2015/05/30

Serena Williams Avoids Early Exit, Rafael Nadal Cruises at French Open

(May 28, 2015) Serena Williams survived a possible upset on Thursday when she came beat German Anna-Lena Friedsam ranked 105th in the world 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 in the second round of the French Open.

“Probably more frustrated than relieved, but I know I’m capable of playing great tennis, just haven’t seen it yet,” Williams said.

“I feel like one thing Venus always tells me: A win is a win, and as long as you live to survive the next day, you can always improve. I know my level is literally a hundred times better than I played today, so I think I take more solace in the fact I can play better as opposed to the fact that that’s the best I could play. Then I would be in trouble.”

Next for Williams in the third round will be two-time major champion Victoria Azarenka who defeated Lucie Hradecka 6-2 6-3.
“It will be a tough match, obviously,” Williams said. “We had a really tough match in Madrid. So I do know if I play the way I did today, I probably won’t be winning my match. So I’m going to have to step it up a level. Probably just get out, start up better and be more relaxed and go from there. But it’s definitely not going to be easy, but, you know, at the end of the day it is what it is. I’m ready.”

“I think out of all the top players she’s, for whatever reason, has given me particularly some troubles. But, you know, she’s great at what she does. She fights hard and never gives up, and she’s really feisty. And I think that’s obviously why she’s been able to be a Grand Slam champion, not just on one occasion. So, I mean, yeah, those players aren’t always the easiest to play, but they also get you excited to play those matches and to be ready for that.”

“Facing somebody who is, you know, No. 1 in the world is never easy,” Azarenka said. “But I just want to try to focus, you know, on my game, on my energy, and try to play the best as possible. But there is no question you have to come up with your A game and play well.”

No drama for 9-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal who dismissed Spanish countryman Nicolas Almagro 6-4, 6-3, 6-1.

“I think I played a good match against an opponent I think he didn’t play bad through a lot of very hard games, long games,” Nadal said. “The score is easier than what the match was like. Very happy, I think I did a few things very well.”

2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone saved a match point in a 3 hour 50 minute marathon against 18th-seeded and 2009 French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, 6-7 (11), 7-5, 10-8 to move into the third round. Kuznetsova served for the match four times.

Both women played the longest women’s match in Grand Slam history at the 2011 Australian Open, 6-4, 1-6, 16-14 which lasted 4 hours, 44 minutes. Schiavone won that match as well.

“She went for it,” Kusnetsova said. “She played unbelievable shot. She played the deeper ball on high bounce to my backhand. I played good angle. For one-handed backhand to play it like that down the line, she totally went for it and all credit to her. She played unbelievable point. It’s nothing I can do, you know. It’s many more other opportunities I have to think about on my serve, which I didn’t serve well. I was not too sharp today for me.”

“Today was the key that long line with backhand,” Schiavone said. “I had to, otherwise backhand against backhand she was much better than me. So I had to play over there or in or out, and I play very good long line. Long match, yeah. With Svetlana I think we can play hours and hours and hours because we know each other exactly like I said before to play. Was great for me. I don’t know. She is amazing, and every time I play against her I say, Oh, my God, now what can happen? And it’s happen a long match again.”

Another upset victim, Caroline Wozniacki, the fifth seed, fell to 72nd ranked Julia Goerges in 6-4, 7-6 (4).

“I think I don’t play the typical women’s game on clay court,” said the German. “I play a little bit more spin, a little bit higher the ball over the net than some of the other girls. Well, she gets the ball in her striking zone she doesn’t miss any ball, but if you give her different balls, then it’s tougher for her to manage to bring the ball back with good quality, what she usually does when she has it in her striking zone. You have to mix up a lot. That’s what I did in all the matches I’ve played her. It’s never a guarantee you’re going to win the match, but you have to execute well, as well, and that’s what I did mainly today very well.”

Americans Madison Keys, Sloane Stephens and Jack Sock also advanced to the third round.

The 16th seeded Keys defeated Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic 6-0, 6-3.

