2014/10/22

Top Seeds Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic Win: Eugenie Bouchard Beaten by the Heat

Eugenie Bouchard

Eugenie Bouchard

(September 1, 2014) FLUSHING MEADOWS – The US Open top seeds had straight set victories on Labor Day Monday. Novak Djokovic, was a 6-1, 7-5, 6-4 winner over No. 22 seeds Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany, and Serena Williams defeated No. 50 Kaia Kanepi of Estonia 6-3, 6-3.

For the Serb Djokovic it’s his 8th straight US Open quarterfinal he’s reached and his 22nd major tournament overall.

“I’m very glad obviously that I had so many consecutive quarterfinals of Grand Slams,” said the Serb. “It says that I do value these tournaments the most and try to always perform my best tennis in them. Obviously motivates me for the future to continue that streak, of course.”

Djokovic will meet two-time major champion Andy Murray in the quarterfinals. Murray beat No. 9 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-5, 7-5, 6-4.

For Serena Williams the two-time defending US Open champion, this will be her first Grand Slam quarterfinal this year.

“I never thought it would be so exciting,” Williams said smiling. “Yeah! It feels good. Obviously I don’t want this to end. But I’m just happy that I’m able to be performing a little better at the end of the year.”

Williams has a perfect 5-0 record against her next opponent Flavia Pennetta.

“Of course, she’s better than me, but if I still believe I can beat her, maybe if she doesn’t have a good day I can do that,” Pennetta said. If I get in the court and just play and try to don’t take 6-Love 6-Love, I gonna take 6-Love 6-Love.”

Canadian Eugenie Bouchard was beaten by the heat during her fourth round match-up against Ekaterina Makarova. The Canadian said that she felt dizzy and her vision was blurry as she was bothered by the New York City heat and humidity. She took two medical time outs.

“I was feeling very light headed and dizzy on the court,” said Bouchard. “You know, just seeing things a little blurry. You know, feeling well physically on the court is very important to me, so when I don’t feel that — I just generally didn’t feel good.”

Makarova, the 17th seed from Russia beat Bouchard 7-6 (2), 6-4, ending the Canadian’s streak of reaching at least the semifinals of each major in 2014.

“I definitely felt a lot of outside expectations and pressure to win matches. I felt more like it’s normal if I win and it’s a bit more of a disaster when I lose,” Bouchard said. “But that’s something that I need to block out.”

“I remember as a junior a few times in Australia when it was hot I felt this way. Last year here actually in the second round I felt it a little bit. You know, once in a while I get a little bit light headed. That’s what happens.”

Makarova said: “Today was really tough condition definitely. So humid, and sometimes I think because of that the game was going like up and down. Against Bouchard it’s always tough because she’s running good. She’s also really — like physically she’s hard. So I think it was really good match, and I’m really happy that in the end of the first and the second set I was a little bit more aggressive.”

In round of 16 men’s matches on Monday night, No. 3 Stan Wawrinka beat No. 16 Tommy Robredo 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (7), 6-2, No. 5 Milos Raonic fell to  No. 10 Kei Nishikori 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-7(6), 7-5, 6-4, in a match which ended at 2:26 a.m. Tuesday, equaling the latest finish in US Open history.

Two-time US Open finalist Victoria Azarenka rallied past qualifier 145th-ranked Aleksandra Krunic of Serbia to win 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.

“I didn’t have a lot of data on her or, you know, much of an idea,” Azarenka said. “I think she played exceptionally well today. I’m not sure if I would have watched the matches before that would help me a lot, I think because I felt like not knowing much she still played on a really high level and pretty consistent through the whole match. She gave a fight, and she wasn’t afraid to go big on the important moments. I was a little bit surprised that she’s not that tall, and she hits the ball and unleashes her forehand with so much power. So that was quite surprising. But, you know, I think she’s a young player. She has a good future if she keeps going this way.”

 

Next for Azarenka will be Makarova. The Belarusian evaluated her next challenger.

“I think she’s a very tough opponent because she’s very consistent. You know, she reads the game really well. We had some tough matches in the past. I think she’s not afraid to play against top players. She handled herself well against, you know, big names in Grand Slams. She’s definitely playing well. I’m looking forward to that match.”

