June 30, 2016

On the Purple Carpet – Fashion Shines at WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 23:  Caroline Wozniacki attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 23: Caroline Wozniacki attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 23:  Garbine Muguruza attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 23: Garbine Muguruza attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 23:  Bethanie Mattek-Sands attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 23: Bethanie Mattek-Sands attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 23:  Ana Ivanovic attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 23: Ana Ivanovic attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 23:  Madison Keys attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 23: Madison Keys attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 23:  Laura Robson attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 23: Laura Robson attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 23:  Simona Halep attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 23: Simona Halep attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 23:  Sloane Stephens attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 23: Sloane Stephens attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 23:  Petra Kvitova attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 23: Petra Kvitova attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 23:  Heather Watson attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 23: Heather Watson attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 23:  Sorana Cirstea attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 23: Sorana Cirstea attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 23:  Serena Williams attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 23: Serena Williams attends the annual WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Kensington Roof Gardens on June 23, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for WTA Tour)

 

(June 23, 2016) Tennis superstars and celebrities from the worlds of sport, lifestyle and culture came together at The Roof Gardens, Kensington for one of the most anticipated parties of the summer: the WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free.

Serena Williams, Caroline Wozniacki, Ana Ivanovic, Eugenie Bouchard and more walked the “Purple Carpet” in London ahead of The Championships, Wimbledon.

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Garbine Muguruza Defeats Serena Williams to Win Roland Garros for First Major Title

(June 4, 2016) Garbine Muguruza joined the list of first-time major winners when she defeated 21-time major champion and world No. 1 Serena Williams 7-5, 6-4 to capture the Roland Garros title on Saturday in Paris. Muguruza denied history for Williams as the American was trying to win her 22nd major, which would have equaled Steffi Graf for most in Open Era. The Spanish woman reversed the result of last year’s Wimbledon final where she lost to Williams.

For the woman born in Venezuela, it was just the sixth tournament title of her career and first on clay.

Muguruza broke Williams’ powerful serve twice in each set. The 22-year old fought off break points in the fourth game of the first set to stay even at 2-2 and broke serve for 3-2. Williams evened things up and broke in the eighth game for 4-4. They stayed even until the eleventh game when Muguruza broke serve and fended off break points to close the set 7-5.

The second set began with three straight service breaks. Muguruza held onto the break lead and missed out on four match points on Williams’ serve in ninth game. She closed out the match on her serve with a lob winner on the line which she did not realize landed in. Even Williams applauded the winning shot.

Muguruza became the first Spanish woman to win Paris since Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in 1998.

There were reports that Williams was dealing a with adductor injury. Asked about it, she said: “It was OK. I’m not one to ever make excuses and say, like, ‘Oh, my adductor was hurting,’ or whatever. At the end of the day I didn’t play the game I needed to play to win and she did. Adductor or not, she played to win.”

Williams talked about how close the match was:”She won the first set by one point. I mean, that just goes to show you, you really have to play the big points well, and she played the big points really well.”

“She has a bright future, obviously.”

“She knows how to play on the big stage and … clearly, she knows how to win Grand Slams.”

“Garbine played unbelievable.” “The only thing I can do is just keep trying.”

“I can’t explain with words what this day means to me,” Muguruza said.

“I have grown up playing on clay,” Muguruza said during the trophy presentation, “so for Spain, and for me, this is amazing.”

Muguruza will see her ranking move up from No. 4 to No. 2 as of Monday.

 

More to follow…..

 

 

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Serena Williams Reaches French Open Final Versus Muguruza; Djokovic To Face Murray for Title

 

(June 3, 2016) The world’s top tennis players Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic are seeking to make their own histories this weekend at Roland Garros.

Serena Williams advanced to her fourth French Open final besting Kiki Bertens 7-6(7), 6-4. The 34-year-old will take on 22-year-old Spaniard Garbine Murguza in Saturday’s women’s final. Should Williams win, she’ll tie Steffi Graf for most major titles in the Open Era at 22.

Djokovic has reached his fourth Roland Garros final in five years defeating up-and-comer No. 13 Dominic Thiem of Austria 6-2, 6-1, 6-4. The Serb is looking complete a career Grand Slam. The French Open title would complete the set.

Djokovic will face off against No. 2 Andy Murray who reached his first Roland Garros final beating defending champion Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2. Murray is the first British man since 1937 to reach the final.

Murray won his last encounter against Djokovic, on clay at the Italian Open.

“I’m extremely proud,” said Murray on-court. “I never expected to reach the final here.”
“I’d always struggled on the clay and then in the past two years I’ve had some of my best results. I hope I can put on a good match for the crowd on Sunday.

“I knew today if I wanted to win I was going to have to play one of my best clay-court matches. Stan’s record here the past two years has been unbelievable. He was playing better every match here. I played one of my best matches today. I’m looking forward to the final now.”

This will be a rematch of the Australian Open final.

“I’m sure that it’s going to be a final with a lot of emotions and a lot of exchanges from the baseline, because we have similar styles of game,” Djokovic said. “I know his game, he knows mine.”
“It’s another Grand Slam title up for grabs for both Andy and myself,” Djokovic said. “One thing I know I can expect when I get on the court with him is it’s going to be a very physical battle.”
This will be Djokovic’s 20th major final and Murray’s 10th.

If Djokovic wins on Sunday, he be the eighth man to win all majors in a career joining Don Budge, Fred Perry, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, Andre Agassi, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal.