“Belinda is also a great player,” Keys said. “So I knew it was going to be tough. I knew I was going to have to be playing well and kind of in my best form in order to get past them. Just really happy with kind of how I managed to fight through the first one. I thought I played really well today.”
“I thought I came out and was aggressive and tried to play the best I could,” Stephens said about beating Watson 6-2, 6-4. “Obviously executed really well my shots and I stayed pretty consistent throughout, so that was good.”
Watson, who had never lost to Stephens before, was wearing tape on her arm. “I’ve had this with my arm for a week and a bit now, but it wasn’t the reason I lost today,” Watson said. “I felt fine. I had it all taped up and I took some painkillers before the match. But it was just me really. I was just pretty sluggish and slow out there. Finally after like a set and a bit I finally got into it, but at that point it was kind of a little bit too late.”

Jack Sock continues to win on American men’s least successful surface in recent times, but his favorite. The American defeated Pablo Carreno Busta in four sets to advance.

“I thought he played a really good match,” Sock said. “I’ve seen him play a few times, not a whole lot. Yeah, I thought he was kind of on top of his game today. It was a match I had to win. He wasn’t going to be given to me, by any means. I finally found my serve three hours in, which was nice. It was letting me down there for a while, but I was able to find a little bit and the rhythm there at the end.”

May 28, 2015 Results French Open

Men’s Singles – Third Round

[5] Kei Nishikori (JPN) d. Benjamin Becker (GER) W/O (right shoulder)

Men’s Singles – Second Round

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) d. Gilles Muller (LUX) 61 64 64
[3] Andy Murray (GBR) d. Joao Sousa (POR) 62 46 64 61
[6] Rafael Nadal (ESP) d. Nicolas Almagro (ESP) 64 63 61
[7] David Ferrer (ESP) d. Daniel Gimeno-Traver (ESP) 62 63 61
[9] Marin Cilic (CRO) d. Andrea Arnaboldi (ITA) 76(3) 61 61
[15] Kevin Anderson (RSA) d. Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE) 57 64 64 64
Jeremy Chardy (FRA) d. [16] John Isner (USA) 64 46 63 63
[17] David Goffin (BEL) d. Santiago Giraldo (COL) 63 46 75 62
Pablo Andujar (ESP) d. [22] Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) 61 76(5) 36 36 64
[23] Leonardo Mayer (ARG) d. Jerzy Janowicz (POL) 64 64 67(1) 61
Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) d. [27] Bernard Tomic (AUS) 36 36 63 64 86 – saved 3 M.P.
[29] Nick Kyrgios (AUS) d. Kyle Edmund (GBR) W/O (stomach)
Simone Bolelli (ITA) d. [31] Viktor Troicki (SRB) 62 64 63
Jack Sock (USA) d. Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) 67(2) 76(4) 61 76(4)
Andrey Kuznetsov (RUS) d. Jurgen Melzer (AUT) 61 57 76(0) 75

 

Women’s Singles – Second Round
(1) Serena Williams d. Anna-Lena Friedsam (GER) 57 63 63
(4) Petra Kvitova (CZE) d. Silvia Soler-Espinosa (ESP) 67(4) 64 62
Julia Goerges (GER) d. (5) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) 64 76(4)
(10) Andrea Petkovic (GER) d. Lourdes Dominguez Lino (ESP) 46 64 64
Andreea Mitu (ROU) d. (12) Karolina Pliskova 26 76(5) 64
(16) Madison Keys (USA) d. Belinda Bencic (SUI) 60 63
(17) Sara Errani d. Carina Witthoeft (GER) 63 46 62
Francesca Schiavone (ITA) d. (18) Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 67(11) 75 108 (saved 1mp)
(23) Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) d. Tereza Smitkova (CZE) 62 60
(27) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. Lucie Hradecka (CZE) 62 63
(30) Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) d. Ana Konjuh (CRO) 62 60
Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) d. (32) Zarina Diyas (KAZ) 06 61 64
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) d. Danka Kovinic (MNE) 63 75
Irina Falconi (USA) d. (Q) Sesil Karatantcheva (BUL) 36 61 62
Sloane Stephens (USA) d. Heather Watson (GBR) 62 64
Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) d. Denisa Allertova (CZE) 63 76(2)

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Business as Usual for Top Seeds Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal at French Open

(May 26, 2015) It was smooth sailing for the most part, on day three of the French Open for top players Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. All three turned in straight-set victories.

