November 26, 2015

Pennetta Loses Her Final Match to Sharapova, While Radwanska Dashes Halep’s Semifinal Hopes at WTA Finals

Radwanska bh

Agnieszka Radwanska

By Ros Satar

(October 29, 2015) SINGAPORE – After the general speculation that swirls around once the Round Robin scenarios start doing the rounds, comes the nail-biting action, and the Red Group kicked all that off in fine style on day five of the WTA Finals in Singapore.


Of all the players that came to Singapore at the end of last week, it was maybe Agnieszka Radwanska who looked to be in the best form. She had a solid Asian swing with just a blip in Wuhan and was looking to finish the year strong.


She was up against Simona Halep who was coming off the back of an injury but seemed to be up for the challenge, starting with a confident win, but seemingly coming unraveled yet again at the hands of Maria Sharapova.


Starting with a break, against Radwanska who had looked somewhat lacklustre against Flavia Pennetta, it looked as though the Pole was going to be starting her holidays early with a 0-3 record. But gradually those trademark Ninja skills came into play, and with some breathtakingly bold shots out of necessity to keep the ball in play, she struck back.



As Radwanska hung on to force a first set tie-breaker, sure enough Halep pushed and hustled her way to a 5-1 lead, but credit to Radwanska she kept plugging away, catching up to Halep, and pushing past her for a set point. In the rally of the tournament, she won surely the point of the tournament to take the set, winning the next six points in a row.


Momentum is everything and although Halep came through a tough hold, saving a break point along the way in the first game of the second set, that was the last show of resistance as Radwanska bulldozed past her to give herself a slim chance of making the semifinals with a 1-2 record.


After failing to maybe deliver throughout the clay court season, Halep still finishes high in the rankings with some good titles behind her, so all in all – a good performance?


She said: “I think I had a good year this year. Ups and downs, but it was okay. I will finish No. 2 or No. 3 in the world so it’s pretty good for me. It’s second year in a row.


“I want to get better for the next year. I have many things to improve. I have to run a little bit more because I need. Today I couldn’t breathe anymore in the second set. But it’s normal. I have to be healthy first and then to train hard. I really want to get better; I want to do better next year.”


For Radwanska, her hopes were alive albeit in the hands of Sharapova, as she described her comeback to win 7-6(5), 6-1.


She said: “That definitely was a crazy set. Up and downs pretty much whole set. Every point matters in that case. Well, the tiebreak I didn’t really know that I could come back, and suddenly ‑‑ I think I was really relaxed. I didn’t get tight and I think I made really good shot in important moments. When was just 5‑1 down I think I just kind of play aggressive tennis and that works.


“What I can do right now is just watch and cheer for Maria. So that’s it. (Laughter.)”


It was certainly going to be all eyes on Sharapova, but also on Pennetta, who was potentially in her last match, unless she could take at least a set off the former champion.


For a time it looked like we would see just that – Pennetta started with a break and stayed steady until around the middle of the set, when Sharapova kicked up a notch to get the break back.


Many had thought she could take a set off Sharapova, having won the last three matches over her including at Indian Wells this year. But once more when the momentum was with Sharapova, she was not going to relinquish it in a hurry as she quickly dominated the second set, winning 7-5, 6-1.


As the sun set on Pennetta’s career, it was a quick exit as she declined an on court ceremony after a hug at the net with Sharapova, who finishes top of the group with Radwanska second.


Pennetta explained her rapid departure: “I’m happy to have the chance to play this tournament. I think to have the last match against Maria was amazing play such a good champion. Was a good way also to say good‑bye, because when you lose against such a good player there is not too many things to say.


“I don’t want any drama. I don’t like drama. I wasn’t able to do that, so I prefer maybe to do it in few months. I don’t know, maybe in Rome or wherever. But in that time ‑‑ I don’t like drama and I don’t like to cry, and I know if I was there I will cry. So why? No. (Laughter.)”


Pennetta spoke about what she’ll miss about playing the tour: “I think I will miss the players in a way it’s like a family. But I cannot tell you what I going to miss more than that.  I think also I will miss the competition.  When you go on the court, the central court, it’s something special.  I don’t think I will have it anymore. But in the other way, I am really happy to start a new part of life, new things.”


Sharapova had already qualified and knew that but did not know what the specific scenarios were as far as Pennetta was concerned.


She said: “I knew that I had qualified before my match, but I didn’t know about how the result of the match would change the standings or who would go in.       I knew if she would win she would go through. Other than that, I didn’t know the calculations exactly.


“I didn’t know in the last point that if I had won match in two that she was out, so it wasn’t something that I had thought about. But then it was mentioned to me after, right before I threw the balls up in the air that she was out.”


She continued: “Every match for me just counts at this point in the season in the last tournament. As I said before, I wanted to try to play a high‑quality three matches, and I didn’t know the results would have gone the way that I have expected.


“I’m actually, I think, also a little bit surprised that I’ve been able to win three matches, as physical as some of those matches were. I think knowing that I qualified allowed me to be a little bit more aggressive today. I thought I played quite aggressively in the second set and had a good ratio of winners and unforced errors, was quite solid. Served well.


“So all those things helped me. And also not playing a third set against Flavia, as we have done previously, is also a big help for me.”


Friday’s scenarios are a little less clean cut, but it would be a surprise not to see Garbiñe Muguruza mirror Sharapova with a clean sweep of wins, and few would begrudge Angelique Kerber her shot at getting out of the round robin stages for the first time.


With the Singapore Tennis Evening taking up the night’s festivities, play starts at 11am.

Ros Satar is in Singapore covering the WTA Finals as media for Tennis Panorama News. She is a British sports journalist covering tennis, and can also be found at Britwatch Sports.



Sharapova 2-0 with Win Over Halep, While Pennetta Notches First Win at WTA Finals

By Ros Satar

(October 27,2015) SINGAPORE- The aftermath of Monday night’s defeat at the WTA Finals in Singapore seemed to weigh heavy in the practice courts for Petra Kvitova, as certainly the first part of her training session revolved around some earnest and animated discussion on the side of her coach David Kotyza before they finally got to hitting (the ball, not each other).


Meanwhile Flavia Pennetta looked relaxed in her warm up and despite getting broken in her first game as she took to the court in the day session against Agnieszka Radwanska, she looked to be playing far more aggressively than she had against Simona Halep.


As you might come to expect from this pair, the use of angles, the entire court and lines was on full display as the pair matched each other, a break here, a recovery there before Pennetta edged the tiebreak 7-6(5).


There was a brief pause as the Italian had to get her ankle strapped after tweaking it in the first set, but she continued to look just that little bit sharper than Radwanska whose customary magic skills seemed to falter against the Italian, as she was edged out 7-6(5), 6-4.


Pennetta can appreciate what it must be like for Maria Sharapova to have come back after such a lengthy time off the tour, and to feel she may now have some momentum.


The Italian said: “The win she had against Radwanska the first match the first day was impressive. She play good. Of course she is healthy. She has this adrenaline because she was out for three or four months, something like that. When you come in the court after so long you are with a lot of energy. It’s going to be tough for sure. “


With her 500th tour win in the balance, and of course her chances of making the semifinals of the tournament, it was going to be a very nail-biting evening for Radwanska as her place in the tournament now depends on the outcome of the match between Simona Halep and Maria Sharapova. She would need Halep to lose to keep her hopes alive.


Coming out looking fierce, Halep responded to getting broken straight away by whipping straight back but a sloppy could games where she failed to her chances to go up another break cost her dear as some pleasing variety from Sharapova saw her break on a third set point for the first set.


The second set started in the same way with Sharapova making the first strike, but this time Halep was all at sea as Sharapova broke her again to leap out to a 5-1 lead. Those couple of months out might have accounted for a little serving-out rust as Halep ground back two breaks but just could not consolidate to stay in with a fighting chance, with Sharapova winning 6-4, 6-4.


Halep acknowledged that Sharapova’s level rises when they play, saying: “She played really well today, even if she didn’t play for a long time, since Wimbledon. Yeah she knows how to play. She’s a champion. She has experience. I can say I feel she’s playing really well against me always, but that’s tennis. I have to accept and to do things better.”


Sharapova expects another grueling and physical encounter in the final round robin match, and if Pennetta and Halep both win their matches in straight sets, Sharapova will be eliminated.


She said: “I’ve always been a player that goes into a match and I don’t seek perfection because I don’t know if that’s possible. At least I’ve never proven to myself that’s possible. You’re always going to make mistakes and errors.


Sometimes, and most of the time, I feel happier when I get through a match and I didn’t play my best tennis but found a way to win. That gives me a lot more confidence.”


The second round robin stage for the white group kicks off with the all-Czech encounter between Kvitova and Lucie Safarova, with the night-match focus falling on arguably the other favourite for the title, Garbiñe Muguruza.

