2014/08/22

Aussies Bounced Out of Cincinnati

Sam Stosur

Sam Stosur

By Dave Gertler

(August 13, 2014) MASON, OHIO – The last three Australians left in the singles draw at the Cincinnati Masters all played their second-round matches on Wednesday, with Sam Stosur and Marinko Matosevic both bowing out to their American opponents in straight sets. Lleyton Hewitt also succumbed to the grinding baseline play of Italian Fabio Fognini.

 

Stosur and Serena Williams added another encounter to their storied rivalry, the Aussie receiving warm support from the crowd as she battled to stay in both sets, at times out-hitting her world No.1 opponent. In a match lasting almost two hours, where neither player dropped their serve, and Williams needed to come from behind in both tie-breaks to eventually win through to the next round. “She was up in both of the breakers,” said Williams, “I think it was just a great match, to be honest. She served unbelievable, and I was like, I can’t lose serve because she’s just serving great.”

 

Both players brought their big serves to the table, particularly Serena, who served 12 aces. “Really good quality match,” said Stosur, “I’m really pleased with the way I played. I’m disappointed when you have those couple of set points and don’t go through and at least win that set to take it into three. But I gave myself every chance to try and get through that one.  She came up with some really great stuff when it really counted.”

 

While Stosur was facing last year’s women’s runner up, Marinko Matosevic had to contend with the men’s runner up from last year, in a slightly less competitive 3-6, 6-7 loss to the American John Isner. That left Lleyton Hewitt in a familiar position as the last Australian in the singles draw.

LleytonHewittHOF

Hewitt would drop the first set against Fognini 6-1, before going up a break in the second set, a lead that he would ultimately relinquish, allowing Fognini back into the second set, which he won 6-4. “The second set I fought hard, I was up a break in the second set but couldn’t consolidate,” said Hewitt. The 33-year-old Australian served 9 double faults, saying, “I just didn’t hit my serve well today, especially early on,” said Hewitt, “He makes you play a lot of balls as well. He’s a confidence player, and when he’s hitting ball well, he’s tough to beat. He moves well, as well.”

 

Serena Williams’ next opponent will be Flavia Pennetta, while Isner faces No.8 seed Andy Murray. Fabio Fognini will face Yen-Hsun Lu, who had an upset victory over 4th seed Tomas Berdych. Also through to the round of 16, Roger Federer, who beat Canadian Vasek Pospisil 7-6, 5-7, 6-2 in 2 hours for his 300th win at a Masters Series 1000 event.

 

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney covering the Western & Southern Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his Twitter updates from the tournament on @TennisNewsTPN, follow him on his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days .

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Seeds Stephens and Stosur Fall in Wimbledon First Round

 

(June 23, 2014) WIMBLEDON – American Sloane Stephens’ streak of reaching the second week at a major was halted at six on Monday at Wimbledon when No. 109 Maria Kirilenko held back her opponent 6-2, 7-6(6) on her sixth match point.

Seventeenth seed Sam Stosur also fell victim to an opening day upset losing to Yanina Wickmayer 6-3, 6-4.

 

After an easy first set, where the Russian played an aggressive game, in the second set Stephens fought off five match points serving a 5-6.  The 18th seed held to take the set to a tiebreak and took a 6-4 lead. Stephens blew two set points as Kirilenko won the next four straight points to take the tiebreak and the match.

Last year Stephens reached quarterfinals at Wimbledon where she lost to the eventual champion Marion Bartoli.

“Obviously Maria is a great player,” Stephens said.  “She’s done well here in the past.  I knew it was going to be tricky, but that’s like every other Grand Slam first round match.”

“She just played really consistent,” Stephens added.  “She’s a good grass court player, so she knows what she’s doing.  Obviously, I mean, she just played pretty solid and she went for all of her shots.

“It was a tough day for me.”

“It wasn’t a very good start for sure,” Stosur said.  “But I actually didn’t feel like, apart from trying to play that little catch up with the break behind, I felt like I was playing quite well.

“I served very well.  Yeah, again, having that break of serve right at the start, for her to get that lead obviously frees her up a little bit.  I thought she played very, very well.

“Yeah, early in that second set I had a chance to break serve; didn’t get it.  Then it was service games, service games, service games.  She gets a let cord at 30-All to get a break; down a break.

“Look, I don’t feel like I played that bad a match, to be honest with you.”

