2015/07/03

Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams Beat Opponents and the Heat to Advance at Wimbledon

(July 1, 2015) Top seeds Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams beat their respective opponents as well as the record-setting heat at Wimbledon on Wednesday.

Djokovic defeated Jarkko Nieminen 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 to reach the third round. The Finn, Nieminen is retiring at the end of the year, so this was his final match at Wimbledon.

“He’s been around for so many years,” Djokovic said. “A very, very nice guy, one of the nicest guys off the court.”

“I would rate probably around 7 or 8,” the Serb said about his play on court.  “I think very solid performance.  I’ve done just enough to win in straight sets.

“He started off very well, very aggressive, winners in the first couple games. Well, I managed to stay calm and, you know, believe I can come back.  That’s what I’ve done.

“I think the crucial turning point was the 10th game of the first set when I won the set and I started playing more freely.

“You know, I thought I had the match under control and everything was fine.

Serena Williams beat Timea Babos 6-4, 6-1 for her 23rd straight Grand Slam match win.

“I hope I’m not playing my best, Williams said. “I have a lot of room to improve.”

She’ll take on Britain’s top player Heather Watson in the third round.

“Serena’s a great player,” Watson said. “She’s an amazing athlete, a great champion.  She’s always the one to watch.  She’s always the favorite for every tournament she plays.

“So I think she’s the one to beat in tournaments like this.  She’s probably the toughest opponent.”

“I’ve seen her around the locker room, “Williams said. “She’s always smiling, she seems to be so super sweet”

“I know Venus has played her before. I’ve watched that match a few times. I feel like she does really well on grass – she’s played well in Eastbourne. And she had a really good win today.

“I know it’s not going to be easy for me. She has nothing to lose. She’s going forward.”

“I’ve been used to playing against a lot of local people. It doesn’t matter what country it’s in. Hopefully that experience will help me a little bit. But the home court will probably help her a little bit.”

Sister Venus won her 75 match at Wimbledon with a 7-6(5), 6-4 victory over Yulia Putintseva. The 16th seed stands alone at third on the list behind Martina Navratilova at 120 and Chris Evert at 96. Steffi Graf and Serena Williams have 74 wins.

It was a record setting day of high temperatures at the All- England Club with the temperature reaching 96.26 degrees Fahrenheit, the warmest temperature ever recording during a Wimbledon fortnight. The heat caused havoc for ball people, fans and players alike. Players used towels during changeovers.

A ballboy collapsed, Bernard Tomic needed treatment and some fans needed treatment for heat-related illnesses.

“I was very dizzy out there,” Tomic said. “I didn’t sleep well yesterday and the day before.  Probably getting three or four hours of sleep.  I was fatigued and starting to get dizzy out there with the heat hitting me.

“It was tough, so I had to slow things down. I had to catch my breath.”

High seeds who were ousted on Wednesday included fifth seed Kei Nishikori who withdrew from the tournament with a left calf injury and No. 7 Ana Ivanovic who lost to U.S. qualifier, 158th-ranked Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-3, 6-4.

For Nishikori it was an injury from when he competed in Halle two weeks ago, “Got better before the first match, you know, last week,” he said. I thought it was really going to be okay.  But last match in fifth set I was hurting too much.”

“I try this two days, and warmup today.  But it was hurting, you know, just walking and running, so I decide not to play today.”

Nishikori said it was very disappointing, “Especially it’s Grand Slam.  I thought I was playing well on grass.  So very unfortunate to lose this chance.

“But, you know, I try to keep it up.  Hopefully I can do well in the U.S. series.

2004 champion Maria Sharapova defeated Dutch qualifier Richel Hogenkamp 6-3, 6-1.

Asked about how she held up in the heat, she said: “It’s much warmer in my hometown of Long Boat Key, Florida.  There’s some cloud coverage.  I think I’ve trained quite long in the heat over there.

“I think just the preparation of understanding it’s going to be warm, not going for too much because you want to make the points quicker than normal because of the heat, just being a little bit smarter out there is the most important.”

Reigning French Open champion and No. 4 Stan Wawrinka defeated Victor Estrella Burgos 6-3, 6-4, 7-5.

In the battle royaleof the day on the men’s side, U. S. Open champion and No. 9 Marin Cilic defeated No 90 Ricardas Berankis 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (6), 4-6, 7-5.

“I would say that the match was very, very high quality match,” Cilic said.  “I think Ricardas was playing extremely well. Even after I broke him in the first set, I think he was playing really, really good until the end of the match, and there was, of course, very difficult to find some openings.

“I’m, you know, just really glad that I won and that the most positive things from today are that I was serving really, really well and, you know, I was staying mentally in the match.

“I saved a couple of break points end of the fifth, and, you know, just I think nerves got to Ricardas at the end, and that, I think, decided a little bit.”

In a battle of tall men, Cilic plays 17th seed John Isner next.

“We have played several times,” said the Croatian. “I think the only time we have played at the Grand Slam was in Australia.  It was very long match.

“With John, it’s always difficult, you know, couple balls are going to decide.  And especially here on grass, I don’t think there will be too much rallies, and, you know, it’s gonna be important who has more concentration and who’s delivering, you know, better shots at critical moments.”