Ros Satar is in Singapore covering the WTA Finals as media for Tennis Panorama News. She is a British sports journalist covering tennis, and can also be found at Britwatch Sports.


Muguruza and Kerber Win Their Opening Matches at WTA Finals in Singapore

Angelique Kerber

Angelique Kerber


By Ros Satar


(October 26, 2015) SINGAPORE –  It was the turn of the White Group to get underway in Singapore, after a high quality end to the opening day, as the two busiest stars opened the evening’s proceedings.


Garbine Muguruza may have looked sluggish and like an easy target in their doubles on Sunday where she and partner Carla Suárez Navarro lost to Lucie Safarova and Bethanie Mattek-Sands, but her steely focus was back in full effect as she sought to push for a break before the first change of ends, finally coming good on her fourth break point.


She went hunting for a double break cushion in a lengthy see-sawing game but had to wait until the end of the set to get her reward, breaking the Czech for a second time to seal the first set 6-3.


Safarova kicked into gear at the start of the second set, breaking Muguruza to start, as she built up a 3-1 lead. The Spaniard edged back on equal terms as the pair upped the quality of their play, pushing each other towards a tie-break.


It was a more aggressive start by Muguruza, as she built up a head of steam, leaving Safarova on the back foot. Even a couple of mini-breaks was not quite enough to put her back in contention, as Muguruza closed out with two breaks of the Safarova serve to claim her first singles win at the WTA Finals, 6-3, 7-6(4).


Despite the loss, Safarova was able to take some positives away, and of course lives to come back another day.


She said: “It was a good match today. She was serving very well and pressuring me. Was going for her shots. I think the difference maybe a lot in self‑confidence. Even in those key moments she remained very strong.”


She continued: “So I feel like I’m slowly back in my game, but of course you need the wins. So I will keep positive and keep fighting in the next matches.”


For Muguruza it was a dream start on what has been an outstanding year.


She told media, after the match: “Obviously to go there and play and win for the first time, it’s great. So I feel now more calm, more in the tournament.


“I just went here and maybe … she hasn’t played for maybe couple of weeks. But I definitely played good today, so I think that helped a lot. (Smiling.)”


The remaining lefties came right along to do battle next. In practice, Petra Kvitova had looked happy and relaxed, but it was Angelique Kerber who made the quickest adjustment to the court, swiftly breaking to establish a lead that Kvitova never looked close to eradicating.


Things looked more hopeful for the 2011 champion as she ground away at Kerber to break away for a 3-1 lead, before the pair traded breaks back and forth on their way to a tie-break. Once ahead, Kerber hung on to grab the victory 6-2, 7-6(3).


For a match that promised so much, Kvitova could only acknowledge Kerber’s late burst of form at the tail end of the year.


She said: “I know that she’s a great player. She’s very good mover and fighter as well, so I know it’s going to be difficult. I think in the second set it was kind of the fight finally.


“I was trying what I can in the moment. I expect for sure difficult match. She play really good swing in Asia. I just knew it’s going to be good match. I didn’t really play the best in the first set, but I was trying to do something a little bit better in the second.”


It was a satisfied Kerber who took to the platform – but surprisingly may have also been gearing up for the long haul. She admitted: “I was a little bit nervous before I went on court, but I was actually trying to just play my game plan and it works.


“The second set was like a little bit close and was up and downs. Yeah, but I played the tiebreak at the end very good, so that was the key for the match at the end.”


Agnieszka Radwanska gets the singles program underway on Tuesday against Flavia Pennetta, with the evening match set for another epic encounter between top seed Simona Halep and Maria Sharapova.


Ros Satar is a British sports journalist covering tennis, and can also be found at Britwatch Sports.


WTA Finals – Sharapova Rallies While Halep Dominates in Opening Wins

By Ros Satar

(October 25, 2015) SINGAPORE –

Simona Halep [1] d Flavia Pennetta [7]

Halep fist pump-001

Any doubts over Halep’s fitness was dispelled pretty much in an instant (well, at least in the first 25 minutes) as the Romanian scampered around as well as she has ever done, to wrap up the first set over the last Slam title winner of the year in just 25 minutes without dropping a game.


Halep, who has struggled in the past with the variety and finesse that an on-form Pennetta has to offer, could seemingly do nothing wrong in the first set, as Pennetta struggled to find any way into the match.


The second set saw a lot more attacking play from the Italian as Halep maybe faltered ever so slightly, not quite finding the lines but having no trouble with the wide open space behind them.


But Pennetta admitted that she just was not on point to take her chances today as Halep set down a marker that her run to the finals last year was no fluke.


She admitted: “The second set was much better. I was trying to find something more, to be more aggressive, and I was more close and I have my chance. I didn’t make it.”


Of course the beauty of the round robin format is you live to fight another day. While Pennetta has been to the season ending finals before, winning with doubles partner Gisela Dulko in 2010, this was her first (and of course last) shot at the singles.


“I think I have to recover a little bit, to have more energy, to be more aggressive, and that’s going to be my goal for the next match for sure.”


For the Romanian – if she can keep up that level of aggression, she will be targeting her first win over Maria Sharapova.


She said: “I was well‑prepared and I knew how to play against her. I was expecting that she’s going to play the same like in US Open, and I knew how to adapt the game. So I was solid. I was smart‑aggressive, I can say. I didn’t use overpower. I just opened the court and I tried to finish the point.”


Halep started quickly last year, stunning Serena Williams in the round-robin stages before succumbing in the final on her debut. She admitted that last year she was just happy to be there, but if she plays throughout the early stages like she did today, she has to be a favourite to win at the end of next Sunday.



Maria Sharapova [3] d Agnieszka Radwanska [5] 4-6 6-3 6-4

Sharapova gets ready to serve

If Halep was speedy, we knew we were in for the long haul as Maria Sharapova and Agnieszka Radwanska embarked upon games that were almost half as long as the first set of Halep/Pennetta.


Sharapova looked to be a little rusty – something that she probably expected having not gotten through a full match since her semifinal defeat by Serena Williams this summer at Wimbledon. Fist-pumping battling, it was left to Radwanska to pull out the ninja tricks with some outstanding shot-making to keep herself in contention as they both had their chances to make a break, neither being able to convert.


After a quick start in the second set by Sharapova, they seemed to be back to their old dueling ways as Radwanska righted the ship to get back on the board at 1-3. But by now the bit was between the Russian’s teeth as she leveled the match to set up a decider, and more importantly to answer the question about how match-ready she was.


The first advantage in the decider went to Sharapova in a hold just shy of 14 minutes followed by a break to put Radwanska firmly on the back foot. By now looking spent, it was as much as she could do to stay in contention as Sharapova faltered once after breaking to serve out the match for the first time, before finally grinding out the win, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.


Radwanska had to admit this was the one that got away, after the match: “I think she is just kind of player that even that she didn’t play for couple months, she’s always ready to play matches and always in shape to play really good match.


“I think we always playing three hours match in Championships, so I’m not surprised.


“I think it was really good match. I didn’t really use my chances. Couple of off games that I just slip away a little bit.”


“Even when you lose you have chances to go for it. Of course no easy matches here, so I’ll be very happy to play the same tennis that I was playing today and we’ll see.”


For Sharapova, the relief of having completed her first match since July was palpable.


She explained: “I’ve had a lot of starts and stops, and I was just really thrilled that despite not playing these last few months and not playing my best tennis, I was facing an opponent that obviously deserved a spot in tournament and has had a really great last few months, and I just felt like I was able to take myself to another level physically, which I didn’t exactly expect that I would be able to.


“I know we have pretty long ones. I know a lot of you look forward to them. I do, too. I really do enjoy playing against her. I feel like those are some of the matches that I like to watch on TV, when different styles of games clash against each other. Becomes that bit of a cat and mouse game.”


Play will continue on Monday with both Garbiñe Muguruza taking on Lucie Safarova in the evening session, followed by Petra Kvitova and Angelique Kerber.


Ros Satar is a British sports journalist covering tennis, and can also be found at Britwatch Sports.


All Access at the WTA Finals

The 2015 BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global returns to Singapore for the second consecutive year with the top women competing for $7 million in prize money from October 23 to November 1. This year's singles field poses with the Billie Jean King Trophy in front of the National Gallery Singapore. Left to Right: Flavia Pennetta (Italy), Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland), Maria Sharapova (Russia), Simona Halep (Romania), Garbiñe Muguruza (Spain), Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic), Angelique Kerber (Germany) and Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic). Credit: Getty Images.

The 2015 BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global returns to Singapore for the second consecutive year with the top women competing for $7 million in prize money from October 23 to November 1. This year’s singles field poses with the Billie Jean King Trophy in front of the National Gallery Singapore. Left to Right: Flavia Pennetta (Italy), Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland), Maria Sharapova (Russia), Simona Halep (Romania), Garbiñe Muguruza (Spain), Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic), Angelique Kerber (Germany) and Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic). Credit: Getty Images.