During Serena Williams’ win over Andrea Hlavackova 6-2, 6-3, in the first set, the world No. 1 misjudged a lob which hit her in the arm. Williams laughed and delayed playing the next point, bending over her racquet trying to regain her composure while returning serve.

“I’m allegedly a professional tennis player. And I was thinking, `I’m going to hit a backhand.’ `I will hit a forehand.’ And, `I will run around and hit a backhand.’ `No, no, no, run around and hit a forehand.’ Next thing I know, it hit me in the back,” Williams said. “So I was, like, embarrassed. At the same time, I thought it was really funny. It happens to the best of us. Maybe not. But to me.”

Novak Djokovic, who was two points from losing the set before he won 22 out of the next 29 points in his 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 win over Jarkko Nieminen.

“It was a test, it was a challenge for me to come back to the court again after first match after Rome final,” said Djokovic. “And obviously it’s been a year since I played on Philippe Chatrier, and nice memories.

“Of course, I was aware of the quality and experience of my opponent today, who has shown, and especially in the second set, why he’s been around the tour and a successful, consistent player for so many years. He can play. He can swing through the ball and be very aggressive. And he was the better player for most of the second set. And then, I managed to come back and play some good shots, stayed patient, stayed calm. And overall it was a very solid performance.”

“I played a good match, a solid one,” Nadal said of his win over wild card Quentin Halys 6-3, 6-3, 6-4. “When I had some opportunities I seized them. The first four games in the first set, I mean, were tough. I made some mistakes, but then afterwards I was able to hit my shots. I had some problems with my serve, but on the whole, it was okay. From time to time the opponent served very well with a lot of power, but I managed to return quite well. He managed to hit shots that put me in a difficult situation at some times, but I was dominant on the whole during the match. I dominated the game. I managed to play some strokes down the line. So I handled the match very well. It’s a correct performance. I’m happy with it. He got lots of balls back, in fact, retrieving lots of them. A very good opponent.”
Nadal, the sixth seed, is aiming for an unprecedented 10th French Open title this year. He’ll play fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro in the second round.

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2015 French Open Women’s Contender Profiles – Fast Facts with Jack Cunniff

Serena+Williams+BNP+Paribas+Open+Day+4+smeQToASxcPl

(May 23, 2015) Profiles of the top Women’s Singles contenders for the 2015 French Open. Note: Grand Slam records for main draw matches only.  – by Jack Cunniff     http://twitter.com/jrcunniff

 

Serena Williams

2015 Record: 25-1

Grand Slam Record: 266-39

French Open Record: 47-11

French Open Best Result: Won (2002, ‘13)

Fast Fact: Serena’s record in the opening two rounds of a Grand Slam event is 112-3 (97%), but in the last three years of Roland Garros, that record is 1-2 (33%), losing to Razzano in 1R of 2012 and Muguruza in 2R of 2014.

 

Maria Sharapova

2015 Record: 26-5

Grand Slam Record: 171-41

French Open Record: 50-10

French Open Best Result: Won (2012, ‘14)

Fast Fact: Only two players in the draw have defeated Sharapova at Roland Garros (S. Williams, Ivanovic).

 

Simona Halep

2015 Record: 29-6

Grand Slam Record: 31-19

French Open Record: 7-5

French Open Best Result: RU (2014)

Fast Fact: In her career, Halep has only defeated two Top Ten players on clay (No. 4 Radwanska, 2013 Rome; No. 6 Kvitova, 2014 Madrid).

 

Petra Kvitova

2015 Record: 21-6

Grand Slam Record: 67-25

French Open Record: 15-6

French Open Best Result: SF (2012)

Fast Fact: Outside of Wimbledon, Kvitova hasn’t reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam event since the 2012 U.S. Open.

 

Caroline Wozniacki

2015 Record: 23-10

Grand Slam Record: 80-32

French Open Record: 13-8

French Open Best Result: QF (2010)

Fast Fact: Wozniacki has been past the third round of the French Open only once (2010).