 

Wimbledon Singles Results for July 1, 2015

Men’s Singles Second round

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) d. Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) 64 62 63
[4] Stan Wawrinka (SUI) d. Victor Estrella Burgos (DOM) 63 64 75
Santiago Giraldo (COL) d. [5] Kei Nishikori (JPN) W/O (left calf)
[7] Milos Raonic (CAN) d. Tommy Haas (GER) 60 62 67(5) 76(4)
[9] Marin Cilic (CRO) d. Ricardas Berankis (LTU) 63 46 76(6) 46 75
[11] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) d. Steve Johnson (USA) 76(8) 62 76(2)
[14] Kevin Anderson (RSA) d. Marsel Ilhan (TUR) 67(5) 76(6) 64 64
[16] David Goffin (BEL) d. Liam Broady (GBR) 76(3) 61 61
[17] John Isner (USA) d. Matthew Ebden (AUS) 62 76(8) 64
[21] Richard Gasquet (FRA) d. Kenny De Schepper (FRA) 60 63 63
[24] Leonardo Mayer (ARG) d. Marcel Granollers (ESP) 63 76(4) 63
[26] Nick Kyrgios (AUS) d. Juan Monaco (ARG) 76(5) 63 64
[27] Bernard Tomic (AUS) d. Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) 76(3) 64 76(5)
Fernando Verdasco (ESP) d. [32] Dominic Thiem (AUT) 57 64 57 63 64
Denis Kudla (USA) d. Alexander Zverev (GER) 63 36 76(2) 64
Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) d. John Millman (AUS) 67(5) 26 63 62 64

Women’s
Singles – Second Round

(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. Timea Babos (HUN) 64 61
(4) Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. (Q) Richel Hogenkamp (NED) 63 61
(6) Lucie Safarova (CZE) d. (Q) Su-Wei Hsieh (TPE) 62 63
(Q) Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) d. (7) Ana Ivanovic (SRB) 63 64
CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) d. (11) Karolina Pliskova (CZE) 76(5) 64
(14) Andrea Petkovic (GER) d. Mariana Duque-Marino (COL) 63 61
(16) Venus Williams (USA) d. Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) 76(5) 64
Aleksandra Krunic (SRB) d. (19) Sara Errani (ITA) 63 67(2) 62
(22) Samantha Stosur (AUS) d. Urszula Radwanska (POL) 63 64
(23) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 63 63
(29) Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) d. Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) 75 67(4) 75
(30) Belinda Bencic (SUI) d. Anna-Lena Friedsam (GER) 75 46 60
Heather Watson (GBR) d. Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) 64 62
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) d. (WC) Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) 64 75
Zarina Diyas (KAZ) d. (Q) Aliaksandra Sasnovic (BLR) 75 61
Sloane Stephens (USA) d. Lauren Davis (USA) 64 64

Women’s
Singles – First Round (delayed fromTuesday)
(21) Madison Keys (USA) d. Stefanie Voegele (SUI) 67(6) 63 64
Elizaveta Kulichkova (RUS) d. Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) 36 76(8) 108 (saved 1mp)

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Halep, Bouchard Beaten, Williams Sisters Withdraw from Doubles

(June 30, 2015) On Tuesday the Williams sisters pulled out of women’s doubles at Wimbledon. In a statement, Serena’s official reason for the withdrawal was “soreness”

“Following yesterday’s match, I feel it would be best for me to concentrate on singles here at Wimbledon, and as a result, have made the decision to withdraw from doubles,” Serena said in a statement. “I’ve always loved playing doubles with Venus, particularly here at Wimbledon where we’ve had so much success over the years, and so I’m really sorry to have to withdraw this year.”

Serena and Venus both won opening round singles matches on Monday. World No. 1 Serena is seeking her fourth straight major in a row for a second “Serena Slam” and is attempting to win the third leg of a traditional Grand Slam.

Misaki Doi and Stephanie Vogt replaced the Williams sisters in the draw.

The biggest upset of the tournament took place on Tuesday when third seed Simona Halep lost to No. 106th ranked Jana Cepelova 5-7, 6-4, 6-3.

Halep was treated for a lost toenail in the first set.

“I knew it would be a difficult tournament for me,” said Halep whose has been suffering from some poor results recently. “But I didn’t expect to lose in first round.” Last year the Romanian reached the semifinals at the All-England Club.

“To be honest, I have no reaction because, like I said at my first press conference on the weekend, I had no expectations for this tournament. And now here I am,” she said. “I knew that it would be a difficult tournament for me, but yeah, I didn’t expect to lose in the first round. But she played good tennis today. She was fighting until the end, and she was playing aggressively when she could.

“Life is not always good, but I have enough power to go ahead and just think about what I have to do to do better, and just get the good feeling back on court during my matches. I just have to work hard.”

Halep’s Opponent in last year’s Wimbledon semifinal was also ousted on Tuesday. Eugenie Bouchard, lost her 12th match out of the last 14, beaten by Chinese qualifier Duan Ying-Ying, ranked 117th 7-6 (3), 6-4.

“It’s been a huge learning process to have great results and then have, you know, so much attention, then have bad results,” Bouchard said. “Just learning about the ups and downs of life and tennis, how things won’t always go perfectly, like I expect them to. I’m always trying to keep the belief and stay true to myself and do what I need to do to become as good as I know I can be. So it’s really just been kind of eye-opening, a learning experience,” she added, resting her chin on her right hand, then added with a laugh: “But I’m good for the learning experience to be over now.”

Bouchard has been suffering from an abdominal tear which limited her practice.

“Probably wouldn’t have been smart to play here, but I couldn’t pass on Wimbledon,” said Bouchard. “In my head, it was no question I was going to play, even though I was advised not to. It’s just the way I am. It’s so hard to be forced not to play tennis, especially at Wimbledon.”