 

“The first set wasn’t easy,” Williams said of Bertens in French during her on-court interview. “I needed to play better because she was playing very well, but I’m very happy to win today.”

Williams had to fight off two set points in the first set.

Bertens became the first Dutch woman since 1977 to reach the semifinals.

Serena Williams is in her 27th major final going up against Muguruza on Saturday. The two met in the final of last year’s Wimbledon. The American has a 3-1 record against the Spanish woman. The lone loss came in the second round of Roland Garros.

Serena leads No. 4 seed Muguruza 3-1 in their head-to-head, but Muguruza’s lone win came here in Paris, when the Spaniard stunned the top seed in the second round in 2014.

Muguruza moves up to No. 3 in the world by reaching the final. She’ll jump to No. 2 in the world, if she wins the title.

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Roland Garros – Top Seeds Williams and Djokovic Dominate in Opening Wins; Murray Survives in Five

Serena Williams

Serena Williams

(May 24, 2016) Top seeds Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic had easy opening victories at Roland Garros on Tuesday. Williams, the defending champion going for her fourth Paris title destroyed No. 77 Magdalena Rybarikova 6-2, 6-0 in 42 minutes. The 21-time major champion hit 25 winners and made only five unforced errrors.

Sister Venus also advanced in straight sets. The ninth seed defeated No. 82 Anett Kontaveit 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4).

Djokovic is seeking to win his first French Open title to complete a career Grand Slam. The Serb defeated No. 95 Yen-hsun Lu of Taiwan 6-4, 6-1, 6-1. Also reaching the second round easily was nine-time champion Rafael Nadal who blasted past Sam Groth 6-1, 6-1, 6-1.

No. 2 seed completed his first round match which was held over due to darkness, surviving qualifier and former Top 10 player 37-year-old Radek Stepanek 3-6, 3-6, 6-0, 6-3, 7-5.

“It’s unbelievable what he’s doing,” said Murray in an on-court interview. “He had an extremely bad injury last year and was our for eight or nine months. At 37 years old and coming out and fighting like that, playing that way, is unbelievable. I don’t expect to be doing that myself at that age! I’m just glad I managed to get through.”
Australian Open champion and third seed Angelique Kerber was the biggest upset on the day. The German suffering from a left shoulder injury lost to No. 58 Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands. 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. Bertens is fresh off winning a title over the weekend in Nürnberg, where she was a qualifier.

Another major surprise on the women’s side saw No. 5 Victoria Azarenka lose to No. 118-ranked Karin Knapp when she was forced to retire with a knee injury down 6-3, 6-7(6), 4-0.

2010 French Open champion, unseeded Francesca Schiavone lost to Kristina Mladenovic 6-2, 6-4. It was announced on court that Schiavone was retiring, but she set the record straight during her news conference.

“Roland Garros announced my retirement but I didn’t.”

“So you can stand up all of you and go back to work in the office because I didn’t say that. I will announce when I will want to stop.”

 

More to follow…

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Novak Djokovic Could Face Rafael Nadal in the Semifinals of Roland Garros

 

(May 20, 2016) The French Open men’s and women’s singles draws were made in Paris on Friday and No. 1 Novak Djokovic and No. 4 seed, nine-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal could be on a collision course to meet in the semifinals. Nadal moved into the No. 4 seed position when No. 3 Roger Federer withdrew from the tournament on Thursday.

Djokovic comes into Roland Garros seeking the only major tournament he has not won. He’s looking to become the eight man to have a “career slam,” winning each of the four major title at least once. Should the Serb win the French Open, he would hold all four major championships at the same time.

Djokovic has lost in the final of the French Open three out of the past four years. He will begin his quest for the Roland Garros crown against No. 100 in the world Lu Yen-hsun in, while Nadal will play big serving Australian, Sam Groth.

On the other side of the men’s draw, a pair of two-time major champions could meet in the other semifinal – No. 2 Andy Murray and No. 3 seed and defending champion Stan Wawrinka. Murray will play a qualifier in the first round, while Wawrinka will face-off against

The top seed in the women’s draw, Serena Williams is going after her 22nd career major, which would tie her with Steffi Graf on the all-time list, the most in the Open Era. She’s coming off her first tournament win in nine months, winning the Italian Open trophy last weekend on the clay courts of Rome.

A hurdle for the American could come in the quarterfinals, where she is projected to meet No. 5 seed and two-time Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka. Williams may also have play 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic in the fourth round and reigning Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber in the final four. Williams lost to the German in the Melbourne final.

Williams will open against No. 76 Magdalena Rybarikova.

Williams is the defending champion and is going after her fourth Roland Garros trophy.

In the bottom half of the women’s draw, No. 2 Agnieszka Radwanska could play fourth seed Garbine Muguruza in the semifinals.

Play begins on Sunday, May 22.

Men’s draw

Women’s draw

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“On the Call” with Tennis Channel Analyst and International Tennis Hall of Famer Tracy Austin

(May 16, 2016) On Monday Tennis Channel Analyst and International Tennis Hall of Famer Tracy Austin held a media conference call to talk about the upcoming French Open and other tennis topics.

 

On evaluating Serena Williams game right now going into the French Open:

I think we certainly had a lot of questions about Serena’s game going into Rome because she had to pull out of Madrid with the flu and therefore took seven weeks off.

“And she was only going to have that one warm‑up red clay court tournament before Roland‑Garros.  And Serena came out playing extremely well right from the first match.