By Ros Satar


(October 24, 2015) SINGAPORE – With the draw out of the way, it was time for the stars of this year’s WTA Finals to meet the press, after a week of frenzied calculations of who may or may not make the cut.


With World No. 1 Serena Williams’ absence, the field is possibly one of the most open in recent times, with an all-European cast, with three debutantes (Garbiñe Muguruza, Flavia Pennetta and Lucie Safarova), and a frenetic sprint to the finish for the last spots.

Kvitova bh-001

First up on the scene was Petra Kvitova, who clinched the title on her debut in 2011. It has been an up and down year for the Czech, who still has the Fed Cup final to go before she can call time on her season.


Kvitova took the brave move to take a couple of months off the spring hard-court swing, citing exhaustion and later it emerged she had been struggling with mononucleosis so to qualify for the WTA Finals was an achievement worth smiling about.


She said: “To qualify again after what was a tough year for me, I’m really satisfied that I made it again. In the beginning of the year if somebody told me that I’m going to qualify, I’m not really going to believe them. I hope that next year will be a bit boring.”


The fourth seed heads up a trio of lefties that have all wound up in the White Group, and felt that despite the lack of the World No. 1, the field was ready to put on a good show.


“I know that we are missing Serena. I think she needed the time off so it’s good for her. Of course she is a great champion and probably for many people she is one of the greatest player. So they are probably a little bit sad she isn’t here.


“But I think it’s still a great draw and a great two groups. I think you’re going to see great tennis from everyone here.”


Simona Halep

Simona Halep

Top seed Simona Halep is thankfully out of the leftie group, but has the challenge of Maria Sharapova in hers and feels ready to tackle the 2004 champion and get her first win over her.


Halep said: “I never beat her, but maybe I will have the chance here. I just want to play match by match, everyone is playing tough here. We are the best eight players in the world so every match is like a final. I have nothing to lose. I have no expectations.”


Halep stunned Williams last year in the Round Robin stages before meeting her again in the final, on her debut last year. With three players making their debut this year, she felt like the field could be wide open this year.


She continued: “A few players are coming very strong. Muguruza – she’s coming very strong. She’s strong, she’s a strong player. She can win many matches, many important tournaments, Radwanska, is coming back again. She’s playing well, Pennetta won US Open, for the first time.


“So of course she will give everything she has because she said she’s going to retire so she has nothing to lose anymore. It’s my second year playing the WTA Finals so I have nothing to lose too because last year I had great result. So I think everyone can win the title.”


Agniezska Radwanska

Fifth seed Agnieszka Radwanska is another player who has had a tough year, but in a spurt towards the end of the year picked up pace to qualify fifth for the WTA Finals.


“Of course, beginning of the year was tough. To be honest, I didn’t really change much. I was practicing the same. It’s just during the matches, something didn’t work. I couldn’t really play my best game during the matches.


“[The] grass court season I think gave me much more confidence on court. That was kind of a click out there. I was playing much better, feeling much better on court than beginning of the year. It was still not too late to be here, to make much more points in the second part of the season.”



The wait was possibly more nail-biting for Angelique Kerber, who was relying on the results of others to make the cut.


“You know, of course it’s better if you have it in your hands. But at the end, I was waiting and watching a little bit on the live score how the other is playing.


“At the end I did everything I could this year to be here. Of course, I’m proud that I qualified at the end. It was I think the most toughest and closest to qualify at the end.”


For Muguruza – it is her singles debut, having made the doubles event here last year, and she will be contesting both this year. Since winning her highest profile tournament to date in Beijing, she has been in Singapore preparing for this tournament, and the challenges of playing both the singles and doubles.


“I think is very tough to play singles and doubles, especially when you are really in high rankings because every match you play, you really need to be 100%. Obviously playing singles and doubles makes you more tired. You have to spend more hours in the side practicing, talking and thinking. But I enjoy playing doubles with Carla (Suarez Navarro). We said two years ago, Carla, let’s play doubles and see what happens.


“We are playing Masters again, it’s amazing. I think it helps me a lot, doubles, as a better player, to learn things. So far I’m enjoying singles and doubles, but it’s hard, really hard.”


Flavia Pennetta

Flavia Pennetta

After Flavia Pennetta triumphed in New York, winning her maiden slam and then announcing this would be her last year in tennis, she acknowledged that once she had a chance to make the cut, she would fight for it.


But she was very clear – this is her final tournament as a player, and while she emphatically shut down the thought of becoming a coach to at least a senior player, the thought of perhaps shaping how stars of the future are made appealed.


She said: “That thing is going to be something that I like to do, more to just explain them how it is the life. I mean, now I feel there is a lot of pressure [on] the young children to become champions. I think there is a right time for everything.


“They need to be a child. They need to have fun. They don’t have to be professional at 10 years old. I mean, they have so much time in the life. Why to rush too much? Now I think they are really push from the sponsor, from the family, from everyone. Before was more relaxing everything. Now they want it too much, so early.”


Lucie Safarova

Lucie Safarova

In fact Pennetta is not the only player who has found success a little later in her career, with Lucie Safarova joining the cast of players this year, following her run to the final of the French Open.


“I’ve been improving through last couple years already. I’ve been climbing the rankings. It hasn’t been as fast as some other players jump there. But the more I really enjoy it, I’m thankful for it.”


She will be partnering Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the doubles.


Pride of place in terms of the day’s procession of players was 2004 champion Maria Sharapova. One of only two players here who won on their debut, it has been an up and down year for the Russian, who battled with injury throughout the US hard court season and only took to the court after Wimbledon for the first time in Wuhan, where she had to retire in her opening match.


Sharapova might avoid the ‘group of lefties’ but with little match play and even with no nemesis Williams in the mix, and the prospect of the Fed Cup final ahead, there are plenty of challenges enough this week in Singapore.


She said: “Considering I haven’t played much, it doesn’t change much for me. I think, as I said before, it’s not so much who I’m playing against or what my record is than it is about me being out there and staying healthy and working my way through the matches.


“I feel there’s definitely been a big mix of a few players that have done extremely well at certain times of the year and not so in other parts of the year. Besides Serena, the consistency has been lacking, that’s for sure.


“Of course, there are definitely names that have been around, a younger generation that we always believed would come through, is proving to show that. There are also players that have had great potential around my age that have come through and done extremely well, and even older. There’s been a mix of everything this year.”


Sharapova will be part of the opening day’s line-up, playing on the opening night against Radwanska. Earlier in the day the WTA Rising Stars final will take place, and will be followed by Halep v Pennetta.


Monday’s schedule will see Muguruza kick off the White Group matches against Safarova while Kvitova and Kerber take the night match honours.


Play on Sunday begins at 11am with Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Safarova v Muguruza/Suárez Navarro.


Ros Satar is a British sports journalist covering tennis, and can also be found at Britwatch Sports.


Top Two Seeds Halep and Kvitova Out of China Open

Halep 2182015-001

(October 4, 2015) Top seed Simona Halep of Romania retired from her match with a left Achilles injury while No. 2 seed Petra Kvitova lost to Sara Errani at the China Open on Sunday in Beijing.

No. 2 Halep retired against Spain’s Lara Arruabarrena at 4-5 in the first set. There were three other retirements in women’s matches on the day.

“I have pain in my Achilles,” the Romanian said. “It’s getting worse. I thought that it’s getting better and I can play. But no. I don’t want to force (it).

“It’s a tough injury because always is dangerous to continue with the tendon. So, yeah, I hope just to recover and to be healthy soon.” She had the same injury in 2011.

“My first thought is just to be healthy,” Halep said when asked about competing at the WTA Finals in Singapore. “Of course, every tournament is important. But the most important thing is to be okay, to feel no pain, and then I will see.

“I hope I can play in Singapore. Was my goal for this year. I will see. I need treatment and I need break, for sure.”

“I think all the players in the end of the year are a little bit tired. It’s tough to manage these situations,” she said.

“If you want to be in the top, you have to work hard and to be getting better year by year, you know, as soon as you can.”

No. 4 seed Agnieszka Radwanska moved on when Coco Vandeweghe retired after the first set.

“Well, I knew she retired last week,” Radwanska said. “But, you know, every week it’s different story, different tournament.

“I was prepared for whole match. We played couple times before that. So I knew what to do on court.

“But maybe still going on something with her health. I think we have to ask her.”

“I think this is the end of the year. Not everybody is fresh at the moment,” the Pole responding to a questions about the day’s retirements. “I think really that’s the main reason.

“Well, I think that’s what happen in Asia pretty much.”

