2014/10/01

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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Aussies Bounced Out of Cincinnati

Sam Stosur

Sam Stosur

By Dave Gertler

(August 13, 2014) MASON, OHIO – The last three Australians left in the singles draw at the Cincinnati Masters all played their second-round matches on Wednesday, with Sam Stosur and Marinko Matosevic both bowing out to their American opponents in straight sets. Lleyton Hewitt also succumbed to the grinding baseline play of Italian Fabio Fognini.

 

Stosur and Serena Williams added another encounter to their storied rivalry, the Aussie receiving warm support from the crowd as she battled to stay in both sets, at times out-hitting her world No.1 opponent. In a match lasting almost two hours, where neither player dropped their serve, and Williams needed to come from behind in both tie-breaks to eventually win through to the next round. “She was up in both of the breakers,” said Williams, “I think it was just a great match, to be honest. She served unbelievable, and I was like, I can’t lose serve because she’s just serving great.”

 

Both players brought their big serves to the table, particularly Serena, who served 12 aces. “Really good quality match,” said Stosur, “I’m really pleased with the way I played. I’m disappointed when you have those couple of set points and don’t go through and at least win that set to take it into three. But I gave myself every chance to try and get through that one.  She came up with some really great stuff when it really counted.”

 

While Stosur was facing last year’s women’s runner up, Marinko Matosevic had to contend with the men’s runner up from last year, in a slightly less competitive 3-6, 6-7 loss to the American John Isner. That left Lleyton Hewitt in a familiar position as the last Australian in the singles draw.

LleytonHewittHOF

Hewitt would drop the first set against Fognini 6-1, before going up a break in the second set, a lead that he would ultimately relinquish, allowing Fognini back into the second set, which he won 6-4. “The second set I fought hard, I was up a break in the second set but couldn’t consolidate,” said Hewitt. The 33-year-old Australian served 9 double faults, saying, “I just didn’t hit my serve well today, especially early on,” said Hewitt, “He makes you play a lot of balls as well. He’s a confidence player, and when he’s hitting ball well, he’s tough to beat. He moves well, as well.”

 

Serena Williams’ next opponent will be Flavia Pennetta, while Isner faces No.8 seed Andy Murray. Fabio Fognini will face Yen-Hsun Lu, who had an upset victory over 4th seed Tomas Berdych. Also through to the round of 16, Roger Federer, who beat Canadian Vasek Pospisil 7-6, 5-7, 6-2 in 2 hours for his 300th win at a Masters Series 1000 event.

 

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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Top Chef Masters Finalist Kerry Heffernan to Host Celebrity Chef Challenge as part of Taste of Tennis Week

sam and Kerry

Chef Kerry Hefferman with Sam Stosur

(August 13, 2014) Since 2000 the world’s top tennis players and chefs have been serving up culinary delights at the Annual BNP Paribas Taste of Tennis. This year’s premier pre-US Open social event to be held on Thursday night, August 21 at the W New York Hotel, is again being hosted by world No. 1 Serena Williams, along with featured Chef Masaharu Morimoto. Other players scheduled to appear are Gael Monfils, Victoria Azarenka, Agnieszka Radwanska, Bob & Mike Bryan, Dustin Brown and Sloane Stephens.

Serena Williams, Azarenka, Bryan Brothers and More To Headline First-Ever Taste of Tennis Week

In addition to the Thursday gala, Taste of Tennis will be hosting several special events as part of “Taste of Tennis Week” including the Celebrity Chef Doubles Tennis Challenge on Wednesday, August 20th at the Midtown Tennis Club. The tournament will pair guests with a top chef in a round-robin style tournament. Serena Williams will team up with Chef Morimoto for the event which will be televised at a later date on MSG Plus and New England Sports Network on a program hosted by sports broadcaster Harry Cicma.

Hosting the Celebrity Chef Challenge will be Top Chef Masters Finalist Kerry Heffernan. Hefferman who is one of the chefs who has participated in Taste of Tennis the longest, said although he played a little tennis growing up in the suburbs, he didn’t really get thoroughly absorbed by it until he received a tennis racquet as one of the gifts in his Taste of Tennis goodie bag a few years ago.

”You get these great goodie bags and in them were these amazing tennis racquets,” he said.