“A little bit of hiccup in her early first set against McHale, but for the most part, for the rest of the week, she was moving well.  She was striking the ball cleanly.

“She had a good temperament, because when we saw her lose to Sveta in the fourth round in Miami, Serena didn’t look that happy to be on the court.  She didn’t play well the last two sets.  Won the first set.

“So I think it was a really positive week for Serena, and I think she seems to be in a good place tennis‑wise and mentally prior to Roland‑Garros.

 

On some of the other top women to watch in Paris:

“We’ve called it topsy‑turvy this year on the WTA tour.  And I was possibly expecting or hoping for someone to come through and be more consistent for the red clay court tournaments.

“And we see (Angelique) Kerber come through and win Stuttgart but then lose early the next two tournaments.  And then you see Halep who wins Madrid but then loses early in Rome. (Victoria) Azarenka who obviously won the Sunshine Double in Indian Wells and Miami and beat Serena in the finals of Indian Wells in straight sets.

“You’re thinking, okay, this is building, this is looking good.  She still only lost two times this year.  But she’s been hampered by a back injury that she sustained in Madrid and had to pull out prior to her third round and then didn’t play well against Begu because she was obviously compromised, didn’t have much velocity on her serve.

“So for Vika, who is a former semifinalist at the French, I think it’s all about this week and her preparation.  Only she knows how her back is feeling and whether she’s been able to alleviate that pain and get back on the practice court.

“But Vika, I certainly see, if she’s able to get healthy, you know, get a draw where she can play herself in, maybe give herself a little more time and do a few matches, I think Vika is someone that we all need to pay attention to, because we saw her take Serena to three sets last year three times, had three match points on Serena at Madrid last year, took her to three sets at the French.

“The big question mark is how healthy is Vika and how long has she been healthy.  How many reps has she been able to ‑‑ how much time has she been able to spend on the practice court.

“So as I said, the other ones to look for:  Halep former French Open finalist and won Madrid, looking spectacular, losing just one set to Begu.  Her backhand is always on target.  But her forehand was on target.  Looked positive emotionally, which sometimes can waver and in fact it wavered in Rome.  And Kerber in Stuttgart who just played gutsy there to defend her title for the first time in her career.

“But again lost early the next couple of matches.  But Kerber has been to the quarters, I think, once.  And I think with her newfound success in winning the Australian Open she knows how to navigate her way better through a major and probably feels a lot more confidence in her game that she can problem solve in difficult situations.  So she’ll be interesting.

“And I’ll talk about Muguruza, who is a two‑time quarterfinalist there, obviously beat Serena in the second round a few years back.  And she looked really good.  Madison took her out in the semis in Rome.  But she’s been making improvements.  A slow start to the year for her.

“So I also look for some outliers, Kvitova, who got to the semis of Stuttgart, but early losses or maybe, let’s say, midline losses at the next couple of tournaments.

“And Keys, Keys is somebody who is my outsider, because Madison played spectacular tennis; more importantly, I’m going to take the word “spectacular” out.  I’m going to say smart tennis and remained calm throughout all of her matches in beating two top players Kaviva and Muguruza on the way to the finals.

“And we’ve all been talking about the weapons that Madison has had for years:  Huge serve, the massive forehand, the sheer power that she has.  But it’s always been about shot selection and sometimes not always the smartest shot selection.

“But she was much more patient in building her points; and no matter what the score was, she stayed calm and didn’t pull the trigger too quickly.  So those were huge strides for Madison Keys this week.

On the former No. 1 American Junior Taylor Townsend earning a wildcard into the French:

 

“In February she was .382.  It’s hugely significant.  If I counted the matches correctly, I think it’s 18 matches that she played in those three events.  So getting to the finals of two and winning one.

“I love that consistency.  It wasn’t just like, oh, winning one and then struggling in another and having midline results in another.

“I liked the fact she was so consistent.  Honestly I did not see any of those matches, so I don’t know.  Taylor’s tremendous talent, leftiness is an advantage and asset, and she uses it well.  So I think Taylor is still young.

“It’s very exciting that she’s had the success.  I hope she uses this wildcard well and also uses this success and is a real springboard for her to, I don’t want to use the word “motivated” because I’m sure she’s remained motivated, but to see she’s close and has the talent.  And this confidence will really pay off.

“I think the talent that Taylor has, because she’s ‑‑ I would talk about her game a little bit more and the leftiness.  Obviously a very live arm on her serve.

“Huge forehand.  Can move ‑‑ not move ‑‑ at the net, she’s very handy about the net, which we see so few of the young players that feel comfortable up there.  She’s got good feel as well.

“So really good foundation to build on.  And I think it’s about finding her way and gaining confidence, and these three results will really help.

 

On equal pay in tennis:

“And I don’t think that woman would have a problem playing three out of five sets.  And I think also on the men’s side, oftentimes three out of five is too long.  And so I think women, if they were asked again to play three out of five, that wouldn’t be a problem.

“For me, it’s not about the length.  When you go to a concert, it’s not how long this one plays or a man plays or a woman plays, it’s just about the entertainment value.

“It’s worked for this many years.  I think that until someone comes up with ‑‑ maybe men should go to two out of three.  Maybe it will make it more interesting and feel a sense of urgency.

