2014/04/20

Richard Gasquet and Flavia Pennetta Move into US Open Quarterfinals

 

 

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(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…”

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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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Roberta Vinci Beats Camila Giorgi and Rain to Make US Open Quarterfinals Along with Countrywoman Flavia Pennetta

Roberta-Vinci1

(September 2, 2013) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – One women’s quarterfinal will have a pair of Italians squaring off against each other. Roberta Vinci and Flavia Pennetta advanced to the US Open quarterfinals on Monday after straight set victories.

Vinci, the 10th seed, beat countrywoman qualifier Camila Giorgi, who upset sixth seed Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, 6-2 in 67 minutes. also beating the 4 and a half hour rain delay.

“I’m happy,” said the 30-year-old Vinci.“ I knew that it was a tough match.  She played good.  She play always strong, flat, and I knew that I had to play ‑‑ I have to change a lot of my focus.”

Vinci said that she knows that at 30, she’s not young, but she enjoys playing. “I’m happy, and I try to stay focused every single day,” she said.

Her 21-year-old opponent Giorgi who came into the tournament ranked at 136, reflected on the match:” I think it wasn’t my day.”

“Was two great weeks coming back from two months without playing, so I’m happy I came back to play.

“And I played really good level.  Now I will still keep going and play more tournaments.”

No. 83 Pennetta was on the brink of losing the second set, against Simona Halep who had a set point as the rains came. After the rain delay the Italian recovered to beat No. 21 from Romania 6-2, 7-6 (3).

“Of course, this place for me, it’s special,” Pennetta said.  “But I can tell you the first day, when I played the first match, I didn’t expect to be here today.”

For the 31-year-old Pennetta she advanced to her first major semifinal since 2011. Vinci made the quarterfinals of the US Open last year where she lost to countrywoman Sara Errani.

“I think is going to be just a really tough match for both of us,” Pennetta said of her match with Vinci. We know each other really well.  I know her since I think 20 years or more because we live almost in the same place.  Just 35, 45 kilometer my house from her house.

“So is going to be really I think nice for us because one of us is going to have the chance to be in the semifinal.  In the other way, it’s always not easy to play with your friend.  But she do it yesterday and the day before with Knapp, I did it with Sara the second day, so we used to that and we try to play just tennis and then that’s it.”

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Serena Williams Breezes Through Vinci, Sets Up Quarterfinal with Kuznetsova

SerenaWilliamsFaceoff3 - Copy

By Ros Satar

(June 2, 2013) PARIS – Serena Williams notched another straight sets victory over Roberta Vinci 6-1, 6-3, before trying out more French on the Court Phillipe Chatrier crowd, although, to be fair, many of the games were well fought and close.

 

Vinci was a lot more competitive in the second set, holding her serve much more capably throughout the second set, including a half volley winner.

That was the trigger, though, for Williams to change through her gears, responding with a both a break and a hold to love to set up an quarter final bout with 2009 champion, Svetlana Kuznetsova.

 

At times looking at those Vinci winners in disbelief, and at times tried by her forehand being magnetically drawn to the net, Williams was happy to continue her current run of form.

 

“Every match I’m really I think focused for the whole period of time, the whole time,” said the world No. 1.

 

“I think I just really ‑‑ I really want it, every match.”

 

Williams had a game plan for what Vinci would throw at her, but some of the best shots in the match were with both of them up at the net.

 

Williams explained: “You go crosscourt, down the line, you can go lob, go at their feet.

 

“You have so many options, and then you have to be ready for the next shot.

 

“I think it’s fun.  It makes it really fast and fun for me.”

 

Looking ahead to her quarter-final with Svetlana Kuznetsova, Williams believed it will be one to watch.

 

She said: “The last time we played here she won, so that will probably get her pumped up and she’s on a comeback.

“She has nothing to lose but everything to gain.  She also wants to do well, and she’s won this tournament before.”

 

Perhaps the thing that has challenged Williams the most (outside of the weather) is speaking French for her post-match on-court interview.