“Wait a minute these look like really good racquets, maybe I should try this thing. One thing led to another… and it’s been three years now since I really got into it.”

“It grows on you, you want to get better, you want to play more, you want to find people that play. You just mushroom into this obsession that creeps into all different parts of your life.”

The idea for the Celebrity Chef Challenge came about as the result of attending the BNP Paribas showdown at Madison Square Garden earlier in the year.

“Other chefs were in attendance tweeting pictures at the event,” Hefferman continued. “Through social media and texts among other chefs” the idea gained a lot of momentum.

I asked Chef Hefferman if he thought that many tennis players are “foodies” and many chefs are into tennis.

“I would concur 100 percent,” he said. “The passion that most chefs have for tennis, is like their display of their cooking. Many similarities – it’s hot, it’s unpredictable, you’re subject to a lot of pressure.

“Lot of parallels between a tennis match and cooking in a professional kitchen.

“The other thing is I notice, having done this for 13 years, that probably a set number of celebrities come and cook with me, so many of them are interested in food and are so knowledgeable about food, it’s really, really satisfying to have somebody come back and recognize that you have an heirloom tomato, or chose a carrot with an usual herb, just to have that culinary fluency.

“And I would say that certainly the European players are a little more fluent even. But the Bryan Brothers for example are super. We did this almost quickfire challenge with Gail Simmons from Top Chef and Top Chef Masters and they were having a blast. Bob Bryan is such a great guy, he still follows me on twitter, we still both keep in touch. Okay, he’s a bit busier than I am. It was a connection through food that like lasts.”

With such a link between Chef Hefferman and tennis, I asked him: ‘If you were a tennis player, who would you be in the Culinary world?’

“That’s a good question,” he said. “I guess you would want to be (Roger) Federer because it’s that effortless execution, that focus and determination.

“Like many chefs, I have such admiration for him having gone back and strengthen part of your game….. his serve for example brought him to the finals at Wimbledon that you just have some respect for the craft. Many chefs would like to be compared to someone like that because he approaches it with ultimate appreciation for how the game is played almost the technical aspect. Anybody would want to be a (Rafael) Nadal or even a (Novak) Djokovic, for the passion, the energy and the dedication but for me if I could be compared to a Federer.

“Your cooking should appear as effortless as his backhand, it shouldn’t looked contrived, it shouldn’t look like you are trying to make look like something it’s not.

“The way that Roger plays the game has got sort of that natural beauty to it. There’s a kind of energy that we really appreciate.”

For more details on the Taste of Tennis events, visit www.tasteoftennis.com.

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News

 

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Montreal Day 05 and 06 Wrap-Up: Crowd Pleasers

Venus Williams

Venus Williams

Montreal Day 05 and 06 Wrap-Up: Crowd Pleasers

By Charles David Mathieu-Poulin | August 8th, 2014

(August 8, 2014) MONTREAL – The Montreal tennis crowd was treated to great matches on Thursday and Friday, as eight of the twelve presented singles matches which went the distance. Here is what stood out from those two days.

Patience is a Virtue (or XXV)

The Montreal-based Williams Sisters fans really didn’t have much to cheer about in the past, as Venus had never showed up to the event and Serena had not played a match at Uniprix Stadium in over 14 years. But patience is a virtue, and the crowd will now be witnessing a Williams showdown in the first semi-final Saturday. A dream match for the tournament organizers, who were understandably worried for the tournament’s storylines after the early defeat of local star Genie Bouchard.

Both sisters had a tough road to the semis: while Serena battled through Lucie Safarova and good friend Caroline Wozniacki (rallying from 6-4, 4-2 down) respectively, Venus played two long battles against Angelique Kerber and Carla Suarez Navarro. The Kerber-Venus match, played under the lights on Thursday, produced some standing-ovation worthy tennis, as both players fought skin and teeth to get the win.

Asked about her previous record of 0-4 at the Rogers Cup, all in Toronto, Venus replied: ‘If I would have known these last 20 years all I had to do was come to Montréal that would be the trick to winning in Canada, I would have done it a long time ago! You live, you learn. Sometimes it takes a couple of decades, but it was worth it!’. This semi-final will be the 25th encounter between the two sisters, Serena having the edge 14-10. It will be their first match in over a year, and only their second meeting since 2009.