“I think this was one of the best matches I’ve played this year,” said the Belgian who was supported in the stands by former No. 1 Kim Clijsters who is   also working with Wickmayer.  “I felt really confident out there, and tried to really focus on being aggressive from the first point when she served.  I tried to be aggressive on the second serves, and when I had the chance I tried to move in and move forward and serve well myself.

“Open the court up, make her run, work for the points.  So I’m really happy about the way I played today.”

Karen Pestaina at Wimbledon

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Maria Sharapova Rallies Past Sam Stosur at French Open

 

(June 1, 2014) Maria Sharapova rebounded from losing the first set to move into the French Open quarterfinals on Saturday 3-6, 6-4, 6-0 over Sam Stosur. Sharpaova won the last nine games to close out the match.

After losing the first set, Sharapova who trailed 4-3 in the second won 22 of 25 points to take command of the match over the 19th seed.

“It was so difficult in the beginning, Samantha was playing so well, but I got energy from the crowd,” Sharapova said about her comeback.

“I’m so happy to be back in the quarter-finals, it’s such a special tournament for me. “It’s a big step but when you get there it will get more difficult. Hopefully I will raise my level.”

No. 7 Sharapova is looking for her second Roland Garro title. She won back in 2012 and last year was a losing finalist to Serena Williams.

With Serena Williams ousted from the tournament in the second round, Sharapova will face the woman who beat her in the quarterfinals, Garbine Muguruza of Spain. Garbine Muguruza defeated French woman Pauline Parmentier 6-4, 6-2.

 

ROLAND GARROS

Women’s Results – Sunday, June 1, 2014
Singles – Fourth Round
(7) Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. (19) Samantha Stosur (AUS) 36 64 60
(18) Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) d. (8) Angelique Kerber (GER) 61 62
(14) Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP) d. Ajla Tomljanovic (CRO) 63 63
Garbiñe Muguruza (ESP) d. (WC) Pauline Parmentier (FRA) 64 62

More to follow…

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Third Seed Agnieszka Radwanska Stunned by Ajla Tomljanovic

 

(May 30, 2014) The top two women’s seeds at the French Open Serena Williams and Li Na fell earlier on the week, joining them on the sidelines on Friday was third seed Agnieszka Radwanska who lost to unseeded Croatian Ajla Tomljanovic 6-4, 6-4.

For the 25-year-old woman from Poland, this was her earliest exit from a major.

“After seeing the two first seeds go out, you kind of feel like `I can do this, too,’”said the 72nd ranked Tomljanovic “I grew up with these girls that are beating them.”

The loss means that No. 4 Simona Halep of Romania is the highest seed left in the women’s draw.

For the 21-year-old Croatian, this was her first top 5 win. Before Friday she had only one win against a top 30 player and had never been past the second round of a major, now she’s in the round of 16.

In another upset on the women’s side, 2010 French Open finalist Sam Stosur, the 19th seed defeated 9th seed and Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova 6-4, 6-4. It will be Stosur’s first round of 16 at a major since the 2012 US Open.

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Showdown in Hong Kong for World Tennis Day Sees Aussies Win

 

 

By Natalie Ho

(March 3, 2014) HONG KONG – The second annual BNP Paribas Showdown in Hong Kong, part of ITF’s World Tennis Day initiative, was concluded in lighthearted fashion with the participation of four star players – Li Na, Sam Stosur, Tomas Berdych and Lleyton Hewitt. The evening turned out to be a good one for the Aussies as Former US Open winner Sam Stosur beat reigning Australian Open champion Li Na 6-4, 6-3 in the opening match, while former world No 1 Lleyton Hewitt defeated No. 6 Tomas Berdych 6-4, 7-5 in the second match of the evening.

This year the event was moved to the newly opened Hong Kong Velodrome where a tennis court and bleacher seats were built especially for this showdown. Those lucky fans with tickets to the temporary bleachers were literally court-side. They were treated to an intimate setting with the only disadvantage being the chance to get hit by serves. However, spectators in the upper section were separated from the action by a cycling track which was quite a distraction and might explain the lack of atmosphere especially at the beginning.

Missing Li last year due to injury, the crowd was happy to see her finally but Stosur also had very vocal support. The ladies traded service breaks multiple times but in the end it was Stosur, the more solid player in the match, who prevailed. The men’s match was, in contrast, more exhibition-like. Berdych was quite a crowd pleaser while Hewitt’s competitive drive was visible even in an exhibition. The crowd really got into the match towards the end and was shouting “third set, third set”. However, it was not to be as after some tussling Hewitt was able to close out the match.

Earlier in the day the players participated in a news conference to kick off the event.