 

She negotiated questions about being in the second week of the slam, and how she felt about her form and, it has to be said, seemed to answer fairly competently.

 

She freely admitted, though that it is harder to conduct her interview in French, than to close out a match.

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Vinci Stops Top Seed Kvitova to Capture Katowice Title

Roberta-Vinci1

(April 14, 2013) In a preview to next week’s Fed Cup semifinal World Group tie between Italy and the Czech Republic, Italy’s Roberta Vinci defeated Petra Kvitova 7-6(2), 6-1 to win the inaugural BNP Paribas Katowice Open in Poland.

It’s Vinci’s eighth career title and her ninth win over a top ten player.

“I played a really good game today,” Vinci said. “Petra was playing very well and very aggressively in the first set, getting a lot of first serves in, but I stayed with her and won the tie-break, and things were better in the second set, probably because she was a little bit tired. But everything was working for me all week. I’m happy I was able to beat such a tough opponent and win this title.”

“It was a very tough match against Roberta today,” Kvitova said. “I started pretty slowly at the beginning of the match and I was always the second player on the court because she was dictating everything out there – she plays very well on the clay. I also felt a little bit without energy. But she was the better player on the court for sure and she really deserved to win the title today.”

The victory will move Vinci up to world No. 12, a new career high.

Results – Sunday, April 14, 2013
Singles – Final
(2) Roberta Vinci (ITA) d. (1) Petra Kvitova (CZE) 76(2) 61

Doubles – Final
Arruabarrena/Domínguez Lino (ESP/ESP) d. Olaru/Solovyeva (ROU/RUS) 64 75

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Italy Rallies Past US to Move into Fed Cup Semis

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Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci

(February 10, 2013) Italy came back from 1-2 down to defeat the United States in Fed Cup 3-2 on Sunday in the first round of the World Group in Rimini, Italy.

 

World No. 1 doubles team Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci sealed the win for Italy in the fifth rubber with a victory over Varvara Lepchenko and Liezel Huber 6-2, 6-2.

 

“Errani and Vinci are the weapon,” said Huber. They are like sisters. They are like best friends. They can almost see each other’s body language and predict something before it has happened. They have a different style than what we are used to and stick to their style. They are great singles players and don’t discount doubles. I enjoy watching them play, just not against me!”

 

The United States led 2-1 after Lepchenko beat world No, 7 Errani 7-5, 6-2 in the first of reverse singles on Sunday.

 

“In the first set, I had to get my body started,“ said Lepchenko. “I had a long match yesterday, so I was a bit up and down in the beginning. Once my body warmed up, I was playing better and better in the second set and got pumped and got going.”

 

Vinci rallied for Italy topping Jamie Hampton 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 to send the tie into a fifth rubber.

“I had a tough match yesterday, so I had to regroup and do my best for the team,” Hampton. ”First set, I made a lot of errors and started off like yesterday. I got back together in the second set and thought I had a hold of the match, but I made a lot of errors.”

 

 

Italy will next host defending champion Czech Republic in the Fed Cup semifinals, a rematch of last year’s semifinal. The other semifinal has Slovakia at Russia.

 

Next the United States will play in the World Group Playoff, April 20-21, to remain in contention for the Fed Cup World Group l in 2014 and to try and stave off relegation to World Group II next year. The United States’ opponent will be drawn on Wednesday, February 13, at 10 a.m. GMT at the ITF offices in London.

 

The U.S., who will be seeded will play one of the four winners of the World Group II First Round (Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, or Germany). The host site for Switzerland or Sweden will be determined by a coin toss on Wednesday. The U.S. would host Spain or Germany.

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Fed Cup Rookie Lepchenko Keeps Team USA’s Hopes Alive in Fed Cup

Lepchenko

 

(February 9, 2013) United States Fed Cup rookie world No. No. 21 Varvara Lepchenko kept US hopes alive against Italy by defeating.  No. 16 Roberta Vinci  2-6, 6-4, 7-5 in the second singles rubber on Saturday to even the first round tie at 1-1. The match, which lasted for two hours and 17 minutes marked the first time the two women had ever faced off against each other.

