just feel confident that I can practice there the way I want, prepare the way I want, and be able to do what I need to do on the court.

So that’s what I want. I want to be happy with my results personally. As long as that happens, then that’s good for me.

Q. She’s obviously going after Steffi’s record. Can you be a bit more specific and compare and contrast Serena’s game and Steffi’s game?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, yeah. I played both.

Well, if you compare the serve then you probably give it to Serena. If you compare the speed, they both are very fast, but probably Serena. She’s dangerous on the run.

Mental toughness, you probably have to give that to both of them. But it’s a different time. It’s a different time. You have to expect that perhaps 10, 20 years later that the next generation is going to be even at a higher level.

So let’s say Steffi played at this time. Then she would be even at a better level than she played at then.

Q. Pretty good forehand?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, huge forehand. Serena has a huge one, too. I don’t think anyone would want to face either one.

Q. Some people may think because you have taken care of Serena that you’d be conflicted tonight, that there is a part of you that doesn’t want to get in the way of her achieving a Grand Slam, but then there is a part of you that obviously wants to win and beat her. Is that a silly notion, or is there something to it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I feel like if I cared deeply about what people thought of me, I probably would have never made it out of Compton, California.

So my whole thing is to live up to hopefully my own expectations, which is the hardest thing to live up, anyway, probably to your own expectations than to other people’s.

So if I can live up to that, then I’ll be all right.

 

 

Djokovic celebrates win-001

U.S. OPEN

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Novak Djokovic

Press Conference

N. DJOKOVIC/F. Lopez

6-2, 1-6, 6-3, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You seemed really frustrated after the second set. What went wrong and how did you fix it?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Just frustrating when you drop — you play one sloppy service game in the beginning. Was 30-Love in that game and I allowed him to break me and the set was gone.

I thought I played a pretty good first set, and then after that, you know, I was just trying to hang in there and wait for the opportunities. I played good beginning of the third. Fourth was anybody’s game, really. Didn’t have many chances on his service games.

Played a very good tiebreak. That’s a positive.

Q. The fourth set obviously was 6-6 and goes to a tiebreak. It seemed like the tiebreak was almost over before it started. What was the difference between the fourth set and the tiebreak?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I started to feel the end of the fourth like my serve, finding the range on my serve, which wasn’t working at all in the first part of the match. Obviously when you start serving better, more accurate, higher percent of first serves in, you feel more confident.

So that allowed me to kind of relax on the returns. Return points I managed to anticipate well. On 2-1 and 3-1, both of his first serves I anticipated well. Returned pretty good and, you know, allowed myself to make two mini breaks, which is a big advantage in the tiebreak.

Q. How happy are you with just your consistency tonight? Only 17 unforced errors.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, in a match like this against a player who comes in a lot, chips and charges and has a huge first serve, you need to be able to try to reduce your unforced error ratios as much as you can.

That’s why I was trying to do. Obviously always things you could have done better, but it’s a win in four sets against a player who is in form, playing well in Cincinnati, playing with the confidence, and winning against some top players.

All in all, I’m in the semifinals. I have two days off, and hopefully will be able to get ready for the next one.

Q. You have a perfect record against Cilic, but he’s the defending champion here. Do you think he takes a little more confidence into it than he normally would?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I would think so because of the fact that he won his first Grand Slam title last year in New York. He hasn’t lost a match, you know, 12, 13 matches in a row, so I’m sure that he feels confident. He won today a really close match. A couple of five-setters he had already in this tournament.

But he has a big serve. I think around 30 aces he had today, so the serve gets him out of trouble. I know him very well. I have played with him many, many times. We are great friends. Great guy.

I know what to do, and I’m opening I can execute the game plan obviously and play my best.

Q. When you face a player that you have had that much success against, do you anticipate him trying something new? Do you sort of then try to think ahead to how you would react to that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, there are different scenarios that you can predict. Obviously when the moments are kind of tight and important during the match, most of the players have certain patterns of the serve and of the game.

So you try to analyze that, try and go back to those matches that I have played against him this year and other years and get myself ready.

Of course I’m sure he’s not going to start coming to the net after every ball, but I’m sure he’s gonna try to be aggressive, going to try to take his chances. That’s how he won last year US Open. I watched him play. He played great. Best tennis of his life.

