2014/07/31

Serena Williams Leads U.S. Open Women’s Field

2012 US Open

 

U.S. Tennis Association -White Plains, N.Y., July 16, 2014 – The USTA  announced that world No. 1 and two-time defending champion Serena Williams leads the women’s field for the 2014 US Open Tennis Championships. Williams is joined by 103 of the world’s top 105 women, including reigning French Open and former US Open champion Maria Sharapova, Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, two-time US Open champion Venus Williams and former US Open champions Samantha Stosur and Svetlana Kuznetsova.

In total, 36 different countries are represented in the women’s field. Eleven U.S. women received entry into the main draw – the most of any country – with nine Americans ranked in the Top 50.

The 2014 US Open will be played August 25 through 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.

Leading the entry list is world No. 1 Serena Williams, who won her fifth US Open crown in 2013, trying her with Steffi Graf for the second-most US Open women’s singles title in the Open Era, trailing only Chris Evert, with six. Williams has won 17 Grand Slam singles titles overall, which ranks sixth all-time, just one behind Evert and Martina Navratilova (18).

Joining Williams in the field’s top four are world No. 2 Li Na, of China, Asia’s first and only Grand Slam champion, who won her second major singles title at the 2014 Australian Open; No. 3 Simona Halep, of Romania, a 2014 French Open finalist and Wimbledon semifinalist, and No. 4 Kvitova, of the Czech Republic, who won her second Grand Slam and Wimbledon singles title earlier this month.

Following the top four are No. 5 Agnieszka Radwanska, of Poland, the first Polish player to reach a Grand Slam singles final (2012 Wimbledon); No. 6 Sharapova, of Russia, the 2006 US Open champion who won her fifth Grand Slam singles title this year at the French Open; No. 7 Eugenie Bouchard, of Canada, who reached her first Grand Slam singles final this summer at Wimbledon and also advanced to the semifinals of the French Open and Australian Open this year; No. 8 Angelique Kerber, of Germany, a two-time US Open semifinalist (2011-12); No. 9 Jelena Jankovic, of Serbia, a former world No. 1 and US Open finalist (2008), and No. 10 Victoria Azarenka, of Belarus, a former world No. 1 and two-time Australian Open champion (2012-13) who has been the US Open runner-up to Williams each of the last two years.

Ten players who have won Grand Slam singles titles in their careers are competing in the US Open this year, including former world No. 1 and 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic, of Serbia, and 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone, of Italy.

France’s Virginie Razzano, ranked No. 105, is the last player accepted directly into the women’s field of 128. Two players have withdrawn due to injury, No. 82 Alisa Kleybanova, of Russia, and No. 90 Victoria Duval, of the United States, who is undergoing treatment after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. One player is using a special ranking to gain entry into the main draw – No. 40 Romina Oprandi, of Switzerland. Sixteen more players will gain entry through the US Open Qualifying Tournament, August 19-22, while the remaining eight spots are wild cards awarded by the USTA.

In addition to Serena Williams, the other American women who received direct entry into this year’s tournament include No. 22 Sloane Stephens, of Coral Springs, Fla., No. 25 Venus Williams, of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., No. 27 Madison Keys, of Rock Island, Ill., No. 41 Coco Vandeweghe, of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., No. 43 Alison Riske, of Pittsburgh, No. 44 Lauren Davis, of Gates Mills, Ohio, No. 49 Varvara Lepchenko, of Allentown, Pa., No. 51 Christina McHale, of Teaneck, N.J., No. 76 Vania King, of Monterey Park, Calif., and No. 104 Shelby Rogers, of Charleston, S.C.

Several of the young Americans listed above have had breakout performances on the WTA tour this year. Keys, 19, and Vandeweghe, 22, each won their first WTA singles titles on the same weekend this June, the first time in 12 years two American women won WTA titles in the same week. Rogers, 21, and McHale, 22, both made their first WTA final appearances, while Davis, 20, advanced to the third round of both Wimbledon and the Australian Open this year.

Among the players competing in the US Open Qualifying Tournament will be the winner of the fifth annual US Open National Playoffs – Women’s Championship, held during the Emirates Airline US Open Series event in New Haven, Conn., prior to the US Open Qualifying Tournament. The USTA created the US Open National Playoffs in 2010 to allow players 14 and older, regardless of playing ability or nationality, to vie for a spot in the US Open Qualifying Tournament via one of 13 sectional qualifying tournaments.

