July 2, 2016

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

 

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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.

 

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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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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.

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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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Jankovic Slays Semifinal Demons in a Three-Set Thriller

JelenaJankovic

By Ros Satar

(June 1, 2013) PARIS -With so many competitive matches on the schedule on Saturday, the Roland-Garros site had hyped up the Jelena JankovicSam Stosur contest as their one to watch – and they were not wrong.

Three years ago, many thought Jankovic’s best chance at a major title run was right here, but the semi-final against Sam Stosur was a very one-sided affair.

Stosur effectively closed down all elements of Jankovic’s counter-punching style that day, and went through to the final for the loss of just three games.

For a small time, it looked as though history might repeat itself, as the first set went Stosur’s way quite rapidly.

The pair traded breaks in the second before Jankovic was able to make that decisive break at 4-3, serving it out convincingly.

Things remained close with breaks between them until Jankovic broke again to lead 5-4.

Three match points came and went for Jankovic, who then had to save a break point before finally converting on her fourth match point, finishing with an ace.

Jankovic will face USA’s Jamie Hampton, who beat Petra Kvitova earlier today in another tight 3-set match.

Stosur was very honest about the way things had gone today.

She said: “I think that I was pretty much in control of the match and then at 3-all I felt that I was setting the point up and then missed those shots to win the point.”

Although she had fought back from 0-3 down, it proved to be too big a hole to come back from.

She concluded: “I’m very disappointed and it’s kind of hard to take a little bit.

“I thought I played well enough for the majority of the match to be through. Obviously I didn’t do enough, and didn’t do it at the right time, or whatever and yeah – I find myself out of the tournament.”

Jankovic also shared some insight into how the first set had got away from her, in much the same way as the 2010 semi-final.

She said: “I had difficulty returning her serve and obviously when I don’t return well she starts controlling the point.

“She takes real advantage of that and she starts pushing me around then court and it’s difficult.

“She starts spinning that forehand and its very heavy and then I’m in trouble, so my goal was to return the serve as deep as I can and get back in the court.”

Mentally, Jankovic seems to have found herself, and gave a fairly brutal assessment of her form in the past year, given that her next opponent (Jamie Hampton) beat her in Indian Wells in 2012.

“I was losing to pretty much everyone at the time, at that stage and I was playing really badly and my level of tennis was not there.”

Hampton came through a tough 3-set match of her own, beating Petra Kvitova.

Jankovic said: “Obviously she’s playing very well, she’s beaten some top players.

“We’re now in the fourth round so you have to be playing very well to get there.”

“She has a tough game, she’s a tough opponent to play against, she has a big forehand.”

When Jankovic is up, she is very up, and given that she plays her next round of women’s doubles tomorrow, and has yet to kick off her mixed doubles campaign (partnering Leander Paes) – how will she find the time?

She joked: “I am a woman in demand, huh?

“It’s OK, I’ll play them all, and then I’ll die at the end.”

But all joking aside – Jankovic has started playing a lot more doubles this year, in order to add elements to her game, that have often been noted as lacking.

She concluded: “When I play doubles it helps me, improves my return, my transitions game, my volleys.

“Even in the singles I think I did very well when I was volleying today, when I was coming forward so I’m learning and improving that part which is great”

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On the Green Carpet – Photos from the 2013 BNP Paribas Open Players’ Party

Victoria Azarenka and Redfoo

Victoria Azarenka and Redfoo

"Austin Powers" and Caroline Wozniacki

“Austin Powers” and Caroline Wozniacki

(March 7, 2013) INDIAN WELLS, California – The BNP Paribas Open held their players’ party at the IW club on Thursday night. The tennis players drove up to the “Green Carpet” in classic cars included  Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Victoria Azarenka, Redfoo, Sloane Stephens, Petra Kvitova, Andy Murray, Ana Ivanovic, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, John Isner, Agnieszka Radwanska, Sam Stosur, James Blake, David Ferrer,  and a host of others including Austin Powers.

Photos by Curt Janka and Maria Noble. Follow Tennis Panorama News’ BNP Paribas Open coverage here and on our twitter @TennisNewsTPN.

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