2015/03/28

Rain Washes Out Some Matches in Miami – Halep, Azarenka and Stephens Advance

Simona Halep

Simona Halep

(March 27, 2015) Rain saw the cancellation of some late afternoon matches and the evening session at the Miami Open on Friday including Serena Williams’ opening match. Saturday’s new schedule will be announced.

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Third seed Simona Halep who took home the BNP Paribas Open title, just last Sunday, won 6-4, 2-6, 6-1 against wild card Nicole Vaidisova. Vaidisova a former two-time Grand Slam semifinalist and once No. 7 in the world, is back on the tour since retiring and coming back from multiple shoulder surgeries.

 

Sloane Stephens

Sloane Stephens

In the all-American battle on Stadium court in the late afternoon, No. 45 Soane Stephens defeated No. 17 Madison Keys 6-4, 6-2.

In the first meeting between both women, Stephens broke Keys’ serve five times during the match. Keys had 36 unforced errors during the match to only 14 winners.

“One of those days where didn’t quite have the feeling; couldn’t really find it,” Keys said.

 

“Sloane played really well. I thought in the first set I kind of had a chance to come back and maybe get into the match a little bit more, but a couple of bad points here and there and it kind of just got away from me.”

 

“It was windy,” Stephens said. “The conditions weren’t that great.

 

“Because I know going out there I had to play my game and stay focused and really focus on myself. I tried to do that the best I could. Obviously the conditions were tough, so I was just happy to get out with the win.”

 

“It’s always really good to see Sloane playing well,” Keys commented on her past Fed Cup teammate. “I thought ‑ I knew ‑ it was going to be a tough match.

 

“You know, she just played better than me today. You know, wishing her all the best and hoping she goes deep now.”

 

“I just go out and play my game and stay focused,” Stephens said. “Obviously she’s a great player. I knew I had to go out there and execute.

 

“That’s what I did out there with the tough conditions. I was pleased with myself.”

 

“I know Maddy is going to have a great career,” Stephens said.

 

“I am going to see her for like the next 10 years of my life consistently. I’m looking forward to seeing her get better and keep playing and doing what she’s doing now.”

 

 

Stephens will match up against Sweden’s Larsson, Johanna, who defeated 10th seed Lucie Safarova.

 

Victoria Azarekna

Victoria Azarekna

Former Miami champion Victoria Azarenka is into the third round of Miami by beating world No. 20 Jelena Jankovic 6-1, 6-1.

The former No. 1 Jankovic was 0-13 on break point chances.

“I just really tried to stay focused and tried to find a way to stay in the game,” Azarenka said. I had to save a couple of break points right away, and then there was, you know, this battle.

 

“I know that Jelena is a fighter. Doesn’t matter what score it is, she will not give up. Some of those rallies she just went for it, and I felt like I wasn’t that aggressive on some points.

 

“So I just had to stay focused and stay tough and try to find a way to finish the match. You know, in those moments that’s what I really look for right now, to be able to step up my game when it’s needed.”

 

Azarenka, a former No 1 who has been plagued with injuries over the last two years, is currently ranked No. 36 in the world and trying to regain her form.

 

More to follow

 

Related article:
“This one I think I played a lot smarter” – Cici Bellis Defeats Zarina Diyas in Miami for some U. S. Open Revenge
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“This one I think I played a lot smarter” – Cici Bellis Defeats Zarina Diyas in Miami for some U. S. Open Revenge

(March 27, 2015) Fifteen-year-old wild card Cici Bellis exacted some revenge on 29th seed Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan at the Miami Open on Friday with a dominating 6-2, 6-1 win.

 

The young American lost to Diyas in the second round of the 2014 U.S. Open. The match before that, the current world No. 211 made some noise in the first round of Flushing Meadow when she upset 2014 Australian Open finalist and world No 12 at the time, Dominika Cibulkova. Bellis was the youngest player to win a match at the U. S. Open since 1996

 

Bellis broke her Diyas’ serve seven times during the match which lasted 76 minutes.

“This one I think I played a lot smarter,” Bellis talking about Friday’s win over Diyas to media. “At the US Open I was really like caught up in, you know, all the kind of hype that was going on.

“But this one I was just really focused and played my game. I think I did what I needed to do to win really well.”

“I think every single part of my game has improved since the US Open,” said Bellis. “I mean, just from today, like I lost to her at the US Open, which was I don’t know how many months ago, like eight months ago or something, and today I beat her 2 and 1.

“So I think everything in my game has improved. I have been working really hard, extremely, extremely hard since the US Open just for that. I think it’s really paying off, so I’m really happy.”

