October 4, 2015

Djokovic Beats Nadal to Reach French Open Semis: Williams and Bacsinszky Advance to Final Four

(June 3, 2015) There would be no gifts given to Rafael Nadal by Novak Djokovic on the 9-time French Open champion’s 29th birthday on Wednesday. No. 1 Djokovic ended Nadal’s 39-match French Open winning streak winning the quarterfinal contest 7-5, 6-3, 6-1.

Djokovic has extended his current winning streak to 27.

It was just Nadal’s second defeat on the red clay of Roland Garros. The only other loss came in 2009 in the round of 16 to Robin Soderling. Nadal is 70-2 at the French Open.

Coming into the match, Djokovic had never beaten Nadal in Paris.

With the loss, Nadal’s ranking will fall to No. 10 and if Jo-Wilfried Tsonga reaches the final, the Spaniard’s ranking will be No. 11.

The Serb will play Andy Murray in the semifinals.  Murray defeated David Ferrer for the first time on clay 7-6(4), 6-2, 5-7, 6-1.

“I feel like I understand how I have to play on the surface better than I did in the past,” said Murray.

Both Murray and Djokovic come into their semifinal with unbeaten streaks on clay this season.

This will be Djokovic’s 26 major semifinal, tying hall of famer Andre Agassi for fourth on the all-time list.

“I have much respect for Rafa.” Djokovic said. “He is obviously not playing at the level we expect from him this season. But he remains a champion and it’s always a pleasure to play against him.”

“I lost in 2009 and it was not the end and I lost in 2015 and it’s not the end,” Nadal said. “I hope to be back here next year and to fight.”

“I wanna work even harder than before to come back stronger.” Nadal said it was the best moment in Djokovic’s career.

“A match that I will remember for a long time,” Djokovic said.

“An ideal scenario is today could have been (the final), and could have a different discussion,” he continued. “It’s only quarterfinals, and I want to fight for the title. That’s what I came here for.”

On the women’s side, No. 1 Serena Williams had no trouble dismissing former French Open finalist, 17th seed Sara Errani 6-1, 6-3 to reach the semifinals.

“The last four French Opens in a row she’s been to the quarterfinals or better, so I knew I had to be really focused today,” Williams said.

“I haven’t had a great clay court season, so I’m pretty excited to have gotten this far,” said the American. “Hopefully I can keep going. Nothing’s guaranteed – at this point I’m just fighting to stay in the tournament.”

The 33-year-old American, seeking her third title in Paris and 20th major, will play Switzerland’s Timea Bacsinszky, the No. 23 seed, who defeated surprise quarterfinalist Alison van Uytvanck of Belgium 6-4, 7-5.

“I know people like to write about who is the favorite and who has pressure, who has no pressure, but we are equal when we step on the tennis court,” Bacsinszky said after the match. “She deserved that spot in the quarterfinal. It means she’s playing really well. I wasn’t feeling like the favorite today. That’s why I just played my game and tried to find the solution like before. It was a great experience for me.”



US Falls to Italy in Fed Cup World Group Play-off

Flavia Pennetta

Flavia Pennetta

(April 19, 2015) Italy has now won five straight Fed cup ties against the United States with their 3-2 win on Sunday in the World Group playoff in Brindisi, Italy.

No. 1 Serena Williams had to fight her way back against Sara Errani to take the first match of the day 4-6, 7-6 (3), 6-3 to give the U.S. a 2-1 lead over Italy.

“Today has been a big eye opener,” Williams said. “I need to go home and train.  I am totally not ready for clay court season as I thought I was.  This was a great match for me, even if I had lost, I think it would have been a wonderful match.  That is one good thing about playing Fed Cup and things like this it gives you the practice that you normally would not get.”


In the second match, hometown girl Flavia Pennetta demolished Christina McHale 6-1, 6-1 to even up the tie at 2-2.

The final rubber of the tie which was the doubles, saw Williams lost her first match of her Fed Cup career when she paired with Alison Riske and fell to Pennetta and Errani 6-0, 6-3 which sealed the tie for Italy.

Williams is now 13-0 in Singles and 3-1 in doubles in Fed Cup competition.