Italy’s Sara Errani ranked No. 7 defeated Jamie Hampton 6-2, 6-1 in the first rubber.

“Even though this was my first Fed Cup match, I wasn’t that nervous because I had the experience in the Olympics,” said Lepchenko. “I was very nervous there, so I didn’t want to let my emotions get to me here in Fed Cup. I thought of this as a first match in a tournament and I just needed to get into it. In the second set, I was in it.”

 

“I was really proud of the way Varvara approached the match and how disciplined she was,” said US Fed Cup captain Mary Joe Fernandez. “Even when she was down, she competed really well. In Fed Cup, things get complicated and there is always tension. It probably wasn’t easy for her playing for the first time in Fed Cup without a home crowd, but she did a great job blocking it out. She kept fighting and kept believing. Varvara has a great game and can play anyone. She can make anyone feel uncomfortable and she did that today. She played her heart out.”

 

 

“It has been amazing to be a part of a team this week,” Lepchenko added.” I have so much support from all of them. I feel like I can’t let them down. I played more for them today than for myself.”

 

Lepchenko led 5-1 in the third set, but the momentum shifted, and the third set was even at 5-5. Lepchenko then broke Vinci and held serve to win the final set, 7-5 on her third try serving for the match. This was Lepchenko’s best career win since beating then-world No. 13 Dominika Cibulkova in the second round of the WTA event in Montreal last year. This was also her best win on clay since upsetting then-world No. 12 Francesca Schiavone en route to the fourth round of the 2012 French Open.

 

 

“I am really proud of the way I handled myself today,” Lepchenko said. “I have had many people cheering against me in many tournaments throughout the year, so this time, I was happy to see my team cheering for me. They really helped me.”

 

The US is 1-1 against Italy going into day 2 play on Sunday. Since the Fed Cup World Group format was instituted in 1995, the U.S. is 8-4 when tied 1-1 with the opposing country. The U.S. is 8-10 when playing on the road and 4-13 when losing the first singles rubber.

Sunday’s schedule – in the first singles match of the day, Varvara Lepchenko and Sara Errani, the No. 1 players from each team, will square off in the third singles rubber followed by Jamie Hampton versus Roberta Vinci. The doubles rubber will close the tie it will feature Melanie Oudin and Liezel Huber for the US against Karin Knapp and Fed Cup rookie Nastassja Burnett for Italy.

 

“We are still in this tie and it is fantastic,“ said Fernandez. “I told the girls that the goal was to win any three matches any which way. We have one, so we are looking for two tomorrow. Varvara will play Sara, who won today, so that will be very tough. Sara has great clay-court variety and is a strong Top 10 player. Jamie will go out there against Vinci and give it her all. I’m excited.”

 

Tennis Channel will provide television coverage of the second day of play beginning at 7:30 a.m. ET on Sunday.

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US Fed Cup Team Takes on Italy This Weekend in Rimini

Fed Cup logo

(February 8, 2013) The United States will take on Italy in the Fed Cup World Group First Round this weekend. Play begins Saturday at 3:00 p.m. local time on an indoor clay court at the 105 Stadium in Rimini, Italy.

The US team goes into the tie with the pressure of being huge underdogs. “There is always pressure,” said said US Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez. “This comes with the sport and team competition, you aren’t just out there for yourself. The Italians are the favorites and they have a wonderful record, but we have been in this situation many times before. All of the players have different styles on both teams and we have to make the adjustments as they come.

“I am expecting to do well. If we win, it won’t be a surprise. We are going in with a very positive attitude and will take each match as it comes and fight our hearts out to do our best. We know the capabilities of both sides and this will bring out the best in both teams. It will be an interesting tie.”