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Serena Williams Advances, Petra Kvitova Upset at US Open

 

(August 30, 2014) FLUSHING MEADOWS – Saturday at the US Open saw two-time defending champion Serena Williams move into the fourth round, while reigning Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova was upset.

Serena Williams beat countrywoman, No. 52, lefty Varvara Lepchenko 6-3, 6-3 on Arthur Ashe Stadium during day session, the third American in a row she has played at the US Open.

Lepchenko, who is sometimes, Williams’ practice partner, has given Williams her biggest challenge during the tournament, along with some swirling winds on center court.

“I think when someone is a lefty, they just open the court more,” said the top player. You’re expecting one serve. You kind of almost give up one side. You just say, You can ace me on this side, but I’m going to expect that side.”

“I love practicing with her. We always practice together in tournaments. Whenever I can, I love hitting with her. I think it helps her game and she helps my game.”

The victory extends her streak at Flushing Meadows to 17. She’ll face Kaia Kanepi, who beat 15th seed Carla Suarez Navarro, in the round of 16.

 

No. 4 seed Petra Kvitova had no answers for qualifier Aleksandra Krunic, a 21-year-old from Serbia who is No. 145 in the world.

“I’m an outsider,” Krunic said in her news conference. “I honestly didn’t know what to expect from myself at all. You know, I don’t know my limits.”

“I tried not to think about the score, and I kept telling myself that, you know, leave it on her because everything is up to her still and she’s in charge,” the Serb continued. “I tried to put the pressure off my shoulders, you know, because usually last couple of years I’m the one who is putting the pressure on myself, you know. So I tried not to do it today. And also on the changeover, on the 6-5 in the second, I just told to myself, It’s still on her. You still have nothing to lose, even if you’d be 6-5, 5-Love up. Play as every other game you have played. Surprisingly I managed to do it pretty well with the two big serves. You know, I didn’t expect myself to be so calm, but I really focused my 100% not to think about anything that is happening, about the court.”

Kvitova was disappointed with her efforts on Saturday. “I wanted to win today, and unfortunately I didn’t. Yeah, I think she played really unbelievable tennis and she put a lot of balls back. Almost all of them. For me it was very difficult just, you know, to play only on the winners. I did mistakes and I was really trying everything what I could in that moment. I was trying to fight and fighting every point, but it was so difficult. It wasn’t really my day. She played really great tennis today.”

The youngster Krunic will play Victoria Azarenka in the fourth round. Azarenka dismantled Elena Vesnina 6-1, 6-1. It’s Azarenka’s 100 victory at a major.

“I have seen just really briefly couple of points. But, you know, she obviously is playing great tennis and really inspired here, you know, winning so many matches in a row and upsetting such a great player. So it’s going to be tough. I think it’s always tricky when you don’t know your opponent, but I just want to focus on my game and try to get prepared as best as possible and, again, have fun.”

In the evening session, Wimbledon runner-up, No. 7 seed Eugenie Bouchard survived a close escaping the No. 30 seed Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-7 (2), 6-4 to reach the US Open fourth round for the first time.

Bouchard will play No. 17 Ekaterina Makarova for a place the quarterfinals.

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Serena Williams Demolishes Vania King in US Open Second Round

Serena Williams

(August 28, 2014) FLUSHING MEADOWS - Serena Williams, getting over a poor serving start, demolished fellow American Vania King 6-1, 6-0 in the second round of US Open on Thursday. The win gives two-time defending US open champion Williams a 16-match win streak at the final major of the year.

“I’ve been working really hard,” Williams said. “The results just hadn’t been coming in the slams. I started to get some really good results this summer, and that’s given me a lot of confidence going into this last Grand Slam of the year.”
“She never let me in,” said King to media. “She’s played at such a high level for so long, and I used to watch when I was a kid, growing up. So it’s kind of surreal to see the person that you’ve been watching on TV in front of you and playing. It was difficult.”

Williams is just a major title away from equaling Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert at 18.