This is where he loves playing. He loves the conditions on Arthur Ashe. As I said, I’m going to try to use that advantage and having success against him in the past and to my favor.

Q. Second straight match where you lost the second set and then played very good tennis afterwards. Is there a correlation? Do you just kind of make it more focused?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, well, again, I was focusing today on the beginning of the second. Just didn’t want to lose the concentration, and unfortunately it happened. I had a couple of break points in the first game of the second set, and obviously maybe the story would be different if I broke him there.

Started off with a break up, but I was break down and 3-Love down and he started swinging freely. I kind of backed up a little bit and the game changed. Sport of small margins, especially on the high level, one or two points can really change the course of the match.

 

314MarinCilic-001

 

U.S. OPEN

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Marin Cilic

Press Conference

M. CILIC/J. Tsonga

6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. When you see yourself in the fifth set after three match points in the fourth, what’s going your mind? How do you regroup?
MARIN CILIC: Well, at the tiebreak when I was going down a bit with the score I was, you know, obviously disappointed with that.

At that point I was mentally on a scale either left or right. I’m going to break or, you know, either — I was asking myself, Am I going to change anything for the fifth set if it comes, or then I’m going to keep going with the same game plan?

Then I decided to, you know, stay mentally tough. You know, I was looking, thinking about third and fourth set. I didn’t play poorly. You know, Jo came up with amazing shots in the critical points, especially on all three match points that I had he played great points.

I, you know, could have done of course something differently. Could have played some shots differently and pick different spots. But the way I was playing them, I didn’t choose any bad shots or that I played bad points.

Just kept going with it. Sticked with my plan and stayed mentally tough and was very difficult day. Very demanding. Very, very hot, and of course a lot on the line for the match. Obviously with emotions and mentally was very exhausting.

So at the fifth set I was, you know, of course feeling a bit tired, but I was able to go through it.

Q. People who win Grand Slams say the hardest thing to do is come back and defend a Grand Slam. You’re deep in the tournament now, so you must feel a certain amount of pride and relief to come this far even as a defending champion.
MARIN CILIC: Yeah, I would say the word “pride.” I wouldn’t pick the word “relief” in there. I came to the tournament knowing that I can play well here, that I, you know, just need few matches to get into the rhythm, and that’s what happened.

I was feeling that, you know, I was starting to hit the ball much better. In the previous match with Chardy I finished with the third and fourth set really strongly. I was playing really good tennis.

Today, to beat Jo with, you know, a demanding day like this, it’s of course a huge accomplishment.

Q. Also he’s a very popular guy. How did you manage to steal the crowd away from him?
MARIN CILIC: Well, I don’t think I stole the crowd. As, you know, they were of course forcing — they want to see longer match obviously. That’s always like it is.

I didn’t mind, actually, them cheering for Jo. In the third set, when he won the third and especially when he held his serve to stay in the match when I had some match points, I just kept my coolness.

You know, at the end I used a little bit of emotions to pump the crowd at, you know, critical points. But I was, again, you know, in front and they were cheering again for Jo, but that’s absolutely normal. It was great, great atmosphere. I really enjoyed the match.

Q. How would you describe the respect that you have had coming back as a defending champion? Is it maybe less because we still have those named players: Federer and Nadal and Djokovic back, and you’re still somebody who isn’t as well known?
MARIN CILIC: Well, I felt that it was huge respect from even the tournament and people around and players around. I really felt that, you know, I’m coming differently to the tournament and I’m feeling differently.

You know, the things are set up completely different. I played several matches on the stadium, Arthur Ashe Stadium, and that, I think, there is no bad points, anything about it.

You know, just enjoying to play here.

Q. How does the absence at this stage of the tournament of Rafa and Andy Murray affect your chances, do you think?
MARIN CILIC: I don’t think that matters much. Of course they are great players, but, still, you’ve got in the draw the guys who play the best these last 10 days. Obviously all of them have deserved their spot to be here.

You know, the names that are most of the time circling around. They are of course the best players. You know that they can play the best at most consistent time.