3/8

Only three of the top 8 seeds advanced to the quarterfinals in this 2014 edition. After the surprise of Bouchard’s loss to Rogers in round 2, four top seeds lost in thrilling matches on Thursday: Petra Kvitova (2) against Makarova, Maria Sharapova(4) to Suarez-Navarro (14), Kerber (6) to Venus Williams and Jelena Jankovic (7) to Coco Vandeweghe. For Sharapova and Kvitova, signs of rust were apparent in their first tournament on the summer hardcourts, as they couldn’t hit through their feisty, more consistent opponents. Other than Serena Williams, only Agniezska Radwanska (3) and Victoria Azarenka (8) sneaked through the quarters, facing each other in a pretty forgettable quarterfinal on Friday night. Azarenka was clearly hampered by a knee injury, and after missing most of 2014 already, things did not look good for the Belarussian out there. For Radwanska, this is her third semifinal in Canada and she will be looking to reach her first finals against Makarova in the night semifinal.

From Q to QF

Coco Vandeweghe was the revelation of the 2014 Rogers Cup, playing an astonishing 13 sets of tennis in 6 days. After getting comfortably through qualifying by winning two matches on the first Sunday, she handled Shuai Zhang in the first round, before beating the ‘Serbian Sisters’, 9th seed Ivanovic and 7th seed Jankovic, in consecutive battles to reach the quarterfinals. Both matches were classics, and probably two of the most dramatic of the week.

In her post-match interviews this week, she mentioned setting the goal to beat a top 10 player by the end of 2014: she accomplished just that, twice in less than 24 hours, and will be a player to watch for the upcoming hardcourt swing. Her big serve and forehand combination couldn’t get her through Makarova in the quarterfinals, who was solid throughout, but did impress the Montreal crowd. With her pure athleticism and a coach that became a star this week for his honest, very honest, feedback on her matches, Vandeweghe could well be on the way for a seeding position at the 2015 Australian Open.

Follow live twitter updates from the Coupe Rogers Montreal on @TennisNewsTPN throughout the week.

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Montreal Rogers Cup Day 03: Or should we say Day 04?

 

Serena Williams

Montreal Rogers Cup Day 03: Or should we say Day 04?

By Charles David Mathieu-Poulin and Maxime Labrecque

MONTREAL – After Tuesday’s Genie-gate and multiple blackouts, Wednesday seemed to follow the script, until a match that lasted until…Day 04. Here is a wrap up of today’s events.

Besties on cruise control

The friendship between Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki seemed to evolve over the past few weeks, especially after both were seen hanging out in Miami after the infamous ‘Wozillroy’ breakup. In her news conference yesterday, Wozniacki was all praise for the American No. 1, stating she was ‘incredible, both on and off the court’, ‘a fantastic person’ and that she ‘loved her personality’. Both players, who are set to play in the quarterfinals, had a near perfect match today, getting comfortably to the third round. On one hand, Wozniacki didn’t have to do much against Czech Koukalova, and won 6-1 6-2 in just over an hour, confirming her great post-breakup form. As for Williams, who was playing her first match in Montreal since retiring in the 2000 finals, she only gave 2 games to veteran and 2011 Us Open champion Samantha Stosur. It was one of Serena’s best performances of 2014, being aggressive and not letting the Australian in the match. Serena’s French was also near perfect in the on-court interview, and it seems that her relationship with the Montreal crowd, which could have been tense after a few boos in 2000, is now back on track.

Paris-Montréal

Maria Sharapova and Garbine Muguruza had played a dramatic quarterfinal match at the French Open this year, and this second round was certainly tricky for the 4th seed. Playing in her first hardcourt match of the summer, Sharapova had no room for rust, facing one of the most promising youngsters on the WTA. Despite finishing up a dramatic and intense three-set match against local Stephanie Dubois very late last night, it seemed like Muguruza wanted revenge on her loss in Paris. Hitting her signature clean and flat groundies, she kept Maria off-balance and on the run, and built a nice 6-4 2-1 lead. Serving at 40-0, it seemed like the Spaniard could pull off the upset. But arguably no other player is as resilient as Maria Sharapova, and she proved it again. Winning 11 of the last 13 games, Maria used her first serve well, only losing 4 points when her first strike when in, and shook off the rust to reach the third round. Asked in the post-match interview what she was most happy about, Sharapova had a very wise answer: ‘You know, when you’re able to finish stronger than your start, that’s always a positive because you give yourself an opportunity to keep playing in the tournament. When you’re in that position, there’s always another chance to work in another match to improve and get better’. That next chance will be against Carla Suarez-Navarro, Muguruza’s doubles partner, who will certainly show Maria a very different type of ball striking.