“I’ve had three tries to get to 18, and it hasn’t happened, so…,” the 32-year-old Williams explained. “We’ll see, you know. Hopefully I’ll get there one day. I’m kind of stuck right now at 17, which to be honest is not a bad number to be stuck at. It’s better than 16. I honestly am really proud of everything I’ve been able to accomplish in my career. I can’t really be upset about anything.”
Williams finished her day with a doubles win with her sister Venus to win their first round match.

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Serena Williams and Roger Federer Both Begin Quest for 18th Major

14845934374_96abdb46c5_z - Copy

(August 27, 2014) FLUSHING MEADOWS – A pair of 17-time major champions made the first step in their mutual quests for an 18th major on Tuesday night. No. 2 seed Roger Federer and No. 1 Serena Williams both took out opponents in straight sets at the US Open.

The 33-year-old Swiss Federer led off the night session with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4) vwin over No. 76 Marinko Matosevic of Australia. With six-time NBA champion Michael Jordan cheering him on in his courtside guest box, Federer pulled off the shot of the night – between the legs shot, facing backwards to the net, which hit his opponent in his lower back.

Federer admitted that Jordan, now 51, was a childhood idol of his. In an interview with ESPN, Jordan said that he knew nothing about tennis and said that Federer is a good athlete and that he played basketball.

“It’s just amazing having Michael here,” Federer said after the match. “Growing up he was my big sporting idol. … Having him here is unbelievably special and the collaboration is unique, so I love it.”

“He was just my hero of all sports,” Federer said in his news conference. “That’s what he was for me growing up. Besides Edberg and Becker being my tennis idols, I had Jordan as my all sports idol. I don’t remember having a Jordan jersey, as such, really. I just remember when I was younger, in Germany it was really big on the German TV stations. I think every Sunday they had unbelievable big NBA highlights. That’s where I saw him doing all his moves. I wasn’t necessarily a Chicago Bulls fan or anything like that. It’s just I was into him, into like the incredible athlete, you know, just being that guy who was carrying basketball at the time. So I guess that’s what inspired me.”

While Federer was entertaining an idol of his with his play, Serena Williams was defeating a player who idolizes her. Williams played almost flawlessly in dispatching 18-year-old fellow American Wild Card Taylor Townsend 6-3, 6-1.

The two-time defending US Open champion, soon-to-be 33-year-old Williams made only 8 unforced errors in a match which lasted less than an hour.

Townsend discussed her appreciation of Williams in press: “I think I appreciate the fact that, number one, she loves the game so much. I think for anyone who’s watched her career progress, we have seen the ups and downs. She’s come through a lot of adversity. I think the most roaring time for me when I was watching her play was when she won that Australian Open, when everyone was completely doubting her, no one said she would win, she was totally out of shape, she was this, that, everything in the book. She literally fought and she beat Sharapova 1-0, 2-0, something ridiculous. But I’ve never seen someone so intense and so, like, driven to win, you know? I gained so much respect for her. Moving forward, I’ve just seen her love the game even more. The older she gets, the more she enjoys being out there and playing. I think her perspective has changed, having fun with what she’s doing. I think the wins are just making it even better.”

“I think it was an interesting match,” Williams said. “I thought she played really well. She started out super strong. She did a good job.”

“I think Taylor is a really great player. I believe she does everything well. She’s one of the few players that can come to the net and volley, as well as she has unbelievable hand speed with her racquet. She’s really unbelievable.”

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On Althea Gibson’s Birthday, Venus Williams Reflects on Her Legacy After First Round Win

Venus Williams 2

(August 25, 2014) FLUSHING MEADOWS – On what would have been Althea Gibson’s 87th birthday, 34-year-old Venus Williams overcame 43-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 to win her first round match in Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday.

Williams was asked about how Gibson, who was the first black tennis player to win a major, has inspired her.

“What she accomplished is something no one else did, to be not only the best player in the world during that time where she had no support and in a time when it was hard to feel good about yourself because who you were was something that was considered inferior, Williams commented. “So that was very difficult. I can’t imagine how she felt. She did it with class and she did it with grace. I’m very fortunate not to have had to play under those circumstances. I have had an opportunity to play well and be myself, and because of her, I’m really proud of who I am. Really, what she has done, you know, goes beyond words.”
In turn, the 19th seed Williams was asked about the role she and her sister Serena have played in terms of diversity during her career.