On playing against Pennetta and Errani in doubles, Williams said: “They are a very solid team and obviously, they have both been No. 1 in doubles.  I have been No. 1, so I felt like I had the opportunity to take some chances and do the best I can.  They were the better team today and ultimately, they got the win, which they deserved since they played better.”

Italy will return to the World Group and can compete for the Fed Cup trophy in 2016 while the U.S. will fall to World Group II.

Asked about the future of the U. S. Fed Cup team, Captain Mary Joe Fernandez said: “I think it is a big challenge.  We have to work harder.  We came close today and just keep plugging away.  The good news is that we have a lot of players in the Top 100 and hopefully, we can get two wins next year and get back into the World Group.”


The 2016 Fed Cup draw will be made in June.


U.S. and Italy End Day One at 1-1 in Fed Cup


(April 18, 2015) After day one, the United States and Italy are ties at 1-1 in the Fed Cup World Group Playoff being played at Circolo Tennis Brindisi in Brindisi, Italy.

World No. 1 Serena Williams led off the day holding off world No. 36 Camila Giorgi, 7-6(5), 6-2, raising her Fed Cup singles record to 12-0.

“The first set was tough,” said Williams. “I needed to stay calm and make more shots, especially the deeper ones. I think I was hitting them short. So once I started hitting deeper, things worked out.”

“Camila played really well and had a great game plan. That is the player she is. She goes for it a lot. I love to watch her play because she is so feisty on the court. I love her game how she hits so hard.  I know her game really well, so it was not a surprise.”

Sara Errani leveled the tie in the next match, demolishing Lauren Davis, making her singles debut for the United States 6-1, 6-2 in 70 minutes.

“It was a good experience for me,” Davis said.  “I thought I handled myself well.  Sara played very well and was solid and consistent. Given the situation, I think I did okay.”

“Lauren competed really well,” said US Fed Cup captain Mary Joe Fernandez. “It is a tough match-up on clay.  Sara has so much experience and defends so well and is also very aggressive.  I thought there were a few games where Lauren had opportunities where it was deuce or break point.  Against a player of that caliber, you have to win those games and then maybe you have a chance.  Sara played really well under pressure and those points very well.”

The winner of the tie this weekend will return to World Group 1 and can compete for the Fed Cup next year while the loser will fall back into World Group II.


Serena Williams Leads US Fed Cup Team Against Italy


(April 17, 2015) For the fifth time in the last seven years the U.S. and Italy face-off in Fed Cup. Italy has won the last four contests, but the U.S. leads overall 9-4. The teams last faced each other last year in the World Group Quarterfinal in Cleveland, where Italy won, 3-1.


The United States will take on Italy in the Fed Cup World Playoff on the outdoor red clay court at Circolo Tennis Brindisi in Brindisi, Italy. Play begins Saturday at 1:00 pm local time (7:00 am ET).


No. 1 Serena Williams and world No. 36 Camila Giorgi will open the tie on Saturday. Williams is a perfect 11-0 in singles record in Fed Cup competition for the United States. She represented the USA earlier this year in the World Group II First Round against Argentina in Buenos Aires.


“Every time I step on the clay, I feel refreshed,” Williams said after the draw ceremony on Friday. “I love playing on the clay and my clay court game feels great.  It’s a great surface for me. I feel good playing one, two, or three matches this weekend.”


This will be the fourth straight Fed Cup tie for Giorgi where she’s 2-2 in singles. She made her debut in Fed Cup last year in the World Group Quarterfinal against the U.S. in Cleveland, where she beat Madison Keys.


“We all know from Cleveland last year that Camila is very dangerous,” said USA Fed cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez. “She hits the ball extremely hard and flat and goes for it. You have to be ready for anything playing Giorgi. She is coming off a good week by reaching a WTA final last week, so it will be tough.”


The second match on Saturday will feature the Fed Cup singles debut of American Lauren Davis, ranked No 57 in the world Davis will take on world No. 15 Sara Errani.


“I am very excited and love being a part of this team of three great girls,” Davis said. “This will be my first singles match for Fed Cup, so it will be a great experience for me and great opportunity to play for my team.”