But, you know, these guys that are left in the tournament, they are very dangerous, can. They play well. There is Stan, there is Roger still in, Novak; even Anderson is playing great tennis.

So it’s, you know, open field.

Q. Five sets. The ankle is doing okay?
MARIN CILIC: Yeah. Yeah, the ankle is doing okay. I was a bit scared after the match with Chardy, but it’s all right. It’s great to have also two more days until semis, actually three days.

Yeah, I think it’s going to be okay.

Q. You sliced some dropshots at some critical moments. Were you trying to get him to move a lot because of his knee?
MARIN CILIC: I actually didn’t plan that before the points or, you know, that I had that in the game. With Jo it’s tough to get opportunities to, you know, play some dropshots.

I actually played a couple that were very critical at the end of the match, and obviously he had some problems with his knee. I felt his serve in the third set went down a bit with the speed.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to break him, but afterwards he was serving big, and I didn’t see, you know, that it was causing too much trouble for him. Of course he wasn’t at the best shape, but, you know, I was trying to think about myself more.

Q. Today was one of the hottest days of the tournament, maybe the hottest day. How did you deal with that out on the court for a long match, five sets? Did you feel okay physically in that way?
MARIN CILIC: It was very demanding. As I mentioned, very difficult match psychologically, as well. Two sets to up — two sets to zero — I lost my words. I don’t know what I’m talking anymore. (Smiling.)

To lose the fourth set like that after three-and-a-half hours, whatever, it was very, very difficult. Extremely tough conditions today.

Q. Speaking of psychologically demanding, I know you have a younger brother who plays tennis. Can you imagine one day playing him on a stadium like this the way Venus and Serena are doing now?
MARIN CILIC: Actually, I was mentioning that to my team in the locker room. We saw the girls coming out on the court, and I said, I can’t imagine myself playing against my brother. That would be very difficult.

But, you know, it would be absolutely nice with me that he would be on the tour. You know, I would be more proud about him than myself.

Q. You’re a quiet, introverted guy; Jo is a showman. Do you really care how involved the crowd is or how they support you? Do you think about this during the match? Do you think, Gee, they aren’t really behind me or they are behind me, for the other guy, not for the other guy? What goes through your mind about that?
MARIN CILIC: It doesn’t really affect me. At most times when player is affected about these things is when he’s nervous or under stress or he’s down with the score or, you know, when things are not going his way.

And for me, I really don’t mind. Of course, I can have some tough days during the year that it would, you know, cause some provocation to me, but most of the time, 99% of the time, I really don’t mind.

I’m just focused on myself and trying to play.

Q. It didn’t affect you during the third or fourth set, for instance, when you were under stress?
MARIN CILIC: No. No, I mean, I’m aware that, you know, the crowd wants to see more tennis. I was, you know, in a similar situation several years ago when I played here. I played Novak and, you know, I was down with the score and then, you know, the crowd was cheering for me.

So, you know, it goes around.

Q. You mentioned thinking it would be difficult to play your brother. What do you think is so difficult about that, Serena and Venus? What’s difficult about that? And the second part of the question is: What’s been your perspective of Serena Williams over the past, five, ten years since you have been involved in the sport?
MARIN CILIC: Well, the most difficult part when you’re playing somebody that close is your emotions on the court. Everything is great, you know, when the score is going great in your favor. You’re keeping your coolness.

You know, the tough part is when the score is not going in your favor and you need to do something. It’s difficult, you know, to be angry, to show emotions, to be either overjoyed or show, like, bad emotions, you know, when you are playing somebody that close.

That’s I think the biggest difficulty there is. You have to sort of be like more quiet. You’re not gonna celebrate the points as much and you’re not going to go fist pumping to somebody from your family.

And for the other question, you know, as everybody knows that, they have changed the tennis, and especially Serena in last several years. She’s showing that she can change history, and then I think she can also, by achieving — you know, if she wins this year, by achieving the Grand Slam, she can help the next generations to be more motivated and to try to hunt her with the Grand Slam titles.

Q. The handshake with Jo wasn’t quite warm. I was wondering if you knew why. And if so, how do you see the next match? Could be Novak again.
MARIN CILIC: Yeah, I was surprised, actually. I don’t know. I really don’t know why.