“I know at the Olympics, I felt that, when I was covering it in London in 2012.  You know, you didn’t have that ability on the men’s side to kind of lose that first set, because there was that sense of urgency.  It was two out of three, I think up until a certain round.  So there’s so many variations that could be thought of.”

 

Thoughts on the men, coming into the French Open:

I do think it’s fascinating because of the results on red clay.  Last week on Tennis Channel I picked Djokovic.  I still pick Djokovic.  But Andy (Murray) winning and the way that he won certainly makes the conversation a lot more interesting.

“Also the fact that Rafa (Nadal) has played at such a high level the last few months, that makes it more interesting as well.

“Rafa, last year, his fluctuations were higher than we have ever seen as far as he would play well and we’d think he’s getting back on track and then he would slip a little bit and then he would play well again.

“It was back and forth, kind of this yo‑yo effect, and he couldn’t really gain traction.  Whereas, I feel like in the last month, on the European red clay, he’s really gained that traction, winning in Monte Carlo and Barcelona.

“And he had a great match this last week in the quarters against Novak.  As Rafa said, it was so very, very close.  That gave him, even though he lost, it gave him a lot of confidence, that he’s now hitting his backhand more firmly, with more penetration.  He’s standing closer to the baseline.

“He’s using a philosophy that he needs to get a lot of first serves in.  He’s serving in the 70s and the low 80s and a couple of his matches, 84 percent, 85 percent of first serves in, serving a little bit further over from the center T on the ad side to get a little bit more angle with his slice.

“Just overall looking a lot more Rafa‑like on clay.  So that’s exciting.  He’s definitely playing at a different confidence level.  Andy Murray might be the biggest surprise.  As he said, he’s finally feeling, in the last couple of years, comfortable moving on the clay.  And he kind of chuckled about it that it took him 10 years to feel this comfortable to slide, to move, and a guy who is such a good athlete with such incredible balance.  We’ve seen his results so consistent each week got better, the semis and then a final, I think it was in Madrid and winning in Rome and beating Rafa along the way.  Beating Djokovic along the way and straight sets no less.

“Let me say one thing, Djokovic might have been beat up a little bit in that final because he had a long match with Rafa and a long match with Kay as well.  But still it’s so impressive the way that Andy was just a lot more penetrating.

“He obviously had a new mindset that he had to strike his ground strokes more powerfully.  I think it was like eight miles per hour faster that he was hitting his ground strokes.  He was hitting his second serve a little bit quicker as well.  Attacking the net was more successful in Rome.  His court positioning.

“So overall he looked very confident.  So I would say those three guys, unfortunately I think Roger has not had enough reps and his back, you know, wasn’t good losing to Thiem.  He really didn’t stretch and change direction and he kind of knew that going in that he was just looking for matches but he didn’t really expect to go to go deep in Rome.  Unfortunately for Roger I think it’s going to be a different Roland‑Garros meaning, I don’t think he’s part of that top tier equation.”

 

On the progress of “young guns” on tour including Taylor Fritz, Nick Kyrgios,Borna Coric, Zverev:

 

“I picked my outlier this year at the French with Kyrgios, the way that he ‑‑ I think he beat Stan.  He beat another top player, like who else did he beat on clay this year?  And then he took Rafa to three sets.

“The way he can hit through the court and just hit winners.  The talent is off the chart.  He’s just dripping with talent.  It’s a question about maintaining that mental balance and he struggled with that.

“I think he’s possibly maturing some.  But I expect him to be a future No. 1, future right at the top of the game.

“I also loved Zverev’s progress.  I think he’s ranked in the 40s now.  And we’ve seen obviously a matchpoint away from beating Rafa at Indian Wells.  Didn’t get it.  But the kid just keeps improving month to month.  It’s not year to year.  It’s not every four months.  It’s just every single time he plays a tournament, seems like he’s gaining valuable experience and knowledge and seems to have pretty all‑court game already.  A huge serve.  Tall.  He’s thin.

“So he’s going to get stronger.  That’s going to take time.  But terrific technically sound ground strokes.  Love his backhand.  Seems in the forecourt pretty comfortable.  Great attitude.

“I love Zverev as well.  Coric to me is very steady.  Talk about him as the mini Djokovic.  And to me I don’t see his high level quite as high because I don’t see the obvious weapons.

“And then Taylor, I think Taylor is ranked about 70 now.  You think about the fact he lost in the Junior Finals last year and now he’s ranked 72 in the world.  That is some incredible progress.  And Taylor has a massive serve.  Unbelievable forehand.  Solid, solid backhand moving much better.

“He grew up with my son.  I’ve seen Taylor since the time he was 10 years old.  Always had great demeanor.  Just a phenomenal kid, by the way.  And I don’t say that about a ton of kids.  I don’t give those compliments out easily.

“Working on his backhand slice, working in his skills in the forecourt, which needs some work.  But the progress has been outstanding.

 

After Andy Murray parted ways with coach Amélie Mauresmo, Austin was asked about if there will be a time when we’ll see more women coaches coaching men or women in the future:

 

As I said on Tennis Channel this week, tennis ball is a tennis ball, and you don’t get anybody out there smarter than Martina (Navratilova), she knows the game, the ins and outs of anybody.

“It’s just a question of how it fits in the schedule.  Andy put it well, and I love Andy, he was such a advocate for Amélie, the fact first of all he hired her, first top male to have a woman coach.  Really says a lot about Andy and the way he was raised by Judy, that he had such confidence they worked well.

