2014/10/30

Sabine Lisicki Wins First Title Since 2011 at Hong Kong Open

Lisicki 3

(September 14, 2014) For the first time since 2011 Sabine Lisicki has won a title. The German beat Karolina Pliskova 7-5, 6-3 in the final of the Hong Kong Open on Sunday.

Lisicki came back from a 1-5 deficit in the first set to win the next six games.

Lisicki last won a WTA title in Dallas in 2011. She has won 4 titles in her WTA career.

“After being in three finals last year and losing them closely, this is a big step forward for me. I’ve won titles in doubles but obviously the main goal is to play well in singles and get these trophies,” Lisicki said. “And I’m even happier because coming here was such a spontaneous decision – we literally decided three or four days before the tournament – and I felt very well all week in Hong Kong.”

“I was feeling quite good at the start, as won a couple of her service games very easily,” Pliskova said. “But then she started to come back and it took a lot of energy out of me.”

Pliskova and her twin sister, Kristyna Pliskova, won their third doubles title together on Sunday, saving a match point.

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Li Na and Maria Sharapova Advance While Angelique Kerber Falls at Indian Wells

 

 

Li Na

Li Na

(March 8, 2014) INDIAN WELLS, California – No. 1 seed Li Na beat Chinese countrywoman Zheng Jie 6-1, 7-5, while fourth seed Maria Sharapova began the defense of her title with an easy 6-1, 6-4 victory over Julia Goerges.

Two seeded German women fell – No. 5 seed Angelique Kerber was upset 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4 by Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor while Aleksandra Wozniack stopped No. 15 seed Sabine Lisicki 7-5, 1-6, 7-6 (5).

Former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic was a set and a break down before stopping Elina Svitolina.

“I just tried to fight her at every point,” Ivanovic said of the turnaround in the second set. It probably wasn’t the best game I had played. I had lot of unforced errors I tried to stick with it and play each point and not try to think about the errors that I made and just to put pressure on her forehand and that worked well for me. I was very happy to manage to come back.”

In the night session, Sloane Stephens ran off the last nine games in a 6-4, 6-0 win over Ajla Tomljanovic. Advancing easily were No. 8 seed Petra Kvitova, No. 11 Ana Ivanovic and No. 12 Dominika Cibulkova.

For Li Na, this is her second tournament since winning the Australian Open.

“This is the first match after Doha, two weeks, and of course for I cannot be 100 percent for the first match,” Li said. “But I was happy. At least I can learn something from today’s match.”

This also marks the first time that Li has been the top seed in a premier mandatory event.

“The first match always tough, because like I say before, you didn’t know what happen on the court,” Li said.  “All you can do is like to try to do your best.  If you cannot hit good tennis, only one way is running all the shots and to fight every point.”

“First time to be the top seed in a big tournament.  Yeah, at least I’m still in the tournament,” she said smiling.

Li will play Karolina Pliskova next in the third round, who took out No. 28 seed Klara Zakopalova 7-5, 6-2,

“The first matches are always a little bit tricky, especially having not played in a few weeks indoor or outdoor,” Sharapova said.

“Tricky opponent, and she’s capable of playing good tennis.  She hasn’t been as consistent as she probably would have liked recently, but she’s had her results.  She’s beaten top players before, so the first round, that’s never easy, but I thought I did what I had to do.  Certainly improvements that I could make.”

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Caroline Wozniacki Battles Past Sabine Lisicki in Dubai; Talks Engagement Ring in Press

Wozniacki engagement ring

(February 18, 2014) DUBAI – Former No. 1 and Dubai 2011 champion Caroline Wozniacki battled back to stop 2013 Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki, winning 2-6, 6-3, 6-3.

“I have had to fight pretty hard against her quite a few times,” said the woeld No. 11.  “I knew she was going to come out hot and just go for her shots, and I felt like I was just a step behind.  I couldn’t really do what I wanted from my backhand side, and I was playing a little too short.