Errani has played in 16 Fed Cup ties for Italy and has an 11-8 singles record. Errani leads Davis 2-1 in head-to-head competition.


“With Errani, you have to work and earn your victory, especially on clay, since she is so consistent,” Fernandez said. It comes down to discipline, constructing your points, and being patient with her. We are going to have two tough matches. Hopefully we can get quick starts and keep it up throughout the weekend.


The winner of this tie advances to the World Group in 2016 for a chance to compete for the Fed Cup trophy. The losing nation will fall back to World Group II in 2016.



Saturday, 1:00 p.m.

Singles A: Serena Williams (USA) vs. Camila Giorgi (ITA)

Singles B: Lauren Davis (USA) vs. Sara Errani (ITA)

Sunday, 11:30 a.m.

Singles C: Serena Williams (USA) vs. Sara Errani (ITA)

Singles D: Lauren Davis (USA) vs. Camila Giorgi (ITA)

Doubles: Doubles: Alison Riske/Christina McHale (USA) vs. Flavia Pennetta/Karin Knapp (ITA)


Sara Errani is the First to Reach the Quarterfinals at US Open


(August 31, 2014) FLUSHING MEADOWS – Sara Errani, fresh off her win over Venus Williams on Friday held off surprise challenger and 1999 Wimbledon semifinalist 32-year-old qualifier Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-3, 2-6, 6-0 on Sunday at the US Open.

Erran, who is the 13th seed was a 2012 French Open finalist is the first to advance to the quarterfinals of the US Open. The Italian held steady with her baseline game committing only 9 errors to her hard-hitting Croat opponent’s 69.

“I knew I was going for too much,” said the Croat. “It was really difficult to play because it was very windy day, also. That kind of played, I feel, a huge role today. It was really difficult to time the balls, especially on her ball and her serve. It comes so slow and it kind of floats in the air. Yeah, I mean, I wanted to keep going for the ball and keep playing aggressive, but, yeah, I just missed too much.”

“It was tough match, Errani said. “She served very strong. She hit the ball unbelievable strong. Is the kind of player I don’t like to play too much, so I just tried to be very focused every point. Tried to shut up the most I can. So be focused try to hit when I can. Was, I think, very good match.”

Errani will face the winner of Maria Sharapova and Caroline Wozniacki match.

Former teen phenom Lucic-Baroni, who is ranked 121st upset No. 2 seed Simona Halep in the third round.

“This has been a great two weeks, the best so far since I can remember for a long time,” Lucic-Baroni said. “Obviously right now I’m really disappointed. She’s a really tough player to play. Today I felt like I ran out of gas a little bit.”


Sara Errani Stuns Venus Williams in Third Round of US Open

Venus Williams

Venus Williams

(August 29, 2014) FLUSHING MEADOWS – Two points from the match 13th seeded Sara Errani, forced a tiebreak and rallied to beat the two-time US Open champion Venus Williams in a topsy-turvy match 6-0, 0-6, 7-6 (5).

Williams battled to come back from a break down twice in the final set, but in the end, 52 unforced errors and 8 double-faults were her undoing.

“It was a really tough match, even if I won the first set 6-0,” said Errani.  “She’s an amazing player. I just tried to focus on every point. I tried to keep going, not thinking too much about the score.”

“First set I start very good, very aggressive,” said the 27-year-old Italian. “I was playing very good. She didn’t put too many first serves, so maybe that was a bit the key. And the second set I start a bit down with the legs, not pushing too much the ball, and she was coming in the court. More first serves. So that was a big difference between the first and the second set. The third was very near. Many breaks.”

Before this match, Errani had never won more than 3 games in a set against the 34-year-old Williams in three previous matches.

Next up for Errant, she play a qualifier 121st– ranked qualifier, 32-year-old Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, who as a teenager reached the semifinals of Wimbledon in 1999, the last time she made the fourth round of a major.

More to follow.


Simona Halep and Andrea Petkovic Reach French Open Semis




(June 4, 2014) Andrea Petkovic and Simona Halep have both moved into their first-ever Grand Slam semifinal, both advancing with 6-2, 6-2 quarterfinal victories at the French Open on Wednesday. The matches on the show courts had their starts delayed by rain.