The July 14 edition of the WTA rankings was used to determine the US Open main draw entry list. Seeds will be determined and announced closer to the start of the event.

The 2014 US Open will mark the culmination of the Emirates Airline US Open Series, the North American summer season of eight ATP World Tour and WTA events that begin this Monday, July 21. The US Open is the highest-attended annual spring event in the world and will again be broadcast domestically on CBS Sports, ESPN and Tennis Channel, with international broadcasts reaching 180 countries.

The 2014 US Open will be played form Monday, August 25 through Monday, September 8. Tickets can be purchased: at USOpen.org; by calling Ticketmaster at 1-866-OPEN-TIX; at all Ticketmaster outlets; at the box office at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

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Hometown Girl Simona Halep Makes Good and Wins Bucharest Title

 

 

 

(July 13, 2014) In a battle between the top seeds, No. 1 Simona Halep of Romania make her home country happy, by dismissing second seed Roberta Vinci to win the Bucharest Open final 6-1, 6-3 in 70 minutes on Sunday for her eighth WTA title.

Halep was born in Constanța, Romania.

No. 3 Halep raised her head-to-head record to 4-2 against Vinci with the win. The 22-year-old Halep has now won 8 career WTA titles. She was a finalist at the French Open and reached the semifinals of the Wimbledon. She is also No. 2 on the Road To Singapore leaderboard, 11 points behind Maria Sharapova.

“I really wanted to play in this tournament and to win it. Today’s final was a very emotional one,” Halep said. “The crowd was amazing and I really want to thank everybody who played a part in the tournament. What I wish for now is to get to Singapore and do an equally good job there. I want to play every match and every tournament to reach as high a ranking as possible.”

“I knew ever since yesterday that it was going to be difficult,” Vinci said. “Simona is an incredible tennis player and she has a phenomenal game. I gave it my best and I actually managed to get to 2-0 in the second set but she was too strong. However, it was nice to receive the support of the crowd, and I am happy to have played my first singles final of the year in here.”

The Romanians were also treated to a doubles win by their own in Elena Bogdan and Alexandra Cadantu beat Turkish-Slovenian pair Cagla Buyukakcay and Andreja Klepac 6-4, 3-6, 10-5 for their first-ever WTA title.

 

 

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Wimbledon Champion Kvitova, Wimbledon Finalist Bouchard Head Connecticut Open Field

Petra Kvitova3

 