“In the second set I started serving really well, I was really pleased with my serves, and I got a lot of her returns back deep, and all of a sudden, you know, the game was different.  I started attacking more from my backhand side onto her backhand and started to make her run a little bit.”

Asked if she was disappointed with the loss Lisicki who is still nursing a shoulder injury said:

“Definitely, but I still see it as positive, because I didn’t have a racquet in my hand for more than two weeks or two weeks.  I practiced four days, and, you know, my shoulder, I did a lot of rehab to be able to come here.

“So I’m very happy that I was able to play and to actually play that well.  It wasn’t enough to play the two whole sets that way yet, but in general, I’m pretty satisfied the way, you know, I started and went into the match, so that’s definitely something that I can build on.”

Wozniacki came into her news conference, sporting her 8 carat diamond engagement ring from fiancé and fomer No. 1 golfer Rory McIlroy. She doesn’t wear it on court for fear of losing it.

She explained the significance of the 8 carats:

“That’s my lucky number.  That’s how he picked eight.  Very thoughtful.  I should have said 18, but…,” she said jokingly.

“Date, everything, location set,” the Dane said when asked about her wedding plans. “Such an exciting time.”

Asked to name the date, she quipped, “You never know.”

 

No. 5 seed, Jelena Jankovic, had to fight to get past qualifier Maryna Zanevska, winning 6-4, 6-3.

“I worked really hard. It was not easy for my first match here,” said Jankovic. “I just came from Doha like one day ago, so it’s completely different. Playing there during the night it’s slower, and here it’s faster and the balls fly. It was quite windy out there, and I felt kind of like I couldn’t play my game totally, you know, play the lines.”

Related articles:

“Rusty” Serena Williams Opens Dubai with a Win; Ana Ivanovic Squeaks by Angelique Kerber

Simona Halep Retires with Injury in Dubai Opening Match

 

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Wimbledon Dream Comes True for Marion Bartoli as she Captures 2013 Title

 

Marion-Bartoli-Day-2-Press-Conference1-e1342178509523

 

(July 6, 2013) Back when she was a 6-year-old girl, Marion Bartoli pretended to play match point on the Wimbledon Centre court. She dreamed of winning what she deemed the most coveted Grand Slam trophy. As Don Quixote had a quest and dreamed the impossible dream, Bartoli’s impossible dream came true on Saturday at Centre Court at Wimbledon when as the 15th seed she defeated No. 23 Sabine Lisicki 6-1, 6-4 to capture the title, her first Grand Slam crown.

“(Wimbledon) has been my dream,” Bartoli said.  “I wanted that so badly.  I felt the achievement of my career was to win a Grand Slam.  Every time I was just saying my goal was to win a Grand Slam.

 

Bartoli fist pump

 

“It was like, yeah, dare to dream.  I kept dreaming.  I kept my head up.  I kept working hard, and it just happened.”

It wasn’t a match filled with precision and accuracy, it was mostly error-ridden, with a total of 39 unforced errors combined, but the Frenchwoman will take it.

 

10062012 China Open Bartoli smiles in press

“I was there in 2007 and I missed it,” said Bartoli, who lost in the final of Wimbledon that year to Venus Williams. “I know how it feels, Sabine, and I’m sure you will be there one more time. I have no doubt about it.”

Bartoli led off the match having her serve broken, but then stormed back winning the next six in succession and 11 of the next 12, which took her to a 6-1, 5-1 lead.

Bartoli had three match points on Lisicki’s serve at 5-1, but the German rallied to hold and win the next two games, forcing Bartoli to serve for the match a second time. Bartoli took the game at love, clinching the title with an ace.

After falling to her knees in exultation, Bartoli, after shaking hands with her opponent climbed into the “Friend’s Box” and hugged 2006 Wimbledon champion and France’s Fed Cup Captain and sometimes coach Amelie Mauresmo, her father, friends and supporters.

“I’ve been practicing my serve for so long,” Bartoli said of closing the match with an ace. “At least I saved it for the best moment.”

Bartoli gets $2.4 million for winning The Championships, her biggest-ever paycheck and her first title of any sort since 2011.