“As Andy said, he was struggling when Amélie came on board and he got his game back together.  And I think it was really telling as well when he said since Australia to like where he was at it was two weeks ago, they had spent ten days together.  And that’s just not enough time for a coach to make an impact and therefore he felt probably the need to find someone that could spend more time.

“That was not anything, a knock against Amélie or how she was performing as a coach.  Amélie had a son in August.  And that would be my guess as to where the problem lies; Amélie didn’t want to spend as much time on the road.  So that’s possibly why you don’t see as many women on tour if they have young kids.

“I would not want to coach right now.  I really want to stay home with my kids.  Something possibly for the future.  But I would like to see more women that would like to coach have that opportunity.”

 

Picks for the French Open:

 

“I’ve been talking about it for a week.  As soon as I saw Serena play so well, it’s tough to bet against Serena, three‑time champion there, and Halep is a finalist.

“But other than that, most of the others have been one semis, maybe a quarter or two.  So Serena is my clear favorite the way she’s played so well, was so engaged in Rome.

“The men became more difficult, which makes it exciting.  Because as someone said, I’m picking Djokovic, but yet Nadal is playing so much better and the guy’s won it nine times.  So so much interest there because Djokovic obviously going for his last Grand Slam to achieve the Calendar‑Year Grand Slam.

“So a lot of interest.  I’m very excited to go back to Paris.  I haven’t been there in over a decade.  Very excited to be working with Tennis Channel.  Love the Tennis Channel team and call it the Tennis Channel Family.

“So my son will be playing in the juniors there as well in either the junior qualifying or possibly the main draw.  So that will be of extra interest to me the second week.”

Tracy Austin will part of the broadcast team for Tennis Channel’s coverage of the French Open.

Related article:

Tennis Channel 2016 French Open Coverage Schedule

Tennis Channel 2016 French Open Coverage Schedule

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Andy Murray Gives Himself a Birthday Present While Serena Williams Wins Fourth Rome Title

Andy Murray fh

(May 15, 2016) Andy Murray gave himself a gift for his 29th birthday – a Rome Masters Series 1000 title. The Scotsman beat No. 1 Novak Djokovic 6-3, 6-3 for his 12 Masters title on Sunday.

Joining Murray in the winners circle was No. 1 Serena Williams who won the women’s singles title over Madison Keys 7-6(5), 6-3 in the first All-American women’s clay court final since Serena beat her sister Venus in the 2002 French Open final.

This was Williams’ fourth Rome title, first tournament win of 2016 and first championship title since she won the Cincinnati event last August.

Serena gets ready for bh 3112016

“It feels great,” Williams said. “So it’s not like I was playing every week. So that’s kind of how I look at it. But it feels great to win a title, especially on clay.”

Murray’s victory makes him the first British male player since 1931 to win the Italian Open. He has also secured the No. 2 seed at the upcoming French Open, which begins on May 22.

The Scotsman now is 22-5 in 2016, ending the Serb’s 17-match winning streak against Top 10 opponents.
“”It’s mostly great players have won this event, so I’m very proud to have my name on the trophy,” Murray said. “Today against Novak is nice. I know he didn’t play his best today. But there were still some tough moments for me in the second set. I saved the break points well and held strong. And overall it was a great week for me. I didn’t lose a set.”

“I had a long couple of weeks, especially the last couple of days,” Djokovic said. “I knew it’s going to be very hard for me, an uphill ride against Andy today, who was playing throughout the week at a very high level. To compete with him in long exchanges and rallies that we do have in our encounters, they require a lot more energy and better performance from my side which didn’t happen.

“Not taking anything away from Andy’s win. On the contrary, I think he deserved to win and deserved to win the entire tournament, because he was the best player. He was the player that played in the best form throughout the entire tournament.”
Serena Williams spoke to the crowd in Italian during the trophy presentation. This was her 70th career title.

The Bryan Brothers won their fourth Rome title and 36th Masters 1000 level, defeating Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock.

“We’re sharing a room this week,,” said Bob Bryan. [Mike] fell asleep around 2:30, 2:45 a.m., because he started snoring. We drank so much coffee last night that I was wired. It was a 12-hour turnaround. Our bodies don’t turn around quickly anymore.”

“The rain delay definitely helped us,” Mike Bryan said. “Our coach [David Macpherson] was back in the locker room, where we had about 15 minutes, and he said, ‘Fire it up!’ We were kind of flat in the first set and weren’t playing with a lot of energy. We had a late match and Bob went to bed at 4 a.m. in the morning. So we were kind of dazed and confused. We were bouncing around in the second set. We played a good Match tie-break, which can go either way.”

This was the Bryan Brothers 112 tournament victory together as a team.

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Djokovic Survives Test From Nadal to Reach Italian Open Semis; Serena Williams Dominates

Djokovic celebrates win-001

(May 13, 2016) Novak Djokovic came back from a break down in both sets and set points down in the second set to fight off Rafael Nadal 7-5, 7-6(4) to reach the semifinals of the Italian Open on Friday in Rome. The dramatic match lasted almost two-and-a-half hours. The world No. 1 has now beaten the 14-time major champion seven straight times and has raised his record to 26-23 over the current No. 5. The Serb has now won 15 straight sets against the Spaniard.

Nadal grabbed opening breaks of serve in both sets and had five set points in the second set  serving at 5-4, but Djokovic kept coming back from adversity.