The 28th seeded Petkovic from Germany defeated 10th seed Sara Errani, the losing finalist at the French Open in 2012. Halep, the fourth seed beat 2009 Roland Garros champion Svetlana Kuznetsova the 27th seed.

“I have to say, today I was in a real zone. I didn’t think at all,” said an excited Petkovic. “I was just focused on what I had to do.”

“I had a very good game plan from my coach. It didn’t work in the beginning, so I was getting a little, not panicked, but when you have a certain game plan and you lose the first two games and it’s not working, so I was kind of getting a little worried,” Petkovic said. “I was lucky that I started playing better and that I was putting more balls into play.”

At one point last year when Petkovic lost in the French Open qualification tournament, she considered quitting tennis, now she’s in her first major semifinal.

The highest seed remaining in the women’s draw, No. 4 seed Halep held back Kuznetsova who had an injured left thigh and had to take a medical time out after the first set.


“I felt very good on court. It was a perfect day for me. I played really well and stuck to my gameplan,” Halep said to press. “I was very aggressive. I played very fast.
“So it was a good match, and I’m really happy that now I can play in the semifinals in Paris.”

Petkovic and Halep will face off for a spot in the French Open final, the winner playing the winner of the Maria Sharapova versus Eugenie Bouchard.


Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams Capture Rome Titles



(May 18, 2014) Novak Djokovic stretched his win streak over No. 1 Rafael Nadal to four in a row when he came back to beat the seven-time Rome champion 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 to claim his third Italian Open on Sunday. Top women’s tennis player Serena Williams beat an injured Sara Errani in front of her home crowd 6-3, 6-0 to win her third Italian Open championship.

For No. 2 Djokovic who sat out last week’s Madrid Open due to a wrist injury, the Serbian had more than tennis on his mind during his battle with Nadal as dozens have died in the Balkans due to severe floods.

The 26-year-old, who drew a heart on the court in the clay with his racquet after his win, dedicated his victory to flood-hit Serbia.

“This heart on the court is for you,” Djokovic said on court. “It’s also a special dedication to my country, which is suffering a lot right now. My heart is with them.”

For Nadal who was pushed to three sets in all but one of his matches this week in Rome, he said: “It was a difficult week. Too many hours on the court.”

“I felt that Novak was pushing me and has a great talent to play inside the lines. I think this week is important for me. I have won 600 points. I was able to play in another final here. I was able to compete well against one of the best players of the moment. I arrive to Roland Garros now more encouraged that what I did a few weeks ago.”

The Spaniard hit 27 errors with only 15 winners against Djokovic. For the first time, 8-time Nadal enters Roland Garros, which begins next Sunday, with three losses on clay this season and just one European clay court title (Madrid). Nadal is 59-1 at the French Open.Djokovic is seeking his first French Open title. He was a finalist in 2012.

“It’s been a great week considering where I’ve been a few weeks ago with the wrist injury,” Djokovic said. Luckily for me, I played with no pain and increased the level of tennis as the week went on. I’ve had some tough matches. Four out of five matches were three-setters and I had to come back from one set down yesterday against Raonic and today again. That gives me a lot of confidence. Winning against Rafa in the final of a big tournament on clay, his preferred surface, is definitely a confidence booster.”

Djokovic takes home his 19th ATP Masters Series title.

Serena Williams Jumped out to a 3-0 lead and with a 5-3 lead, Errani sustained a left thigh injury and had to go off the court to get treatment. After Errani came back on the court, it was obvious that her movement was hampered. Williams who has been dealing a through injury herself last week when she pulled out of Madrid, reeled off the next 7 games for the title.

Speaking to the Rome crowd in Italian, Williams said, “I’m also sorry for Sara today. She really played great all week.”

“I’m sorry. You were unbelievable all week,” said Errani to the fans during the trophy presentation. “I tried to do my best and stayed on the court only for you.”

“It’s crazy for me that I got to the final this year,” Errani said through tears. “I never expected to manage to play such good tennis.”