But, you know, Jo shook my hand, and said, Congratulations. But that was it. I don’t know for the rest. If I provoke him or not I have no idea. I hope not.

And for Novak, if it’s gonna be him in the semis, definitely toughest match for me, toughest matchup, I would say. I haven’t beaten him ever in my career. I had close matches last few years, but I haven’t found the right formula to be able to win a match.

We will see. Trying to approach every match as a new one. You know, of course when you look at the statistic that he won that many matches against me, doesn’t, you know, go in my favor, absolutely.

But when you’re coming to the match it’s always going from zero, so it’s a new match. It’s different stage, and I’m feeling good here on the court.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

 

Roberta-Vinci

 

 

U.S. OPEN

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Roberta Vinci

Press Conference

R. VINCI/K. Mladenovic

6-3, 5-7, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Tough battle out there today. Through to your first Grand Slam semifinal as a result of some fierce play. Talk about the match and how you feel you played.
ROBERTA VINCI: Well, of course I’m feeling good right now. It was a tough match, of course, quarterfinal. At the beginning I started to play good, much better than her, and then I won the first set.

Then 2-1 for me and break I lost my serve in 35 seconds, I think. And then starting to — she’s starting to play much better than the first set, but I think at the end, 3-All in the third set, long, long game, advantage for her, advantage for me, double fault, ace, everything, and when I won that game probably she’s going a little bit down or upset.

But of course it’s my semifinal in my career, so I’m really happy.

Q. A semifinal you’ll play against somebody with the name Williams. We don’t know which one.
ROBERTA VINCI: Doesn’t matter. I am in the semifinal. (Laughter.)

Q. How do you feel? Are you looking forward to playing your first semifinal? Maybe it doesn’t matter, but certainly going to be a lot of attention in that match.
ROBERTA VINCI: Yeah, yeah. Of course. But doesn’t matter if Serena or Venus.

I’m so happy. I would like to enjoy my semifinal on Thursday. I did not expect one semifinal at the US Open, so I’m really happy. Now I enjoy my day. Tomorrow rest and play my game on Thursday.

I have nothing to lose. We will see.

Q. You said you didn’t — I think you said you didn’t expect to be in the semifinals right now.
ROBERTA VINCI: No.

Q. I know you haven’t been in one before. But is it fair to say that you have exceeded your expectations in this tournament thus far?
ROBERTA VINCI: Well, I played good in Toronto; Cincinnati started to play much better.

But when you play the Grand Slams, always tough and you have a lot of pressure because there are so many points and so you can reach — you can improve your ranking.

But I think I have also good draw, because Suarez lost, Jankovic the same, Bouchard.

So maybe this was my tournament. I don’t know. Sometimes it can happen. Yeah.

Q. You’re one of six players in the top 40 for Italy. Today you made a major contribution. How proud are you of that contribution? How proud do you feel your country is of you right now, being the first into the semifinals? You won the race. You’re the first one in there.
ROBERTA VINCI: Well, yeah I’m happy. In Italy there are so many good players. Maybe see. Maybe tomorrow Flavia, she has to play, so probably she can reach also the semifinals, too.

I’m proud. Of course I’m really happy one Italian girl goes to the semifinal. Of course.

Q. Some players, you know, they make it to the semifinals, make the slam breakthrough early in their career; you’re making yours later in your career. I am curious as to what you think it means for you? What does it mean for you to make a slam semi now?
ROBERTA VINCI: Well, it’s nice. I’m 32. I’m not young. So probably my experience today help me a lot. Kristina is a young player, so probably she find a little bit tension or something.

Of course I think I’m at the end of my career, so my semifinal, first semifinal, it’s incredible. You know, when you work hard for a long time and every single day, sometimes you have some periods down and try to come back. It’s not always easy.

But it’s nice. I’m very proud of myself.

Q. Could you break down playing either Serena or Venus with what you expect from each matchup.
ROBERTA VINCI: When they play tonight? For me?

Q. When you play.
ROBERTA VINCI: Against Serena or Venus?

Q. Yes. Talk about each of them.
ROBERTA VINCI: Wow. Tough match for both. Yeah, Serena is Serena, but Venus is still playing so good. But what I said, I have nothing to lose. Just play my game. Enjoy my match. We will see.