“So I did kind of minimal preparation to save myself for this match.”

The loss will put Bouchard out of the Top 20.

WIMBLEDON – WIMBLEDON, LONDON, GBR
GRAND SLAM – £26,750,000
29 JUNE – 12 JULY 2015

RESULTS – JUNE 29, 2015
Women’s
Singles – First Round

(2) Petra Kvitova (CZE) d. Kiki Bertens (BED) 61 60
Jana Cepelova (SVK) d. (3) Simona Halep (ROU) 57 64 63
(5) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. Saisai Zheng (CHN) 75 60
(8) Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) d. (Q) Sachia Vickery (USA) 62 64
(10) Angelique Kerber (GER) d. Carina Witthoeft (GER) 60 60
(Q) Ying-Ying Duan (CHN) d. (12) Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) 76(3) 64
(13) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. Lucie Hradecka (CZE) 63 62
(15) Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) d. Julia Goerges (GER) 62 75
(17) Elina Svitolina (UKR) d. Misaki Doi (JPN) 36 63 62
(18) Sabine Lisicki (GER) d. Jarmila Gajdosova (AUS) 75 64
(20) Garbine Muguruza (ESP) d. Varvara Lepchenko (USA) 64 61
(21) Madison Keys (USA) vs. Stefanie Boegele (SUI) 67(3) 63 22 (Suspended: darkness)
(25) Alize Cornet (FRA) d. Ana Konjuh (CRO) 62 62
(26) Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) d. (Q) Laura Siegemund (GER) 63 64
(28) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) d. Elena Vesnina (RUS) 64 36 108
(31) Camila Giorgi (ITA) d. Teliana Pereira (BRA) 76(4) 63
Heather Watson (GBR) d. (32) Caroline Garcia (FRA) 16 63 86 (Saved 3mp)
Denisa Allertova (CZE) d. Katerina Siniakova (CZE) 62 46 63
Lara Arruabarrena (ESP) d. Pauline Parmentier (FRA) 64 62
Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (CRO) d. Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ) 75 67(5) 75
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) d. Mona Barthel (GER) 67(3) 76(4) 62 (Saved 1mp)
Silvia Soler-Espinosa (ESP) d. Sesil Karatantcheva (BUL) 26 62 75
Christina McHale (USA) d. Johanna Larsson (SWE) 63 62
Krystina Pliskova (CZE) d. Tereza Smitkova (CZE) 36 75 75
Monica Niculescu (ROU) d. Monica Puig 57 63 61
Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) d. Karin Knapp (ITA) 76(6) 30 retired (Right ankle injury)
(Q) Olga Govortsova (BLR) d. Andreea Mitu (ROU) 61 61
Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) vs. Elizaveta Kulichkova (RUS) 62 67(6) 11 (Suspended: darkness)
Tatjana Maria (GER) d. Bojana Jovanovski (SRB) 76(2) 75
Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) d. Klara Koukalova (CZE) 63 64
Casey Dellacqua (AUS) d. (Q) Tamira Paszek (AUT) 62 62
Evgeniya Rodina (RUS) d. (WC) Laura Robson (GBR) 64 64
Kurumi Nara (JPN) d. Magda Linette (POL) 36 63 43 retired (Left thigh injury)

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Serena Williams Rebounds from Slow Start, Venus Dishes Brengle a Double-Bagel at Wimbledon

(June 29, 2015) No. 1 Serena Williams bounced back from a 1-3 first set deficit to close out 113th-ranked qualifier, making her Wimbledon debut, Margarita Gasparyan 6-4, 6-1 on the first day at 2015 Wimbledon.

Williams who is seeking her second “Serena slam” and third leg of a calendar Grand Slam.

“I’ve had such an amazing year, I ended up winning the Open, the Championships, the Australian and France,” said the 20-time major champion.  “I couldn’t have dreamt of a better 12 months.  So it’s been really great.  Yeah, I’m just excited about that and really focusing on that.

“I always focus on the moment.  You know, I don’t live too far in the future, and I don’t live in the past, I just live in the present.”

“When I (saw) her before match,” Gasparyan said, “I thought, `Oh, my God. I’m playing Serena.'”

Serena’s sister, five-time Wimbledon champion Venus, dismantled U.S. countrywoman Madison Brengle 6-0, 6-0.

This was the first double-bagel at the All-England Club in six years.

“She’s had like a great last 52 weeks,” Venus said of Brengle.”  “She’s had really great results in the majors.  Definitely playing a higher‑ranked player in the first round is a challenge. But thankfully everything worked for me.

“I don’t think she played badly.  I was just able to convert on the important points.”

On the topic on sister Serena’s chances on winning a calendar Grand Slam, Venus said: “It’s a pretty good chance. Hasn’t been done that often. But then again, she’s done a lot of things that haven’t been done that often.”

There could be an all-Williams fourth round contest. When asked about the possibility, Serena said: “You know what? I’m going to just focus on right now.”

Serena Williams is 33-1 on the year.

Other former No. 1’s advancing were Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka and Ana Ivanovic. American Sloane Stephens won her first match at Wimbledon in two years defeating No. 27 Barbora Strycova 6-4, 6-2

Defending Gentlemen’s champion Novak Djokovic and the man who beat him for the French Open title three weeks ago, Stan Wawrinka won in straight sets on Monday.

No. 1 Djokovic defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.