 

Eugenie Bouchard

2015 Record: 7-9

Grand Slam Record: 27-8

French Open Record: 6-5

French Open Best Result: SF (2014)

Fast Fact: All of Bouchard’s Grand Slam losses have been to players ranked in the Top 20.

 

Ana Ivanovic

2015 Record: 11-9

Grand Slam Record: 98-40

French Open Record: 30-9

French Open Best Result: Won (2008)

Fast Fact: In 2014, Ivanovic lost her opening match only once, in September at Wuhan; through the first five months of 2015, Ivanovic has lost her opening match on three occasions.

 

Carla Suarez Navarro

2015 Record: 31-10

Grand Slam Record: 45-25

French Open Record: 15-6

French Open Best Result: QF (2008, ‘14)

Fast Fact: Suarez Navarro’s record vs. Top Ten opponents in 2015 is 9-6 (60%); prior to 2015 it was 11-33 (25%).

 

Ekaterina Makarova

2015 Record: 15-9

Grand Slam Record: 53-30

French Open Record: 6-7

French Open Best Result: 4R (2011)

Fast Fact: Makarova is the only woman who has reached at least the quarterfinals in the last three Grand Slam events.

 

Andrea Petkovic

2015 Record: 16-9

Grand Slam Record: 32-21

French Open Record: 11-4

French Open Best Result: SF (2014)

Fast Fact: Petkovic won five matches en route to the semifinals of Roland Garros last year, which accounts for half of her ten Grand Slam match victories since 2012.

 

Angelique Kerber

2015 Record: 23-11

Grand Slam Record: 48-29

French Open Record: 11-7

French Open Best Result: QF (2012)

Fast Fact: Kerber has never defeated a higher-ranked opponent at Roland Garros.

 

Karolina Pliskova

2015 Record: 29-10

Grand Slam Record: 8-11

French Open Record: 1-3

French Open Best Result: 2R (2012)

Fast Fact: Pliskova has never advanced past the third round at a Grand Slam event.

 

Lucie Safarova

2015 Record: 16-10

Grand Slam Record: 42-39

French Open Record: 11-10

French Open Best Result: 4R (2007, ’14)

Fast Fact: Since 2014, Safarova has a winning record of 13-5 (72%) in Grand Slam events; prior to 2014, it was 29-34 (46%).

 

Agnieszka Radwanska

2015 Record: 15-12

Grand Slam Record: 93-35

French Open Record: 18-8

French Open Best Result: QF (2013)

Fast Fact: Seeded 14th for Roland Garros, it’s Radwanska’s lowest seed in a Grand Slam event since 2008 Wimbledon, having been seeded higher in the last 26 Slams.

 

Venus Williams

2015 Record: 20-6

Grand Slam Record: 225-58

French Open Record: 42-17

French Open Best Result: RU (2002)

Fast Fact:   Venus has won 20 matches this year entering the French Open, her best start to a season since 2010 (26-4), when she was ranked No. 2.

 

Madison Keys

2015 Record: 15-8

Grand Slam Record: 15-11

French Open Record: 1-2

French Open Best Result: 2R (2013)

Fast Fact: Keys has won more than half of her career Grand Slam victories (8 of 15) in her last three Grand Slam events.

 

 

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Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova Upset in Madrid Open Semis

Serena shrugs

(May 8, 2015) Top seed Serena Williams lost her first match of 2015, falling to two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the semifinals of the Madrid Open on Friday 6-2, 6-3. Earlier in the day, defending champion Maria Sharapova was ousted by Russian countrywoman Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 6-4.

For the Czech Kvitova, it was her first win over the 19-time major champion. “For sure I’m happy I won today,” Kvitova said in her on-court interview. “I had never beaten her, so it’s a really special moment for me.”

“I think she just played well today,” Williams said. “I mean, she went for broke on every serve, every return. I hit some second serves, 170, 175, and she just hit them for winners. I was very slow off the mark. After my serve I wasn’t moving as well as I should have. You know, I wasn’t in it.

“I wasn’t Serena today. I think that was the main thing.”