But of course I’m really happy now to go to the semifinal.

Q. Talk about how your experience might have helped you today. From your experiences against both of them, if memory serves me, seven matches you have played against Venus and Serena. What do you think you can take from any of those matches that would help you in the semifinal?
ROBERTA VINCI: Yeah, I know that I have a lot of experience, but when you play against Serena doesn’t matter. (Smiling.) You have to play better then better then better.

And also, I think also against Venus.

Well, I have to play. I have to play my game, aggressive, nothing special. Yeah, I know I have a lot of experience, but maybe against them I don’t need this experience.

Q. What are your thoughts about the way your game has evolved during this tournament? How does that compare with what you were thinking when the tournament began?
ROBERTA VINCI: Well, now I’m starting to play much better, more aggressive. I feel good. Also my body is okay. I don’t have injury. Maybe now I’m more solid and more in confidence.

You know, when you won a lot of matches you are a little bit of, yeah, in confidence.

So now I’m good. I’m feeling good. I mean, yeah. Is nice when you have this sensation. You know, when you go on the court, okay, let’s play.

When you don’t feel the balls or something goes wrong it’s tough, but now the things goes in a good way.

Q. What has given you that much confidence playing on the hard courts during this tournament?
ROBERTA VINCI: Yeah, they are hard court. The balls, the balance, the surface, everything. I like to play in the States. I like to play here. It’s nice. (Smiling.)

Q. You’re a great doubles player. How much of that doubles success has rounded out your game to an all-court player? You’re starting to use your shots a bit more in your singles, it looks like.
ROBERTA VINCI: Yeah, yeah, with Sara we won a lot of Grand Slams, so maybe I have a lot of experience, and then in doubles you can try some shot or something different, and you can also try to in singles.

I think the doubles help a lot. Yeah.

Q. How did this confidence help you in that marathon game in the third set? How did you stay focused? Did you know how important that game was?
ROBERTA VINCI: Was tough to stay focused, was tired at the end, but also her. Three whole long game. That was I think the key, because, yeah, she was also tired.

But on my mind I say, Play every single point. Don’t think about the results. Don’t think about the quarterfinal. Oh, maybe I go to the semis. Don’t think about that.

Play aggressive. That’s it. Try to stay calm. It was tough, but it’s okay.

Q. You were speaking before about the Williams sisters. With Serena specifically, when you watch her play, what goes through your mind?
ROBERTA VINCI: She’s the No. 1. She’s incredible player. I played against her in Toronto three weeks ago. The serve, it’s incredible. It’s tough to return. She’s the No. 1.

Q. How about her mental strength? How would you describe that?
ROBERTA VINCI: It’s not easy. You have sometimes you have to try to return and try to put the ball on the court. It’s not easy to do, but we will see. Maybe Thursday I can do it. (Smiling.)

Q. Is there a match or a win over the last summer that you point to and say that was the match where you got the most confidence?
ROBERTA VINCI: In the past?

Q. Just this summer. You had a very good hard court summer and you had some good wins. I’m just wondering if there is one match that you can point to as being…
ROBERTA VINCI: One match? Well, maybe the match against Bouchard that I play — I play so good. She play so-and-so, but I was tough, tough player. (Smiling.)

Q. Speaking of Bouchard, how fresh do you feel today? You didn’t have to play a fourth-round match?
ROBERTA VINCI: I was tired. I was tired. I didn’t play, but, you know, a lot of pressure in your mind and a lot of energy that you lost about this match.

I’m joking, of course. I didn’t play so I had one day off. It was good for my body.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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Serena Williams Moves into US Open Semifinals with Three-set Win over Sister Venus

(September 8, 2015) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – It was Serena Williams versus Venus Williams part 27 as the sisters battled it out on Arthur Ashe Stadium on Tuesday night at the US Open.

Serena kept her hopes for the Grand Slam alive with a 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 win over Venus.

In the first set Serena broke Venus’ serve twice to capture the set 6-2.

In the second set, errors crept into Serena’s game and the 23rd seed Venus ran up a 5-1 score. Serena hit 3 double faults of her total of five in the match, while Venus continued to hit powerful groundstrokes, shot for shot with her sister. Serena saved two set points, but could not save a third, set to Venus 6-1.