“Honestly, I thought I started the match really well, breaking Philipp, losing the serve right away,” Djokovic said.

“All three sets were decided in the 10th game.  After I broke him to win the first set and the second set, it was the same situation.  I felt like in the third, as well.  That’s where maybe I can have a mental edge over him.  He missed couple shots.

 

“I thought return was exceptionally well, good from my side.  Serving efficiently.  Just overall a great performance against a quality opponent.”

 

The fourth seed Wawrinka stopped Portugal’s Joao Sousa 6-2, 7-5, 7-6.

 

“The mentality is the same as last year,” said the Swiss.  I know I’m playing well.  I have a lot of confidence.  It’s a new year, new tournament.  We all start from zero.  We need to win match after match.  We take match after match if we want to go through and go further in the tournament.

“I’m confident with myself, but I’m really careful with how mentally I get ready for every match.

“So far I’m really happy with the first one today. In general I feel good.  I know where is my game.  I feel ready for the next one.”

 

WIMBLEDON – WIMBLEDON, LONDON, GBR
GRAND SLAM – £26,750,000
29 JUNE – 12 JULY 2015

RESULTS – JUNE 29, 2015
Women’s
Singles – First Round

(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. (Q) Margarita Gasparyan (RUS) 64 61
(4) Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. (WC) Johanna Konta (GBR) 62 62
(6) Lucie Safarova (CZE) d. Alison Riske (USA) 36 75 63
(7) Ana Ivanovic (SRB) d. (Q) Yi-Fan Xu (CHN) 61 61
(WC) Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) d. (9) Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) 62 60
(11) Karolina Pliskova (CZE) d. Irina Falconi (USA) 64 46 61
(14) Andrea Petkovic (GER) d. Shelby Rogers (USA) 60 60
(16) Venus Williams (USA) d. Madison Brengle 60 60
(19) Sara Errani (ITA) d. Francesca Schiavone (ITA) 62 57 61
(22) Samantha Stosur (AUS) d. Danka Kovinic (MNE) 64 64
(23) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. (WC) Anett Kontaveit (EST) 62 61
Zarina Diyas (KAZ) d. (24) Flavia Pennetta (ITA) 63 26 64
Sloane Stephens (USA) d. (27) Barbora Strycova (CZE) 64 62
(29) Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) d. Daria Gavrilova (AUS) 76(6) 61
(30) Belinda Bencic (SUI) d. Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) 36 61 63
(32) Caroline Garcia (FRA) vs. Heather Watson (GBR) 61 36 (play suspended: poor light)
Timea Babos (HUN) d. (Q) Petra Cetkovska (CZE) 7-6(4) 63
Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) d. Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) 75 60
Aleksandra Krunic (SRB) d. Roberta Vinci (ITA) 62 64
Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) d. Marina Erakovic (NZL) 76(5) 75
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) d. Alexandra Dulgheru (ROU) 62 61
Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) d. Annika Beck (GER) 06 63 64
Anna-Lena Friedsam (GER) d. Vitalia Diatchenko (RUS) 36 63 75
(Q) Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) d. Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) 63 62
(Q) Richel Hogenkamp (NED) d. Qiang Wang (CHN) 64 64
Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) d. Nicole Gibbs (USA) 63 63
(Q) Aliaksandra Sasnovic (BLR) d. Lin Zhu 46 75 61
Mariana Duque-Marino (COL) d. (WC) Naomi Broady (GBR) 76(5) 63
CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) d. Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK) 64 62
Urszula Radwanska (POL) d. Edina Gallovits-Hall (USA) 62 61
Lauren Davis (USA) d. Polona Hercog (SLO) 64 76(3)
(Q) Su-Wei Hsieh (TPE) d. Kaia Kanpei (EST) 61 64

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Notable Quotables from Pre-Wimbledon Weekend with Djokovic, Serena Williams, Federer, Sharapova, Nadal and Others

228 Djokovic being interviewed-001

(June 28, 2015) Saturday and Sunday some of Wimbledon’s top seeds held court with the media, here is a look at some of the notable quotables:

Defending Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic on recovering from losing a mentally tough French Open final:

“Yes, it was. Not just Roland Garros, but all the five months of the year have been really intense for me.  I played a big amount of matches.  Before Roland Garros, I’ve lost only two.  I had one of the best season starts in my career.  Of course, Roland Garros finals wasn’t easy.

 

“All in all, it was another great tournament.  But I needed some time to just mentally recover, rest ‑ more than physical rest, I needed that emotional, mental rest to recharge my batteries and get myself in a proper state of mind so I can start all over again.”

 

 

“I mean, right after I lost the match, of course, there was this sense of disappointment. There is no doubt about it.  I felt that for, you know, some days after it.

 

“Because I have a family, I have different things in life, different interest, I’ve managed to move on because of the experience that I talked about previously of learning how to handle these particular situations and circumstances. I managed to get the necessary reset in my mind.”

 

 

Djokovic says that coaching from the player’s box is fairly common:

“We can’t pretend like that’s not happening in tennis.  Of course, there’s situations when it happens, and not just with the top players, with everybody.  This is a very competitive sport.  You’re alone on the court.  Of course, there’s certain rules.

 

“But also there are times when, you know, the team of the player communicates with the player when he gets to go and take the towel in the corner, which is closer to the box, or, you know, different ways.

 

“I think it’s all fine as long as it’s not regular.  I think it just depends.  Also that’s up to the chair umpire or supervisor to decide if somebody’s breaking the rules or not.  I think as long as it’s something that you can tolerate, let’s say, within the ways of communication, I think it’s fine.”