The loss ended her 27-match unbeaten streak dating back to 2014. “I’m just exhausted today,” Williams said.

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova

For Kuznetsova it’s the first time in seven years that she beat Sharapova. “I’m just happy to be in the final,” said Kuznetsova,

“Today she had much more pop on her ball than I did, while I felt my shots were a bit too flat,” Sharapova said. ”

On the men’s side, Rafael Nadal, Tomas Berdych, Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori reached the men’s semifinals

Defending Madrid Open champion Nadal beat Grigor Dimitrov 6-3, 6-4. Berdych defeated John Isner, 3-6, 7-6 (7), 7-6 (1).

“It’s great news to be in the semifinals, it’s a very positive result for me,” Nadal said. “I am pleased with the way I played this afternoon, very happy.”

“Very happy about the way things have worked out. I passed a test that was really important for me.”

RESULTS – FRIDAY, 8 MAY 2015


WTA Singles – Semifinals

[4] P. Kvitova (CZE) d [1] S. Williams (USA) 62 63
S. Kuznetsova (RUS) d [3] M. Sharapova (RUS) 62 64


WTA Doubles – Semifinals

[3] G. Muguruza (ESP) / C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) d K. Mladenovic (FRA) / K. Pliskova (CZE) 61 36 10-6
C. Dellacqua (AUS) / Y. Shvedova (KAZ) d [7] B. Mattek-Sands (USA) / L. Safarova (CZE) 75 36 10-7

ATP Singles – Quarter-Finals
[2] A. Murray (GBR) d [5] M. Raonic (CAN) 64 75
[3] R. Nadal (ESP) d [10] G. Dimitrov (BUL) 63 64
[4] K. Nishikori (JPN) d [7] D. Ferrer (ESP) 64 62
[6] T. Berdych (CZE) d [16] J. Isner (USA) 36 76(7) 76(1) – saved 1 M.P.

ATP Doubles – Quarter-Finals

[6] M. Granollers (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP) d [3] V. Pospisil (CAN) / J. Sock (USA) 26 01 ret. (Pospisil – Ankle Sprain)
[5] M. Matkowski (POL) / N. Zimonjic (SRB) d M. Cilic (CRO) / V. Troicki (SRB) 64 67(4) 13-11
R. Bopanna (IND) / F. Mergea (ROU) d J. Cabal (COL) / A. Mannarino (FRA) 63 62
[WC] F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Mirnyi (BLR) d J. Murray (GBR) / J. Peers (AUS) 64 67(1) 10-4

SCHEDULE – SATURDAY, 9 MAY 2015

MANOLO SANTANA Start Not Before 3:00 pm
ATP – [6] T. Berdych (CZE) vs [3] R. Nadal (ESP)
Not Before 5:30 pm
WTA – Singles Final – [4] P. Kvitova (CZE) vs S. Kuznetsova (RUS)
Not Before 8:00 pm
ATP – [4] K. Nishikori (JPN) vs [2] A. Murray (GBR)
WTA – Doubles Final – C. Dellacqua (AUS) / Y. Shvedova (KAZ) vs [3] G. Muguruza (ESP) / C. Suárez Navarro (ESP)

ARANTXA SÁNCHEZ-VICARIO start 3:00 pm
ATP – R. Bopanna (IND) / F. Mergea (ROU) vs [6] M. Granollers (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP)
ATP – [5] M. Matkowski (POL) / N. Zimonjic (SRB) vs [WC] F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Mirnyi (BLR)

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Halep, Bouchard and Venus Williams Fall in Madrid

 

madrid logo

(May 3, 2015) Seeds (2) Simona Halep, (6) Eugenie Bouchard and (16) Venus Williams lost in the opening round matches of the Madrid Open on Sunday.

The Romanian Halep, the biggest casualty of the day failed to take advantage of two set points in the first set before falling 7-6 (6), 6-3 to Alize Cornet of France.

It was business as usually for No. 1 Serena Williams, who only dropped one game in her match against Madison Brengle while defending champion defending champion Maria Sharapova advanced after stopping Timea Bacsinszky 6-2, 6-3.

Williams will take on Sloane Stephens, and Sharapova face qualifier Colombian Mariana Duque Marino.