 

World No. 64 Jamie Hampton, who will be making her live Fed Cup singles debut will open the tie against world No. 7 Sara Errani. Hampton and Errani have met once on the WTA Tour—in the first round of the US Open Series event in Cincinnati in 2010, where Errani won the meeting 6-4, 6-2. Hampton enters Fed Cup with an appearance in the third round of the 2013 Australian Open and a semifinal showing at the WTA event in Auckland, New Zealand, the week prior. Errani will be playing in her eleventh Fed Cup singles match (6-4 record), but just her fifth live singles rubber. She is 1-3 in live singles rubbers.

 

“I am excited to make my Fed Cup debut in a live singles match,” said Hampton. “Errani is a great clay court player and is having a lot of success. The match will start off level, so I’ll go out there and give it my all. It should be a good start.”

 

“Errani, as we all know, plays the best on clay and moves very well,“ said US Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez. “Through the years, the Americans have really developed on clay and like playing on clay. Everyone on my team has enjoyed practicing on it this week. They have had good results on it, as well. Unlike ten years ago, where everyone was very apprehensive about clay, we are looking forward to it and we like the challenge.”

 

The second singles rubber will see world No. 21 Varvara Lepchenko face off against world No. 16 Roberta Vinci. Like Hampton, Lepchenko will also be making her Fed Cup debut. Lepchenko reached the fourth round of the French Open last year, her career-best Grand Slam singles result, and reached the doubles semifinals at the 2013 Australian Open. Lepchenko has been living in the U.S. since 2001 after receiving political asylum. She officially changed her nationality in 2007 to play for the U.S and became an official U.S. citizen in September 2011. Vinci holds a 1-3 record in Fed Cup singles matches and has never won a live singles match (0-3 record). Vinci is also a doubles specialist and currently ranked No. 1 in doubles after winning the 2013 Australian Open doubles title with Errani, who is currently ranked No. 2 in doubles. Lepchenko and Vinci have never faced each other on the WTA Tour.

In this tie, the United States makes its return to the World Group after starting its 2012 Fed Cup campaign in World Group II for the first time ever. The match will mark the 12th matchup between the U.S. and Italy in Fed Cup competition. The two countries last met in the 2010 Fed Cup final in San Diego and also faced each other in the 2009 final in Reggio Calabria, Italy, both won by the Italians. The U.S., however, leads the overall series, 9-2. The U.S. last won against Italy in the 2003 World Group quarterfinal in Washington D.C. The winner of this tie will advance to the semifinals, held April 20-21.

 

This will be the fifth year as U.S. captain for Mary Joe Fernandez. Fernandez led the U.S. to consecutive Fed Cup finals appearances in her first two years as captain (2009 and 2010), where the team faced Italy both times. She was the first U.S. captain to accomplish that feat since Marty Riessen in 1986-87. Fernandez holds a 6-4 record as U.S. Fed Cup captain.

The order of play for the weekend:

DAY/LOCAL TIME MATCH PAIRING

Saturday, 3:00 p.m. Singles A: Jamie Hampton (USA) vs. Sara Errani (ITA)

Singles B: Varvara Lepchenko (USA) vs. Roberta Vinci (ITA)

Sunday, 1:30 p.m. Singles C: Varvara Lepchenko (USA) vs. Sara Errani (ITA)

Singles D: Jamie Hampton (USA) vs. Roberta Vinci (ITA)

Doubles: Liezel Huber/Melanie Oudin (USA) vs. Karin Knapp/ Nastassja Burnett (ITA)

Television viewers in the United States will be able to watch the tie live on Tennis Channel beginning at 9:00 a.m. ET on Saturday and 7:30 a.m. ET on Sunday.

 

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Top Seeds Errani and Vinci Claim Australian Open Women’s Doubles Title

ErraniVinci

By Jaclyn Stacey

(January 25, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK,  Australia – Top seeds Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci took out the Australian Open Women’s Doubles title on Friday, overcoming a spirited fightback from the local team of Casey Dellacqua and 16-year-old Ashleigh Barty 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 in one hour and 42 minutes.

 

Dellacqua and Barty were surprise finalists and were the first Australian pairing to reach the final since Evonne Goolagong Cawley and Helen Gourlay won the title in 1977.