 

He was also asked about his communication with his coach Boris Becker. Earlier in the day Becker was on radio saying that he has ways of telling Djokovic whether what he is doing is good or bad.

 

“I don’t think that we’re cheating.  I don’t think that’s how you can call it.  I mean, there are special ways of, I would say, communication.  As he mentioned, the way you look at each other, the way you feel your box, and box feels what you’re going through on the court. I think that’s something that just gives you that reassurance, gives you that confidence.

 

“It’s not necessary that, you know, he tells me where to serve or to which side of the opponent’s court I have to play, because that doesn’t happen.  But it’s more of a, you know, encouragement, and more of a support and reassurance, as I said, that’s basically present in those moments.”

 

In what seemed to be the most awkward questions of the weekend, defending champion Petra Kvitova was asked about wearing white on court while menstruating.

 

Q. Heather Watson was applauded earlier this year for breaking taboo and talking about what was phrased as girly things.  How much do you think that affects other females’ players game?

 

PETRA KVITOVA:  To be honest, I think it’s quite tough.  Of course, I have these experiences from before.  It’s never really easy to deal with one more tough thing.  I think always the beginning of this kind of period, it’s tough.  I think that for normal woman, they know about.  If we have to play the match or training or something, it’s difficult.

 

It’s one more extra thing for us.

Q. Does having to wear white as well…

PETRA KVITOVA:  No, I think it’s fine.

 

 

Roger Federer on Serena Williams’ playing at such a high level:

 

“I’m not surprised.  I just think she’s a great talent.  She’s worked also very hard.  I think to be mentally ready for the challenge when she wants to be up for it, I think that’s what’s so admirable about her.

 

“Also Venus, I must say.  We don’t talk about Venus that often because Serena has been so dominant.  Actually that they’re both still playing is more of a surprise to me.

 

“But that they are playing, it doesn’t surprise me they’re actually playing well.  It goes hand‑in‑hand.

 

“I wouldn’t imagine them still playing and playing poorly.  Let’s put it that way.  They’re too good for that.”

 

Serena Williams was asked about coming into Wimbledon holding the first two majors, make her preparation different or make her feel any different.

“Personally, uhm, it doesn’t make it feel any different, which I think is a good thing ’cause I don’t feel any pressure to win all four.  I’ve been saying that, but I really don’t feel that pressure.  Maybe if I would happen to win here, then maybe I might start feeling it after that.

“Ultimately, I’m taking it one day at a time and I’m not thinking that far.”

 

Serena is very motivated this year:

“I think the fact that I lost so early the past couple years definitely makes me motivated.  But I think that also gives me a little less pressure because I haven’t done well here in the past two years.  It makes me feel like, Okay, I’ll be fine.  I have nothing to lose here.  I don’t have many points to defend here.  So it’s just like trying to have fun, go through it.”

 

The 20-time major champion talked about her biggest strength:

“I think for me being mentally tough is probably my biggest strength.  And my dad always said growing up, you know, Tennis is so mental, you have to have your mental, you have to be really mentally tough.  I guess I really took that to heart.

“I think also being the youngest of five really made me have to scrap and be tougher.  I think all those things kind of played into action.

“Yeah, I think that’s probably one of the biggest things in tennis.  It’s great to have a big serve, too.  But I think ultimately sometimes when you’re down and out, you could be the best player in the world, you still get down, but you have to be able to come back.”

 

She actually hates playing on grass:

“You know, oddly enough, it never has been my favorite surface, but I’ve always done really well here.  I think my game is really suited for the grass.

“You know, yeah, it’s never been someplace like, I love playing on the grass, which is just really weird.  But, again, my game works for it, so…”

 

 

Maria Sharapova on Serena:

“She’s certainly the player to beat.  With all the confidence in the world having won the last three majors, not just the two in this year.  I think those results speak for herself, and she’s certainly the one to beat.”

 

 

Andy Murray was asked about the “feminine influence” on his life – marriage and hiring Amelie Mauresmo.

 

“I mean, I’ve said as well, it’s not so much marriage.  Me and Kim have been together like 10 years now, so…

 

“You know, she’s always been a huge support to me, especially when I’ve gone through, you know, tough, tough times as well.  She’s always been there for me.

 

“Obviously, yeah, I mean, Amélie, really the last sort of 12 months that I’ve been with her, I feel like I’ve come through some difficult moments.  I feel last year, there was ‑ not me, myself ‑ I know there were a lot of people doubting me.  I feel like she stuck with me during that period.

 

“I had an extremely tough loss at the end of last year.  She was one of the people that really, yeah, stuck by me and supported me.

 

“I’m glad that I’ve been able to kind of repay her faith in me with some good tennis this year.

 

“Obviously she’s a very different character to some of the coaches that I’ve had in the past.  I’ve really enjoyed working with her.”

 

Rafael Nadal on the current problems of the Spanish Tennis Federation.

“The situation have been very unusual, let’s say, not nice for a country that has big tradition in this sport, for a country that the last, let’s say, 15, 20 years, we have been the first country in this sport around the world.  So is not nice to watch the situation that we are having today.  But things are like this.

“The thing that we have to do is to stop these crazy things that are happening.  You know, it’s not good to see bad news on our sport in the media every day.  It’s not good for our sport.  It’s not good to catch sponsors.  It’s not good to make the people involved on our sport.