“I don’t think I’ve played her on clay yet,” Williams said about Stephens. “We had a really tough three-set match the last time we played. She’s playing really well. She’s moving well and is having a better year this year. I think she’s kind of flying under the radar.”

Sister Venus Williams, lost Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 7-5.

Venus Williams, seeded 16th, went up a break at 4-3 in the second set, only for Azarenka to win four of the next five games.

Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic rallied from a 6-0, 3-0 deficit against Bouchard, 0-6, 6-3, 6-3, while former US Open champion Samantha Stosur served 14 aces to upset 12th seed Angelique Kerber, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3. It’s Bouchard’s sixth straight loss.

 

SCHEDULE – MONDAY, 4 MAY 2015

MANOLO SANTANA start 11:00 am
WTA – S. Kuznetsova (RUS) vs G. Muguruza (ESP)
WTA – [5] C. Wozniacki (DEN) vs [Q] C. Mchale (USA)
Not Before 3:15 pm
ATP – B. Becker (GER) vs [11] F. Lopez (ESP)
ATP – F. Fognini (ITA) vs S. Giraldo (COL)
Not Before 8:00 pm
WTA – [1] S. Williams (USA) vs S. Stephens (USA)
Not Before 9:30 pm
ATP – J. Vesely (CZE) vs [9] M. Cilic (CRO)

ARANTXA SÁNCHEZ-VICARIO start 11:00 am
WTA – C. Dellacqua (AUS) vs [9] A. Radwanska (POL)
Not Before 1:00 pm
ATP – A. Mannarino (FRA) vs [16] J. Isner (USA)
Not Before 3:00 pm
WTA – R. Vinci (ITA) vs A. Cornet (FRA)
WTA – [11] A. Petkovic (GER) vs I. Begu (ROU)
ATP – J. Chardy (FRA) vs [Q] T. Bellucci (BRA)
ATP – E. Gulbis (LAT) vs D. Goffin (BEL)

STADIUM 3 start 11:00 am
WTA – [13] L. Safarova (CZE) vs T. Pironkova (BUL)
Not Before 1:00 pm
ATP – S. Querrey (USA) vs [Q] T. Kokkinakis (AUS)
ATP – [Q] A. Gonzalez (COL) vs S. Johnson (USA)
ATP – J. Janowicz (POL) vs [LL] J. Sousa (POR)
ATP – B. Tomic (AUS) vs [Q] L. Vanni (ITA)

COURT 4 start 11:00 am
WTA – D. Jurak (CRO) / A. Parra Santonja (ESP) vs [WC] V. Dushevina (RUS) / M. Martínez Sánchez (ESP)
WTA – K. Kanepi (EST) vs S. Stosur (AUS)
WTA – A. Medina Garrigues (ESP) / M. Niculescu (ROU) vs K. Mladenovic (FRA) / K. Pliskova (CZE)
WTA – After rest – A. Groenefeld (GER) / A. Panova (RUS) vs [3] G. Muguruza (ESP) / C. Suárez Navarro (ESP)
ATP – R. Bopanna (IND) / F. Mergea (ROU) vs M. Draganja (CRO) / H. Kontinen (FIN)

COURT 5 start 11:00 am
WTA – M. Krajicek (NED) / B. Strycova (CZE) vs [PR] J. Husarova (SVK) / I. Olaru (ROU)
Not Before 2:00 pm
WTA – [WC] M. Keys (USA) / L. Raymond (USA) vs M. Erakovic (NZL) / J. Goerges (GER)
WTA – After rest – C. Dellacqua (AUS) / Y. Shvedova (KAZ) vs [6] C. Garcia (FRA) / K. Srebotnik (SLO)
WTA – TBA – [8] A. Hlavackova (CZE) / L. Hradecka (CZE) vs . Alternate / Unknown

COURT 6 start 12:30 pm
WTA – [5] R. Kops-Jones (USA) / A. Spears (USA) vs Z. Diyas (KAZ) / S. Peng (CHN)
WTA – After rest – J. Gajdosova (AUS) / A. Tomljanovic (CRO) vs [7] B. Mattek-Sands (USA) / L. Safarova (CZE)
WTA – A. Kudryavtseva (RUS) / A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) vs S. Soler-Espinosa (ESP) / M. Torró-Flor (ESP)

 

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

Flavia Pennetta

Flavia Pennetta

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The 2016 Fed Cup draw will be made in June.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Serena Williams Leads US Fed Cup Team Against Italy

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

ORDER OF PLAY

Saturday, 1:00 p.m.