 

In an exciting battle on Rod Laver Arena watched over by tennis legend Margaret Court the Italian top seeds raced to a commanding lead in the match, claiming the first set 6-2 in just 29 minutes.

 

The Australian pair dug deep in the second set to break the top seeds in the eighth game with Vinci serving and closed out the set 6-3 to give themselves a chance in the decider.

 

Errani and Vinci took control in the final set, claiming breaks in the sixth game and on championship point to become the first Italian pairing to win the Australian Open title. Italian Flavia Pennetta won with Argentine Gisela Dulko in 2011.

 

“In the third set we started to get nervous,” Vinci said post match. “However, today we’ve proven we’re a really strong doubles team.

 

“Our strength is that we always play together. We went out there today with lots of grit, and we really wanted to win.”

 

In the mixed doubles competition, the Australian team of Jarmila Gajdosova and Matt Ebden progressed through to the final after defeating the Kazakh and Uzbekh pairing of Yaroslava Shvedova and Denis Istomin in two tough sets 7-5, 7-6(5).

 

The Australians will play Czech duo Lucie Hradecka and Frantisek Cermak in the final on Sunday after the pair overcame Kveta Peschke and Marcin Matkowski in a super tiebreak 10-7.

 

The men’s doubles final will be contested on Saturday after the women’s singles final with top seeds Bob and Mike Bryan squaring off against the Dutch duo of Robin Haase and Igor Sijsling.

 

Jaclyn Stacey is a Melbourne based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open tournament as media for Tennis Panorama News.  Follow her Australian Open updates on @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal twitter @JackattackAU.

 

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Top Seed Isner Falls to Harrison in Sydney

Ryan Harrison

Ryan Harrison

(January 9, 2013) Top-seeded John Isner, who has been battling a knee problem since the beginning of the season lost 6-4, 6-4 to fellow American Ryan Harrison in the second round of the Sydney International on Wednesday.

Injuries have hit the tournament hard. Sydney has suffered withdrawals of the original top seeds Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet pulled out before the tournament.  More injuries took out Giles Simon, suffering a neck injury and Radek Stepanek a back injury.

Isner withdrew from the Hopman Cup mixed-team competition in Perth last week with a right knee injury but still played Sydney.

On the ladies side, Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland moved into the semifinals with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Italy’s Roberta Vinci and Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia beat third-seeded Sara Errani of Italy 6-2, 6-1.

Radwanska has a seven-match winning streak in 2013.

“So far I feel good and I’m very happy that I can play good matches, already seven in a row,” she said. “I think this year is the first time that I played two tournaments before (the Australian Open). I never did that before. So far it’s good and I’m going to keep going.”

Australian  Bernard Tomic is into the quarterfinals with a 7-6 (4), 6-2 upset over German No.28 Florian Mayer..

 

“I’m serving really well and my groundstrokes are really good, too. I’m moving really well. There is nothing much more I can ask myself at this stage,” said Tomic.

 

“I think whereas before I got carried away; I started over-thinking. Now it’s just who I play on that day. I don’t look too much ahead now and just focus on who I have to play and play as best as I can. That’s what I’m doing.”

 

 

Fourth seed Li Na overcame in a hard-hitting quarterfinal against American qualifier Madison Keys  4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-2 to open the night session on Ken Rosewall Arena. Second seed Angelique Kerber stopped Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 7-5.