“So all these kind of things are bad for everybody.  At the end of the day, you know, we are here today.  We will live tomorrow.  Players, presidents, everybody who is making this show last couple of months, what really suffers on all of this is tennis, tennis in our country.

“All the things that goes against tennis in our country is a bad news.”

Stan Wawrinka the fashion icon:

Are you surprised by how much of a fashion icon you became after the French Open?

STAN WAWRINKA:  It’s not me, my shorts (laughter).

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Serena Williams Wins French Open for 20th Major Title

(June 6, 2015) Serena Williams won her 20th major title on Saturday defeating Lucie Safarova 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-2 for her third French Open title.

Williams remains undefeated at 9-0 against the 13th seeded Czech. She is 20-4 in major finals.

It was a struggle Williams for much of the fortnight, having to battle back from a set down in four of the five previous matches, in addition to having the flu.

Williams is now halfway through a calendar Grand Slam, winning the Australian Open in January. She has won three majors in a row – 2014 U.S. Open, 2015 Australian Open and now Roland Garros. She won four majors in a row from the 2002 French Open to 2003 Australian Open which has been dubbed “the Serena Slam.” Should Williams win at Wimbledon, it would be her second “Serena Slam.”

The last player to win the US Open, Australian Open and Roland Garros in a row was Monica Seles in 1991-92.

Williams is the first woman since Jennifer Capriati to win the first French Open and the Australian Open in the same year.

The world No. 1 is now two majors behind Steffi Graf and four behind Margaret Court on the all-time list.

Her third Roland Garros title puts her in elite company with all-time greats who have also won three Paris crowns in the Open Era – Monica Seles (1990, 1991, 1992), Aranxta Sanchez-Vicario (1989, 1994, 1998) and Margaret Court (1969, 1970, 1973).

Williams at 33 years, 254 days is the second oldest women’s winner at Roland Garros. The oldest was Hungary’s Zsuzsi Kormoczy, who was 33 years, 279 days when she won the 1958 singles title.

Playing in her 24th major final, Williams broke Safarova’s serve in the fourth game of the first set to lead 3-1. Safarova saved a set point serving at 2-5, but Williams closed out the first holding at 15 for 6-3.

Williams, who coming into a major final was 17-0 after winning the first set, broke Safarova’s serve to open the second and extended the lead to 4-1 breaking again in the fifth game. Williams a point away from a 5-1 lead, dropped three double-faults in the next game to give the break back. Williams gave the second break back in the eighth game and the set was leveled at 4-4. Safarova won her fourth game in a row to take a 5-4 lead in the second set.

Williams after yelling at herself, held serve and broke Safarova’s serve to serve for the title. Safarova broke back to send the set to a tiebreak.

Safaraova took a 3-0 lead and never looked back, winning the tiebreak 7-2 sending the match to a third set.

“I got so frustrated. I was just so angry at myself. I pretty much gave the match away,” Williams said “I just had to, like, try to pull it together.”

Safarova’s good fortune continued, opening the third set with a break of serve. At 0-2 down in the third set Williams won the next six straight games to close the match.

“When she was on, she was just serving amazing and going for the returns, pressuring me right away,” said Safarova. “It’s just hard to do anything with that.”

The world No. 1 now owns 67 career singles titles to her name.

“When I was a little girl, in California, my father and my mother wanted me to play tennis. And now I’m here, with 20 Grand Slam titles,” Williams said in French to the crowd after the win. “This is very special for me. I haven’t always played very well here, but I’m really happy to win the 20th here.”

Safarova will be making her Top Ten debut on Monday is projected to be ranked No.7. Along with Petra Kvitova, this will be the first time since the Fall of 1989 that two Czech women rank in the Top 10.

 

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Djokovic – Murray Match Suspended: Winner to Face Wawrinka in Men’s French Open Final

 

(June 5, 2015) Stan Wawrinka still does not know yet who his opponent will be in the French Open men’s final on Sunday. The Swiss, who defeated French favorite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 6-7 (1), 7-6 (3), 6-4 in Friday’s first men’s semifinal, awaits the conclusion of the Novak DjokovicAndy Murray match which was suspended due to an impending rain storm in the fourth set. No. 1 Djokovic was leading No. 3 Murray 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 3-3.

The Serb and the Scot will resume play on Saturday at 1 p.m. local time. The women’s final featuring No. 1 Serena Williams against 13th seed Lucie Safarova is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m.

Williams canceled her practice session and news conference due to trying to recover from the flu she’s had since the third round of the tournament.

“It’s just a matter of resting and keeping hydrated – there’s not much else I can do,” Williams said in regard to her illness. “I need time, and obviously don’t have a lot of it. I just have to hope that tomorrow I will be feeling a lot better and able to give my best on court.”

For Safarova, who at 28-years-old is playing her first major final it will be a new experience.

“It’s been (a) long way and a lot of hours on court,” said Safarova. “I have been on tour, it’s my 12th year, and to reach this, finally, it’s just, you appreciate it much more, I think.”

Safaraova is also in the doubles final pairing up with American Betthanie Mattek-Sands. Together they won the Australian Open title in January.

In the second men’s semifinal, Djokovic rushed off to a two set lead lead, Murray broke Djokovic’s serve for the first time in the third set to take a 6-5 lead and closed out the set on his serve.

At 3-3 in the fourth set, play was called for the fading light due to the dark clouds moving in.