“I held my nerve at the clutch moments,” Djokovic said in an interview after the match. “Even though I had nervy beginnings to both sets, with some good games and good play in the crucial moments, I managed to win. It’s a straight-sets win, but it feels like we played five sets.

“Winning against Nadal is the ultimate challenge on clay courts and one of the toughest challenges we have in sport. I have to be very pleased with the way I handled myself in the big moments today. I won against one of my biggest rivals on his preferred surface. We must not forget he’s in form. He won Monte-Carlo and Barcelona and has played well the past couple of weeks. That gives me confidence for the rest of this tournament.”

Djokovic said that it was special to be on court playing against Nadal.

Nadal said that he was not disappointed and felt that he played well against the best player.

Djokovic will face-off against Kei Nishikori in his semifinal on Saturday. The sixth seed Nishikori beat 13th seed Dominic Thiem 6-3, 7-5.

No. 2 seed Andy Murray moved into the final four with a 6-1, 7-5 win over David Goffin. Murray will play French lucky loser Lucas Pouille for s spot in the final on Saturday. Pouille advanced when Juan Monaco withdrew with a left hip injury.

On the women’s side, No. 1 ranked Serena Williams, getting a little revenge from her loss in Miami, when she demolished Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2, 6-0 in 51 minutes. She’ll play Irina-Camelia Begu next who beat Misaki Doi 6-2, 7-6 (3).

On the bottom half of the draw, Garbine Muguruza beat Timea Bacsinszky 7-5, 6-2 and will play Madison Keys, who defeated Barbora Strycova 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

 

INTERNAZIONALI BNL D’ITALIA – ROME, ITALY
9-15 MAY 2016

RESULTS – MAY 13, 2016
Women’s Singles – Quarterfinals
[1] S. Williams (USA) d [9] S. Kuznetsova (RUS) 62 60
[3] G. Muguruza (ESP) d [11] T. Bacsinszky (SUI) 75 62
I. Begu (ROU) d M. Doi (JPN) 62 76(3)
M. Keys (USA) d B. Strycova (CZE) 64 46 63

Women’s Doubles – Quarterfinals
[1] M. Hingis (SUI) / S. Mirza (IND) d R. Atawo (USA) / A. Spears (USA) 64 62
I. Begu (ROU) / M. Niculescu (ROU) d [3] T. Babos (HUN) / Y. Shvedova (KAZ) 76(4) 63
[4] A. Hlavackova (CZE) / L. Hradecka (CZE) d [5] C. Garcia (FRA) / K. Mladenovic (FRA) 64 64
[7] E. Makarova (RUS) / E. Vesnina (RUS) d A. Klepac (SLO) / K. Srebotnik (SLO) 62 64

Men’s Singles – Quarterfinals
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) d [5] R. Nadal (ESP) 75 76(4)
[2] A. Murray (GBR) d [12] D. Goffin (BEL) 61 75
[6] K. Nishikori (JPN) d [13] D. Thiem (AUT) 63 75
[LL] L. Pouille (FRA) d [PR] J. Monaco (ARG) w.o. (hip)

Men’s Doubles – Quarterfinals
[5] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) d [4] J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA) 63 64
[6] R. Bopanna (IND) / F. Mergea (ROU) d P. Kohlschreiber (GER) / V. Troicki (SRB) 63 64
[8] V. Pospisil (CAN) / J. Sock (USA) d P. Cuevas (URU) / M. Granollers (ESP) 64 76(4)
[PR] J. Benneteau (FRA) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) d O. Marach (AUT) / M. Matkowski (POL) 46 75 10-8

ORDER OF PLAY – SATURDAY, MAY 14, 2016
CENTER COURT start 12:00 noon
WTA – [3] G. Muguruza (ESP) vs M. Keys (USA)

Not Before 2:30 pm
ATP – [LL] L. Pouille (FRA) vs [2] A. Murray (GBR)

Not Before 5:00 pm
WTA – [1] S. Williams (USA) vs I. Begu (ROU)

Not Before 8:00 pm
ATP – [1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs [13] D. Thiem (AUT) or [6] K. Nishikori (JPN)
ATP – [PR] J. Benneteau (FRA) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) vs [5] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA)

PIETRANGELI start 12:00 noon
WTA – [4] A. Hlavackova (CZE) / L. Hradecka (CZE) vs [7] E. Makarova (RUS) / E. Vesnina (RUS)

Not Before 1:00 pm
ATP – [8] V. Pospisil (CAN) / J. Sock (USA) vs [6] R. Bopanna (IND) / F. Mergea (ROU)
WTA – After Suitable Rest – [1] M. Hingis (SUI) / S. Mirza (IND) vs I. Begu (ROU) / M. Niculescu (ROU)

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Tennis Channel to Air All 21 of Serena Williams’ Major Title Victories Back-to-Back

tennis_channel_logo

(May 12, 2016) LOS ANGELES – Just ahead of the French Open, Tennis Channel will air each one of Serena Williams’ 21 Grand Slam singles titles back-to-back during a marathon that begins on May 15, at 1 p.m. ET. With Roland Garros (commonly referred to as the French Open) approaching, Williams will have the opportunity to win her 22nd Grand Slam title, which would tie her with Steffi Graf for the most major singles titles in the Open Era. This marks the first time the network has aired this many Grand Slam singles title victories back-to-back for a single player.

On the eve of its Roland Garros coverage, Tennis Channel will showcase Serena’s dominance across three days, wrapping up on Tuesday, May 17 (full lineup below). Tennis Channel will take viewers from her very first singles title at age 17 to her most recent major championship at Wimbledon last year at the age of 33.