Bellis could face world No. 1 Serena Williams in the third round. Williams plays Monica Niculescu on Friday night in a rematch of her third round match just two weeks ago at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

“I mean, it’s going to be really fun,” she said of the possible match against the 19-time major champion. “I have nothing to lose, so I’m just going to play my game and see what happens.”

Asked about what her mindset will be going into a possible match against Williams, she said: “Just don’t really think about who I’m playing. It’s just, you know, another one of my opponents that I’m playing. Doesn’t really matter who it is.

“We are all in the same tournament, so we are all kind of at this level. You can’t really think about who you’re playing. It’s just a ball that’s coming back on the other side of the court. You just have to go out and not think about that stuff and just play your game. That’s what I’m planning to do.”

Bellis, who will turn 16 on April 8, has not decided if or when she will turn professional.

“Amateur,” she said. “I haven’t decided yet, but I think just keep my amateur status for a little bit longer, just, you know, in case.”

After the Miami Open, Bellis plans on playing in the WTA tour event in Charleston.

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Serena Williams Hopes to be Ready to Take the Court on Friday at Miami Open

315Serenawaitsforserve-001

(March 25, 2015) MIAMI, FL – Just days after withdrawing from her Indian Wells semifinal against Simona Halep with a knee injury, Serena Williams, now at the Miami Open, the two-time defending champion, hopes that she’ll be ready to play her first match on Friday.

“I’m okay,” said Williams giving an update on her health. “I’m just managing where I am right now. Just trying to stay out of as much pain as possible and see what happens.”

“I know I’m going to have to manage the pain. I think if I’m in that mental state, okay, you might be in a little pain. You just have to figure out the best way around it.”

Why not, skip the tournament all together? Williams just lives practically down the road from the event in Palm Beach County. On top of this, she’s won the event a record seven times.

“I didn’t think I would be doing this interview today,” Williams said. “I stepped on the court (to practice on Wednesday) and I was just like, I love this place. You know, I love playing at home. I live just down the road.

“So, yeah, it takes a lot. It takes a tremendous amount for me to stop. Yeah, so I don’t know if that’s a good thing or that’s a bad thing, but I think I will be okay.”

The real test for the 19-time major champion will be when she takes the court on Friday against second round opponent Monica Niculescu of Romania.

“Probably on my first match, if I get that far,” the world No. 1  said. “So, yeah, I don’t want to put too much pressure on it before.

“I’m just here in Miami, so I’m just going to go for it and see what happens.”

Williams just defeated Niculescu in the second round at Indian Wells just last week and won the match 7-5, 7-5.

“Well, I definitely don’t have low expectations,” said the American. “I just definitely expect to do the best that I can. Whether that’s winning or just stepping out on the court, that’s what I’m going to have to do.

“Again, I don’t feel any pressure because I have won this title a few times, so I feel good about being here. When I hit on the court today, just something about Miami, you know. I just feel so good out here.

“So I was like, Oh, this is fun. I’m just looking forward to just enjoying myself this year more than anything.”

“I think every player has pain. I said this before. I don’t know any player that goes out there without pain. Every match I play, I mean, I could be 10% in pain or I could be 80% in pain. It just kind of depends how you feel and how can you manage that.

“Knowing ahead of time the problems that you’re dealing with, usually you have a good way. Okay, we’re dealing with this problem and this is how you treat it, so you can be able to play at a high level.

“Now that I kind of know what’s going on, I’m able to treat it and be able to play at a higher level than I would have been able to play a couple of weeks ago.”

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What a Difference a Week Makes

Serena Williams

Serena Williams

(March 20, 2015) INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA – Just as the tournament spun in the early days with the expectation of Serena Williams’ return, so it would end in an almost eerie echo of 14 years ago.

 

Social media had already buzzed about the news during the previous semi-final, and when she took to the court mostly to cheers, a few boos could be clearly heard from the Press balcony, coming from above, but the announcement was cleverly stage managed to celebrate 40 years of the tournament, and the momentousness of Williams come-back just a week ago.

 

Williams spoke to the press immediately afterwards and confirmed: “I was just on the practice court two days ago, day and a half ago, yesterday, and everything was going good. Literally last two couple minutes of practice I went for a serve and I just felt a super sharp pain in my knee.

 

“It was like, Okay, and I served again. I felt it again. I just came off, and it hasn’t been the same since. I have done everything. Like I have just pretty much done everything from taping to research and I even did an injection. I have never done an injection before.

 

“I think if this was any other event I probably wouldn’t have considered it. I wanted to give 200%. It just wasn’t meant to be this year.”