“It will not change me as a person because I will always remain the same: very humble, very low‑key and easygoing, down‑to‑earth,” Bartoli said in regard to winning Wimbledon.

”But just hearing ‘Wimbledon champion,’ that kind of sounds good to me,” she said with a smile.

And so Bartoli has reached what was an unreachable star.

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Lisicki Fights Off Radwanska while Bartoli Dominates Flipkens to Reach Wimbledon Final

Sabine_Lisicki

(July 4, 2013) Germany’s Sabine Lisicki has made her first Wimbledon final with a hard-fought match win over No. 4 seed Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 2-6, 9-7. For Lisicki who had the upset of women’s draw when she beat No. 1 Serena Williams in the round of 16, will play France’s Marion Bartoli next for the title. Bartoli beat Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium 6-1, 6-2 reaching her second Wimbledon final. The Frenchwoman lost to Venus Williams in 2007 in straight sets.

Saturday’s final will be only the second women’s major final in the Open era to feature two women who have never claimed a Grand Slam title.

Lisicki’s game demonstrates power and aggression, on both her serve and her groundstrokes. Lisicki fortunes turned in the second set as her service games were not as dominant and Radwanska’s game of retrieval and variety pushed past the German 6-2.

Radwanska zoomed to a 3-0 lead in the third set, the Lisicki rallied to equal the set three-all. Both women held serve until the ninth game when the Pole was broken. Lisicki, serving for the match at 5-4 could not complete the task with Radwanska breaking for 5-5. A break by Lisicki in the 15th game followed by a hold gave Lisicki game, set, match and her first crack at a chance to win a Wimbledon crown.

“I’m just so happy,” Lisicki said.  “Couldn’t be any better, and couldn’t be any better place to play the first Grand Slam final.”

“Fought out there.”

Lisicki admitted that her win over Serena Williams helped her make it through her match today.

“I thought, `I’ve done it against Serena so you can do it today as well, just hang in there,'” Lisicki said. “It gave me so much confidence and I’m just so, so happy I was able to finish it.”

Lisicki who has come back from many an injury talked about those who gave her inspiration:

“Hermann Maier.  You know, I read his book while I was injured.  You know, almost losing his leg and then to come back and be the world champion in his sport, I think was an unbelievable story.

“Also Drew Brees, an American football player, quarterback.  Nobody believed he could come back after almost his shoulder ‑‑ he has torn everything there was in the shoulder, and he still came back and was one of the best, so… “

Bartoli’s semifinal was not very dramatic – from start to finish she crushed her shots and pushed her opponent all over the court in 62 minutes.

“I played great. I executed very well. I hit lobs, passing shots, winners, returns, everything worked out perfectly,” said Bartoli. “When I fell on the grass after match point, it was just so emotional. I dreamed about that moment, about returning to the Wimbledon final.”

Bartoli reflected reaching the final this year versus back in 2007.

“The last time I was so young, in a way,” said the 28-year-old Bartoli.  “I was every time the underdog coming out on the court, which this time it was totally the opposite.  I was this time the highest ranked player and I needed to put out a great performance in order to go through.”

“I think I’ve been able to deal with the pressure really well and keep improving throughout the Championships and keep playing better.  Especially I think today I think I played a great match.”

Going into Saturday’s final the 23-year-old Lisicki holds a career 3-1 lead over Bartoli.

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Serena Williams’ Conqueror Sabine Lisicki moves into Wimbledon Semifinals

Sabine Lisicki

Sabine Lisicki

(July 2, 2013) No. 23 seed Sabine Lisicki did on Tuesday failed to do what few seed-killers could not do this fortnight at Wimbledon – win a match after the big upset. A day after the German’s stunning three-set victory over No. 1 Serena Williams, Lisicki took down No. 46 Kaia Kanepi 6-3, 6-3 to move into the Wimbledon semifinals.

For Lisicki it will be her second trip to the Wimbledon semis. She’ll play fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska next, who ousted No. 6 Li Na in a rain interrupted three-set quarterfinal match 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-2.