All 21 finals matches will also be available on Tennis Channel’s digital subscription service Tennis Channel Plus. Williams’ US Open championships will be available for free on the network’s app, Tennis Channel Everywhere.

“Serena is one of the most popular athletes in sports, and we wanted to offer our viewers a reminder of how she got here as she closes in on history,” said Jeremy Langer, vice president, programming, Tennis Channel.

Over the course of the marathon viewers will see many classic matches from Williams’ decorated career. These include:
Williams’ first Grand Slam victory over Martina Hingis at the 1999 US Open
Her five-straight finals wins over older sister Venus Williams
Her most recent stretch of dominance, winning a second “Serena Slam” starting with the 2014 US Open and culminating with her win at Wimbledon in 2015
During Williams’ historic career she has accumulated numerous accomplishments and records:
She is the only player to win three Grand Slam titles after saving match point during the tournament (2003 Australian Open, 2005 Australian Open and 2009 Wimbledon)
She has won 14 of her 21 Grand Slams in straight sets
She defeated her sister Venus five-straight times in finals and six overall in the majors
She has defeated her opponents in Grand Slam finals by a combined margin of 292-189 games
During her most recent “Serena Slam” she became the oldest player, at age 33, to hold all four titles concurrently
Tennis Channel’s Serena Williams Grand Slam Championship Marathon Lineup.
Matches begin at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 15. Full schedule:
tennischannel.com/tv-schedule/daily-view/

Event/Opponent

1999 US Open/Martina Hingis
2002 French Open/Venus Williams
2002 Wimbledon/Venus Williams
2002 US Open/Venus Williams
2003 Australian Open/Venus Williams
2003 Wimbledon/Venus Williams
2005 Australian Open/Lindsay Davenport
2007 Australian Open/Maria Sharapova
2008 US Open/Jelena Jankovic
2009 Australian Open/Dinara Safina
2009 Wimbledon/Venus Williams
2010 Australian Open/Justine Henin
2010 Wimbledon/Vera Zvonareva
2012 Wimbledon/Agnieszka Radwanska
2012 US Open/Victoria Azarenka
2013 French Open/Maria Sharapova
2013 US Open/Victoria Azarenka
2014 US Open/Caroline Wozniacki
2015 Australian Open/Maria Sharapova
2015 French Open/Lucie Safarova
2015 Wimbledon/Garbine Muguruza

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Serena Williams Begins her Clay Season with Win in Rome

(May 10, 2016) Serena Williams played her first clay court match of the season beating Anna-Lena Friedsam 6-4, 6-3 to reach the round of 16 at the Italian Open on Tuesday. The world No. 1 played her first match since losing at the Miami Open in the round of 16 in March.

Williams hit 27 winners during the 75-minute match.

Williams said after the match that she was happy with her level of play. “I think I was really consistent,” she said. “I think I was mentally consistent.”

“I was really concerned how it would be just running and moving and recovering,” said the three-time Rome winner. “But it was fun.”

Williams is 14-3 on the year.

Flavia Pennetta photo courtesy of the WTA and Getty Images

Flavia Pennetta photo courtesy of the WTA and Getty Images

 

Flavia Pennetta, who won the last year’s U.S. Open and retired at the end of the year, was honored on Pietrangeli court.

 

INTERNAZIONALI BNL D’ITALIA – ROME, ITALY
9-15 MAY 2016

RESULTS – MAY 10, 2016
Women’s Singles – Second Round
[1] S. Williams (USA) d A. Friedsam (GER) 64 63
[8] C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) d T. Pereira (BRA) 61 75
First Round
[9] S. Kuznetsova (RUS) d C. Garcia (FRA) 75 64
[11] T. Bacsinszky (SUI) d Y. Wickmayer (BEL) 62 62
[Q] C. McHale (USA) d [WC] C. Giovine (ITA) 61 26 62
S. Stosur (AUS) d [Q] A. Riske (USA) 46 76(5) 61
D. Gavrilova (AUS) d S. Lisicki (GER) 61 76(3)
[Q] M. Duque-Mariño (COL) d M. Niculescu (ROU) 64 61
J. Konta (GBR) d [Q] J. Larsson (SWE) 61 62
L. Tsurenko (UKR) d [Q] J. Goerges (GER) 16 76(5) 63
J. Ostapenko (LAT) d K. Mladenovic (FRA) 63 61
T. Babos (HUN) d [Q] K. Bertens (NED) 61 64
E. Bouchard (CAN) d J. Jankovic (SRB) 64 26 63

Women’s Doubles – First Round
[5] C. Garcia (FRA) / K. Mladenovic (FRA) d M. Krajicek (NED) / B. Strycova (CZE) 61 06 11-9
[6] Y. Chan (TPE) / A. Groenefeld (GER) d C. Chuang (TPE) / D. Jurak (CRO) 62 61
[7] E. Makarova (RUS) / E. Vesnina (RUS) d L. Kichenok (UKR) / O. Savchuk (UKR) 64 63
I. Begu (ROU) / M. Niculescu (ROU) d [WC] S. Kuznetsova (RUS) / A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 46 63 10-7
L. Arruabarrena (ESP) / S. Errani (ITA) d V. King (USA) / A. Kudryavtseva (RUS) 62 46 10-5

 