In the third set Serena broke in the second a game and held the rest of the way for 6-3.

At the net, the two sisters embraced and Venus said “I’m so happy for you,” to Serena.

“I think I will look back on it fondly,” Serena said of the hug at the net. “It means a lot to me. Obviously we are very, very tough competitors on the court, but once the match is over and the second it’s done, you know, we’re sisters, we’re roommates, and we’re all that.”

“It’s really great to see her do so well,” Serena continued. “She was at an unbelievable level today. Down to the match point it just was not easy. It’s probably the toughest match I have played in a really, really, really long time where I wasn’t actually beating myself. I was out there facing an incredibly tough opponent.

“Yeah, so it was just seeing and knowing that she has that level is so good and inspiring, as well, and hopefully it’s encouraging for her, too. I think against any other player she for sure would have won.”

“I think she is the best ever because of the level of competition that she’s faced,” Venus said of her sister. “There have been some unbelievable players in the past, but I have played in this, you know, seems like multiple eras at this point.

“I have played the best from different eras, as well. I have seen the level of competitiveness go up, and I have seen players who are ranked 100 who didn’t believe they could win a match against you to this point fight you tooth and nail and try to take you down.

“So that didn’t happen when I started. So just to be able to win at this level, I think that’s what makes her the best.”

Serena is now 16-11 against Venus, 9-5 in majors.

Serena is on a 33-match winning streak in majors, a 26-match winning streak at the US Open.

Serena hit 35 winners to 35 unforced errors. She won 9 of 11 points at the net and was 3 for 6 in break point chances.

Serena will play Roberta Vinci for a spot in the final.

Defending US Open champion Marin Cilic was pushed to five sets by 19th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (3), 6-4 in his quarterfinal match which lasted almost four hours on Tuesday.

“He just hit the ball a little bit more properly than me at the right moment, and that was a huge difference at the end, because he just made it,” Tsonga said. “He just made it.”

“A big mental fight,” Cilic said after the match, “especially after losing that fourth set.”

Cilic talked about regrouping after failing to close out the match  in the fourth set: “Well, at the tiebreak when I was going down a bit with the score I was, you know, obviously disappointed with that.

“At that point I was mentally on a scale either left or right. I’m going to break or, you know, either — I was asking myself, Am I going to change anything for the fifth set if it comes, or then I’m going to keep going with the same game plan?

“Then I decided to, you know, stay mentally tough. You know, I was looking, thinking about third and fourth set. I didn’t play poorly. You know, Jo came up with amazing shots in the critical points, especially on all three match points that I had he played great points.

“I, you know, could have done of course something differently. Could have played some shots differently and pick different spots. But the way I was playing them, I didn’t choose any bad shots or that I played bad points.

“Just kept going with it. Sticked with my plan and stayed mentally tough and was very difficult day. Very demanding. Very, very hot, and of course a lot on the line for the match. Obviously with emotions and mentally was very exhausting.

“So at the fifth set I was, you know, of course feeling a bit tired, but I was able to go through it.”

“Jo just came up with amazing shots,” Cilic said.

The Croatian will face  No. 1 Novak Djokovic. Djokovic reached his ninth US Open semifinal in a row defeating 18th seed Feliciano Lopez of Spain 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (2).

“I thought I played a pretty good first set, and then after that, you know, I was just trying to hang in there and wait for the opportunities,” Djokovic said. “I played good beginning of the third. Fourth was anybody’s game, really. Didn’t have many chances on his service games.”

“I started to feel the end of the fourth like my serve, finding the range on my serve, which wasn’t working at all in the first part of the match. Obviously when you start serving better, more accurate, higher percent of first serves in, you feel more confident.

“So that allowed me to kind of relax on the returns. Return points I managed to anticipate well. On 2-1 and 3-1, both of his first serves I anticipated well. Returned pretty good and, you know, allowed myself to make two mini breaks, which is a big advantage in the tiebreak.”

Djokovic has never lost to Cilic and was asked about Cilic’s confidence.