 

She has stated she intends to return to Indian Wells next year.

 

Meanwhile – we had the ATP quarter-finals to conclude, and that too was a tale of two halves.

315Federerin press.-001

Roger Federer almost bullied his way to the semi-finals of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. From the outset he had Tomas Berdych on the back foot, at one stage throwing up three double faults in one game before Federer finally broke through the door he had been battering down. A single break was a respectable margin for the first set, but it was not enough as Federer stepped up a gear, and Berdych crumbled once more in a key match 6-4, 6-0.

 

The confidence he had at the start of the year with regards to changing the team around him, once more could not manifest itself when it came to the crunch, as Berdych tried to explain.

 

In his post-match news conference he said: “When you feel that he’s in control right from the beginning, then of course you have to come up with your best game from the beginning of the match. I mean, you just want to play well. You just want to play your best. There is a very thin line in between that and overdoing it. It’s not so easy, really, to control it every single time that you go play with a player like this, even if he’s playing in such a good shape.

 

“Today I stepped a little bit over it, so hope the next time, next day, it’s just going to stay on the line.”

 

With the very real prospect of the World Top 4 contesting the Indian Wells semi-finals, Federer cast his eye over another match up with Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard started aggressively against Milos Raonic, breaking him before the first change of ends in the first set.

 

Federer said: “Matches against him are always tough, I think. You know, he’s going to play the percentages high. He’s not going to miss many shots. He’s got a great forehand, one of the best ever. Then physically and mentally he’s always going to be there. That what makes him so good and so tough over all these years. “

 

It looked for all the world like we would be in for a quick afternoon, but somehow Raonic clung on to set, needing five set points in total (three in the tie-break) to take only his second set off the Spaniard.

 

Milos Raonic

Milos Raonic

Going toe-to-toe with him in the decider had everyone ready for a decisive tie-break but for a loose game by Nadal to give Raonic a 6-5 lead. For once it was right to come down to that serve as Raonic held his nerve to close out a 4-6, 7-6(10), 7-5 win, his first over Nadal and it sets up an intriguing rematch now against Federer after their encounter in the season opener in Brisbane.

 

Raonic believes he can be ready for Saturday’s semi-final after such a momentous win.

 

He said: “I think I have a good understanding of what I need to do against Roger. Obviously that’s the easiest part, understanding it, rather than doing it. But I think the last three times we have played I have sort of been able to change course a little bit, especially when it was important to me in Paris. Even the other two I didn’t play well at the start of the matches, in London and in Brisbane, but I was able to find a way to fight myself back into those matches and give myself some opportunities.

 

“I’ve just got to keep calm, keep collected, and just try to figure out solutions and adjustments as they come.”

 

The ATP semi-finals will be played on Saturday.

 

Ros Satar is a British sports journalist and a writer at Livetennis.com.

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Old Guard Shine Once More

Jelena Jankovic

Jelena Jankovic

(March 19, 2015) INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA – We could be heading for a Serena Williams / Jelena Jankovic final after the Serbian continued her strong run of form at the tournament she won back in 2010. Always reliable for a chuckle in press, she walked in with a heavy sigh as if she had lost, before joking about how she and Williams had been high-fiving each other at their achievements this week.

 

In a week where the WTA Rising Stars rose up for a fraction of a time to dispatch top seeds, the old guard have reasserted themselves, and we were almost entertaining three players over the age of 30 in the semi-finals.

 

Jankovic’s passage into the final was quick, as Ukrainian qualifier Lesia Tsurenko sadly struggled throughout their quarter-final with an ankle injury she picked up in the previous round, and retired to hand Jankovic a 6-1, 4-1 win.

 

“It’s never nice to end a match in that way. I think Lesia has had such a great tournament and she has beaten so many great players throughout the draw. I knew it was going to be a tough match today. In the first set I think we played well. I didn’t see some problems. I was feeling pretty good out there. I was playing my game and waiting for my chances to execute. I was solid.”

 

She continued: “In the second set she started limping and I saw that she had some problem. You know, that’s the time as well I lost a little bit of my focus. I was kind of looking at what she was doing. It was crucial for me to win that game at 2‑1, because who knows what would happen if it was 2‑All.”

 

Defending champion Flavia Pennetta was not so lucky though, starting slowly against Sabine Lisicki before finally starting to play a bit better. After her overwhelming emotions at beating World No. 2 Maria Sharapova, she had to battle once more from a set down to keep her defence alive, even saving a match point on the way to leveling the match.