Lleyton Hewitt, asked about the International Premier Tennis League, said Asia is a massive growth area for tennis so being an Aussie he’s excited to take part.

Tomas Berdych was asked about hiring a star coach. He feels this is not a must and that a star coach may not work well within a team.

Sam Stosur is happy to be working on different things with her new coach Miles Maclagan and plans to play more doubles this year.

Li Na naturally received the most questions. Between more GS & #1 she wants both. #1 is a goal as she’s now on her career high ranking. She also revealed a funny team dynamic: her husband would tell Carlos his ideas so Carlos would say them. Otherwise she wouldn’t listen.

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Dubai Draw Provides Competitive Opening Round Clashes

 

IMG_5879 dubai draw

(February 15, 2014) DUBAI, UAEFormer world No. 1, 2011 champion and No. 8 seed Caroline Wozniacki will face 2013 Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki in the first round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

 

That is just one of the opening round clashes that were revealed when the draw was made at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium on Saturday in the presence of Venus Williams, Samantha Stosur, Sorana Cirstea and Lucie Safarova.

 

Another first round match will pit former No. 1 and the 2008 French Open champion, Ana Ivanovic, against six seed Angelique Kerber, who ended last season by beating Ivanovic to win Linz and then last month warmed up for the Australian Open by reaching the Sydney final.

 

Former two-time champion Venus Williams needed a wild card to compete, and she will tackle Elena Vesnina in the first round for the right to meet either Kerber or Ivanovic.

 

Top seed Serena Williams has a bye into the second round, where she could face recent Pattaya winner Ekaterina Makarova, and second seed and 2012 champion Agnieszka Radwanska will face either a qualifier or 2009 Dubai semi-finalist Kaia Kanepi. Third seed and defending champion Petra Kvitova will face either former world number three Nadia Petrova or Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro.

 

Fourth seed Sara Errani, who finished as runner-up to Petra Kvitova in 2013, also receives a bye and then could face either Sorana Cirstea or her doubles partner and the player she beat in last year’s semi-finals, Roberta Vinci. Former world No. 1 and fifth seeded Jelena Jankovic will play a qualifier in the first round, and seventh seed and WTA Most Improved Player of 2013 Simona Halep faces Alize Cornet.

 

Main draw play begins on 17th February and continues until 22nd February, followed by the ATP tournament which takes place from February 24 to March 1.

 

DUBAI DUTY FREE TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS
Dubai, UAE
February 17-February 22, 2014
$2,000,000/Premier
Hard/Outdoors

Order Of Play – Monday, February 17, 2014
Centre Court (from 14.00hrs)
1. Sloane Stephens vs. Lucie Safarova
2. Carla Suárez Navarro vs. Nadia Petrova
3. Venus Williams vs. Elena Vesnina (NB 19.00hrs)
4. Sorana Cirstea vs. Roberta Vinci

Court 1 (from 14.00hrs)
1. Alisa Kleybanova vs. Ekaterina Makarova
2. Chan/Huber vs. Kops-Jones/Spears
3. Raymond/Zhang vs. Pliskova/Pliskova
4. Dushevina/Parra Santonja vs. Groenefeld/Rosolska

Court 2 (from 12.30hrs)
1. Camila Giorgi vs. Karolina Pliskova (Singles Q Final)
2. Maryna Zanevska vs. Mona Barthel (Singles Q Final)

Court 3 (from 12.30hrs)
1. Eugenie Bouchard vs. Annika Beck (Singles Q Final)
2. Flavia Pennetta vs. Yvonne Meusburger (Singles Q Final)

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296th Ranked Qualifier Victoria Duval Upends 2011 US Open Champ Sam Stosur in First Round of US Open

Victoria Duval

(August 27, 2013) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Last year at the US Open, Victoria Duval gained a wild card into the US Open when she won the US Junior Girls’ National 18 and under championship. This year she had to win three matches in the qualifying tournament to make the main draw. She made good use of extra practice on the courts during qualifying to upset No. 11 seed and 2011 US Open Champion Sam Stosur 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 to move into the second round at Flushing Meadows.

Originally, the 296th ranked Duval who is just 17-years-old  said she wanted to be a ballerina but she took after her brothers’ interest in tennis.

“Actually, my brothers played,” she said.  “So I was a ballerina before tennis.  I would just run around and hit the ball.  I could never hit the strings.  My brother would go to this tournament in Santo Domingo every year.  The tournament director said, your daughter comes and sits on your lap.  Why don’t you have her play in the tournament?