“Serena and I played in a different time,” Venus said. “I think we played in a different time where you’re able to have opportunities. And people love to be on the side of a winner, so, you know, the things that everyone did, women’s rights, civil rights, all of those things are a different time, thank God. I’m not saying it’s a perfect time, but it is a different time. So, yes, I think that Serena and I influenced lots of young people, lots of African-Americans, hopefully all kinds of people all around the world, to live a better life through sports or even if they never played.”

In addition to facing a tough opponent on Monday, Williams has to fight off a bee. The two-time US Open champion led 3-0 in the deciding set when a bee buzzed around the court around both players.

“So once it was my turn, then I think I would have been remiss to swat it myself. Kind of came up with a strategy to hopefully, you know, follow her example in that. Just let the fly land on the racquet and in the towel. I guess he’s on his way now.”

The insect was captured and taken off court by ball persons and an additional helper.

Williams’ next opponent will be Timea Bacsinszky in the second round.

Related articles:

Althea Gibson Documentary Project Selected for Film Festivals

Althea Gibson Inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame

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2014 US Open Women’s Contender Profiles

Serena Williams

(August 24, 2014) Profiles of the top Women’s Singles contenders for 2014 U.S. Open. Note: Grand Slam records for main draw matches only.  – by Jack Cunniff     http://twitter.com/jrcunniff

 

1.Serena Williams

2014 Record: 38-6

Grand Slam Record: 252-39

U.S. Open Record: 72-9

U.S. Open Best Result: Won (1999, 2002, ’08, ’12, ‘13)

Fast Fact: Serena has lost only once at the U.S. Open to a player that was not a Grand Slam champion (Spirlea, 1998).

 

2. Simona Halep

2014 Record: 38-12

Grand Slam Record: 25-17

U.S. Open Record: 5-4

U.S. Open Best Result: 4R (2013)

Fast Fact: Halep has won more Grand Slam matches (18) than any other woman over the last 12 months.

 

3. Petra Kvitova

2014 Record: 30-12

Grand Slam Record: 63-23

U.S. Open Record: 10-6

U.S. Open Best Result: 4R (2009, ‘12)

Fast Fact: Kvitova has only one win at the U.S. Open over a Top 25 player – No. 1 Dinara Safina (2009).

 

4. Agnieszka Radwanska

2014 Record: 42-15

Grand Slam Record: 89-323

U.S. Open Record: 16-8

U.S. Open Best Result: 4R (2007, ’08, ’12, ‘13)

Fast Fact: Randwanska has lost to a player ranked lower than her in her last 10 Grand Slam events.

 

5. Maria Sharapova

2014 Record: 38-9

Grand Slam Record: 162-39

U.S. Open Record: 29-8

U.S. Open Best Result: Won (2006)

Fast Fact: Since winning the U. S. Open in 2006, Sharapova has only advanced past the Fourth Round once (2012).

 

6. Angelique Kerber

2014 Record: 39-18

Grand Slam Record: 46-27

U.S. Open Record: 12-6

U.S. Open Best Result: SF (2011)

Fast Fact: Kerber has reached at least the Fourth Round in nine of the last ten Grand Slam events.

 

7. Eugenie Bouchard

2014 Record: 37-17

Grand Slam Record: 20-6

U.S. Open Record: 1-1

U.S. Open Best Result: 2R (2013)

Fast Fact: Bouchard has the best record among all women in 2014 Grand Slam events, but has lost her opening round main draw match in 8 of 14 WTA Tour Events.

 

8. Ana Ivanovic

2014 Record: 47-13

Grand Slam Record: 97-38

U.S. Open Record: 20-9

U.S. Open Best Result: QF (2012)

Fast Fact: Ivanovic leads the WTA Tour in 2014 match wins (47).