 “Because of the fact that he won his first Grand Slam title last year in New York. He hasn’t lost a match, you know, 12, 13 matches in a row, so I’m sure that he feels confident. He won today a really close match. A couple of five-setters he had already in this tournament.

“But he has a big serve. I think around 30 aces he had today, so the serve gets him out of trouble. I know him very well. I have played with him many, many times. We are great friends. Great guy.

“I know what to do, and I’m opening I can execute the game plan obviously and play my best.”

“Well, there are different scenarios that you can predict. Obviously when the moments are kind of tight and important during the match, most of the players have certain patterns of the serve and of the game.

“So you try to analyze that, try and go back to those matches that I have played against him this year and other years and get myself ready.

“Of course I’m sure he’s not going to start coming to the net after every ball, but I’m sure he’s gonna try to be aggressive, going to try to take his chances. That’s how he won last year US Open. I watched him play. He played great. Best tennis of his life.

“This is where he loves playing. He loves the conditions on Arthur Ashe. As I said, I’m going to try to use that advantage and having success against him in the past and to my favor.”

The two other men’s quarterfinals matches on the other half of the men’s draw are on Wednesday. They will feature No. 2 Roger Federer vs. No. 12 Richard Gasquet of France, and No. 5 Stan Wawrinka vs. No. 15 Kevin Anderson of South Africa.

Williams will play Roberta Vinci in her semifinal. At age 32, this will be the Italian’s first major semifinal. Vinci survived an ailing Kristina Mladenovic 6-3, 5-7, 6-4.

Vinci, ranked at No. 43 is playing her 44th major. Only Elena Likhovtseva had played in more majors, 46 before reaching the 2005 French Open semifinal.

“I’m so happy, Vinci said. “I would like to enjoy my semifinal on Thursday. I did not expect one semifinal at the US Open, so I’m really happy. Now I enjoy my day. Tomorrow rest and play my game on Thursday.

“I have nothing to lose. We will see.”

“Definitely a little bit more old school, but also a really great matchup, because it’s fun to see people that can still come to the net and still hit slice and still hit one-handers,” Serena said about her next challenger. “It’s different. It’s good for tennis.”

Serena stands just two victories away from winning the Grand Slam and her 22nd major, tying her with Steffi Graf for second on the all-time major list, two behind Margaret Court.

 

 

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Peng Shuai Notches Second Straight Upset of a Seed at US Open

Shuai Peng

Shuai Peng

(August 29, 2014) FLUSHING MEADOWS – Peng Shuai has knocked out another seeded player at the US Open to reach just her second straight major tournament fourth round.

On Wednesday she dismissed No. 4 seed Agnieszka Radwanska, and on Friday Peng defeated 28 seed Roberta Vinci 6-4, 6-3.

The No. 39-ranked Peng will play the winner of 14 seed Lucie Safarova or 22 seed Alize Cornet in an effort to try to earn a berth in her first Grand Slam quarterfinal.

“Big challenge,” Peng said of her next match. “I know I never pass it. And always like maybe — always different player. Also like I think for myself I need to (have) more courage, be more like stronger, and then try my best. Because now is I don’t know who I gonna be play for next round. Either way Cornet or Safarova. Both is really good player. Safarova is lefty. Sometimes it’s like different. I know this year she doing really good, you know. I will try my best.”

Peng is carrying the flag for China at the US Open with Li Na out due to injury.

Former US Open Finalist Jelena Jankovic dusted Johanna Larsson 6-1, 6-0. Larsson upset Sloane Stephens on Wednesday.

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Hometown Girl Simona Halep Makes Good and Wins Bucharest Title

 

 

 

(July 13, 2014) In a battle between the top seeds, No. 1 Simona Halep of Romania make her home country happy, by dismissing second seed Roberta Vinci to win the Bucharest Open final 6-1, 6-3 in 70 minutes on Sunday for her eighth WTA title.

Halep was born in Constanța, Romania.

No. 3 Halep raised her head-to-head record to 4-2 against Vinci with the win. The 22-year-old Halep has now won 8 career WTA titles. She was a finalist at the French Open and reached the semifinals of the Wimbledon. She is also No. 2 on the Road To Singapore leaderboard, 11 points behind Maria Sharapova.