NEW HAVEN, Conn., July 8, 2014 – 2014 Wimbledon Champion and World No. 4 Petra Kvitova, 2014 Wimbledon Finalist and World No. 7 Genie Bouchard, and Defending Champion and World No. 3 Simona Halep headline the field, which has collectively won 14 Grand Slam and 188 WTA singles and doubles titles, for the 2014 Connecticut Open presented by United Technologies, it was announced today by Tournament Director Anne Worcester. The WTA event, which is part of the Emirates Airline US Open Series, will be held August 15-23, 2014 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale,
Kvitova, the 2012 Connecticut Open Champion, marched through the Wimbledon fortnight the past two weeks to grab her second career Grand Slam title in four years, becoming just the third two-time winner in women’s singles since 1996. The Czech star defeated Bouchard in the final, the first Grand Slam final of the young star’s career. The 20-year-old has rapidly ascended the rankings to become the highest-ranked Canadian player in history, thanks to semifinals appearances at both the Australian and French Opens, along with capturing her first WTA title at Nurnberg. This will be her first appearance at the Connecticut Open.
Halep is having a career season highlighted by a finals appearance at the French Open, reaching the semifinals of Wimbledon, and winning the title in Doha, all of which have catapulted her to a career-high ranking of No. 3 in the world. She returns to defend her 2013 Connecticut Open title, where she defeated Kvitova to win the trophy.
Aside from Halep, Kvitova and Bouchard, five other players in this year’s Connecticut Open field are ranked in the WTA top 20 including No. 15 and four-time Connecticut Open Champion Caroline Wozniacki, who will be chasing a record fifth title in New Haven (currently tied with Venus Williams with four Connecticut Open titles). In addition to Wozniacki, No. 13 Flavia Pennetta, who won in Indian Wells earlier this year; No. 14 and 2012 French Open finalist Sara Errani; No. 16 Carla Suarez-Navarro, who will be making her fourth Connecticut Open appearance; and No. 19 Ekaterina Makarova, a Grand Slam doubles champion, who advanced to the quarterfinals at New Haven last year, will compete for the title.
Joining the top-20 stars in this year’s field are American Coco Vandeweghe, a former US Open Junior Champion who also triumphed at s’-Hertogenbosh to capture her first WTA title;  Garbine Muguruza, who advanced to this year’s French Open quarterfinals and defeated World No. 1 Serena Williams along the way; Roberta Vinci, who teamed with Errani to complete the doubles Grand Slam at this year’s Wimbledon; Shuai Zhang, who advanced to the semifinals at Birmingham, Kuala Lumpur and Acapulco this year; Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova, who advanced to the Wimbledon quarterfinals and made a finals appearance in Birmingham, England; Klara Koukalova, a victor in Florianopolis and finals attendee in Rio de Janeiro and Hobart; Elina Svitolina, who advanced to the semifinals in Nurnberg; and Casey Dellacqua, a Birmingham semifinalist.
Rounding out the field are Magdalena Rybarikova, a four-time WTA tournament winner and semifinalist at s’-Hertogenbosch; Kurumi Nara, winner in Rio de Janeiro; Camila Giorgi, who advanced to the finals in Katowice; and Bojana Jovanovski.
“The 2014 Connecticut Open presented by United Technologies player field is loaded with talent – Wimbledon Champion Petra Kvitova and Wimbledon Finalist Genie Bouchard; Defending Connecticut Open Champion Simona Halep and four-time Connecticut Open Champion Caroline Wozniacki; and rising stars such as Spaniard Garbine Muguruza and American Coco Vandeweghe,” said Worcester. “All told, we have three of the top 10 players in the world, eight of the top 20, and with the men’s event featuring James Blake, Andy Roddick and Jim Courier, the tournament promises to be exceptionally entertaining this year.”
On Wednesday, August 20, Fairfield native James Blake, a two-time Connecticut Open Champion and former top-five ranked player, will matchup against Jim Courier, a four-time Grand Slam Champion and former World No. 1. On Thursday, August 21, Blake will face-off against Andy Roddick, another former World No. 1 and Grand Slam Champion. Both matches will be played following the 7:00 p.m. WTA feature match on their respective nights, and they will be best of three sets, with a super tie-break played for the third set. In addition, fans interested in participating in a Pro-Am with these American stars before the matches, or who want to capitalize on a party complete with dinner and a “meet and greet,” should visit www.ctopen.org for more information.
The field will be completed in the coming weeks with the addition of four wildcards, which the tournament will award, and the addition of six players who will advance through the 48 player qualifying draw. The first two seeds at the tournament will receive a bye.
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Bouchard to Face 2011 Champ Kvitova for Wimbledon Title

 

 

 

(July 3, 2014) WIMBLEDON – Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard will face off against 2011 champion Petra Kvitova for the Wimbledon title on Saturday at the All England Club.

Bouchard became Canada’s first Grand Slam finalist by beating French Open runner-up Halep 7-6 (5), 6-2, while No. 6 Kvitova defeated countrywoman and friend No. 23 Lucie Safarova 7-6 (6), 6-1 in the first all-Czech women’s major semifinal.

In the fourth game of the Bouchard – Halep match on Thursday, play was delayed for five minutes for a medical time out for Simona Halep in the fourth game due to a left ankle injury.

Play was also halted again, in the middle of a first set tiebreaker, due to a spectator being ill. Despite the distractions, the 13th seed Bouchard still held her concentration.

The 20-year-old Bouchard who is playing in just her sixth major said: “What I do well is I really don’t let it get to me or affect me.”

Halep, the No. 3 seed said of her injuries: “It was difficult to continue because I twist my ankle and was very hard.  I felt a big pain in the moment, but then was better with the tape.

“But still I couldn’t push anymore in my leg.  My first serve was really bad after that.  Yeah, it was difficult to continue with another injury.”

“As I said, in tiebreak was a lucky ball at 4-2 and she came really well back after that.

“After losing a set, it’s really tough to say, Let’s play two more to win with two injuries, I can say.