 

The tides turned in the decider, as Pennetta had her chances to close out the match, but Lisicki, who had never won in Indian Wells, edged her for a place in the semi-final 6-4, 6-7 (3), 7-6 (4) . The crowds gathering for the night match were treated to a spectacle, and the semi-finals ought to live up to that as Serena Williams will face gritty Simona Halep in the final night match on Friday, with Jankovic and Lisicki opening up the show.

 

Meanwhile the men’s quarter-finals got underway with Andy Murray thwarting Feliciano Lopez. The Spaniard could not get a break (quite literally) as Murray quietly and efficiently dismantled his serve and rendered his coming forward moot winning 6-3, 6-4.

 

He explained: “I don’t have as much trouble with the lefties just because I grew up playing with one, and that’s obviously one of his biggest advantages. I thought I played a good match. Every time he came to net I made it very difficult for him. I passed very well, and that was important, because it meant that he spent more time at the back of the court.

 

“When we were in the baseline rallies, I felt like I was able to dictate a lot of those points. Passing shots were important today.”

 

With the disappointing news that Bernard Tomic had withdrawn officially with a back injury, but also troubled with a wisdom tooth, defending men’s champion Novak Djokovic gets a walkover into the semi-final, but after struggling against him last year, Murray believes he has a chance to redress the balance.

 

He said: “He’s played extremely well here in the past. You know, he will be totally fresh as well and ready for the semis, so it will be a tough one for me. But I feel like I played well this week, and, you know, if I can keep that level up and for a sustained period on Saturday, I’ll have a chance.”

 

The men’s quarter-finals conclude on Friday.

 

Ros Satar is a British sports journalist and a writer at Livetennis.com.

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For the Good of the Sport

Serena Williams

Serena Williams

(March 18, 2015) The women’s side of the draw flipped on its head once more as the young up and coming pack started to fall away after some famous wins this week. Gone was Caroline Garcia, who felled Ana Ivanovic, while Jelena Jankovic hit one more for the oldies when she dispatched Belinda Bencic to book her place in the quarter-final.

 

But perhaps the biggest surprise was Lesia Tsurenko defeating Genie Bouchard, whose come-back had been going quite swimmingly until that point. And she’s going to be one to watch as she faces the 2010 champion Jankovic next. The Serbian is playing some really solid tennis at the moment, perhaps buoyed by a great win over the very hard-hitting Madison Keys, but she can also come undone fairly spectacularly when she’s up against a player she has not played before. We could expect all kinds of potential tantrums on court, but it still will have been her best result for quite some time.

 

Serena Williams finally ended the great run of Acapulco and Monterrey champion Timea Bacsinszky, and while she admitted she could almost see the trophy in her hands (the first American to win it since her victory in 2001) she acknowledged that she had still a way to go.

 

She said: “I think it will be really good. It’s a good surface for her. I feel like she can definitely come out here, and when we play, play really well. Hopefully I can start playing better. “

 

Andy Murray

Andy Murray

But maybe, and perhaps disappointingly, the focus at the start of the day was more on the news that Wayne Odesnik had been caught again on a doping charge, despite protesting his innocence. He was caught in two samples, and in light of his two year ban in 2010-2011 for being caught with a growth hormone and medical materials in his possession, he was banned for 15 years, and thus announced his retirement from the sport.

 

Needless to say there are not many offering to give him a handshake for his “achievements” (if a world ranking of No. 77 and no titles are to be celebrated).

 

Andy Murray tweeted “Good riddance” and called into question, quite reasonably, if one had been caught once, why would you do it again?

 

He said: “He’s been linked to a number of people that have been involved in doping presently and in the past and surrounded himself with those people, so I can’t say I’m surprised.   To have three separate issues is ridiculous. It’s good that he’s off the tour now.”

 

 

Rafael Nadal was a touch surprised to hear the news but broadly agreed, saying: “I really don’t know about him, so it’s difficult to say one or another thing. But obviously when that happens twice, you don’t deserve to be on the tour.”

 

Quarter-final action continues on Thursday.

 

Ros Satar is a British sports journalist and a writer at Livetennis.com.

 

 

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Serena Williams Reaches Indian Wells Quarters with Three-set Win over Sloane Stephens

Serena Williams

Serena Williams

(March 17, 2015) Serena Williams overcame 52 unforced errors and nine double faults to stop Sloane Stephens 6-7 (3), 6-2, 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open on Tuesday.

The 21-year-old Stephens took a double break 3-0 lead in the opening set, and lost the advantage until the tiebreak, which she dominated 7-3.

“I think Sloane played really well in the first set,” Williams said. “Actually in the whole match. I just made a few errors, but I think she forced me to make those errors.”