In the first men’s semifinal, Wawrinka had both Tsonga and the French crowd to battle. It’s been since 1983 that a French man won the French Open – Yannick Noaj and the last French man who reached the finals was Henri Leconte in 1988. The key statistic in the match was the fact that Tsonga was 1 for 17 on break points.

“Jo is always a tough player to play,” said the 8th seed Wawrinka, “especially when he’s playing at home.”

For Wawrinka, who won the French Open Junior title in 2003, Sunday will mark his second major final, he won the Australian Open back in 2014. Last year he was bounced out of the French Open in the first round.

For Djokovic, should he defeat Murray and then Warinka, he will be looking to become just the eighth man to win a career Grand Slam – winning a title at all four majors – Australia, Paris, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

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Serena Williams Rallies to Reach French Open Final

(June 4, 2015) Sick with the flu and moving slowly around a hot center court, Serena Williams came back from a set and a break down to reach the French Open final for the third time defeating 23rd seed Timea Bacsinszky 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 on Thursday.

Down 6-4, 3-2 the world No. 1 won the next 10 straight games to knock out her Swiss opponent and reach her 24th major final.

“I tried everything,” Williams said in an on-court interview after the match. ”I thought if I lose, I will lose with a fight. I tried, I tried. I found the energy. I don’t know where, but I found it. And I won. I hope that on Saturday, I hope”

She’ll face No. 13 Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic in Saturday’s final for a chance to win her 20th major title.

Safarova defeated two former Roland Garros champions on the way to the final – defending champion and No. 2 Maria Sharapova in the fourth round, 2008 titlist and seventh seed Ana Ivanovic 7-5, 7-5 in the semifinals earlier in the day on Thursday.

Safarova rebounded from a 2-5 first set deficit to win the next five games in a row.

“I started a little bit slower in the match and wasn’t swinging as much as I should. I was a little slow on my feet,” Safarova said to media. “Ana was playing well right away and going for her shots, too, but I slowly started getting into the rhythm, into the game. Then right away I took the set, took the momentum.”

She had to serve for the match twice in the second set to finally close it out.

“In the second set, when I realized I could finally be in the finals, I got a little bit tense there. And the game at 5-4, I was really overthinking and couldn’t really concentrate to be there in that moment.

“But when I lost serve, I shook it off and started to play aggressive again, and I served it out.”

After 12 years on tour, this will be Safarova’s first singles final of a Grand Slam tournament.

 

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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.”

 

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Williams Survives, Sharapova and Kvitova Upset, Nadal and Djokovic Set Up Quarterfinal Clash

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova

(June 1, 2015) Defending champion and No. 2 Maria Sharapova became the biggest upset victim of the French Open on Monday when she fell to 13th seed Lucie Safarova 7-6(3), 6-4.

“I feel like I had small openings, and I just wasn’t able to play a good few points,” Sharapova said. “I just wasn’t able to keep that level up today. She was able to do that for a longer period of time. She was the much more aggressive player, took the time away from me, created her angles …….and I didn’t.

Sharapova said that her opponent was at a much higher level than she was and that it was a “tough day“ for the two-time champion.

The victory was one of the biggest of the Czech’s career. She also defeated world number twos Justine Henin in 2007 and Caroline Wozniacki in 2010.

“The last few times I played Maria we had really long battles,” Safarova said after the match. “I remember they were really close, and I almost beat her in Stuttgart, but I always lost. “Yesterday I was really pumped, and really ready, and I just wanted to take this match. I was just excited to be there.”

For Safarova, this will be her third major quarterfinal. She’ll take on No. 21 seed Garbine Muguruza, who defeated 28th seed Flavia Pennetta 6-3, 6-4.

No. 1 Serena Williams looked as though she was going to be another major upset victim when she fell behind American countrywoman Sloane Stephens 6-1.

Williams righted herself in the second set and stayed even with Stephens. From 4-5, Williams won seven of the next 9 games to take the second set 7-5 and build a 4-2 lead in the third set.

Williams closed out the contest 1-6, 7-5, 6-3.

“I felt like if I had made a shot here or made a shot there, then maybe the first set could have been different,” Williams said. “But it’s not how you start, I guess it’s how you finish. That’s kind of how I’m looking at it.”

Williams has dropped sets to 3 of her 4 opponents this fort night. “I’m definitely gaining confidence,” Williams said in regard to the comebacks.

The 19-time major champion will face former French Open finalist No. 17 Sara Errani for a place in the semifinals.

In a second major upset on the women’s side, 23rd seed Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland stunned two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 2-6, 6-0, 6-3.

In men’s play, Roger Federer completed a win over Gael Monfils in a match delayed by darkness on Sunday to move into his 11th quarterfinal at Roland Garros.

“I wanted to get off to a good start, because you never know how he will be playing,” said Federer. “So I felt good. I was calm yesterday. I was calm this morning.

Federer will face Swiss countryman Stan Wawrinka in the quarterfinals.

“It [will be] a special match,” said the 17-time major champion. “It is not a traditional match. There aren’t too many Swiss players in the draw… It’s always special to play each other. There will be a Swiss guy in the semi-final. That’s positive.”

After the match, Monfils said, “It was tough because I’m sick. I have not much energy.”

“When you’re 100 per cent is it’s never easy to beat Roger, so when you’re not 100 per cent it is definitely impossible.”

Sixth seed Rafael Nadal knocked out the last U. S. man in the draw on Monday. He was extended to four sets, but defeated Jack Sock 6-3, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2.

Top seed Novak Djokovic cruised past Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 for his 26th straight win.