“I lost my energy because I am a little bit tired also.  I played many matches.  After French Open was really short the time to recover.  But, you know, I’m really happy that I could play semifinal here.  Is my best result in Wimbledon.

“I cannot be sad now.  I just want to enjoy this result and to look forward to play many more matches at the Grand Slams.”

“She played also well when we played together in Indian Wells.  But, of course, here, this surface, is better for her I think because it’s faster and she’s staying very close to the baseline.  She hitting the ball very early and very fast.

“Yeah, I think she improved more maybe in confidence.  She has more confidence now and more experience because she played well also in French Open.

“She’s a great player, and for sure she will be in top very soon.”

“It’s not like a surprise to me,” Bouchard said of her success here at Wimbledon.  “I expect good results like this.  So for me, I was like, Okay, good.  It’s a step in the right direction.  I get to play in the final.  You know, I still have another match, so it’s not a full celebration yet.”

“I get to make Canadian history again,” Bouchard said about being the first Canadian to reach a major final in the Open Era.  “It’s always exciting and special when I can make history.  My job is not done.  I want to go another step further.

“So I’m going to stay focused and enjoy it after.”

 

 

It was a battle between longtime friends with Kvitova and Safarova. After a tight first set which went to a tiebreak, the match went all the former champion’s way. From 6-6 in the first set, Kvitova using a dominating serve and forehand won 31 of the next 48 points to complete the victory and reach her second Wimbledon final.

“She was just better there today,” Safarova said.  “We had a really close first set; second set she was just a step better.

“So it was a good run for me.  I mean, it’s the best result of my career.  She’s my friend, so once the match was done I just wished her all the best.  I hope she’s going to win it.”

“Today, of course, to play Lucie on the Centre Court in the semifinal of Wimbledon, it’s never easy,” Kvitova said.  “I did everything what I could.  I mean, I was just very happy after that.

“I mean, it’s still one more to come.  I want to be focused on that now.”

“I think these three years (since winning Wimbledon) was really up and down during the season,” the 24-year-old said.  “I knew that a lot of people are expecting from me something more than I did probably.

“But on the other side, I was still in the top 10 and I did everything what I could.  I was practicing very hard and everything.  But it’s never easy with the girls obviously.

“Yeah, was a lot of positive things I got, but definitely when I won here 2011 I needed to change a little bit myself on the court and off the court, as well, to used to the pressure, media, and everything like that.”

THE CHAMPIONSHIPS – WIMBLEDON, GREAT BRITAIN
$ 18,575,979
JUNE 23-JULY 5, 2014

RESULTS – JULY 3, 2014
Singles – Semifinals
(13) Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) d. (3) Simona Halep (ROU) 76(5) 62
(6) Petra Kvitova (CZE) d. (23) Lucie Safarova (CZE) 76(6) 61

Doubles – Quarterfinals
(2) Errani/Vinci (ITA/ITA) d. (6) Barty/Dellacqua (AUS/AUS) 64 26 60
(9) Hlavackova/Zheng (CZE/CHN) d. Pavlyuchenkova/Safarova (RUS/CZE) 61 46 63
(14) Babos/Mladenovic (HUN/FRA) d. (11) Kudryavtseva/Rodionova (RUS/AUS) 63 26 64

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Semifinals Set for Both Men and Women at Wimbledon

 

 

(July 2, 2014) WIMBLEDON – Grigor Dimitrov ended the run of defending champion Andy Murray 6-1, 7-6(4), 6-2 to reach the semifinals of Wimbledon, becoming the first Bulgarian man to do so. Dimitrov joins No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic, seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer and another newcomer Milos Raonic in the semifinals.

The No. 11 seed ended Murray’s 16-match winning streak at the All England club which went all the way back to the 2012 Olympic Games.

“I have very good memories from that court out there,” Murray said.  It’s a special court for me.

“Yeah, I mean, you can have bad days as an athlete.  You don’t win all of the time.  Sometimes you just have to take it on the chin and move on.

“But, yeah, when you don’t feel like you played as well as you can, that’s disappointing and frustrating.  Yeah, that’s happened a few times in the slams over the last year, so I’m disappointed about that.”

“I think I got early on in the match on top of him, and I think that really helped me, you know, progress in that way.” Dimitrov said.  “I think second and third set was just a little different.