Sara Errani of Italy had the upset of the day knocking out second-seeded Petra Kvitova 7-5, 6-4.

“I never beat her, so I know was a really tough match,” Errani. “Of course, she’s a really good player.”

and Sloane Stephens of the United States defeated ninth-seeded Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-2.

Errani said that the difference in the match was just a few points. “I just tried to stay there every point, solid, without too many mistakes. It’s my game.

“She hit the ball really strong, so I just tried to make her play one shot more.”

Kvitova who was a finalist at the China Open last year felt that she was not ready.

“Of course the loss is always disappointing,” Kvitova said. “I really wanted to win and kind of qualify for Singapore here. But I just wasn’t really able to.

“You know, it was kind of game which I really had to be ready physically and mentally and everything, and I just wasn’t.

“I just think it was kind of the case, I couldn’t really serve in the second set as well. I didn’t really help with anything. She (was) going for the chance. It was kind of difficult.”

“I’m kind of sleepy all day long. It’s just weird,” Kvitova said.

Singles – First Round

[Q] L. Arruabarrena (ESP) d [1] S. Halep (ROU) 54 Retired (Left ankle injury)
S. Errani (ITA) d [2] P. Kvitova (CZE) 75 64
[3] F. Pennetta (ITA) d [WC] X. Han (CHN) 75 46 64
[4] A. Radwanska (POL) d C. Vandeweghe (USA) 63 00 Retired (Left ankle injury)
[7] C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) d L. Tsurenko (UKR) 63 00 Retired (Right elbow injury)
[8] C. Wozniacki (DEN) d [Q] B. Jovanovski (SRB) 62 64
S. Stephens (USA) d [9] K. Pliskova (CZE) 63 62
[16] E. Svitolina (UKR) d [Q] Y. Putintseva (KAZ) 75 62
[Q] B. Mattek-Sands (USA) d A. Cornet (FRA) 63 63
A. Van Uytvanck (BEL) d A. Schmiedlova (SVK) 62 64
[Q] I. Falconi (USA) d D. Gavrilova (RUS) 75 26 64
M. Barthel (GER) d [WC] S. Zhang (CHN) 63 62
[Q] K. Bondarenko (UKR) d B. Strycova (CZE) 63 62
D. Cibulkova (SVK) d J. Jankovic (SRB) 61 16 63
A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) d J. Goerges (GER) 62 64
[Q] M. Puig (PUR) d Z. Diyas (KAZ) 64 00 Retired (Left lower leg injury)
[Q] M. Duque-Mariño (COL) d T. Pironkova (BUL) 63 63
C. Garcia (FRA) d [WC] S. Zheng (CHN) 62 62

Doubles – First Round

J. Goerges (GER) / K. Pliskova (CZE) d [7] R. Kops-Jones (USA) / A. Spears (USA) 76(5) 36 10-6
[WC] C. Liang (CHN) / Y. Wang (CHN) d B. Bencic (SUI) / B. Strycova (CZE) 46 61 11-9
L. Kichenok (UKR) / N. Kichenok (UKR) d [WC] S. Kuznetsova (RUS) / S. Stosur (AUS) 64 26 10-8
G. Dabrowski (CAN) / A. Rosolska (POL) d A. Medina Garrigues (ESP) / A. Parra Santonja (ESP) 63 46 10-8

ATP – [8] J. Tsonga (FRA) vs A. Haider-Maurer (AUT)

Not Before 2:30 pm
WTA – [13] A. Petkovic (GER) vs E. Bouchard (CAN)
WTA – [11] B. Bencic (SUI) vs M. Brengle (USA)

Not Before 7:30 pm
ATP – V. Troicki (SRB) vs [5] M. Raonic (CAN)

Not Before 9:00 pm
WTA – S. Kuznetsova (RUS) vs S. Stephens (USA)

LOTUS COURT start 12:30 pm
WTA – A. Van Uytvanck (BEL) vs [15] R. Vinci (ITA)

Not Before 2:30 pm
ATP – [7] D. Goffin (BEL) vs A. Seppi (ITA)
ATP – [Q] D. Istomin (UZB) vs [WC] Ze. Zhang (CHN)

Not Before 6:30 pm
WTA – [4] A. Radwanska (POL) vs M. Barthel (GER)

MOON COURT start 12:30 pm
WTA – S. Stosur (AUS) vs M. Niculescu (ROU)
WTA – [Q] K. Bondarenko (UKR) vs [14] M. Keys (USA)
WTA – [7] C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) vs [Q] M. Puig (PUR)
WTA – [16] E. Svitolina (UKR) vs A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS)

COURT 3 start 12:30 pm
WTA – M. Lucic-Baroni (CRO) vs I. Begu (ROU)
ATP – F. Fognini (ITA) vs M. Klizan (SVK)
ATP – [Q] A. Bedene (GBR) vs L. Rosol (CZE)
ATP – I. Karlovic (CRO) / L. Kubot (POL) vs D. Inglot (GBR) / R. Lindstedt (SWE)

COURT 4 start 12:30 pm
ATP – [1] J. Rojer (NED) / H. Tecau (ROU) vs E. Butorac (USA) / S. Lipsky (USA)
WTA – Y. Xu (CHN) / S. Zheng (CHN) vs L. Arruabarrena (ESP) / A. Klepac (SLO)
WTA – After suitable rest – [8] A. Hlavackova (CZE) / L. Hradecka (CZE) vs I. Begu (ROU) / M. Niculescu (ROU)
WTA – After suitable rest – K. Jans-Ignacik (POL) / A. Rodionova (AUS) vs G. Muguruza (ESP) / C. Suárez Navarro (ESP)
ATP – [Q] J. Knowle (AUT) / O. Marach (AUT) vs [2] M. Matkowski (POL) / N. Zimonjic (SRB)

COURT 8 start 12:30 pm
WTA – C. Chuang (TPE) / S. Hsieh (TPE) vs [5] C. Garcia (FRA) / K. Srebotnik (SLO)
WTA – G. Dabrowski (CAN) / A. Rosolska (POL) vs [2] B. Mattek-Sands (USA) / E. Vesnina (RUS)
WTA – [6] H. Chan (TPE) / Y. Chan (TPE) vs [WC] A. Cornet (FRA) / M. Linette (POL)
ATP – J. Sock (USA) vs T. Gabashvili (RUS)




British Qualifier Johanna Konta Stuns No. 2 Simona Halep at Wuhan Open

Johanna Konta_270915

(September 30, 2015) British qualifier Johanna Konta earned herself a thrilling 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 win over top seed and current World No.2 Simona Halep at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open on Wednesday.

Konta came from 1-5 down in the third set to tee up a quarter-final on Thursday against Venus Williams and said afterwards that playing the American would be “kind of a childhood dream”.

“She (Halep) is No. 2 for a reason, and that is an incredibly humbling experience for me, that I can compete with such a player,” said 24-year-old Konta. “But in terms of the result, I’m just really happy I get to come back tomorrow and play against someone like Venus. It’s actually a bit of childhood dream I guess. I grew up watching Venus.  So as a child, I’m like, Wow.  But as a competitor now, I’m just looking forward to the challenge.”

Williams was too strong for Carla Suarez-Navarro in their third round encounter. “We’ve had some great matches, and when I play her I always have to stay concentrated because she’s a great competitor who’s always played well against me,” said Williams. “It’s not just her single handed backhand, she just hits it so well. I was lucky because she missed a few today and gave me some openings.”

Roberta Vinci is keep up her form which saw her reach the US Open final earlier this month. She knocked out Wuhan’s defending champion Petra Kvitova with a 76(3) 62 and takes on Karolina Pliskova in Thursday’s quarter-finals.

Wimbledon finalist Garbine Muguruza earned her quarter-final spot with a 46 61 60 comeback win against Ana Ivanovic and can now look forward to a last eight meeting with Anna Schmeidlova of Slovakia on Thursday.

Angelique Kerber wasted no time in dispatching Camila Giorgi and will be up against Coco Vandeweghe in the quarter-finals.