On the other side of the draw No. 15 Marion Bartoli pushed past No. 17 Sloane Stephens in straight sets 6-4, 7-5, while No. 20 Kirsten Flipkens topped 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

 

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Round 4 Shock for Serena Williams at Wimbledon– Round up of the Centre Court Action

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By Ros Satar

 

(July 1, 2013) WIMBLEDON – As if last Wednesday was not enough fun for the tennis gods, they toyed with the seemingly natural order of things just a little more on Round 4 Monday.

Possibly one of the best days usually on the tennis schedule, Wimbledon looks to put all their Round 4 matches on the same day, men and women.

It gives people who are still doing the queue a chance to see some action on the outside courts, if they miss out on those coveted bands for the show courts.

 

Sabine Lisicki [23] def. Serena Williams [1] 6-2, 1-6, 6-4
Let’s just make it competitive – that was probably the wish if every neutral observer watching the first match of the day on Centre Court.
I think I could be safe in saying that not many saw the first set coming – Serena Williams seemingly just content to put the ball in play – in fact with Lisicki being dragged to deuce in each service game, surely it was just Serena playing cat to Lisicki’s mouse.

It was just that the mouse was capable of thundering down booming serves that, had the opponent been anyone but Serena Williams, they would have been countless aces.

After taking the first set 6-2 it was almost as if Lisicki realised what she’d done, and to whom.
Certainly Williams turned the screw after he first game, winning the next nine on the trot, locking into her returns and many up in the lofty (and drafty) gods nodded their heads sagely and reckoned they had time for a quick burst of strawberries before Murray.

The second set and to be honest quite a lot of the third scooted past Lisicki as Williams reeled off nine games in a row.

But let’s face it, if you are going to break the world No. 1, you may as well wait until your back is against the wall.

Somewhat inconceivably, after a bunch of traded breaks Lisicki found herself ahead for the first time since the start of the second set.

Was it a nervy service game? – Well yes, of course it was, weaving from match point, to break point, to match point again, the crowds were oohing and aahing like it was a firework show.

The final rally was one to savour and the forehand winner saw Williams AND Lisicki sprawling – for different reasons, Williams at full stretch to get on the end of the eventual winner and Lisicki on realising she had put out the defending champion, and world no. 1.

Take absolutely nothing away from Lisicki, she has a superb game for grass, and she took those opportunities when they presented themselves.

Lisicki has reached the quarterfinals twice (2009, 2012) and the semifinals once (2011).

She faces Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi for the first time in Tuesday’s quarter-final.

 

Andy Murray [2] def. Mikhail Youzhny [20] 6-4, 7-6(5), 6-1

Murray has looked in good form, and many expected this to be a straight sets victory, but that was really only half the story.

From the outset, it was a more passive Murray that took to the court, content to build up points and push Youzhny to the error, and getting an early break to edge out the first set made it seem a formality.

There was always a feeling that if Youzhny suddenly dialled in, Murray could be in big trouble as the second set seemed to be counter-puncher heaven (or hell, depending on your point of view).

Each seemed to want to out-wait-for-the-error with Youzhny inducing a fair share from the Murray racquet.

More by luck than judgement, Murray took the tiebreak with the tightness of margins.

Even though Murray looks to be in discomfort for much of the second set, it was Youzhny that took the medical time out before the start of the third set.

Finally in the third set, Murray started to shorten the points and introduced a little more serve and volley – his reward being two breaks enough to seal the match.

He was sensible enough in press to acknowledge that this Wimbledon has seen a lot of shocks (to put it mildly).

Murray will face Fernando Verdasco in the quarter-final, and somehow made getting through another round without dropping a set seem like really hard work.

Nokak Djokovic [1] def. Tommy Haas [13] 6-1, 6-4, 7-6(4)
If the match before felt like a five-setter, Djokovic was on hand to remind us what a straight sets win actually looks like, at least in the first set,

That was little more than a rout but Haas seemed to get better as the match went in, as opposed to disheartened.