Men’s Singles – Second Round
[4] S. Wawrinka (SUI) d B. Paire (FRA) 57 62 61
[6] K. Nishikori (JPN) d V. Troicki (SRB) 57 62 63
[8] T. Berdych (CZE) d A. Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) 63 64
[12] D. Goffin (BEL) d J. Sock (USA) 64 64
[PR] J. Monaco (ARG) d [16] K. Anderson (RSA) 36 63 62
[LL] L. Pouille (FRA) d [Q] E. Gulbis (LAT) 36 64 75
Men’s Singles – First Round
[9] D. Ferrer (ESP) d [Q] F. Volandri (ITA) 46 75 61
[15] R. Bautista Agut (ESP) d [WC] P. Lorenzi (ITA) 63 61
[Q] S. Robert (FRA) d [Q] A. Bedene (GBR) 76(3) 76(8)
N. Mahut (FRA) d P. Cuevas (URU) 76(6) 26 75
P. Kohlschreiber (GER) d [Q] I. Cervantes (ESP) 64 62
J. Chardy (FRA) d [Q] D. Dzumhur (BIH) 26 64 62

Men’s Doubles – First Round
O. Marach (AUT) / M. Matkowski (POL) d [WC] F. Fognini (ITA) / A. Seppi (ITA) 46 75 10-6
[PR] J. Benneteau (FRA) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) d R. Klaasen (RSA) / R. Ram (USA) 64 60
D. Thiem (AUT) / A. Zverev (GER) d F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP) 63 36 10-6
P. Cuevas (URU) / M. Granollers (ESP) d J. Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL) 63 64

ORDER OF PLAY – WEDNESDAY, MAY 11, 2016
CENTER COURT start 12:00 noon
ATP – [3] R. Federer (SUI) vs A. Zverev (GER)
ATP – [1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs [Q] S. Robert (FRA)
WTA – J. Konta (GBR) vs [7] R. Vinci (ITA)

Not Before 7:30 pm
ATP – P. Kohlschreiber (GER) vs [5] R. Nadal (ESP)

Not Before 9:00 pm
WTA – [5] P. Kvitova (CZE) vs M. Keys (USA)

GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am
WTA – E. Makarova (RUS) vs [3] G. Muguruza (ESP)

Not Before 12:00 noon
ATP – J. Sousa (POR) vs [13] D. Thiem (AUT)
ATP – [Q] M. Kukushkin (KAZ) vs [2] A. Murray (GBR)
WTA – D. Gavrilova (AUS) vs [6] S. Halep (ROU)

Not Before 7:00 pm
ATP – G. Garcia-Lopez (ESP) vs [9] D. Ferrer (ESP)

PIETRANGELI start 11:00 am
WTA – [4] V. Azarenka (BLR) vs I. Begu (ROU)
WTA – E. Bouchard (CAN) vs [2] A. Kerber (GER)
ATP – [11] R. Gasquet (FRA) vs A. Seppi (ITA)
ATP – [10] M. Raonic (CAN) vs N. Kyrgios (AUS)

Not Before 6:00 pm
WTA – T. Babos (HUN) vs [12] V. Williams (USA)

COURT 1 start 11:00 am
WTA – [Q] H. Watson (GBR) vs B. Strycova (CZE)
WTA – [Q] C. Mchale (USA) vs [13] A. Ivanovic (SRB)
WTA – [9] S. Kuznetsova (RUS) vs S. Stosur (AUS)
WTA – [10] L. Safarova (CZE) vs M. Doi (JPN)

COURT 2 start 11:00 am
WTA – [Q] M. Puig (PUR) vs J. Ostapenko (LAT)

Not Before 12:30 pm
WTA – L. Tsurenko (UKR) vs [11] T. Bacsinszky (SUI)
ATP – N. Mahut (FRA) vs T. Bellucci (BRA)
ATP – [15] R. Bautista Agut (ESP) vs J. Chardy (FRA)
ATP – [Alt] D. Inglot (GBR) / F. Martin (FRA) vs O. Marach (AUT) / M. Matkowski (POL)

COURT 4 start 11:00 am
WTA – [Q] M. Duque-Mariño (COL) vs D. Kasatkina (RUS)
ATP – S. Johnson (USA) / S. Querrey (USA) vs [5] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA)
ATP – [8] V. Pospisil (CAN) / J. Sock (USA) vs T. Huey (PHI) / M. Mirnyi (BLR)
ATP – After Suitable Rest – [4] J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA) vs D. Thiem (AUT) / A. Zverev (GER)
ATP – P. Cuevas (URU) / M. Granollers (ESP) vs [3] J. Rojer (NED) / H. Tecau (ROU)

COURT 6 start 11:00 am
WTA – R. Atawo (USA) / A. Spears (USA) vs C. Liang (CHN) / Y. Wang (CHN)
WTA – [WC] K. Knapp (ITA) / F. Schiavone (ITA) vs [8] J. Goerges (GER) / K. Pliskova (CZE)
WTA – After Suitable Rest – [7] E. Makarova (RUS) / E. Vesnina (RUS) vs K. Bertens (NED) / J. Larsson (SWE)
ATP – After Suitable Rest – [6] R. Bopanna (IND) / F. Mergea (ROU) vs B. Paire (FRA) / J. Sousa (POR)
WTA – [1] M. Hingis (SUI) / S. Mirza (IND) vs S. Hsieh (TPE) / O. Kalashnikova (GEO)

 

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