Singles – Third Round
[Q] J. Konta (GBR) d [1] S. Halep (ROU) 63 36 75
[15] R. Vinci (ITA) d [3] P. Kvitova (CZE) 76(3) 62
[5] G. Muguruza (ESP) d [9] A. Ivanovic (SRB) 46 61 60
[6] A. Kerber (GER) d C. Giorgi (ITA) 62 64
V. Williams (USA) d [7] C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) 63 64
[8] K. Pliskova (CZE) d [12] E. Svitolina (UKR) 26 64 64
A. Schmiedlova (SVK) d K. Mladenovic (FRA) 64 62
C. Vandeweghe (USA) d B. Strycova (CZE) 36 62 76(3)

Doubles – Second Round
I. Begu (ROU) / M. Niculescu (ROU) d [3] C. Garcia (FRA) / K. Srebotnik (SLO) 62 62
[5] R. Kops-Jones (USA) / A. Spears (USA) d X. Han (CHN) / N. Melichar (USA) 46 61 10-7
[6] A. Hlavackova (CZE) / L. Hradecka (CZE) d C. Dellacqua (AUS) / A. Tomljanovic (CRO) walkover
[7] G. Muguruza (ESP) / C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) d A. Kudryavtseva (RUS) / O. Savchuk (UKR) 76(3) 62

CENTRE COURT start 11:00 am
[6] A. Hlavackova (CZE) / L. Hradecka (CZE) vs G. Dabrowski (CAN) / A. Rosolska (POL)

Not Before 1:00 pm
[15] R. Vinci (ITA) vs [8] K. Pliskova (CZE)
[5] G. Muguruza (ESP) vs A. Schmiedlova (SVK)

Not Before 6:30 pm
[Q] J. Konta (GBR) vs V. Williams (USA)
[6] A. Kerber (GER) or C. Giorgi (ITA) vs C. Vandeweghe (USA) or B. Strycova (CZE)

COURT 1 start 1:00 pm
[1] M. Hingis (SUI) / S. Mirza (IND) vs K. Jans-Ignacik (POL) / A. Rodionova (AUS) 12
after suitable rest – J. Goerges (GER) / K. Pliskova (CZE) vs A. Medina Garrigues (ESP) / A. Parra Santonja (ESP)
after suitable rest – [1] M. Hingis (SUI) / S. Mirza (IND) or K. Jans-Ignacik (POL) / A. Rodionova (AUS) vs [5] R. Kops-Jones (USA) / A. Spears (USA)

COURT 4 start 1:00 pm
[4] H. Chan (TPE) / Y. Chan (TPE) vs L. Kichenok (UKR) / N. Kichenok (UKR) 54
after suitable rest – [7] G. Muguruza (ESP) / C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) vs I. Begu (ROU) / M. Niculescu (ROU)
after suitable rest – [4] H. Chan (TPE) / Y. Chan (TPE) or L. Kichenok (UKR) / N. Kichenok (UKR) vs J. Goerges (GER) / K. Pliskova (CZE) or A. Medina Garrigues (ESP) / A. Parra Santonja (ESP)


In Her Own Words – Roberta Vinci

Roberta Vinci


Friday, September 11, 2015

Roberta Vinci

Press Conference

R. VINCI/S. Williams

2-6, 6-4, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Something big happened today. Congratulations.

Q. You had a little bit of time to let it sink in. What are the emotions?
ROBERTA VINCI: I didn’t realize now yet, but it’s amazing. It’s like a dream.

I’m really happy, but of course I’m a little bit really sad for Serena because she’s incredible player, No. 1, almost career — all the Grand Slams.

But what I have to say? I’m happy. I don’t know. It’s tough to explain my emotion right now. Maybe tomorrow morning I can tell you something, but now it’s amazing. It’s magic moment for me. You work so hard for a long time, and it’s incredible. Tomorrow final.

Q. Was there any moment, as you served for the match, that you thought about the slam and Serena?
ROBERTA VINCI: Well, at the end, yes. At the end when I made a break, 4-3, and serve, I was a little bit scare. My arms was like (demonstrating shaking.) I’m not joking. And I said — on my mind I say that I’m 4-3 and serve in semifinal against Serena. So almost to the final US Open.

So, yes, sometimes. But in my mind, I say, Don’t think about this, because maybe you have more pressure. Stay calm, relax, and breathe during every single points. Don’t think that you have Serena on the other side of the court.

Try to enjoy. Enjoy. You are in semifinal in the big stadium with a lot of public, so try to take all the positive emotion of this game.

Q. How tight or nervous did you think she was?

Q. In the third set?
ROBERTA VINCI: I think a lot.

Q. A lot?
ROBERTA VINCI: Yeah. She broke one racquet at the end of the second set when I won the second set, and also she make two double faults in I think 3-All, Love-15. I don’t remember, but two.

And on my mind, I say, Think about this. She’s nervous. So try to keep it and fight every single point.

Q. She did not want to talk about disappointment, but she was happy to talk about how well you played. She said you played the match of your life. Was that the match of your life?
ROBERTA VINCI: (Nods head.) (Shrugging.) I think so. Yeah, this is the best match that I played on my life, yeah.

Q. When you were in your post game on the court and you were saying, Sorry, guys, the crowd really seemed to embrace you. They seemed to be having as much fun as you were. What were your thoughts then?
ROBERTA VINCI: Yeah, sorry. A lot of public for her, but it’s normal. Semifinal, almost to complete all Grand Slams. She deserved to win. She’s the No. 1.

So I was a little bit sorry for this because for me she cannot reach on the Grand Slam. So that’s it. That’s a lot of public for her. But the crowd was amazing, also.

Also, for me at the end, a lot of — I don’t know this. Was nice.

Q. The other day you almost forecasted this and said, There might be two Italians in the final. Now it’s real.

Q. Does it feel real yet?
ROBERTA VINCI: Yeah. (Smiling.) And tomorrow one Italian win for sure. (Laughter.) (Thumbs up.)

Q. I have one more question: today when you were playing you looked as if you were feeling that you knew no ball could ever get by you. You were willing to run after every ball. You were reading the ball before it was there. You had a real read on where her shots were going. You drove her nuts, really.
ROBERTA VINCI: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I play good today. (Laughter.) If you don’t play good you cannot win, against her especially.

So, yeah, tomorrow we will see. One Italian. It’s incredible moment, you know, but one Italian will win for sure.

Q. At what point in today’s match, when did you realize, Wait a minute, I can win this, I can beat her? When did you get that belief?
ROBERTA VINCI: Never. No, well, I say maybe 4-3-up, break, come on, come on, let’s do it.

But was always close, you know. So of course on my mind I say, Come on, come on. You can do it. You can do it.

But 5-3, 5-4 on my serve, she miss one — the first return. Whew. Three more points. You know.

And then I won. Well, I was 5-3 up, but I didn’t say on my mind, Okay, I won, because, okay, I lost this game and then I go to serve. She can break me, you know. She has a good return. She always push me a lot on the second serve.

But I won in the end. (Smiling.)

Q. Have you ever hit two half-volley winners the way you did on those last two points?
ROBERTA VINCI: The last two points? I don’t remember the last two points.

Q. You had two half-volley dropshots, a forehand and a backhand.
ROBERTA VINCI: One I remember with two hands. A little bit lucky. (Laughter.) And the other one, I don’t remember. Ah, match point? Yes, yes, I’m a good doubles player, you know. (Laughter.)

Q. In the third set Serena was showing a lot of emotion, really trying to get the crowd into it, and you were even smiling a little bit. What are you thinking?
ROBERTA VINCI: No, I just thinking that she was nervous. She was nervous. She’s trying to fight or try to take some energy, positive energy from the crowd.

But is normal.

Q. Did Flavia’s win give you an extra push? Did you think about it before going on the court and during the match? Flavia vinto, so…
ROBERTA VINCI: Si, si, si. No, no, no. In Italiano?

I saw some games of Flavia but I didn’t think that, Oh, she won, so maybe — no, no, no, I just stay focus for my game and think about Serena and about Flavia or Simona.

Q. Take us back 15, 16 years ago. You’re just coming on this tour. Did you ever dream about these kind of matches?
ROBERTA VINCI: No. Maybe not 15 years old, no. It’s incredible. It’s incredible.

I’m 32, almost at the end of my career, and then I make the first US Open final in Grand Slam. I didn’t expect this.

Q. In the third set you kind of pointed to yourself to get the crowd involved.

Q. Did that help you? Can you describe that moment?
ROBERTA VINCI: Yeah, because I won a great point and of course all the crowd was for her. And I say, Come on. One time for me. (Laughter.) That’s it.

Q. Doubles, Grand Slam in Australia, wondering if that experience helped you today.
ROBERTA VINCI: No, maybe not today, no. No, today — yeah, I won a lot of doubles, okay, Grand Slam, but today I played my game. On my mind I said, I have nothing to lose. Enjoy your game. You play against Serena.

No, but about the doubles, can’t ask me today. No.

Q. So you said you’re 32 years old. Very, very old woman. (Laughter.) You’re unseeded, and yet you did what no one’s been able to do in something over 30 matches against the mighty Serena. Talk about how it is.
ROBERTA VINCI: Well, I feel good right now. I can maybe touch the sky with my finger. (Pointing to the sky.)

It’s tough to explain, because I don’t have many — maybe also in Italian the words that can I explain really, because it’s amazing.

Maybe if yesterday told me, Okay, tomorrow you can win against Serena, I say, Come on. Yesterday I called my travel agency to say, Okay, book me a flight, because you know… (Laughter.)