By the time he had forced a tiebreak in the third set, Haas was swinging free as Djokovic was slipping and sliding and one could only imagine the winces of the groundsmen as he slid this way and that (and yes, took the obligatory tumble).

Haas is nothing, if not a fighter, and as the light was beginning to fade, there was a very real chance this might have to be finished under the lights, had Haas forced a fourth set.

But there seem to be no chinks in Djokovic’s armour today – his returning, and movement is going to make him quite a formidable barrier for the remainder of the week.

Ros Satar is a British Journalist- an IT journalist by day, and a sports journalist in all the gaps in between. Follow her tournament updates on twitter @TennisNewsTPN. She is the co-founder of Britwatch Sports (britwatchsports.com). Follow her personal twitter at @rfsatar.

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Top Seeds Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams Ease into Wimbledon Round of 16

Novak Djokovic3

(June 29, 2013) Top seeds Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams showed their dominance on the Centre Court of Wimbledon on Saturday, each with straight set victories to advance to the round of 16.

Williams won 600th career match by demolishing 42-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-2, 6-0 under the lights of the closed roof of Centre Court.  Williams has become the 15th WTA player 600 career tour match wins. Date-Krumm is the oldest woman to make the third round of The Championships.

Williams was utterly dominant against her Japanese opponent hitting 28 winners. Williams hit 8 aces and broke serve 5 times.

“I honestly never thought I would play until my 30s, to be honest,” said the 31-year-old Williams.  “I don’t see my stopping any time soon.

“However, I don’t see myself playing into my 40s.  That’s why I have so much respect for Kimiko Date.  She’s playing so well and she’s so fit and she’s so good.”

SWilliams will play 23rd seed Sabine Lisicki in the fourth round on Monday.  Lisicki defeated 2011 U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur, the 14th seed 4-6, 6-2, 6-1.

No. 1 Novak Djokovic blew his opponent off court, beating Jeremy Chardy 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.

“It was a fantastic match,” said the world No. 1.  “I felt great from the start till the end.  I had that super focus, you know, and tried to, you know, be out there every point and not allow him to come back to the match or to have any chance.

“I saw the stats that I won 100% of first serves and I served over 80% of serves in in the whole match.  That was incredible for me.  I enjoyed every moment of it, especially at the end.  I managed to read his serve.  Everything went well.  So when you play that well, obviously you feel great, you feel confident.

“This kind of performance came in the right time for me.”

Djokovic was almost perfect as he committed only three unforced errors, winning 93% of first serve points.

Djokovic will play Tommy Haas in the fourth. The 35-year-old 13th seed Haas stopped Feliciano Lopez 4-6, 6-2, 7-5, 6-4.

“I’m looking at my next opponent, that I’m playing Djokovic again, which I’m really looking forward to,” Haas said.

No. 4 David Ferrer survived a five-set clash with Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-7 (6), 7-6 (2), 2-6, 6-1, 6-2.

No. 6 seed Li Na escaped Klara Zakopalova 4-6, 6-0, 8-6.  Zakopalova actually served for the match at 6-5 in the third set, only to see Li win the next three games.

“Is pretty tough match,” said Li.  “I mean, she has to serve for the match.

“But I was really happy I didn’t give up.  Still hang in there, yeah.  Fight like crazy, but still at least I will be in the second week of Wimbledon”

Bernard Tomic who made history back in 2011 by becoming the youngest quarterfinalist  at 18 since Boris Becker in 1985 defeated 9th seed Richard Gasquet 7-6 (7), 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (5) in the third round.

Tomic’s father and coach John is prohibited from attending The Championships and other tennis tournaments. John Tomic is accused of assaulting his son’s practice partner during the Madrid Open.

Despite his father’s absence from being courtside, Tomic is still getting advice from his father.

“When I leave the site, I’m with my dad.  He’s helping me at this tournament.  We’re doing the right things.

“This is why the results are showing off now.  I’m not doing it on my own.  My dad is still involved.  That’s why I’ve gotten to where I am in this tournament and the results have shown.”