“But, I mean, I can’t say much about the match because I came out to win the match.  I was really positive.  I was ready.  I had a lot of patience no matter how many sets I was supposed to play.

“But I was just composed and I was looking for every point that I had to play.”

On Friday, Dimitrov face 2011 Wimbledon champion in Novak Djokovic who reached the semifinals for a fifth straight year. Top seed Djokovic had to rally to top No. 26 Marin Cilic of Croatia 6-1, 3-6, 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-2.

On the lower half of the draw, Federer will play No. 8 Milos Raonic, the first Canadian man in a Grand Slam semifinal since the early 1920s.

Federer dropped his first set of the fortnight to Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka en route to a 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-4 win over his Swiss countryman.

“There was a lot on the line today playing against Stan,” Federer said.  “Quarters sort of shows the direction on how you’re playing and all these things.

“I’m really pleased to have come through.  Like you said, last year was a major disappointment for me because I always see Wimbledon as one of my main goals of the season, side-by-side with rankings and some other highlights that I choose that there are for me.

“I try to be in the best possible shape, so last year was rough.  I was very disappointed.  Went back to the practice courts.  Didn’t have any options left at that point.

“So I’m happy that one year later I’m back in the semis and with a chance to go further.”

In the battle between big servers, Raonic defeated teenager Nick Kyrgios, who beat Rafael Nadal in the fourth round 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (4). Raonic hit 39 aces.

In the women’s quarterfinals, No. 3 Simona Halep beat 2013 Wimbledo runner-up Sabine Lisicki 6-4, 6-0, and will take on No. 13 Eugenie Bouchard, who beat No. 9 Angelique Kerber 6-3, 6-4.

“It was a great match for me today,” said Halep.  “I played really well and I’m really excited that I can play semifinals tomorrow.

“I like this tournament and I feel really well here.  I’m looking forward for the next round just to play good tennis and to try my best on court.”

Bouchard has reached her third straight major semifinal.

“I’m excited to be in the semis,” said the 20-year-old.  “But, of course, you know, never satisfied, so definitely want to go a step further, or as far as I can.

“I think, you know, I played some great players when I lost in the semis.  You know, you don’t win every single time.  But, you know, I’m going to look forward to try to play a little bit like I played today.  I thought I was pretty solid out there and playing the right way on the grass.

“So that’s going to be a key.”

Thursday’s other Ladies’ semifinal will be a battle between two left-handed Czech women -2011 champion Petra Kvitova versus No. 23 Lucie Safarova.

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Halep and Wozniacki Advance at Wimbledon

(June 27, 2014) WIMBLEDON – French Open finalist and third seed Simona Halep and former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki advanced at Wimbledon on Friday, moving into the third round and fourth round, respectively. The start of the day’s matches on the outer courts were delayed by about 30 minutes as rain had been expected around Noon.

Halep took a 6-3, 3-0 lead just to see it vanish and be forced into playing a third set against world No. 170 Lesia Tsurenko of the Ukraine. Halep went on to win the match 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.

“I didn’t play my best today,” said Halep. “It was tough match. I expected that she will play very well; she did.”

“You know, on grass is not easy. Every match is difficult. You never know who will win or who will lose because the court, it’s really difficult.

“I believed in my chance today, but after I lost second set, I said that maybe I lose the match because I didn’t feel my game.

“But I was keep fighting and I was enjoying in the third set after I took the break out of the court.

“I left the pressure outside and I just wanted to hit the balls and to stay aggressive.”

The Dane Wozniacki had a 6-3, 6-0 win over Ana Konjuh of Croatia, winning the last 9 games of the encounter.

“She is a very powerful player, Wozniacki said. “When I was in trouble, especially in the first set, I managed to serve some good serves, make some aces.
“It was good. I’m pleased with the way it turned out today. You know, she’s definitely someone to look out for in the future.”

“I think she’s going to be very good. She’s 16. She has some big shots. She has a good serve.”

In a battle between a pair promising teenagers, 17-year-old former No. 1 Junior, Swiss Belinda Bencic defeated 18-year-old U. S. teen Victoria Duval 6-4, 7-5.
Bencic will play Halep for a place in the fourth round.

“I wanted to enjoy the moment for sure, but also I felt a little bit pressure because I was better ranked player in this match,” Bencic said of the win.