And then now I have my final tomorrow. So it’s incredible, yeah.

Q. So what is the word in Italian, one word in Italian, that would most express?
ROBERTA VINCI: A word in Italian. Indescrivibile. Non lo so.

Q. So you had a flight booked to go home?
ROBERTA VINCI: No, no, no, tomorrow. Because I played on second I don’t want to do quick. So, okay, I lost today against Serena and tomorrow I will go home.

Q. What time was your flight scheduled for tomorrow?
ROBERTA VINCI: Um, 10:00 in the night. So maybe I can… (Laughter.) Maybe I can, eh?

Q. Talking a little tennis now, you were winning so many points at the net. You’re a great volleyer, doubles. Was there ever a time you thought, I’m going to serve and go in, but you didn’t?
ROBERTA VINCI: Yeah, sometimes I tried to do the serve and volley, but she was always — she was always aggressive. My serve today was a little bit up and down, not so good sometimes.

Especially on the second serve. On my second serve, I had a lot of problem, because I saw her really…

Q. On top of you?
ROBERTA VINCI: Yeah, at the net, really.

So I said, Okay, if I don’t make a good second serve, she always push me a lot. So was tough.

But sometimes I change. Not always kick, but sometimes some slice on her forehand. Was not easy.

Q. Next time you see Serena what will you say to her?
ROBERTA VINCI: No. I go like this. (Hiding face with hand.) No, no, I’m joking. What I have to say? She’s the No. 1. Doesn’t matter if she lost me, if she lost to me today. For me, she’s the very best right now. She’s an incredible player. She won a lot of tournaments, Grand Slam. For me, yeah, she’s the No. 1.

Q. You touched upon a couple of times the fact that an Italian will certainly win tomorrow. I’d like you to elaborate on what it means to be playing in the final with Flavia.
ROBERTA VINCI: What does it mean to play? Yeah, will be a tough match for both tomorrow. I think a lot of pressure. But we know each other for a long time.

I played against her three or four years ago and I lost on the center court. I remember that I was completely scared, like a little bit blocked. I didn’t play. I didn’t play in that case.

So I hope that tomorrow — of course I will do my best. But I will like to play. To play, enjoy, enjoy and to play my game, and not so stressed or tight. Because it’s a finals. It’s normal. Come on. Enjoy. That’s it.

Q. What’s the biggest upset you remember in women’s tennis? How do you compare your third set?

Q. The biggest upset.
ROBERTA VINCI: Che cosa? Me? Mine?

Q. No…
ROBERTA VINCI: In general? Today. (Laughter.)

Q. Do you remember one from before? Do you remember one from before?
ROBERTA VINCI: No. Just today.

Q. Did Serena say anything to you at the net?

Q. Did Serena say anything to you?
ROBERTA VINCI: I don’t remember. I don’t want to say. She say, Congratulations; well done. But I was a little bit confused so I don’t want to say — I don’t want to tell you wrong.

Q. Thinking back on your career, is there anyone that you would want to dedicate this to that really helped you to get to this moment?
ROBERTA VINCI: Well, of course all my family, all the person that work with me for long time: my coach, my physio, everything, all my team. That’s it.

Q. You called it the best moment of your life on your on-court interview.
ROBERTA VINCI: No, is true, is true.

Q. It truly is the best moment of your life what occurred today?

Q. Considering that the US Open has Italian an coffee sponsor, have you had any of the coffee this year?
ROBERTA VINCI: No, no. I don’t understand. Sorry.

Q. The US Open has an Italian coffee sponsor.
ROBERTA VINCI: Lavazza? Coffee. I like so much coffee. (Laughter.) Really.

Q. Have you had any this year?
ROBERTA VINCI: Yes, in the restaurant. Yes. After. But I like macchiato. You know, a little bit of milk. Much better.

Q. With some milk?

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports


Note from the US Open Media Operations Guide as to why Tennis Panorama News is allowed to post transcripts:

Transcripts of player interviews cannot be posted until one (1) hour after the interview has ended. Player transcripts can only be posted on the website of the publication that was accredited.

In Their Own Words – Serena Williams, Flavia Pennetta and Simona Halep




Friday, September 11, 2015

Serena Williams

Press Conference

  1. VINCI/S. Williams2-6, 6-4, 6-4

    THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

    Q. How disappointed are you?
    SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t want to talk about how disappointing it is for me. If you have any other questions, I’m open for that.

    Q. How well did she play today?
    SERENA WILLIAMS: I thought she played the best tennis in her career. You know, she’s 33 and, you know, she’s going for it at a late age. So that’s good for her to keep going for it and playing so well.

    Actually, I guess it’s inspiring. But, yeah, I think she played literally out of her mind.

    Q. What wasn’t working from your side?
    SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t think I played that bad. I made more unforced errors than I normally would make, but I think she just played really well. She did not want to lose today. Neither did I, incidentally. But she really didn’t either.

    Q. You have been so adept at pulling yourself out of precarious positions throughout this run. Was there any moment where you said, I know I can do this? Was there a moment where you said, Maybe I can’t?

    Q. A lot of pressure for you…
    SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I told you guys I don’t feel pressure. I never felt pressure. I don’t know. I never felt that pressure to win here. I said that from the beginning.

    Q. You felt tight, though; is that fair?
    SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, I made a couple of tight shots, to be honest, but maybe just about two.

    But that, I think, is just for me in any normal match you make two tight shots. Other than that, I don’t think I was that tight.

    Q. Do you think there is a (photographer interference) of her game that made her different than your other opponents thus far in the Open?
    SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I have played everyone that came to the net this tournament. She had a couple of slice; everyone I played had slice.

    So, no.

    Q. How did you feel going into the third set? We have had so many three-set victories during this run. Did you still feel you were going to win the match going into the third or did you feel very different?
    SERENA WILLIAMS: Of course.

    Q. Third set looked like you were trying to fire yourself up so much and calm yourself down. Were you trying to find the equilibrium of where it worked for you as far as…
    SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I was just trying to win points at that match and win the match. Last questions?

    Q. How do you get over all — what’s the key to just forget about it?
    SERENA WILLIAMS: Anyone else want to ask a different question than that?

    Q. You said prior to the tournament you took so much happiness from the fact you did your second Serena slam.

    Q. Let’s focus on the positives. Is that where your head is at right now?
    SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, thank you. Like I said, I felt very happy to get that win at Wimbledon, you know. I did win three Grand Slams this year. Yeah, I won four in a row. It’s pretty good.

    Yeah, so it’s definitely the positive. Thank you.




Flavia Pennetta

Flavia Pennetta


Friday, September 11, 2015

Flavia Pennetta

Press Conference

  1. PENNETTA/S. Halep6-1, 6-3

    THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

    Q. That was a spectacular match.
    FLAVIA PENNETTA: Thanks. Thank you.

    Q. Talk about how happy you are with how well you played today and what that win means?
    FLAVIA PENNETTA: I mean, of course I’m really happy. I think I play really well from the beginning. In the second set, I just wait a little bit too much in the beginning of the second set waiting for her mistake and I didn’t push a lot like before.

    But really happy, because I was 3-1 down and I just starting again with what I had to do. Everything was working amazing today, so really pleased.

    Q. You said the other day after your last match that you just are surprised because you just didn’t expect to do so well. What’s come together for you in these two weeks that’s enabled you to get to a Grand Slam final, your first?
    FLAVIA PENNETTA: I mean, it’s amazing, because also 20 days ago my physio asked me if I was if I never think that I can win a Grand Slam or be in final of Grand Slam, and I say no. (Smiling.)

    I mean, for a lot of reason I think my answer was no, but like always say you never know. I mean, you just have to play and try your best, and the good things coming when you never expect most of the time.

    When you want too much something and you really like say this is the moment I have to do this and that, always it’s gonna be a big mess.

    Q. In what ways are you different during this tournament than in other majors that you have competed in?
    FLAVIA PENNETTA: I mean, I really like this tournament like always. It’s one of my best tournament. Always have a good feeling here when I play. The central court, it’s amazing. The atmosphere here is something I really like.

    I mean, also in the other tournament there are a good atmosphere, but here, I don’t know why I always play pretty good.

    Q. So why do you think it is that here you are in the final for the first time in a major?
    FLAVIA PENNETTA: Why? I don’t know. (Laughter.) I mean, there is no reason. The only reason, it’s because I am try to play all the time, try to give everything on court, and this was a good week for me.

    I mean, it’s really amazing the way I starting to play in the last three matches. Today was amazing, because the first match was not that good for me. I didn’t have this good feeling in court. I was fighting and try to get through the first round, but with not a good sensation, you know.

    But today I play really well. I mean, I didn’t make mistakes. I was focused. I was aggressive.