The 19-time major champion rallied from dropping the first set in a tiebreak to dominate the final two sets.

From 1-2 down in the second set, Williams won 11 of the next 13 games.

The 33-year-old veteran Williams broke Stephens’ serve three times in the final set. The world No. 1 set up match point with a 128-mph ace and sealed the victory when Stephens netted a backhand.

“I thought I played a really solid first set,” said Stephens. “Obviously I was playing No. 1 player in the world so it was going to be a little tough. She played well in the second and third set.

“You know, you win some, you lose some. It was a good effort by me.”

“I had some chances and opportunities that I didn’t really capitalize on which I should have. Like I said, I was playing No. 1 player in the world. When you don’t take your chances, it could be a little tough.”

Despite only a 51 first serve percentage, Williams hit 14 aces during the match. Stephens hit 13 winners to 36 unforced errors with a 58 first serve percentage.

The two-time Indian Wells champion Williams has now raised her record against Stephens to 3-1, with her only loss coming in the quarterfinals of the 2013 Australian Open.

The world No 42, once as high as No 11 in the world, said she is building on her recent positive results: “definitely a good step in the right direction; looking forward to next week.

“I think I played really well my last three matches, and then today I felt I played really well. You know, I think it was just continuous flowing, and every day it’s getting better.

“So I’m happy with that.”

“I have always thought Sloane can be really great,” said Williams. “I think she’s on the right track. You know, she played really well. She had some very good wins here against two seeds.

“So, yeah, I thought it was a really positive result even today.”

Williams will play Timea Bacsinszky next.

Related article:

Serena Williams and Sloane Stephens Win to Set Up Fourth Round Clash at Indian Wells

 

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Serena Williams Headlines World Team Tennis Player Draft for Historic 40th Season

mylanwtt40
INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (March 16, 2015) — World No. 1 and 19-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams will return this summer to team tennis action when the 40th season of Mylan WTT takes place July 12-Aug. 2, it was announced on Monday during the Mylan WTT Player Draft. This summer, Mylan WTT becomes only the fifth major professional team sports league in the U.S. to reach the 40th season milestone.
Former Wimbledon finalist and WTA Tour world-ranked No. 7 Eugenie Bouchard was selected by the Boston Lobsters with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft that took place at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on Monday.
Williams and Bouchard join an all-star 2015 Mylan WTT lineup that includes John Isner, Martina Hingis, Venus Williams, Andy Roddick, Madison Keys and the world’s top-ranked doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan.
Williams returns to the Washington Kastles for the first time since 2011, joining Martina Hingis and Venus Williams on the defending champion’s impressive lineup.
Bouchard became the first Canadian to reach the finals of a Grand Slam in singles and also reached the semifinals of the 2014 Australian Open and 2014 French Open. The 21-year-old was named the 2013 WTA Tour Newcomer of the Year, and in 2014 was the WTA Tour’s Most Improved Player award recipient.
Monday’s player draft included marquee and roster player selections, combining the two drafts for the first time in more than a decade. The 2015 regular season begins July 12 and concludes on August 2 with the Mylan WTT Finals. For more information on Mylan WTT, visit WTT.com.
Here is a team-by-team recap of the 2015 Mylan World TeamTennis Draft.
BOSTON LOBSTERS: The Boston Lobsters selected Bouchard with the first overall pick, and she will be joined by Irina Falconi, the first pick in the Roster Draft.  The 24-year-old Falconi is a former Georgia Tech All American who is currently ranked No. 104 in the world. The Atlanta resident has a career-high ranking of No. 73 in singles and has won three ITF singles titles during her career.  Other members of the Boston squad are Scott Lipsky, Chase Buchanan and Arantxa Parra Santonja. Jan-Michael Gambill is the coach of the Lobsters.
CALIFORNIA DREAM:  The California Dream, the newest team in Mylan WTT, put together a lineup anchored by world No. 48 Jarmila Gajdosova, and the world’s top ranked doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan.  The Dream picked up the Bryan brothers in a pre-draft trade with the San Diego Aviators for financial consideration.  Born in Slovakia, Gajdosova currently represents Australia and is a resident of Dallas. She has won two WTA singles titles during her- career. She was the Mylan WTT Rookie of the Year in 2007 and led her Kansas City team in 2010 to the Mylan WTT title. Also joining the Dream this season are 2014 Mylan WTT Rookie of the Year Anabel Medina Garrigues, Tennys Sandgren and Aisam Qureshi. The Dream are coached by David Macpherson.
AUSTIN ACES: Nicole Gibbs, who is originally from Cincinnati but grew up in Southern California, was an All-American at Stanford. In 2012, she captured both the NCAA singles and doubles titles before turning pro. Gibbs won her first Grand Slam main draw match at the 2014 US Open where she advanced to the third round.  The Aces also added Alla Kudryavtseva, Jarmere Jenkins and Teymuraz Gabashvili to their 2015 squad. Rick Leach is the coach of the Austin Aces.
 