“But anyway, I just tried to focus my match and not to think about against who I play.”

Bencic said that she’ll feel no pressure when she plays Halep.
“Of course I’m going to the court and I think I have a chance to beat her and I really want to win.

“So I will just have no pressure, but I will try to give my best and fight.”

Karen Pestaina at Wimbledon

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Quotes of the Day from the Pre-Wimbledon News Conferences

Serena in press 3

(June 21, 2014) WIMBLEDON – Players met the media on Saturday for pre-Wimbledon news conferences, days ahead of the The Championships, 2014.

 

Who says I was over it (smiling)?

-No. 1 seed Serena Williams  asked about how long it took for her to get over her stunning second round loss at the French Open to Garbine Muguruza.

 

-Simona Halep on her new found fame in her homeland of Romania

It was amazing feeling when I arrived home, because they stopped the plane just on the red carpet at the airport and everybody was waiting for me, about 300 fans.  I went to them and I said hello, many things there.  They ask me many things.

Yeah, was incredible.  For me was the best moment of my life.  Was incredible.  I will never forget that moment.

 

The big change is that everybody knows me now and a lot of people are speaking about me and are watching me.  In Romania all the press, every day they are watching me.  I don’t know why.

It’s a little bit difficult, but I want just to stay very far of this and just to keep focus my mental for the tennis.  I just want to think about tennis now and nothing else.

 

On looking at her ranking years ago:

A few years ago I was looking at the rankings on Internet, and I saw I was fourth page.  I said my dream is to be on first page.

So now I am there, and I am really happy.  I cannot be sad that I lose some matches.  I want just to enjoy this moment and to try to improve more in my game and to be maybe second or first.

 

Roger Federer on his second round loss at Wimbledon last year:

That was done a week after Wimbledon.  After that, I didn’t need to think about it a whole lot anymore.  It was just one of the big goals I set for myself.  I failed.  Back to work.  Get yourself in shape.

Rafael Nadal on Wimbledon:

I say before:  Is really the most dangerous tournament of the year.  When I arrive to Roland Garros I already played for one month on clay.  I played a lot of matches.  So more or less I can imagine how I am going to play.

 

 

 

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Maria Sharapova Wins Second French Open Title

(June 7, 2014) Once describing her movement on clay courts as that of a “cow on ice,” Maria Sharapova has now captured the most important clay court title for a second time in three years by defeating No. 4 seed Simona Halep 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-4 for the French Open title on Saturday. The victory marks her fifth major tournament victory – 2012, 2014 French Opens, 2008 Australian Open, 2006 US. Open and 2004 Wimbledon.

The win is 27-year-old’s 32nd tournament win. She will move up to No. 5 in the world when the next rankings come out on Monday and Halep who made her first major final appearance will rise to No. 3.

Coming into last year’s French Open Halep was ranked No. 57 in the world.

Sharapova went down a break in the first set but rebounded to win it. In the second set Sharapova broke Halep twice as she was serving for the set, but lost the last four points of the tiebreak, after leading 5-3 to lose it and be extended to a third set. In the third set both women exchanged breaks early, but the Russian gained the ultimate break of serve in the ninth game of the set, which she backed up with an emphatic hold.

Sharapova had to rally from a set down in three straight matches on the way to the final, beating Sam Stosur, Garbine Murguruza and Eugenie Bouchard.

“This is the toughest Grand Slam final I’ve ever played,” Sharapova said on court after the match. “Really, this tournament means so much to me. It’s a tournament, when I was young and growing up, I wanted to win.

“To think that I’ve won it two times is, I don’t know. So emotional right now, I can’t even talk.”

“To be in your first Grand Slam final is an incredible achievement,” Sharapova said. “You’ve had an amazing two weeks, and this is just the first step. I think you’ll have an incredible career.”

“It’s my first Grand Slam speech, so emotionally it’s really difficult for me,” Halep said to the crowd during the trophy ceremony, after the match. “But I wish to have many more. But of course this one will be very special for me all my life.”

“I had two incredible weeks here. It was an amazing tournament for me,” Halep continued. “I played my best. And I’m really happy that you guys came every match to support me and today also you were amazing.”

Halep was trying to become the second Romanian player to win Roland Garros. The first, Viriginia Ruzici who won in 1978, is Halep’s manager.