“I really wanted to play in this tournament and to win it. Today’s final was a very emotional one,” Halep said. “The crowd was amazing and I really want to thank everybody who played a part in the tournament. What I wish for now is to get to Singapore and do an equally good job there. I want to play every match and every tournament to reach as high a ranking as possible.”

“I knew ever since yesterday that it was going to be difficult,” Vinci said. “Simona is an incredible tennis player and she has a phenomenal game. I gave it my best and I actually managed to get to 2-0 in the second set but she was too strong. However, it was nice to receive the support of the crowd, and I am happy to have played my first singles final of the year in here.”

The Romanians were also treated to a doubles win by their own in Elena Bogdan and Alexandra Cadantu beat Turkish-Slovenian pair Cagla Buyukakcay and Andreja Klepac 6-4, 3-6, 10-5 for their first-ever WTA title.

 

 

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Richard Gasquet and Flavia Pennetta Move into US Open Quarterfinals

 

 

Gasquet 89

(September 4, 2013) Richard Gasquet and Flavia Pennetta advanced to the semifinals of the US Open on Wednesday.

No. 8 seed Gasquet from France booked the first place in the men’s semifinals with a 6-3, 6-1, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3 win over fourth seed David Ferrer in 3 hours, 23 minutes. The Frenchman will play the winner of the all-Spanish match – Rafael Nadal versus Tommy Robredo in the semifinals.

Gasquet came into the match having saved a match point in a five-set win over Milos Raonic. Coming into the match Gasquet was 6-12 in five-set matches while Ferrer was 19-9.

Despite taking a two set lead, one can never count out David Ferrer.

“Even if I was leading two sets to love I knew it was David Ferrer, Gasquet said.  “I knew he’s a big fighter so I knew it was not over.  He played well in the start in the third set.”

“Fourth set I played well too, but he was a little bit better than me.  So I knew I had to keep my serve in the fifth, and that’s what I did.  I did a bad game at 3‑2 for me, and then I was leading 4‑1.

“I knew I was so close to win this match, and I fight a lot to finish.  Especially at 5‑3 I was a little bit nervous to go in the semis of US Open, and I managed to do it.  It’s a big victory for me.”

“Well, I think Richard, he played very good game with his backhand, serving very good in important moments,” Ferrer said.  “Maybe in the first and second set I didn’t play so good.  I was a little bit tired.

But, anyway, I tried to do my best.  I fight until the last ball, and nothing else, no?  I think in the fifth set when he made me the break, I played I believe very bad in that game, no, with three mistakes easy.

But fifth set with one break down is difficult to come back again, because Richard is a top‑10 player.”

“The last time I beat him, I was 13 years old,” Gasquet said about Nadal during his on court interview. “I’ve beaten him one time in my life.”

“He was already fighting a lot already, already running so much, and I remember I won maybe 6‑4 in a set, and I told my father after, He’s a big fighter.

“I didn’t lie; I was true.  In the future, this one is biggest player in the world in the history.  So for sure I won that time at 13 years old, but since this match I didn’t…”

 FlaviaPennettaa2kbh6f1cp4c

As for the first match in Ashe Stadium, it was a showdown of a pair of Italians who have known each other since childhood. No. 83 Pennetta, once in the top 10, beat No. 10 seed Roberta Vinci 6-4, 6-1.

 “I think in the beginning we didn’t play good tennis,” Pennetta said.  I was tight; she was tight, also.

“When I won the first set I just relax a little bit and tried to play better.

But the day was tough for both of us.”

“I know how she plays, she knows everything of me,” Pennetta said. “We get in the court, and I think today was more about inside, not about tennis. It was about how you play, how you feel in the court, and how can you handle the situation.”

Pennetta will play the winner of the match between No. 2 Victoria Azarenka and No. 48 Daniela Hantuchova. Pennetta has knocked out four straight seeds – (4) Sara Errani, (21) Simona Halep,  (27) Svetlana Kuznetsova and (10) Vinci

“It’s good to stay physical, in a good way, and play this good tennis at this age, of course,” Pennetta said of her play. “I’m proud of (myself) now. I’m 31, and physically, I feel good finally. I’m in the first semifinal in Grand Slam. There is nothing to say more.”

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