12.36am (or the Never-Ending Day).

What happens when you add up two third-set tiebreaks, two short rain delays, Ana Ivanovic, Coco Vandeweghe and substract a doubles match? A 12.36am finish. Court Banque Nationale today saw a series of long, very long matches and play ended in possibly one of the latest hours recorded at the Rogers Cup, when qualifier Coco Vandeweghe completed her 6-7(7) 7-6(7) 6-4 second round win against 9th seed Ana Ivanovic after close to three hours of play. It all started with 12th seed Dominika Cibulkova and qualifier Heather Watson, who played for more than 3 hours. The Brit, who led 6-2 4-0, couldn’t finish the match in the second set, which she lost 7-6. She then passively let go of a 5-2 lead in the third set, only to finally win in an error-filled third set tiebreak. Watson will face 8th seed Azarenka in the third round. Then came in Jelena Jankovic and Sloane Stephens, who both didn’t want to be overshadowed in the drama department. The American won a tight tiebreak in the first, only to get broken once in the second and lose it 6-4. Despite some spirited fight, Stephens could not manage to repeat her feat of the first set, losing the last three points, also in a third set tiebreak, this time in 3 hours 15 minutes. In the third match (and only two-setter of the court today), Venus Williams dominated young qualifier Yulia Putintseva. Venus was solid, especially on her forehand, while Putintseva was hoping for mistakes. Venus was about to serve for the match at 6-3 5-2, but a rain delay interrupted the match for 45 minutes, only to add to the delay of the final singles match. Venus finished it quickly when the play resumed and will face 6th seed Angelique Kerber of Germany in tomorrow’s night session match. Then came in Coco and Ana, who played one of the best matches of 2014: hard serves, big fight, huge shot-making and just good ol’ WTA drama.

 

Other results:
2nd round
[15] Lucie Safarova (CZE) def. Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) 6-4 6-2
[14] Carla Suarez Navarro (SPA) def. [LL] Karolina Pliskova (CZE) 6-1 3-6 6-3
[6] Angelique Kerber (GER) def. Caroline Garcia (FRA) 6-4 6-1
Sabine Lisicki (GER) def. Madison Keys (USA) 4-6 6-1 6-4
Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) def. [LL] Elena Vesnina (RUS) 6-3 6-2
[2] Petra Kvitova (CZE) def. Casey Dellacqua (AUS) 6-3 6-2

Follow live twitter updates from the Coupe Rogers Montreal on @TennisNewsTPN throughout the week.

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Serena Williams Nets Third Stanford Title

 

(August 3, 2014) No. 1 Serena Williams claimed her fourth tournament title of 2014, beating No. 3 seed Angelique Kerber 7-6(1), 6-3 to win the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford on Sunday.

For Williams, it’s her third Stanford title.

Kerber had a 5-1 lead in the first set after taking five straight games and served for the set at 5-2. Williams served two set points and won five straight games herself, and ended the set by dominating the tiebreak.

“When I was down 5-1, I was just thinking I had to take it one point at a time,” said Williams. “I knew I just had to relax and not be so crazy. Up until that point I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do, and what I had been doing in practice, so I knew I just had to start doing the right things. I feel like I’m on the right track again. I feel like I can play even better – I wasn’t serving my best, and I wasn’t making as many winners off the return as I wanted to, but I’m getting there.”

As of Monday, Williams will reach her 200th non-consecutive week at No. 1 in the world.

By winning her 61st tennis title, Williams has now netted the 7th most in history and 16 titles ahead of the nearest active player. The No. 1 player will head to Montreal to play the Rogers Cup, which begins on Monday.

 

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