 

RESULTS – WEDNESDAY, 9 JANUARY, 2013

Singles – Second Round
[Q] R Harrison (USA) d [1] J Isner (USA) 64 64
[3] A Seppi (ITA) d [WC] J Millman (AUS) 62 36 63
D Istomin (UZB) d [4] F Verdasco (ESP) 63 63
B Tomic (AUS) d [5] F Mayer (GER) 76(4) 62
J Benneteau (FRA) d [6] R Stepanek (CZE) 0-0 40/15 ret. (back)
[8] M Granollers (ESP) d F Fognini (ITA) 62 76(4)
K Anderson (RSA) d F Lopez (ESP) 63 64
J Nieminen (FIN) d *[LL] I Klec (SVK) 63 61

*[LL] I Klec (SVK) replaced [2] G Simon (FRA) – neck

Doubles – Quarter-finals
[1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) d J Benneteau (FRA) / M Llodra (FRA) 63 62
D Marrero (ESP) / F Verdasco (ESP) d [2] L Paes (IND) / R Stepanek (CZE) W/O (Stepanek – back)
[3] M Granollers (ESP) / M Lopez (ESP) d J Chardy (FRA) / L Kubot (POL) 36 64 13-11

Doubles – First Round
M Bhupathi (IND) / D Nestor (CAN) d [WC] M Ebden (AUS) / M Matosevic (AUS) 36 76(2) 10-8

SCHEDULE – THURSDAY, 10 JANUARY, 2013

KEN ROSEWALL ARENA start 11:00 am
M Bhupathi (IND) / D Nestor (CAN) vs [4] M Mirnyi (BLR) / H Tecau (ROU) – ATP
[Q] R Harrison (USA) vs J Benneteau (FRA) – ATP

Not Before 2:30 PM
[1] A Radwanska (POL) vs [4] N Li (CHN) or [Q] M Keys (USA) – WTA
D Cibulkova (SVK) vs [Q] S Kuznetsova (RUS) or [2] A Kerber (GER) – WTA

Not Before 7:30 PM
B Tomic (AUS) vs J Nieminen (FIN) – ATP
[8] M Granollers (ESP) vs [3] A Seppi (ITA) – ATP

GRANDSTAND start 12:00 PM

Not Before 12:00 PM
D Istomin (UZB) vs K Anderson (RSA) – ATP
[1] S Errani (ITA) / R Vinci (ITA) vs D Jurak (CRO) / K Marosi (HUN) – WTA
N Petrova (RUS) / K Srebotnik (SLO) vs [2] A Hlavackova (CZE) / L Hradecka (CZE) – WTA

 

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Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams Named 2012 ITF World Champions

(December 11, 2012) The ITF announced that Novak Djokovic of Serbia and American Serena Williams are the 2012 ITF World Champions. This is the second successive year Djokovic has received this honor, while Williams is named Women’s World Champion for the third time.

 

Americans Bob and Mike Bryan are named Men’s Doubles World Champions for the ninth time in 10 years, while Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci of Italy become Women’s Doubles World Champions for the first time.

 

Canada’s Filip Peliwo and Taylor Townsend of USA are named ITF Junior World Champions, while the ITF Wheelchair World Champions are Esther Vergeer of Netherlands and France’s Stephane Houdet. Vergeer becomes world champion for an astonishing 13th successive year.

 

The ITF World Champions will receive their awards at the ITF World Champions Dinner on Tuesday 4 June, in Paris, during Roland Garros.

 

Novak Djokovic finished on top of the rankings and as ITF World Champion for the second straight year. The 25-year-old successfully defended his Australian Open title and went on to reach the finals at Roland Garros and the US Open. Despite losing the No. 1 ranking to Roger Federer in July, he regained the top position in November and went on to win the ATP World Tour Finals. He won a total of six titles in 2012.

 

Djokovic said: “I am proud to have been named ITF World Champion for the second successive year. It was very difficult to follow up such a successful season in 2011, but it was extremely satisfying to win another Grand Slam title, reach two other major finals and finish the year at No. 1.”

 

Serena Williams’s superior record in the year’s major events sees her crowned Women’s World Champion ahead of Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova. The 31-year-old captured Olympic singles gold for the first time, and won Wimbledon and the US Open to take her total number of Grand Slam titles to 15. She went on to capture the year-end WTA Championships to finish the season with a tour-best seven titles and a 58-4 win-loss record.

 

Williams said: “It means a lot to be named ITF World Champion for the third time. It has been such an amazing experience this year to win the Olympics and two Grand Slam tournaments, and I look forward to having an awesome 2013.”