 

9. Jelena Jankovic

2014 Record: 33-17

Grand Slam Record: 102-44

U.S. Open Record: 28-10

U.S. Open Best Result: RU (2008)

Fast Fact: Jankovic is the only woman in the field who has been seeded for each of the last 10 U.S. Open events (2005-2014).

 

10. Caroline Wozniacki

2014 Record: 34-14

Grand Slam Record: 73-30

U.S. Open Record: 22-7

U.S. Open Best Result: RU (2009)

Fast Fact: Prior to the 2014 Connecticut Open, Wozniacki had won at least three matches in her previous five consecutive events, her best stretch since August – October 2010.

 

11. Flavia Pennetta

2014 Record: 25-14

Grand Slam Record: 66-44

U.S. Open Record: 20-9

U.S. Open Best Result: SF (2013)

Fast Fact: Pennetta reached a Grand Slam semifinal at last year’s U.S. Open, her first time in 41 attempts; only two players took longer to reach a Grand Slam semi (Likhovtseva – 46, Tauziat – 42).

 

12. Dominika Cibulkova

2014 Record: 29-18

Grand Slam Record: 53-28

U.S. Open Record: 10-6

U.S. Open Best Result: QF (2010)

Fast Fact: A tale of two seasons: from January through April 2014, Cibulkova’s won/loss record was 24-7 (77.4%). From May through August 2014, Cibulkova’s won/loss record was 5-9 (35.7%).

 

16. Victoria Azarenka

2014 Record: 10-7

Grand Slam Record: 97-32

U.S. Open Record: 24-8

U.S. Open Best Result: RU (2012, ‘13)

Fast Fact: In her last three U.S. Open appearances, Azarenka has a 0-3 records vs. Serena Williams, and 14-0 record against all other players.

 

19. Venus Williams

2014 Record: 24-11

Grand Slam Record: 219-56

U.S. Open Record: 63-13

U.S. Open Best Result: W (2000, ’01)

Fast Fact: Venus hasn’t reached the Fourth Round of a Grand Slam in her last 10 attempts, her last appearance in the 4R was Wimbledon 2011.

 

20. Svetlana Kuznetsova

2014 Record: 20-12

Grand Slam Record: 131-45

U.S. Open Record: 33-10

U.S. Open Best Result: W (2004)

Fast Fact: Since winning the title here ten years ago, Kuznetsova has compiled a 1-4 record vs. Top Twenty players at Flushing Meadow (d. No. 6 Chakvetadze, 2007 SF)

Related article:

2014 US Open Men’s Contender Profiles

 

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Serena Williams -“I always expect the best from myself”

Serena Williams 2

 

(August 23, 2014) FLUSHING MEADOWS – The five-time US Open champion Serena Williams comes into Flushing Meadows without a major title in 2014. The 17-time major winner has high expectations coming into tournament and is hardest on herself.

“I think my expectations are always really high. I always expect the best from myself. I always try to do the best that I can.”

She’s coming into the tournament having played Stanford, Montreal and Cincinnati.

“I think those matches were good for me because I haven’t played a lot of matches this year. So technically I should be perfectly fine. I haven’t played that much tennis this year.”

Williams thinks the preparation coming into the final major of the year will help her in her quest for the title. “I think those matches were good for me because I haven’t played a lot of matches this year. So technically I should be perfectly fine. I haven’t played that much tennis this year.”

“This is a new week,”said the World No. 1. “These next two weeks I’m going to have to put that together for hopefully seven matches. Hopefully. If I can do that, I’ll definitely have a good chance to be in the tournament for a long time. But we’ll see. I’m just going to have to be able to put together that time and those matches.”

Williams begins her quest for a major title for 2014 against 18-year-old youngster and former No. 1 junior and countrywoman Taylor Townsend.

“It’s going to be a great match for me,” The soon-to-be 33-year-old said. “She’s such a great player. Extremely young. I have been able to see her play a little bit. She does everything really, really well. We’re really good friends. We always talk and always text each other. It’s going to be a really tough match for me.”

So what impresses her about Townsend? “Well, she’s a lefty,” she said. “I always wanted to be lefty,” she said with a big smile. “That just in general puts you on a whole new level as a player. She’s a very aggressive player. She comes to the net. She makes her shots. You don’t really see that in tennis so much. You see players that, you know, stay back and hug the baselines, as I do. But it’s good, refreshing, and I think it’s the future of tennis just by doing what she does.”