Tomic will face Tomas Berdych in the round of 16. The former Wimbledon finalist defeated 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-5.

No. 8 seed Juan Martin Del Potro survived a fall on the court to beat Grega Zemlja 7-5, 7-6 (3), 6-0.

“I was going for the dropshot and I twist my ankle,” Del Potro said describing his fall.  “I did like hyperextended my knee, as well.  It was really painful.  I was a little scared at that moment.

“I finish the match very quick.  Now I start to feel something in my knee and my ankle, as well.  I will check with the doctor very soon.”

Del Potro will take on Andreas Seppi who defeated 12th seeded Kei Nishikori 3-6, 6-2, 6-7 (4), 6-1, 6-4.

 

No. 4 seed and 2012 Wimbledon finalist Agnieszka Radwanska, withstood  the challenge from promising American teenager Madison Keys to win 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.

Keys fired 15 aces in the loss. “I was kind of impressed with my serving today,” Keys said with a smile.

“I think (the momentum changed) in the third set when she broke me, that really just kind of, you know, changed the momentum up a little bit,” Keys commented.

“She was really playing great tennis,” Radwanska said.  “Especially she was serving unbelievable.  Even when I have some breakpoints and couple times couldn’t do anything.”

2011 champion Petra Kvitova came back from a break down in the final set to stop Ekaterina Makarova of Russia 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 in a resumption of a match halted by darkness on Friday with Makarova up 2-1 in the third set.

“It was another day for me,” Kvitova said.  “Yesterday when we start to play was quite close every game, and we were keeping our serves with 3‑All.  Then after suspended, I play so well, I came back to the court.  I was really on fire.”

“I should go for every point and play my game, Kvitova said.  “So I played quite aggressively.  That was the key.”

Laura Robson made the home folks happy for the second day in a row when the Briton came back from a set and a break down to erase Marina Erakovic of New Zealand 1-6, 7-5, 6-3. Robson broke Erakovic’s serve as the New Zealander was serving for the match in the second set.

A controversial call came in the second set when Robson challenged a call which was called out and overturned. The point was replayed and Erakovic double faulted to give Robson the set 7-5.

Robson explained the turnaround to press: “In the beginning she was just playing really, really well.  And, you know, her serve was firing, so I wasn’t getting a chance on her service games.

“Then, you know, wasn’t quite, uhm, hitting the ball well enough in my service games as well.  So she was just on top of things.

Y”eah, that’s the way it goes sometimes.  But you just have to hang in and wait for them to start making a few errors.”

With the win Robson becomes the first British woman since 1991 to reach the fourth round at Wimbledon. She will also be the first woman to reach the WTA top 30 since 1987.

“It’s now my second time in the second week of a Slam, so that’s pretty cool. Except at the U.S. Open, I played on the Sunday, so it didn’t quite feel like a `second week,'” Robson said to media, “and my brother said it didn’t count.”

Sloane Stephens the 17th seed completed a darkness-delayed match by stopping 196th ranked qualifier Petra Cetkovska 7-6 (3), 0-6, 6-4.

It’s been good fortnight for the over-30 set at Wimbledon. Nine players 30-and-over have reached the round of 16 at 2013 Wimbledon -Tommy Haas, Jurgen Melzer, David Ferrer, Lukasz Kubot,  Mikhail Youzhny, Serena Williams, Li Na, Flavia Pennetta, and Roberta Vinci. It’s a record for the most combined 30-somethings into the fourth round at Wimbledon in the Open Era, equaling the feat also done in1975.