“I was seven.  I had no idea how to keep score, nothing.  It was a 10‑and‑under tournament, I think, and I won it.  I had no idea where to stand on the court or anything.  After that, my mom was, Okay, you have to choose now.  Tennis seemed to be appropriate.”

The effervescent teen born in Florida but grew up in Haiti, with a high pitched voice that could pass for an animated character, did not have an easy road to tennis.

“It was definitely financially difficult, especially after the earthquake.  My dad wasn’t able to work anymore.

“I’ve been very fortunate.  A couple family members have helped me.  Hopefully with this win today, that will change a little bit.”

At one point as a child she and her cousin were held hostage by robbers.

“We were held hostage,” said Duval.  “It’s not a good memory, so I try to forget as much as I could about it.  I don’t remember too much of it anymore, which is great.”

Also in 2010 an earthquake hit Haiti and her father, a doctor, was underneath rubble for nearly 12 hours. He survived with the aid of an American friend who found a helicopter to get him out. However, now her father is unable to work.

“But he’s improving so much,” said Duval.  “Emotionally it was hard at first.  But he’s as happy as he’s ever been.  He had a couple surgeries that helped take the pain away.  We’re just so happy that, you know, he’s in a good state of mind right now.  He’s just here with us.  So it’s incredible.”

In her post-match on-court interview she reflected on how fortunate she really is: “I don’t take anything for granted. You never know what can happen any day. My dad’s fortunate to be here. … I thank God every day for everything that’s happened. Life is short.”

Duvall made much better memories on Tuesday in Louis Armstrong Stadium with her victory.

“Obviously it’s a great feeling to beat a past champion,” Duval said.  “And Sam is amazing.  Although she didn’t play nearly her best today, I played amazing, so I’ll take it,” she said with a smile.

“But, yeah, I mean, I have to worry about the next match, so I can’t celebrate too much.”

The tale of the tape showed that Stosur hit 56 unforced errors to Duval’s 35.

“I think she played from the ground pretty decent,” Stosur said.  “You know, she went for her forehand a lot more than maybe what I was expecting, from what I could kind of find out beforehand.  She hit that well.  She hit that cross‑court forehand well.  Moved relatively well, all that.

“I again, she played a pretty good match.  It was certainly a match where I feel like I could have played a lot better than what I did.  At the end of the day, that’s what happened today.  She did well.”

Asked if she was going to become a tennis star, Duval said: That’s what I’m working for.  If God will let it, then let’s go.”

Karen Pestaina is covering the US Open as media for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her updates on twitter at @TennisNewsTPN.

 

Related articles:

A New “Sunshine” – Victoria Duval

Q & A with Victoria Duval at the Sony Open

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Sam Stosur Says That it was Time to Get a New Coach

 

Sam Stosur interview

(August 24, 2013) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – For Sam Stosur the US Open is the scene of her greatest tennis triumph as she won the title in 2011 over Serena Williams.

“It’s fantastic coming back here,” Stosur said to media.  “I guess it’s the second year coming back to the site of where I have had my best tennis moment.”

“So I think no matter, you know, what leadup you’ve had, however you feel, you can walk in here and think this is pretty cool and relive all those great memories and hopefully make them all happen again.”

Stosur has recently split with her coach of six years David Taylor.

“I think Dave and I, we had been together for a long time, “ the Australian said.  “It was almost six years.  We had some great moments in that period of time.

“Yeah, you know, as these little periods have gone on, I think we both were kind of feeling that we’d almost come to the end.  Unfortunately, it happened to be last week.  I don’t think, neither of us, I’m sure, would have wanted it to happen right then, and obviously with winning that tournament almost makes it seem a little bit strange.

“But I think we both felt that it was time, and, you know, if something’s time is up, then you’ve kind of got to call it a day.”

Stosur is currently working with Fed Cup captain Alicia Molik until she finds a permanent replacement.

She will help me here, and after this tournament I will kind of assess what I want to do, who maybe it can be, and go from there.” Stosur said.  “But there is no one in particular at the moment.”

The 11th seed’s first round opponent will be young American qualifier Victoria Duval on Tuesday.

 

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News

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Stosur, Tomic, Radwanska and Janowicz to Play Hopman Cup

Janowicz 88

Jerzy Janowicz

(August 19, 2013) Australia’s top ranked players Sam Stosur and Bernard Tomic  have confirmed they will play at Hyundai Hopman Cup 2014.

 

Current world No.4 Agnieszka Radwanska and Wimbledon semifinalist Jerzy Janowicz are also set to team up as Poland makes its debut at the event.