PHILADELPHIA FREEDOMS:  Born in Chicago and training in Boca Raton, Fla., Townsend, 18, was a celebrated junior player winning the Junior Australian Open in both singles and doubles. She also partnered with Bouchard to win the 2012 Junior Wimbledon. This is Townsend’s second year with the Freedoms.  The Freedoms only added one new face to their team lineup with Robby Ginepri. 2014 Mylan WTT Male MVP Marcelo Melo and Liezel Huber also return to the Freedoms. Josh Cohen is back as the team coach.
 
SAN DIEGO AVIATORS: The Aviators picked up Madison Keys with their marquee round selection.  San Diego used their first round roster pick to select rising star Taylor Fritz, a world top 10 ITF junior. The 17-year-old Fritz, from Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., still competes as an amateur. Fritz’s father Guy was a successful touring pro in the early 1970s, and his mother Kathy May was a highly-ranked American who made the quarterfinals at three Grand Slams. The young star will be joined by returning Aviators doubles standouts Raven Klaasen and Kveta Peschke and new addition Chani Scheepers. John Lloyd is the coach of the San Diego Aviators.
 
SPRINGFIELD LASERS: The Lasers picked up the rights to John Isner in a pre-draft trade with Boston. In the roster portion of today’s draft, Springfield selected Andre Begemann, a 30-year-old German who was a Pepperdine All-American. He has competed at all four Grand Slams and has won four ATP World Tour doubles titles.  Alison Riske, ranked No. 44 in the world, joins the Lasers. Additionally, Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Michael Russell return from the team that advanced to the 2014 Mylan WTT Finals. John-Laffnie de Jager returns at the Lasers coach.
 
WASHINGTON KASTLES: The Kastles are off to a great start in their quest to win a record fifth consecutive title. After adding Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Martina Hingis in the marquee rounds, the team picked up American Sam Querrey with their first pick in the roster round. Querrey, 27, is a Las Vegas resident who has competed in Mylan WTT in the past. Querrey has played for the U.S. in Davis Cup, and achieved his highest career singles ranking in 2011 when he reached No. 17.  Leander Paes and Anastasia Rodionova return to the Kastles again this July. The team is coached by Murphy Jensen.
A 40th season celebration will take place following the draft with some of the legends of the league joining King in celebrating, including Chris Evert, Andy Roddick and Roy Emerson expected to attend.
Team-by-team look at each of the team’s roster, including their coach:
Boston Lobsters: Eugenie Bouchard, Irina Falconi, Scott Lipsky, Chase Buchanan, Arantxa Parra Santonja, coach Jan-Michael Gambill
California Dream: Bob and Mike Bryan, Jarmila Gajdosova, Anabel Medina Garrigues, Tennys Sandgren, Aisam Qureshi, coach Dave McPherson
Austin Aces: Andy Roddick, Nicole Gibbs, Alla Kudryavtseva, Jarmere Jenkins, Teymuraz Gabashvili, coach Rick Leach
Philadelphia Freedoms: Taylor Townsend (protected), Robby Ginepri, Marcelo Melo (protected), Liezel Huber, coach Josh Cohen
San Diego: Madison Keys, Taylor Fritz, Raven Klaasen (protected), Chani Scheepers, Kveta Peschke (protected), coach John Lloyd
Springfield Lasers: John Isner, Andre Begemann, Alison Riske, Anna-Lena Groenefeld (protected), Michael Russell (protected), coach John-Laffnie de Jager
Washington Kastles: Martina Hingis, Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Sam Querrey (exempt), Leander Paes (protected), Anastasia Rodionova (protected), coach Murphy Jensen
ROUND BY ROUND
 
MARQUEE:
Boston Lobsters: Eugenie Bouchard
California Dream: Bob & Mike Bryan (acquired via San Diego in pre-draft trade)
Austin Aces: Andy Roddick
Philadelphia Freedoms: no selection
San Diego Aviators: Madison Keys (designated)
Springfield Lasers: John Isner (acquired via Boston in pre-draft trade)
Washington Kastles: Martina Hingis (protection); Venus Williams (protection); Serena Williams (designation)
 