 

ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said: “This has been another memorable year for our sport, highlighted by the most successful Olympic Tennis Event in history. In such a strong era for men’s tennis, it is a great achievement for Novak to retain his year-end No. 1 ranking, while on the women’s side Serena proved herself to be one of the finest competitors of all time.”

 

Bob and Mike Bryan are named Men’s Doubles World Champions after a year in which they captured their first Olympic gold medal at Wimbledon, having won bronze in Beijing. The brothers equalled the all-time record for Grand Slam doubles titles by capturing their 12th title at the US Open, and were also runners-up at the Australian Open and Roland Garros. They won five more events in 2012 to stand at 82 career titles.

 

Bob Bryan said: “Mike and I are very grateful for receiving this honor, and we’d like to thank the ITF for this prestigious award. This is one of our achievements that we are most proud of, and we look forward to celebrating it next year in Paris.”

 

Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci are the first all-Italian pairing to be named Women’s Doubles World Champions. The duo captured their first two Grand Slam titles at Roland Garros and the US Open, and were also runners-up at the Australian Open. They won a tour-high eight titles during the year, including five successive tournament wins between April and June. They ended the year as the No. 1-ranked team.

 

Errani said: “We have had an amazing year and are proud to be named ITF World Champions. There have been so many highlights in singles and doubles, but we are very happy to be the first Italian pair to finish the season at No. 1. We’re already looking forward to next season.”

 

The ITF’s selection of its senior World Champions is based on an objective system that considers all results during the year, but gives weight to the Grand Slam tournaments, Olympic Tennis Event and two ITF international team competitions, Davis Cup by BNP Paribas and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas.

 

Filip Peliwo is only the second Canadian after Daniel Nestor to be named ITF World Champion in any category after securing the year-end No. 1 junior boys ranking. The 18-year-old became the first player since Mark Kratzmann in 1984 to reach all four junior Slam finals in a calendar year. He lost his first two finals at the Australian Open and Roland Garros, before winning Wimbledon and the US Open.

 

Peliwo said: “This is such a great achievement and a huge honour to be recognised by the ITF for this award. I exceeded even my own expectations this past year and to have the year-end No. 1 ranking is something really special that I am proud of.”

 

Taylor Townsend is the first American girl since Gretchen Rush in 1982 to be named Junior World Champion. The 16-year-old captured her first major singles title at the Australian Open, and narrowly failed to achieve the Grand Slam in doubles, winning three titles at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. She also led her country to victory in the finals of the Junior Fed Cup by BNP Paribas.

 

Townsend said: “It’s a great honor. I mean, there’s so much that goes into the title World Champion, and I’m honored and blessed that they would even crown me that.”

 

Stephane Houdet enjoyed a breakthrough year to be named Wheelchair World Champion for the first time at the age of 42. The Frenchman won his first Grand Slam singles title on home soil at Roland Garros to take over the No. 1 ranking, and stayed at the top for the rest of the year. He was also a singles silver medallist at the Paralympic Tennis Event and led France to victory in the BNP Paribas World Team Cup.

 

Houdet said: “This has been my best year with my first Grand Slam victory in my country in front of my friends and family, two Paralympic medals, and winning the World Team Cup. These are dreams come true, but also give me new dreams to continue along the same path.”

 

Esther Vergeer extended her winning streak to 470 matches en route to the year-end No. 1 wheelchair tennis ranking for the 13th consecutive year. The 31-year-old became tennis’s most successful Paralympian, winning her fourth successive singles gold in London. She won a total of 10 singles titles during the year, including the Grand Slam events at the Australian Open and Roland Garros.

 

Vergeer said: “Again I am very proud to be the year-end No. 1. My main goal for this year was winning a gold medal in London, but being No. 1 at the end of this year is something that I have worked for all-year long. So it is a crown for all the hard work I put in.”

 

ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said: “I would like to pay tribute to all the 2012 ITF World Champions, who have contributed to a successful year for the sport at all levels.”

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