“Sara played really well in the first set,” Williams added. “She was doing everything right and I could tell she had obviously improved since our last meeting in Paris last year,” Williams continued. It was unfortunate she got injured in the last game of the set, but overall I thought she was playing really well out there.”

For Williams it was her 60 title of the 32-year-old American veteran’s career. She now ranks 6th overall behind Martina Navratilova holds the record with 167 singles titles.

“My game gets better with age,” Williams said.

Williams will be going after her third French Open title when the Tournament begins next Sunday.


Rome, Italy
May 12-18, 2014
Red Clay/Outdoors

Results – Sunday, May 18, 2014
WTA Singles – Final
(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. (10) Sara Errani (ITA) 63 60

WTA Doubles – Final
(4) Peschke/Srebotnik (CZE/SLO) d. (2) Errani/Vinci (ITA/ITA) 40 ret. (Errani: left hip muscle strain)

ATP Singles – Final
[2] N Djokovic (SRB) d [1] R Nadal (ESP) 46 63 63

ATP Doubles – Final

[6] D Nestor (CAN) / N Zimonjic (SRB) d R Haase (NED) / F Lopez (ESP) 64 76(2)


Sara Errani Stuns Li Na to Reach Rome Semis

Errani photo by Christopher Levy @tennis_shots

Errani photo by Christopher Levy @tennis_shots

(May 15, 2014) Italy’s Sara Errani conquered Rome on Friday when she upset No. 2 Li Na Na 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 to reach her second straight Italian Open semifinal, much to the delight of a supportive crowd. Coming into the match Errani was 0-6 versus Li.

The No. 10 seed is trying to become the first Italian woman since Raffaella Reggi in 1984 to win Rome.

Li committed 52 unforced errors to Errani’s 21. In her post-match news conference, Li said that she threw up before the match. She told press that her illness could have been caused by pasta or allergies.

Errani will face either Jelena Jankovic or third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska in the semifinals.


Seeds Tomas Berdych, Jo Wilfried Tsonga and Sara Errani Fall

Bautista Agut

Bautista Agut

(March 9, 2014) No. 4 seed Tomas Berdych fell to Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open on Sunday 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.

“It is tough opponent, but, you know, first of all I need to say that he really handled the tough situation today really well,” the Czech said.

“But secondly, more important to me that anything I touched today was basically bad and was wrong.  So really, you know, just to recap it, definitely my worst match that I had this year.  That’s it, you know.



“That’s another experience.  That’s another way of the tennis, also.  It’s not only about winning.  So, yeah, just learned I need to learn from those mistakes that I did and just keep going.



Ninth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga also fell to French countryman Julien Benneteau 6-4, 6-4.


Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard put out No. 10 seed Sara Errani 6-3, 6-3 to advance to the fourth round of a WTA Premier event for the first time in her career.

The 20-year-old outhit her top ten opponent 36 to 10 in total winners. She’ll face will next face Romania’s Simona Halep, the world No. 7.

“She’s definitely improved a lot,” Bouchard said of her next opponent.  “I think she’s a really good, solid player.  I’m excited to play her.  I’m looking forward to playing against her game and seeing what it’s like and, you know, still focusing on my game and doing what I need to do.”


Isner interviewed

The lone American man left standing John Isner beat Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko 7-6 (5), 6-3.

“It was a very good start.  I was happy with how I played.

“You know, I felt my intentions were good out there.  I played well.  I created a lot of opportunities for myself on return, and that’s really all I can ask for.

“So as far as that goes, very happy.  Could have been a little bit cleaner, but all in all, I thought I played well.  I served extremely well.  You know, stayed aggressive for the most part.

“Happy to be through.  These conditions are very good for me.”

As to being the only US male left in the singles draw, the 6 foot 10 Isner said he does not feel any additional pressure: “No, I don’t.  I guess yesterday wasn’t a great day for our American men.  But, you know, selfishly I’m just worried about myself, really.  I certainly want all those guys to do well.

“But at the same time, it’s not my concern at all.  My concern is myself and just trying to keep moving forward and keep getting better and get back to where I want to be.”