1st ROUND – ROSTER:
Boston Lobsters: Irina Falconi
California Dream: Jarmila Gajdosova
Austin Aces: Nicole Gibbs
Philadelphia Freedoms: Taylor Townsend (protection)
San Diego Aviators: Taylor Fritz
Springfield Lasers: Andre Begemann
Washington Kastles: Sam Querrey (exempt)
2nd ROUND – ROSTER:
Boston Lobsters: Scott Lipsky
California Dream: Anabel Medina Garrigues
Austin Aces: Alla Kudryavtseva
Philadelphia Freedoms: Robby Ginepri
San Diego Aviators: Raven Klaasen (protection)
Springfield Lasers: Ali Riske (exempt)
Washington Kastles: Leander Paes (protection)
3rd ROUND – ROSTER:
Boston Lobsters: Chase Buchanan
California Dream: Tennys Sandgren
Austin Aces: Jamere Jenkins
Philadelphia Freedoms: Marcelo Melo (protection)
San Diego Aviators: Chani Scheepers
Springfield Lasers: Anna-Lena Groenefeld (protection)
Washington Kastles: no selection
4th ROUND – ROSTER:
Boston Lobsters: Arantxa Parra Santonja
California Dream: Aisam Qureshi
Austin Aces: Teymuraz Gabashvili
Philadelphia Freedoms: Liezel Huber
San Diego Aviators:  Kveta Peschke (protection)
Springfield Lasers: Michael Russell (protection)
Washington Kastles: Anastasia Rodionova (protection)
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Serena Williams and Sloane Stephens Win to Set Up Fourth Round Clash at Indian Wells

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Serena Williams

 

(March 15, 2015) Since Sloane Stephens beat Serena Williams in the quarterfinals of the 2013 Australian Open, there has not been much love between the world No. 1, 19-time major champion and the woman turning 22 on Friday, who is No. 42 in the world. The two women will face off for the first time since the 2013 US Open for a spot in the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open.

 

Both women had completely different matches on Sunday to reach the fourth round of Indian Wells.

 

Williams, returning to play Indian Wells for the first time since 2001, dominated first-time Indian Wells participant Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan 6-2, 6-0 in just 53 minutes.

 

For Williams, she’s on a 13-match win streak since claiming the Australian Open.

 

Stephens survived a topsy-turvy contest against two-time major champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-6 (4), 1-6, 6-4. Stephens had a 4-0 lead in the final set.

 

Williams on her potential match up against Stephens: “I have had some tough matches with Sloane. She’s had an interesting year, but I have noticed that she’s been really playing well. She moves well and she tries to do her best for everything. That would be an interesting, good matchup for me.”

 

 

Asked about what she expects in her match against Williams, Stephens said: “The same thing I do every day: just go out and play my game. Stay focused and fight hard and just get out there and compete.”

 

“She’s the No. 1 player in the world and I expect her to play really well.”

 

“I felt like every match I played against her I have played well. I mean, it’s always an honor to play No. 1 player in the world. Obviously someone of her stature who has won so many titles and the great player she is, I just have to just go out there and play my game and do all I can and just compete.”

 

Asked about her relationship with Williams, which was damaged when Stephens did a revealing interview with ESPN The Magazine, Stephens said: “She’s the No. 1 player in the world and she’s a competitor, and that’s it.

 

Asked if she had “mended fences with Williams,” – “No. She’s a competitor; she’s the No. 1 player in the world. She’s ‑‑ what do you call it? She’s a ‑‑you know, when you work with someone?

 

“A colleague. There you go. She’s a colleague.”

 

SloaneStephens

In an exchange with a reporter in the post-match news conference, Stephens discussed the hate she received on twitter from Serena Williams fans:

Every time I have mentioned you on Twitter, which I know you think is a lot…

SLOANE STEPHENS: It is a lot.

Anyway, any time I’ve mentioned you I have all these Serena fans immediately criticizing you out of nowhere.

SLOANE STEPHENS: Oh, they hate me.

Why do you think that is?

SLOANE STEPHENS: I don’t know, but they are the first people to get blocked on my Twitter. I am the queen of blocking. Okay? You say one bad thing, block. I ‑‑ block.

No. There is no room for negativity. I understand that they are die‑hard fans and I appreciate that. I’m sure she does, too. But some of the comments and some of the things are know so unnecessary.

It comes to the point where you’re on Twitter saying mean things about someone else. Like what do you actually doing with your life? Like is this your day job or how does that work? I’m just like ‑‑ I don’t understand it. But die‑hard fans are die‑hard fans, so…

Just taking some getting used to. It’s jarring. You get it more and more directly.

SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah. I mean, some of the things are crazy and outrageous. Like I said, I have gotten really friendly with the block button. One bad thing, block. Block, block, block. So…

If you were to estimate, how many people have you blocked?