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama

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Photos from 2014 Taste of Tennis

(August 22, 2014) NEW YORK CITY – Thursday night the world’s top tennis players and chefs served up the US Open’s hottest pre-tournament action at the 15th annual Taste of Tennis Gala on Thursday, August 21st at the W New York in midtown Manhattan as part of the first ever Taste of Tennis WeekThis year’s event was headlined by world No. 1 Serena Williams and Chef Masaharu Morimoto of Iron Chef fame and was hosted by The TODAY Show and MSNBC’s NewsNation’s Tamron Hall.  Guests mixed and mingled with tennis players while sampling an eclectic mix of specially designed dishes served up by some of the most renowned New York City chefs.

 

Serena Williams, Morimoto and Tamron were joined by some of the world’s top tennis players including Venus Williams, Victoria Azarenka, Sloane Stephens, the Bryan Brothers, Aga Radwanska, Dustin Brown, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Jack Sock and some of New York’s most prestigious chefs including Marc Murphy (Landmarc), Peter Andino (Heartbeat), Daniel Holzman & Michael Chernow (The Meatball Shop) and Kerry Heffernan (Top Chef Masters Finalist), Zac Young (David Burke Group). Proceeds from the event benefited City Harvest.

 

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Defending Champion Serena Williams Seeded No. 1 at US Open

Serena Williams

From the United States Tennis Association – FLUSHING, N.Y., August 20, 2014 – The USTA today announced that world No. 1 and two-time defending US Open champion Serena Williams has been named the top seed in women’s singles at the 2014 US Open. The 2014 US Open will be played August 25 – September 8 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y. The US Open Women’s Singles Championship is presented by JPMorgan Chase.

This is the third time that Serena Williams has been the No. 1 seed at the US Open.  She won the title on both prior occasions (2002 and 2013).  Following Williams will be No. 2 seed Simona Halep, of Romania, a 2014 French Open finalist; No. 3 Petra Kvitova, of the Czech Republic, who won her second Wimbledon title this summer; and No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska, of Poland. The reigning French Open and 2006 US Open champion Maria Sharapova is seeded fifth.

World No. 2 Li Na, of China, withdrew from the US Open in July with a knee injury.

Victoria Azarenka, of Belarus, who has reached the US Open women’s final each of the last two years, is seeded No. 16. Two-time US Open champion Venus Williams is seeded No. 19, 2004 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, of Russia, is seeded 20th, and 2011 champion Samantha Stosur is seeded 24th.

Last year, Serena Williams won her fifth US Open singles title, tying Steffi Graf for second most in the Open Era, trailing only Chris Evert’s six. It was also Williams’ 17th Grand Slam singles title, which is sixth on the all-time list and fourth in the Open Era (since 1968), trailing Graf (22), Evert and Martina Navratilova (18 each).

No. 21 Sloane Stephens and No. 27 Madison Keys join the Williams sisters as seeded American players.

The US Open followed the WTA rankings released Monday to determine the women’s singles seeds. This is the 14th consecutive year that the US Open seeded 32 players in both singles events.

The singles draws for the 2014 US Open will be revealed live during an official draw ceremony on Thursday, August 21, at 12 p.m. ET at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The draw will be streamed live on USOpen.org. Defending US Open champion Serena Williams will make an appearance at the event.