    The mistake I made was because I was trying something, I mean, not because I was scary. I just had two games where I was a little bit, Okay, thinking too much. But then I just try to don’t think, just play, and we will see what happen.

    Q. When you go to bed tonight, before you fall asleep and close your eyes, what do you think you’re going to see?
    FLAVIA PENNETTA: Hmmm. I don’t know. I can tell you how was this this night, I mean, how I sleep yesterday. I didn’t sleep really well. I was a little bit like changing the positions so many times. Try to, okay, relax, breathe. Because sometimes I was already awake all the time.

    You know, I was ready also at 3:00 in the morning. So just to say, Okay, it’s early. Just try to sleep a little bit more and just take the right position and sleep again. I mean, I was not in the nice sleep at all. But it’s okay. I mean, if this is the result, it’s perfect. (Laughter.) I hope to have the same every night.

    Q. I hope you get some sleep tonight.

    Q. A lot of people say Serena, it’s amazing that she is 33 and able to do this. You are also in your 30s. How are you able to train and to become a better player as you get older?
    FLAVIA PENNETTA: I mean, I always like to — for me sometime it’s easy to practice, to do this, I mean, to be really professional and practice, gym, tennis, physio, and this kind of thing, and it’s worse for me to compete sometimes.

    I mean, I can practice every day. It’s something I really love to do. Compete, it’s something I not always like. So for me, it’s just something I always used to be, always used to do. I mean, I practice since 10 years in Spain where they start with a lot of hours in the court. You just spend hours and hours training.

    For me, something it’s in my mind. It’s something that completely normal.

    Q. The other day you said that you actually like playing under the lights more at the US Open, but clearly you were relaxed out there today. Why were you so comfortable?
    FLAVIA PENNETTA: Today was not that sunny like the other day, so the shades was not that much.

    But when you play, you have to think it’s the same for me, for Simona, for Roberta, for Serena. I mean, it’s the same for everybody.

    It’s just the point where you want support all the things as they are coming, but it’s the same for everyone.

    Of course, if I have to choose, I prefer light. But if I don’t have any option, I play. That’s it.

    Q. How close were you actually to retiring a few years ago after the wrist?
    FLAVIA PENNETTA: Close. Really close. (Smiling.)

    Q. Why didn’t you?
    FLAVIA PENNETTA: Because was — was easy for me to still practice. Was easy for me to still traveling. Was easy to me doing this kind of life because it’s nice life. But sometimes it’s too much.

    So that’s why I’m still playing. Not for any other reason.

    Q. How much did that win last year in Indian Wells give you the belief that you could compete at the top level again? And I’m also curious, do you believe you’re drawing any experience from Indian Wells making a run at a big tournament like New York?
    FLAVIA PENNETTA: Well, I think Indian Wells was a really a nice moment for me because it’s coming also completely in the moment where I never expect something like that.

    But the way I played, the way I always fight in the court is still the same. Sometimes I can play better; sometimes I can play not like this, not that good.

    But I am still the same player. I mean, I’m try to be positive all the time. Sometimes I have a bad moment like everyone. I mean, I’m a tennis player, but I’m also person. So I think everyone has — the moon, is going up and down, no?

    I mean, of course was really important to win something like Indian Wells.

    Q. Serena has just taken the first set. The match isn’t over, but pretty good chance you’re going to be out there…
    FLAVIA PENNETTA: Against Serena?

    Q. Well, yeah. It’s a pretty good chance.
    FLAVIA PENNETTA: I mean, you never know. They are still fighting and they are still playing.

    Q. But with all she has at stake with the Grand Slam and so forth, just talk about the anticipation of that match.
    FLAVIA PENNETTA: I mean, it’s going to be amazing for her to do something like that, and it’s going to be amazing for me to win this tournament. But we’re gonna have of course a different way, because she is a big champion. I mean, we cannot compare each other.

    But it’s gonna be nice to be on court, to be playing maybe against her or maybe against Roberta. I mean, it’s going to be anyway you have a chance to do something amazing. You have the moment you always expect. I mean, when you are a child and you thinking, What do you want to do? I want to win a Grand Slam. Okay, nice.

    Or I want to be in the final or I want to be No. 1. I mean, everyone has different goals. But for the moment, I don’t want to think too much about tomorrow. I mean, it’s something so special to be here now.

    I want to just feeling a little bit more for few hours, and then we’re gonna think about tomorrow.

    Q. But how would you describe Serena as a player and as an athlete?
    FLAVIA PENNETTA: Amazing. I mean, there is no word to say. I mean, she’s amazing. So powerful, so consistent. She’s still thereafter so many year, when some player like her, like Federer, like Nadal, like Djokovic, Maria, they have everything. They already have everything like a player, like a sportwoman, sportman. But they are still there. They still fight every day. They still have this attitude so positive all the time.

    So it’s something amazing, I think.

    Q. So when you see Serena on the court, what goes through your mind?
    FLAVIA PENNETTA: Maybe this is the good day for me. I always try to be positive when I go on court against her, because — I mean, I never beat her before. I have few chance, but it’s really tough to play against her.

    So I just thinking maybe it’s a good day for me. Maybe it’s the day where I can do that.

    But is the only thing you have to think when you play against her. If you go in court and thinking you don’t have chance, you’re gonna lose 6-Love, 6-Love for sure.

    Q. You said that as a child this was the moment that you expected. What did you dream? What did you expect when you were a child?
    FLAVIA PENNETTA: I mean, for me was I didn’t have a goal so high. I have to be honest. I mean, I always thinking I would like to play Rome, for sure, because when I was really young every year my mom and my dad bring me to see the tournament.

    So I grow up with Rome tournament, and the first year when I play there was amazing for me because it was something — it was my dream. Or I always want to play with Seles or Capriati because was somebody I really love to watch. I buy all the stuff of like all the dress of Seles, the Steffi racquet. I was look at them like amazing player, amazing people.

    So my goal was just to play Rome, to be a good Italian player. Not a good in the world, but in Italy, yeah.

    Q. Serena is such a big figure here in America. How well known, how celebrated is she in Italy?
    FLAVIA PENNETTA: She’s really famous in Italy. I mean, that was the question, right? I mean, wherever she go she gonna be someone really special. She never gonna be someone normal, I can say. She’s like Valentino Rossi. If you see Valentino here, it’s going to be tough don’t stop him and ask for a signing or a picture or a selfie or whatever.

    Q. I’m not sure she knows Valentino Rossi. Do you know him?
    FLAVIA PENNETTA: Vroom, vroom.

    Q. You said you came close to retiring. What specifically kept you from doing that? You know, what kept your head in the game?
    FLAVIA PENNETTA: Every year for me it’s — I start here and I don’t know if I gonna play the next year. I mean, during the last three or four years I have the same — the same — I don’t know how to say in English. My mind, it’s always like this (Indicating box.)

    Okay, we are gonna play. We start here, and then after US Open we’re gonna decide if I keep play or not.

    But in the last three years I just keep playing, because for me, it’s something I really love to do. I mean, I don’t see myself without tennis. It’s not easy for a player to I think take this decision and say, It’s over.

    It’s always like — it’s something I did since I was young, so I don’t know what else I can do. I don’t know what I like. This is the point. I mean, I don’t have time to know if I like something more. I have to discover everything. It’s like a new life completely.

    So sometimes it is the more scary thing, no? Because the life, it’s gonna change, but most of the time it changes better. I hope so.

    Q. You have said earlier you were describing your success today, that part of it was you can’t want it too much or you kind of make a mess out of it. Is that a fair assessment?

    Q. So going into tomorrow, is that going to be a factor for you to go out there and — obviously you want it very, very badly.
    FLAVIA PENNETTA: I mean, of course when you are here you want really badly something. In the other point, I don’t have nothing to lose. If I play against Serena I don’t have nothing to lose. If I play against Roberta, it’s going to be nice for everyone. Doesn’t matter who is gonna win. It’s going to be a big thing.

    Of course you want to win, but you gonna hug her if she gonna win. It’s amazing. Doesn’t matter. When you are at this point, nothing gonna change.

    Q. You lost to Serena here last year, but you beat Roberta two years ago. What are your thoughts on those two matches here?
    FLAVIA PENNETTA: Last year against Serena I think I play really good. I mean, that was my feeling when I finish the match. I mean, I play really good. She played better, much better.

    Against Serena it’s a little bit different from other player, because sometimes she don’t play really well but she has so many good things that doesn’t matter. She can keep winning.

    But there is a point where she decide, Okay, I cannot give her too much space, because if not, maybe I can lose. She knows that.

    So when she play with a player that a little bit she scary about, she always get on court, really, like, from the first match really aggressive.