Sharapova is now the first Russian player to win a major twice.

The match which lasted 3 hours and 2 minutes was the longest French Open women’s final since 1996 when Steffi Graf defeated Arantxa Sanchez 10-8 in the third set. It was also the first women’s final in Paris to go the full three sets since Jennifer Capriati beat Kim Clijsters 12-10 in the third in 2001.

“If somebody had told me that I’d win at some stage in my career that I’d have more Roland Garros titles than any other Grand Slam, I’d probably go get drunk” Sharapova said. Or tell them to get drunk, one or the other.

“Yeah, it’s really amazing.  I feel that I worked to get to this position.  There’s nothing else.  There is no substitute in these titles.  You can’t just go out there and just do it without putting in the effort, putting in the work.

“You’re not just born being a natural clay court player.  Okay, maybe if you’re Nadal.  But certainly not me.  I didn’t grow up on it; didn’t play on it.  I just took it upon myself to make myself better on it.

“There is no one else that was going to do that for me.  I had to do the work.”

“I think I had good tactics today,” Halep said in her post-match news conference.  “I opened the angles.  Also, I was hitting the ball strong.

“But, yeah, she did what she’s doing always, like to hit the balls very strong.  The serve was really, she had a good kick, and it was difficult for me to return.

“Yeah, she was moving really well.  I think it was a good, very good match today, a good final.  I didn’t expect three sets, three hours, but it happened, and I’m really happy that I could stay very long time on court.

“The atmosphere was incredible.  Of course, forever I will not forget this match.”

Sharapova’s win marks her 32nd career title. She now is second place on the all-time prize money list  surpassing Venus Williams. Serena Williams sits atop the all-time earnings list.

Sharapova now has 10 clay court titles, second among active players to Serena Williams with 11. Her record improves to 19-1 on clay this season and 54-4 since the start of 2012. She now has 20 straight wins in three-set matches on clay.

 

 

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Simona Halep and Andrea Petkovic Reach French Open Semis

 

 

 

(June 4, 2014) Andrea Petkovic and Simona Halep have both moved into their first-ever Grand Slam semifinal, both advancing with 6-2, 6-2 quarterfinal victories at the French Open on Wednesday. The matches on the show courts had their starts delayed by rain.

The 28th seeded Petkovic from Germany defeated 10th seed Sara Errani, the losing finalist at the French Open in 2012. Halep, the fourth seed beat 2009 Roland Garros champion Svetlana Kuznetsova the 27th seed.

“I have to say, today I was in a real zone. I didn’t think at all,” said an excited Petkovic. “I was just focused on what I had to do.”

“I had a very good game plan from my coach. It didn’t work in the beginning, so I was getting a little, not panicked, but when you have a certain game plan and you lose the first two games and it’s not working, so I was kind of getting a little worried,” Petkovic said. “I was lucky that I started playing better and that I was putting more balls into play.”

At one point last year when Petkovic lost in the French Open qualification tournament, she considered quitting tennis, now she’s in her first major semifinal.

The highest seed remaining in the women’s draw, No. 4 seed Halep held back Kuznetsova who had an injured left thigh and had to take a medical time out after the first set.

 

“I felt very good on court. It was a perfect day for me. I played really well and stuck to my gameplan,” Halep said to press. “I was very aggressive. I played very fast.
“So it was a good match, and I’m really happy that now I can play in the semifinals in Paris.”

Petkovic and Halep will face off for a spot in the French Open final, the winner playing the winner of the Maria Sharapova versus Eugenie Bouchard.

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French Open Women’s Quarterfinals Set

(June 2, 2014) The quarterfinals of the French Open were set on Monday, with Simona Halep, Sara Errani, Jelena Jankovic completing the final 8.

The highest seed left in the tournament, No.4 Simona Halep outclassed No. 15 Sloane Stephens, 6-4, 6-3. Halep will play No.27 seed and 2009 French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, who beat No.23 seed Lucie Safarova 6-3, 6-4.

2012 French Open finalist Sara Errani defeated Jelena Jankovic7-6(5), 6-2.

Errani will meet No. 28 Andrea Petkovic in the final 8. Petkovic beat Dutch qualifier Kiki Bertens 1-6, 6-2, 7-5.

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