On Monday both the men and women will play in the round of 16, here are the match-ups:

Men

Novak Djokovic vs. Tommy Haas

Bernard Tomic vs. Tomas Berdych

David Ferrer vs. Ivan Dodig

Andreas Seppi  vs. Juan Martin Del Potro

Lukasz Kubot vs. Adrin Mannarino

Fernando Verdasco vs. Kenny De Schepper

Mikhail Youzhny vs. Andy Murray

 

Women

Serena Williams vs. Sabine Lisicki

Laura Robson vs. Kaia Kanepi

Agnieszka Radwanska vs.  Tsvetana Pironkova

Roberta Vinci vs Li Na

Sloane Stephens vs. Monica Puig

Marion Bartoli vs. Karin Knapp

Petra Kvitova vs. Carla Suarez Navarro

Kirsten Filpkens vs. Flavia Pennetta

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Sharapova Extends Clay Court Winning Streak to 23

MariaSharapova2012Madrid

By Tumaini Carayol

(May 9, 2013) Up first on Central Court, Maria Sharapova continued her undisputed reign on the red dirt with a hard-fought straight  sets victory over Sabine Lisicki 6-2, 7-5.

Despite the one-sided first set scoreline, the reigning French Open, Stuttgart and Rome champion found herself deep in battle from the beginning as Lisicki showered her with numerous booming forehand winners. Countless lengthy deuce-riddled games followed as the pair went blow for blow, but the Russian’s far superior mental strength proved the difference as she triumphed on the vast majority of important points and strolled through.

After dropping the first set, a sense of calm fell over Lisicki as she settled into the match, complimenting her booming forehand winners with well-executed touch around the court. Early in set two, a variety of deft forehand angles, dropshots and impressive net forays were enough to throw Sharapova off-balance, allowing Lisicki to secure a 3-1 break lead, a thorn into Sharapova her pursuit for the one big clay title currently missing from her resume.

Predictably, Sharapova immediately broke back as the intensity of the battle increased rose dramatically. The pair traded service holds until, with Sharapova serving to stay in the set at 4-5, Lisicki sensed the opportunity. She pounced, and quickly found herself up a double set point. The 26 year-old’s focus immediately catapulted into overdrive as she knocked aside the possibility of a looming third set before breaking after a lengthy game at 5-5. Before long, the victory was the Russian’s and her red clay streak had stretched to 23.

Afterwards, Sharapova was satisfied with her victory.

“She’s the kind of opponent that plays extremely well against top players. I think you can see that from her results. She always takes the top players quite far, and she beat me last year at Wimbledon.

“So, yeah, I was quite happy to turn around that victory going into the Olympics. This was our first meeting on clay, so that was a little bit different.

“But overall I think it’s about keeping my intensity as much as I can. Obviously if you can be on the court for over three hours, maybe you’re not going to play with intensity every single point, but the more that you do the better chances you have of winning.

SerenaWilliamsMadridOpen51212-600x400

Sharapova was quickly joined in the quarterfinals by top-seeded Serena Williams who, after a sluggish start, produced her best display of the tournament as she steamrolled through 12-seeded Maria Kirilenko in an uneventful 6-3 6-1 demolition. Williams was typically understated in her review of her performance.

“I think it was okay. I haven’t had a chance to talk about it after with my team, but I will. Like you said, I am a perfectionist. I always try to look for things that I know I can do better. When we get together I will see what I can do better.”

Tumaini Carayol is in Madrid covering the Madrid Open for Tennis Panorama News. He is a contributing writer at On The Baseline, and writes about professional tennis at his site Foot Fault. Follow his tournament updates on @TennisNewsTPN and his personal twitter @TumCarayol.

 

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Checking in with the Germans at Family Circle Cup

 

By Stephanie Neppl

(April 3, 2013) CHARLESTON, SC – A talented German contingency is in Charleston for the 2013 Family Circle Cup, but it has been a mixed week for its top stars.

 

A year ago, four Germans were in the top 20: Andrea Petkovic (11), Sabine Lisicki (13), Julia Goerges (15) and Angelique Kerber (16). Mona Barthel was also on the upswing and was ranked No. 36. Fast forward a year, and Petkovic is out of the top 100 due to injury, Goerges and Lisicki have seen their form and rankings dip, and Kerber found herself the highest ranked German and cracked the top 5 in 2012.