2014 US Open Women’s Singles Seeds

1.    Serena Williams, United States

2.    Simona Halep, Romania

3.    Petra Kvitova, Czech Republic

4.    Agnieszka Radwanska, Poland

5.    Maria Sharapova, Russia

6.    Angelique Kerber, Germany

7.    Eugenie Bouchard, Canada

8.    Ana Ivanovic, Serbia

9.    Jelena Jankovic, Serbia

10.  Caroline Wozniacki, Denmark

11.  Flavia Pennetta, Italy

12.  Dominika Cibulkova, Slovakia

13.  Sara Errani, Italy

14.  Lucie Safarova, Czech Republic

15.  Carla Suarez Navarro, Spain

16.  Victoria Azarenka, Belarus

17.  Ekaterina Makarova, Russia

18.  Andrea Petkovic, Germany

19.  Venus Williams, United States

20.  Svetlana Kuznetsova, Russia

21.  Sloane Stephens, United States

22.  Alize Cornet, France

23.  Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Russia

24.  Samantha Stosur, Australia

25.  Garbine Muguruza, Spain

26.  Sabine Lisicki, Germany

27.  Madison Keys, United States

28.  Roberta Vinci, Italy

29.  Casey Dellacqua, Australia

30.  Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, Czech Republic

31.  Kurumi Nara, Japan

32.  Shuai Zhang, China

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Serena Williams and David Ferrer Reach Cincinnati Finals

Serena Williams

Serena Williams

By Dave Gertler

 

(August 16, 2014) MASON, OHIO - Serena Williams and David Ferrer are through to their respective finals at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, Ohio. To win her first title in Cincinnati after reaching last year’s final, said Williams, “It would mean a lot. I haven’t had an opportunity to win this one. It’s a tournament in the States. It would be great for me and for American tennis.”

 

To reach the final, she had to get past an in-form Caroline Wozniacki in a see-saw match that saw Williams go down a set 2-6 to the 12th seed before swinging the momentum back in her favor and taking the second set 6-2.

 

Williams alluded to some physical wear and tear, perhaps from 12 matches in the last 3 weeks, saying her lower back was feeling ‘super tight’ in the match. “That’s when I really relaxed, to be honest,” said Williams, “By then I was able just to go for more shots and come to the net more and just kind of just not have anything to lose.”

 

“I’m fine,” Williams elaborated about her physical condition leading into the US Open, “Just played a lot of tennis in three weeks. I’ve won one, semis in another. I’ve just been going, going, going, going. So that’s it. Just a little wear and getting my body used to playing matches, because my body is not used to playing a lot of matches anymore this year.”

 

Although she was broken 8 times throughout the match, Wozniacki dropped her serve a total of 8 times, also serving 8 double faults. “I was serving pretty well in the beginning,” said Wozniacki, who also lost to Williams in last week’s Roger’s Cup quarterfinal, “But then I kind of just lost a little bit of timing. Then trying to work my way back in, it’s hard.”

 

Between Williams and Wozniacki, there were only 3 holds of serve in the final set, compared to 7 breaks. “Hopefully my arm will be OK tomorrow. We’ll see.” said Williams, who fired off 4 aces in the final set to take the match, and will face either Maria Sharapova or Ana Ivanovic in the final.

 

Meanwhile David Ferrer has reached his 7th career Masters 1000 by beating Julien Benneteau in the first men’s semi-final. Pleased to be appearing in his debut semi-final at this level, Benneteau lasted 1 hour and 11 minutes on Center Court against his opponent who was long ago dubbed The Wall because of his retrieving abilities. “When he has the ball on the racquet, on the return,” said the 32-year-old Frenchman, outlining the type of stress the Spaniard typically causes most of his opponents, “He doesn’t miss anything. Never, never, never.”

 

Ferrer, known more for his returning than his serving, won 75% of points on first serve, and saved the only break point Benneteau made him face during the match. After winning the match 6-3, 6-2, Ferrer was asked who his preferred opponent would be out of the next semi-final. “Well, you know, with Roger,” said Ferrer, “I never beaten him, so of course I prefer Milos. It’s normal.” Ferrer will be focusing singularly on the Western & Southern Open final to be played on Sunday. “I don’t care the US Open in these moments,” he said, “US Open is going to be in two weeks or one week. This tournament is very important for me and for everybody because. Is one Master 1000.”
While Canadian up-and-comer Milos Raonic has the odds stacked against him in his semi-final, never having beaten Roger Federer in their five meetings, Ana Ivanovic has won her most recent match against Maria Sharapova, although Sharapova leads their rivalry 8 wins to 3.

 

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney covering the Western & Southern Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his Twitter updates from the tournament on @TennisNewsTPN, follow him on his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days .

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