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

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

Sunday, 11:30 a.m.

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

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

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

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Venus Williams Withdraws From Fed Cup Tie Against Italy

Venus Williams

(April 14, 2015) Venus Williams has pulled out of this weekend’s Fed Cup playoff in Italy due to “a personal matter.”

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) announced that Williams will be replaced by No 57 Lauren Davis.

No. 1 Serena Williams will lead team USA which also includes No. 45 Alison Riske and No. 65 Christina McHale.

The Italian team consists No. 15 Sara Errani, No. 26 Flavia Pennetta, No. 36 Camila Giorgi and No. 55 Karin Knapp.

The United States will face Italy for the fifth time in seven years in the Fed Cup World Group Playoff, held at Circolo Tennis Brindisi on an outdoor red clay court, this weekend April 18-19. The winner of best-of-five series will move into the World Group in 2016 for a chance to play for the Fed Cup title. The losing nation will fall back to World Group II.

The U.S. leads the overall series against Italy 9-4, losing the last four ties.

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Serena Williams Wins Eighth Miami Open Title

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(April 4, 2015) World No. 1 Serena Williams took home her eighth Miami Open trophy on Saturday defeating Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2, 6-0 in the final.

This was the American’s 66th career title victory, which leaves her one behind Billie Jean King on the All-Time list.

All-time WTA titles leader Martina Navratilova who won 167 singles crowns was in attendance to present the winner’s trophy to Williams who won her third Miami title in a row. Her career record in Miami is now 73-7.

Williams became only the fourth women to win the same title at least 8 times. Navratilova holds the record for the most number of titles at a single tournament – 12 in Chicago.

It’s also Williams’ second tournament title of the year, the first one coming at the Australian Open adding her 19th major title in January.

The final which lasted 55 minutes, saw Williams win the last ten straight games, losing only five points in the second set.

“When I play with Serena I know that she’s the best,” Suarez Navarro said. “She has the game to make me play bad.

“But, well, this time I believe in me, in how I’m playing the other match. I try. I try until the last point, but was tough and was difficult for me.”

“I just kind of went out there and was hitting,” Williams said. “I didn’t have a plan it hit to her backhand or forehand. That’s never really my plan. I just can’t do that. I get too worked up.

“I just got to play my game. I’m not the kind of player that’s like, Oh, her forehand is weak, so I’m going to hit 100% there. I can’t do that.”

Williams remains unbeaten on the year and has won 21 straight matches since her loss in the Round-Robin stage at the 2014 WTA Year End in Singapore.

Asked about possibility of winning a calendar Grand Slam, she said: “Obviously anyone that wins the Australian Open wants to win a Grand Slam.

“I’ve won the Australian Open six times and I have not done that yet. I’m not saying this is the year or not the year. Who knows?”

Williams had to withdraw from the semifinals of Indian Wells two weeks ago with a knee injury.

Although a dominant winner, Williams felt she could have played better during the tournament. “I had to improvise in some of my matches,” she said. “Quite frankly, I had to take some pace off today because I wasn’t serving the way I normally serve. I normally serve tons of aces really hard.

“This tournament I wasn’t serving my best. On the flip side, it’s good to know that I can win relying on my groundstrokes or relying on other shots. It’s not just one shot that makes me good. It’s an all‑court game.

“It’s comforting, but at the same time, I definitely want to get my serve going again. I just really haven’t had time to practice. I’ve just been dealing with injuries, and when I’m practicing I’m hitting groundstrokes and just not hitting enough serves.”

For Suarez Navarro, despite the poor performance in the final, it was a career week for the Spaniard who will be the third Spanish woman to break into the Top Ten for the first time next week.

 

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