 

Rankings – April 2, 2012                             Rankings – April 1, 2013

11 – Andrea Petkovic                                             6 – Angelique Kerber

13 – Sabine Lisicki                                                 29 – Mona Barthel

15 – Julia Goerges                                                 30 – Julia Goerges

16 – Angelique Kerber                                            41- Sabine Lisicki

36 – Mona Barthel                                                  139 – Andrea Petkovic

 

All but Kerber played in Charleston this week, with mixed results thus far. Barthel and Lisicki were upset early, while Goerges and Petkovic have each survived two rounds. Here’s a look at how the German quartet are looking at the start of the clay season.

AndreaPetkovicCalrsbad3

ANDREA PETKOVIC

In August 2011, Petkovic become the sixth German to ever crack the WTA Top 10 but injury after injury came her way in 2012 and she dealt with a lower back injury and ankle injury last year. Petkovic returned to the tour again in late 2012 at the Hopman Cup and suffered another injury, this time a rupture of the medial meniscus. She started on the comeback trail again at Indian Wells this year, and her ranking has dipped to No. 137 due to her many absences.

 

She was handed a wildcard for the Family Circle Cup, and she’s put it to good use with two wins, first over fellow wildcard Taylor Townsend of the US, and another over American Vania King. She next faces 2011 Family Circle Cup champ Caroline Wozniacki. The pair have faced each other three times, with the Dane leading 2-1, including a win on their only match on the clay.

 

Wozniacki said Petkovic is a dangerous opponent. “Petkovic is a good player.  She has been very unlucky with her injuries and she is obviously a player that does play on a very high level.” The two will kick off the day session at 11am Thursday.

Julia-Goerges-Tennis-Panorama-News-Carlsbad

JULIA GOERGES

Goerges’ two career titles are both on clay (Bad Gastein in 2010 and Stuttgart in 2011) but her 2012 season saw her go 5-5 on the dirt and she’ll be looking to improve that record. On Wednesday in Charleston, Goerges managed to come back after dropping a bagel set to Olga Govortsova to advance to the third round. She’ll next face Stephanie Voegele of Switzerland, who upset No. 7 seed Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain in the second round. Goerges said she was pleased to get the win despite not playing her best. “It’s good when you get tested right away on the clay,” she said. “It’s good to have those wins under your belt and when you’re not always playing your best and winning it’s a good feeling.” Goerges and Voegele are second on Althea Gibson Court on Thursday.

 

Sabine Lisicki

Sabine Lisicki

SABINE LISICKI

Sabine Lisicki has also had her share of injuries and illness, and her ranking has dropped from #13 a year ago to its current No. 41. Lisicki made the final in Memphis in February, but retired from the match with illness after dropping the first set to Marina Erakovic of New Zealand. Lisicki loves the green clay of Charleston and it’s where she captured her biggest title back in 2009. In her first match on Tuesday, Lisicki double bageled Anna Tatishvili in just 41 minutes. Today she was a heavy favorite to beat Mallory Burdette of the US, who is ranked #99 but the Georgian pulled out the upset 3-6, 7-6, 7-5 to advance to a contest against Serena Williams.

 

Mona Barthel photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images AsiaPac

Mona Barthel photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images AsiaPac

MONA BARTHEL

Barthel is actually the lone member of the group to have a title in 2013 and the win in Paris is the biggest of her career. Barthel also finished runner-up in Hobart and she has had wins over top 10 players Sara Errani, Angelique Kerber and Marion Bartoli. She’s now the second highest ranked German, with a current ranking of No. 29. She faced the US’ Jessica Pegula in the second round on Tuesday, but the 8th seed was upset 7-6 (4), 6-1.

 

Stephanie Neppl is in Charleston covering the Family Circle Cup for Tennis Panorama News. She spends all her spare funds traveling to tennis tournaments and has played since her teen years. She has worked as Social Media Manager for Tennis Auckland’s ATP and WTA tournaments. Follow her live updates on Twitter at @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal Twitter @stephintheus and her blog  http://ihaveatennisaddiction.blogspot.com.

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