SLOANE STEPHENS: Oh, God, it’s not even funny. It’s too many.

More than a thousand?

SLOANE STEPHENS: Oh, I don’t know. But I just don’t like negativity. And I think if you have something negative to say, think it. You don’t have to, you know, express it to me, at me, whatever you want to call it. It is what it is. Like I said, a die‑hard fan is a die‑hard fan.

Are you more protective of yourself on Twitter? You obviously, early on on Twitter, were much more expressive, and now it’s maybe a little more stringent.

SLOANE STEPHENS: I think Twitter has changed like since I started tweeting and it was fun. It’s definitely become ‑‑ it’s become a source for people to attack other people, and I am ‑‑ I’m not really into that. Like if I was a nobody, I wouldn’t attack a celebrity and say, Hey, you suck or whatever.

That’s not just me. I feel like a lot of that ‑‑ there is a lot of abuse like that, and I try to stay away from it. I only tweet positive things and retweet positive things and that’s all I can do from my end.

Any idea how this happens? Seems like you get the brunt of it worse than a lot of people?

SLOANE STEPHENS: I don’t know. I don’t really care. I don’t live my life for Twitter. I have a lot of other things going on. It’s okay that people don’t like me on Twitter. I will live.

Did you ever get to the point where you would just get off Twitter? What keeps you coming back when there is all this ‑‑ and I haven’t seen them. I’m just learning about them.

SLOANE STEPHENS: It’s fun. It’s something you can just express yourself and not really have to worry about what other people are saying. I think it’s a good tool. I mean, I love Twitter. I have always loved Twitter.

I’m not going to let people who say bad things or negative things about me scare me away from doing what I like to do. At the end of the day, people are saying something bad about me and negative, and they are not people I care about, they’re not in my life, they’re not people I love, so it doesn’t really matter to me.

 

In their career head-to-head record, Williams leads 2-1.

Related Articles:

Serena Williams Beats Sloane Stephens to Gain Quarterfinal Berth at US Open

Sloane Stephens Criticizes Serena Williams in ESPN The Magazine Interview

Serena Williams Responds to Sloane Stephens’ Quotes: Stephens Takes Blame on Twitter

Sharapova Reacts to Stephens’ Comments About Serena Williams

Serena Williams Beaten by Rising Star Stephens in Australian Open Quarterfinals

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A Game of Inches and Miles

By Curt Janka

(March 15, 2015) INDIAN WELLS, California – The intrigue of tennis often relies on how well the opponents match up. When talent is comparable, the space between winning and losing can be a couple ticks on a ruler. So was the first-ever meeting between Grigor Dimitrov and Nick Kyrgios. Looking at the stats alone, it would be difficult to tell who was the victor. Dimitrov won 7-6 (2), 3-6, 7-6(4), but a mini break here or an inch there could have easily tipped the match in Kyrgios’ favor.

With no breaks of serve in the first set and nearly identical stat sheets, the whole match came down to Dimitrov playing more levelheaded tiebreakers. The lively court and sometimes-tricky breeze may have made it tougher for either player to break serve. “I thought it was really bouncy today,” said Kyrgios. “I found it incredibly tough to return, and he obviously wasn’t comfortable at all returning my serve. It was just tough conditions. A bit windy at times.”

Dimitrov did, in fact, struggle to crack his opponent’s serve. “I think he’s tough to read, and especially when the court is very lively, like today,” Dimitrov explained. “, I think it was just a matter of a few points, and definitely my mental side was better I think in the end.”

Ultimately, an ankle roll immediately before Kyrgios served for the win in the third set may have decided the match. When asked if the unlucky injury contributed to his loss, Kyrgios said, “It obviously played a big part in me not serving out the match because I had not really been broken before that.”

In stark contrast, Serena Williams and Roger Federer outdistanced their overmatched opponents by huge margins. Williams appeared listless for most of the match, but did not expend much effort to brush off Zarina Diyas 6-2, 6-0.

“It definitely felt back to normal out there,” Williams said. “Just trying to feel the rhythm and trying to focus on the ball more than anything else.”

Federer also appeared a bit off rhythm at times, but still coasted to a 6-4, 6-2 win over Diego Schwartzman.

“I’m moving well, which is key on this surface because the easy shots and easy points are not going to happen so easily here like they maybe do in Dubai or Australia or the indoor season,” Federer said.

Curt Janka is covering the BNP Paribas Open this week. Follow his updates on twitter at @TennisNewsTPN. Follow his personal twitter @CurtJanka.

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