This sets up a highly anticipated Djokovic vs. Nadal quarterfinal on Wednesday.

“I’m not used to playing him that early, but that’s the reality and that’s a challenge that both of us have to accept,” Djokovic said.

“Probably the toughest quarterfinal in my career here in Roland Garros, without a doubt,” Nadal said.

“You can write what you want if it sells but this is not the match of the year. Matches of the year are finals, decisive matches.”
“Pressure is on both of us,” Djokovic said after the match. “People expect him (Nadal) to win always. Pressure is also part of what we do. You have to accept it.”

Nadal leads the head-to-head against Djokovic 23-20.

Andy Murray and David Ferrer will meet in the other top half of the draw quarterfinal. Murray defeated Jeremy Chardy ijn four sets, while David Ferrer beat Marin Cilic.

 

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Serena Williams Survives Victoria Azarenka Challenge to Reach French Open Fourth Round

(May 30, 2015) Serena Williams fell behind Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 4-2 before the 19-time major champ won 10 out of the next 12 games to move into the French Open round of 16 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.

With Azarenka up 4-2 in the second, the pendulum of momentum began to swing Williams’ way.

On a key point of the match, which was replayed due to the chair umpire’s decision, Williams and Azarenka traded gestures, word and angry looks. It was the last point of the second set – an Azarenka ball called long at the baseline and Williams hit into the net as “out” was called.”

Chair umpire Kader Nouni decided the point should be replayed, and Azarenka disagreed.

As for the chair umpire’s decision to replay the point, the two-time Australian Open winner was not pleased.

“I think, my honest opinion, that call was bullsh*t, and everybody knows it,” the 27 the seed said to media. “But it’s part of the game. Sometimes it happens this way. But I think it wasn’t a fair call.”
“The ball was touching the net and he says it’s not a late call. So for me, there definitely has to be a review on that. We have a Hawk-Eye, so might as well just have that. Because it’s not easy for an umpire, but it’s definitely not easy on the player when you get screwed like that.”
“As I’m saying, I’ll always give a benefit of a doubt. But in such situation I think it was pretty clear. So I think the review, a little TV screen? I don’t know what they have, and just look it over.”

Williams agreed: I think that would be really cool, because sometimes you may or may not foot fault, and that instant replay on that foot fault. So, yeah. And obviously other things, as well. I think it could definitely not only be fun for the fans, but as well be helpful for the players to have that kind of instant replay thing. I think that’s a really great idea.”

( Vine courtesy of https://twitter.com/DamJef)

“He did a late call, he called it out, he didn’t put his arm out until like five minutes later,” Williams said. “But yeah, I mean, this is tennis. This happens all the time. You know, I — I even said, no, don’t worry, the ball is in, we’ll just replay the point. So for me, it was like, this happens all the time, every day in tennis.”

“Vika and I are really close, we really get along. We have this great relationship. So I was like, you know, she knows me. You know me, like I’m — you don’t win Grand Slams by being unethical. I’m a really ethical player. So I was just like, eh…”

“I think the level of the match was pretty high quality from both players, and she really stepped it up,” Azarenka said of her opponent’s comeback. “She went for a lot of shots that landed, you know, right on the line and really stayed aggressive. I think looking back at it, you know, I’ve got to learn from that and maybe stay a little bit more aggressive and go a little bit more for my shots. But there wasn’t much wrong that I have done, I think. She just really played a good match and I have to give her credit for that, for sure.”

With Saturday’s win, Williams now has 50 match wins at Roland Garros and becomes the first woman in the Open Era to record 50+ match wins at all four Grand Slams. Only three others have 50+ at three of the four majors -Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf.

Williams will play another woman from the U.S., Sloane Stephens for a place in the quarterfinals.

Stephens defeated Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) 6-4, 6-1.

“I played pretty solid,” Stephens said. “Obviously she’s a tough player, so I knew I had to come out and play some good tennis. I was able to just make a lot of shots and stay in it, so I was happy with that.”
Stephens defeated Williams in the quarterfinals of the 2013 Australian Open.

The rest of line-up for the round of 16 for the top half of the draw: No. 4 Petra Kvitova vs No. 23 Timea Bacsinszky, No. 17 Sara Errani vs. Julia Goerges, and No. 93 Alison Van Uytvanck vs. No. 100 Andreea Mitu.

The bottom half of the draw: No. 7 Ana Ivanovic vs No 9 Ekaterina Makarova, No. 19 Svitolina vs No. 29 Alize Cornet, No. 28 Flavia Pennetta vs No. 21 Garbine Muguruza, No. 13 Lucie Safarova vs No 2 Maria Sharapova.

 

 

ROLAND GARROS – PARIS, FRANCE
GRAND SLAM – €26,287,000
May 24 – JUNE 7, 2015

RESULTS – MAY 30, 2015
Singles – Third Round

[4] Petra Kvitova (CZE) def. [30] Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) 6-3 6-2

[1] Serena Williams (USA) def. [27] Victoria Azarenka (BLR) 3-6 6-4 6-2

Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) def. Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) 6-4 6-1

Sloane Stephens (USA) def. Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) 6-4 6-1

[17] Sara Errani (ITA) def. [10] Andrea Petkovic (GER) 6-3 6-3

Andreea Mitu (ROU) def. Francesca Schiavone (ITA) 7-5 6-4

[23] Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) [23] def. [16] Madison Keys (USA) 6-4 6-2

Julia Goerges (GER) def. Irina Falconi (USA) 6-4 6-1

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