    Q. Have you watched her this tournament?
    FLAVIA PENNETTA: Her? No. Not too much.

    FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports


Simona Halep

Simona Halep


Friday, September 11, 2015

Simona Halep

Press Conference

  1. PENNETTA/S. Halep6-1, 6-3

    THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

    Q. She played very, very well today. Do you feel you just ran into a player who was on top of her game? Was that your feeling on the match?
    SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, it’s true she play really well. She was strong. She was solid today. Actually, I didn’t play my best, but, you know, she deserved to win. She was better than me today. She had more energy. I can say she was better emotional than me.

    So I accept, and I’m looking forward for the next tournament.

    Q. Yourself, this is your best result here. I know it’s shortly after the loss, but can you take a lot of positives?
    SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, of course I take positive things. I have about 16 matches played in USA after my shit season, Roland Garros and Wimbledon. (Smiling.)

    So I’m happy with my results here. I’m happy that I could reach semifinals for first time in US Open. It’s the best Grand Slam this year.

    So I have no negatives. I just want to take a rest few days and to start again to play matches, tournaments, and, you know, to be like I was here: confident and with pleasure on court.

    Q. You were talking about emotions and Flavia maybe being better with emotions today. Did you feel flat today?

    Q. A little bit out of gas?
    SIMONA HALEP: I was flat. I was like in Wimbledon almost. Yeah, I was flat emotional and was very tough. I tried. It was better than Australian Open when I gave up during the match.

    Here I tried to find a way to play better, but I couldn’t.

    So it’s okay, and I have to just to go ahead.

    Q. Was it a result of basically the matches before, or do you have any explanation for why you were flatter today than you were before?
    SIMONA HALEP: I played many tough matches in USA this period, so is not easy to stay there like 100% every day. But of course because I played semifinals first time and, you know, I had emotions before the match, I felt them in my stomach. Wasn’t easy to go on court, but I don’t want to find excuses.

    Just it happened, and it’s normal. I can accept. She was better today. She played really well.

    Q. In your last match you said that when the rain came it was a very good time for you. You needed a bit of a break.
    SIMONA HALEP: Even the snow couldn’t help me today. (Laughter.)

    Q. But when last night got canceled, did you feel maybe even those extra few hours might have helped you a little bit? Maybe more rest would have helped you?
    SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, it’s tough to answer this question. Always I accept how it is. If yesterday was raining, I accept it and I said tomorrow I would be ready to play.

    I was ready. I practiced very well in the morning. But during the match is other things, so there are other things there. The pressure of the match is different.

    So couldn’t be there 100%, and that was it.

    Q. Somebody in this room the other day asked you about a quote from a previous tournament in which you said you were going to cheer for Serena. Do you remember?

    Q. Obviously not if you’re playing her, but you’re not. Will you watch the match tomorrow? Will you root for her to achieve what she’s trying to achieve?
    SIMONA HALEP: I’m not gonna watch the match. I’m going to rest and I’m going to shopping. It’s the best thing to do after this tournament.

    Was a great tournament. I say, Good luck. She can do it, also Serena good luck. Everyone is gonna win, will be a champion here, so it’s great for both of them.

    Q. And Flavia obviously is feeling very good about today’s match and her confidence in the tournament. Do you think she has the game to beat Serena?
    SIMONA HALEP: It’s tough against Serena always, because you never know. She can play like unbelievable and she can miss a few easy balls.

    But she’s a champion. She knows how to manage every situations. She has pressure because she has to do this Grand Slam.

    Of course every player has a chance against Serena. Serena is strong, but Pennetta today played really well. It will be a good match, I think.

    Q. There was a moment in the second set when you are 3-1 ahead, and your Romanian fans exploded there, hoping that you are able to turn the match around. What happened in that moment?
    SIMONA HALEP: Nothing. I lost five games in a row. (Smiling.) It was tough for me to keep playing at the high level. I heard them. I want to thank them for that.

    But was difficult for me to finish that set, to finish eight games in a row.

    Q. You played Flavia a few times. Was this the best you have ever seen her?
    SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, she played her best tennis with me today. Maybe I let her to play her best tennis. I didn’t put pressure on the game.

    But she was in a good shape and she felt the ball very well. She did good game, smart game.

    Q. North America you won all those matches and now going to Asia. What did you learn, I guess, in these three tournaments that you played?
    SIMONA HALEP: It’s tough now to say what I have learned, but I can say what I have now plus what I had — I didn’t have before. I have positive things in my head. I have a good game. I improved a lot in my forehand. My forehand is very solid now. I move better on court. I’m more relaxed.

    I can win the tough matches. I won few with top players, so I have confidence. I’m confident, and I’m looking forward for the next tournament. I know that I have the chance again to play my best tennis next tournament.

    So it was a good period here.


Note from the US Open Media Operations Guide as to why Tennis Panorama News is allowed to post transcripts:

Transcripts of player interviews cannot be posted until one (1) hour after the interview has ended. Player transcripts can only be posted on the website of the publication that was accredited.

Roberta Vinci Upsets Serena Williams to Reach US Open Final Against Italian Countrywoman Flavia Pennetta




(September 11, 2015) The quest for a calendar Grand Slam is over for Serena Williams. Italy’s Roberta Vinci, playing in her first major semifinal, kept her composure and the ball in play to rally past the world No. 1 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 to reach the US Open final.

The unseeded Italian ranked No 43 in the world stopped William’s unbeaten streak in majors for this year at 26. Coming into the match,  the 32-year-old Vinci had never even taken a set off Williams and was 0-4 against her.

Williams was up a break in the final set 2-0, but Vinci came back to win the match.

“At the end when I made a break, 4-3, and serve, I was a little bit scare(d). “My arms was like,” Vinci said pretending to shake, “I’m not joking. And I said — on my mind I say that I’m 4-3 and serve in semifinal against Serena. So almost to the final US Open.

“So, yes, sometimes. But in my mind, I say, Don’t think about this, because maybe you have more pressure. Stay calm, relax, and breathe during every single points. Don’t think that you have Serena on the other side of the court.

“Try to enjoy. Enjoy. You are in semifinal in the big stadium with a lot of public, so try to take all the positive emotion of this game.”

Vinci denied 33-year-old Williams a chance to be the first player since Steffi Graf in 1988 to win a Grand Slam.

For Vinci, it will be a familiar face in Saturday’s US Open final, countrywoman 26 th seed Flavia Pennetta, who dismissed No 2 seed Simona Halep 6-1, 6-3 earlier on Friday.

“Sorry for American people, for Serena, for Grand Slam, but today’s my day,” Vinci said in her on-court interview. “Sorry guys.”

As to what her game plan was against Williams, she said: “Don’t think and run. And then I won.”

“It’s amazing. It’s like a dream,” Vinci said during her news conference.
“I’m really happy, but of course I’m a little bit really sad for Serena because she’s incredible player, No. 1, almost career — all the Grand Slams.

“But what I have to say? I’m happy. I don’t know. It’s tough to explain my emotion right now. Maybe tomorrow morning I can tell you something, but now it’s amazing. It’s magic moment for me. You work so hard for a long time, and it’s incredible. Tomorrow final.”

“I don’t want to talk about how disappointing it is for me,” Williams said at the beginning of her shorter-than-normal news conference. “If you have any other questions, I’m open for that.”

“I thought she played the best tennis in her career,” Williams said to media. “You know, she’s 33 and, you know, she’s going for it at a late age. So that’s good for her to keep going for it and playing so well.

“Actually, I guess it’s inspiring. But, yeah, I think she played literally out of her mind.”

“I don’t think I played that bad,” Williams continued. “I made more unforced errors than I normally would make, but I think she just played really well. She did not want to lose today. Neither did I, incidentally. But she really didn’t either.”

Flavia Pennetta

Flavia Pennetta

Flavia Pennetta has also reached her first major final with her win over 23-year-old Halep at the age of 33. There was little drama in her match against Halep, where she only lost four games and won 15 straight points in the second set from 1-3 down.


“I’m really happy,” Pennetta said. “I think I play really well from the beginning. In the second set, I just wait a little bit too much in the beginning of the second set waiting for her mistake and I didn’t push a lot like before.

“But really happy, because I was 3-1 down and I just starting again with what I had to do. Everything was working amazing today, so really pleased.”


“If I play against Roberta, it’s going to be nice for everyone. Doesn’t matter who is gonna win. It’s going to be a big thing.

“Of course you want to win, but you gonna hug her if she gonna win. It’s amazing. Doesn’t matter. When you are at this point, nothing gonna change.”

“True she play really well,” Halep said. “She was strong. She was solid today. Actually, I didn’t play my best, but, you know, she deserved to win. She was better than me today. She had more energy. I can say she was better emotional than me.

“So I accept, and I’m looking forward for the next tournament.”

Pennetta hit 23 winners and was 6 for 10 on break points converted. Halep made 23 unforced errors to 10 winners.


More to follow…………