 

World No.13 Stosur is excited to return to Western Australia for the first time since 2010.

 

“I just wanted to get back to Perth. I thought this year I’d try something different again,” said Stosur, the 2011 US Open champion.

 

“It will be nice to be able to play. You know that you’re going to get three matches … and maybe that’s going to be good for me going into the Aussie Open.

 

“Hopefully that’s going to be the secret formula to me doing well,” added Stosur.

 

Tomic, 20, and the youngest player currently in the top 100, will pair with Stosur as he looks to continue his unbeaten record at Perth Arena.

 

“I had some success there earlier this year so hopefully I can do well again in 2014,” said the world No.42, who recently reached the fourth round at Wimbledon.

 

“The event always attracts strong teams so you know you’re going to get some tough matches against high quality players.

 

“The local crowds love their tennis and it’s always exciting to play in front of them,” added the Queenslander, who won his first ATP singles title in Sydney in January.

 

Radwanska and Janowicz will be looking to make their mark when Team Poland makes its first ever appearance at the event.

 

“I’m really excited to play the Hopman Cup for the first time,” said Radwanska, who holds 12 WTA singles titles at just 24 years of age.

 

“I’ve never played mixed doubles with him [Jerzy] before.  Actually my last mixed doubles match was I think five years ago so that will be fun for sure.”

 

Twenty-two-year-old Janowicz has climbed up the rankings by 73 places to be just outside the top 10 in the past 12 months.

 

“We decided it might be a lot of fun to play together at Hopman Cup,” said Janowicz.

 

Hyundai Hopman Cup Event Director Steve Ayles is delighted with the signing of the top Australian and Polish pairs.

 

“Sam and Bernie, Australia’s highest ranked players, have committed to play this event, which shows the strength and value of the Hyundai Hopman Cup. The players look at the event as a solid starting point for the new season.

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Stosur Earns First Win Over Azarenka and Fourth Career Title

Stosur sliding in the pool

By Curt Janka

(August 4, 2013) CARLSBAD, California – Samantha Stosur wasn’t even scheduled to play this week, but made the best of her wild card entry, defeating the top seed, Victoria Azarenka in the final 6-2, 6-3. The match was perhaps less competitive than the score indicates as Azarenka never seemed to find the right length to her shots.

Without finding a feel for her shots, Azarenka never adjusted her game plan. In fact, her game plan may have got in the way of her settling into a rhythm. From the very beginning, it was clear Azarenka wanted to avoid the Stosur forehand at all costs. She continued to over hit at the Stosur’s backhand even when an easier shot was available in the other direction. Azarenka seemed to recognize this after the match saying, “I just have to be a little bit more aware of what I‘m doing on the court, what I can do on that particular day.  I kept doing the same kind of thing, so that wasn’t very smart for me to do.”

Azarenka did not put all the blame on her game, however, adding,“ have to give her credit. She played a great match today for sure. There is no doubt about that.”

The statistics for Stosur certainly concur. While Azarenka was one of 12 on break points, Stosur was an impressive four of five. Azarenka is known as a great returner, but it was Stosur that got a remarkable 80% of returns in play. Returning so well kept Azarenka’s serve in jeopardy throughout the match. Of the eight times Stosur came to net, she won seven of those points. She also hit 13 more winners than her opponent.

IMG_7884

One other statistic stood out even before the match started, their head-to-head record. Azarenka was previously 8-0 against Stosur. It’s not easy to overcome that kind of history, but Stosur pointed out it’s not a first for her. “I guess I went through something similar when I played Maria Sharapova a bunch of times,” said Stosur.  “I think it took ten times for me to be able to beat her.  I knew it was possible one day against Vika, but the last two matches that we played have been very, very close.  I felt like I was almost in winning positions with those two as well. So I think going into today there was no reason to believe that I wasn’t going to be able to turn that result around and win today.”

That mentality came through in Stosur’s positive body language from the start of the match to the end when she closed out the win on her first opportunity. This is her fourth career title and a much needed confidence builder heading into the final slam of the season.

“Yeah, it’s great,” Stosur said with a relieved smile. “Obviously this is the lead-up to the US Open and that’s where everyone wants to peak.  I think this is a huge boost for me.  I haven’t had great results all year, so to be able to bounce back especially from last week’s first-round loss is really exciting.”

In addition to lifting the trophy, and taking the now traditional victor’s trip down the pool slide at the La Costa resort, Stosur is now also tied for the lead in the US Open Series points race.  If her confidence, and points race standings hold, she’ll be eligible for bonus prize money and likely a deep run in New York.

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