June 27, 2017

Unseeded Jelena Ostapenko Upsets No. 3 Simona Halep to Win Roland Garros for First Major Title

Jelena Ostapenko

 

(June 10, 2017) Latvia’s Jelena Ostpenko became the first unseeded woman to win the French Open since 1933 when she rallied from 6-4, 3-0 down to defeat No. 3 seed and 2014 finalist Simona Halep 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. Not only was this the Latvian’s first major, but first title on the tour level.

 

She denied the Romanian both a major and the No. 1 ranking. Had Halep won, she would have moved up to No. 1 in the world.

“I still can’t believe I won,” the 20-year-old Ostapenko said on court after the win. “It was always my dream, when I was a child I was watching players here. I’m just so happy. I’ve just enjoyed it so much. I have no words.”

Halep looked as though she was on her way to her first major leading 6-4, 3-0 with points for 4-0.  Ostapenko held her nerve and won six out of the next seven games to level the match.

Ostapenko had to fight back again in the third set, from 1-3 down, winning the next five games.

Luck was on the Latvian’s side when holding for a 5-3 lead in the third, she hit a backhand that ticked the top of the net, which appeared to be going out but fell in on Halep’s side of the net.

“I’m really happy to win here,” Ostapenko said after the match. “I think I still cannot believe it, because it was my dream and now it came true.

“I think I’m going to only understand in maybe couple of days or couple of weeks.”

This is only Ostapenko’s eight major tournament that she’s played in.

“All the credit for what you’ve done,” Halep said to Ostapenko during the trophy presentation. It’s an amazing thing. Enjoy, be happy, and keep it going, because you’re like a kid.”

A clearly disappointed Halep said she was sick to her stomach with emotion and that maybe she was not ready to win the title.

“It’s a tough moment for me, but it’s gonna go away, I hope, with time. I will keep working, because I really want to repeat what I have done this tournament. We will see what is gonna be.”

 

“I knew I’m already in the final and I’m playing such a great player like Simona,” noted Ostapenko. “I was losing 6-4, 3-0, and then in my mind I was just like, ‘I’m just going to enjoy the match, and I will try to fight until the last point.’

“And then I stayed aggressive and the match turned my way.”

Ostapenko came into the tournament ranked No. 47, she leaves with the No. 12 ranking going into grass court season. Halep moves up to No. 2 in the world.

 

 

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Unseeded Ostapenko to Face Third Seed Halep in Roland Garros Final

(June 8, 2017) In a battle between women celebrating birthdays, No. 47th-ranked Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia became the first unseeded woman to reach the Roland Garros final since 1983, when she beat Switzerland’s Timea Bacsinszky 7-6 (4), 3-6, 6-3 in the semifinals on Thursday in Paris.

Ostapenko, 20, became the first Latvian player to reach a major final.

She’ll be facing No. 3 seed and 2014 French Open finalist Simona Halep for the title on Saturday. Halep defeated No. 2 Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

Ostapenko goes into the final having never won a title on the WTA tour. The last person to win a major as their first tournament victory was 1997 French Open winner Gustavo Kuerten on June 8 – the day she was born.

After the match while being interviewed on court by former player Marion Bartoli, Bartoli led the crowd in singing “Happy Birthday” to Ostapenko.

For the birthday girl who lost, Bacsinszky, 28, it was her second trip to the French Open semifinal. Two years ago she lost to Serena Williams.

“I’m really happy,” Ostapenko said. “I love to play here, I love you guys, you’re amazing, thanks for coming to support me. I’m just happy with the way I celebrated my birthday.”

 

Simona Halep

Just 24 hours before her semifinal, Halep came back from being a set and 5-1 down to reach the final four. The 25-year-old Romanian remained steady and played incredible defense in her victory over Pliskova. The win keeps her hopes alive for attaining the No. 1 ranking. Should she win on Saturday, she would move into the top spot.
“It’s a great feeling. What can I say?” she said to media. “I feel like I have more experience. I’m happy, but I’m not that excited. I’m looking forward, actually, to play the final.
“Today was a great battle. Every point was very important. I felt that I had to run for every ball, be focused for every ball. So, I’m happy with my performance.”

As for her opponent in the final, “I never played against her. I don’t know what to expect from her. I saw a little bit of her match today. In my opinion is similar to what I had today, so maybe’s gonna be the same plan,” Halep said.

 

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Halep Rallies to Beat Svitolina, Thiem Bounces Djokovic; Murray, Nadal and Wawrinka Move into Final Four at Roland Garros

Unseeded Teen Ostapenko and 30th Seed Bacsinszky Reach Roland Garros Semifinals

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Halep Rallies to Beat Svitolina, Thiem Bounces Djokovic; Murray, Nadal and Wawrinka Move into Final Four at Roland Garros

Simona Halep

(June 7, 2017) No. 3 seed Simona Halep rallied from 6-3, 5-1 down, saving a match point in the second set to beat Elina Svitolina in the quarterfinals of the French Open on Wednesday 3-6, 7-6 (6), 6-0. She’ll be facing No. 2 seed Karolina Pliskova for a place in the final. The Czech knocked out the last French singles player Caroline Garcia 7-6(3), 6-4.

Svitolina led 5-0 in the first set, then lost three games in a row before claiming the first set.

“I just sat down at 5- 2, and I said that the match is lost. That’s it. It’s over,” Halep said to media. “And then I started to feel more relaxed, maybe because I thought it’s finished, and it came.”

“But I believed that it’s gonna come, it’s gonna turn something around, and that’s it. I’m just happy. I am not thinking about how it was. I just take the fight thing, that I was fighting till the end, and I enjoy.”

“I think today I showed that I’m stronger mentally. I stayed there till the end.”

Halep lost in the final of the 2014 French Open to Maria Sharapova.

Halep will also be in a battle not just to advance to the final but to reach No. 1. Should she beat Pliskova and win the title, she would become No. 1. Should Pliskova win she’ll be No. 1.

Halep, who was runner-up at Roland Garros in 2014, will next face second-seeded Karolina Pliskova.

 

 

“Before this tournament I was struggling on clay with almost everything,” Pliskova said. “I didn’t have my weapons on my side and the movement was terrible.

“I don’t think it’s better, but somehow I’m just winning. Today I can finally say I felt a little bit better on the court compared to the last matches.”

“We’ve played few times,” Pliskova said of her next challenger. “It’s definitely is gonna be tough. She’s running well. I don’t know the weather forecast for tomorrow. If it’s like this, it’s gonna be tricky, because she’s almost everywhere and not missing much.

“I think I’ll have to be more aggressive than I was today, because today was more about, I would say, Caro being aggressive, and then only sometimes me. But with Simona, I have to be more aggressive, go into her serve a little bit and put pressure on her. And still to be able to hold my serve, that’s going to be the key.”

“I’m just gonna try to play like I have nothing to lose. I’m in the semifinals. I’ll just try to play my best tennis this time.”

Halep leads in their head-to-head 4-1.

 

Dominic Theim reached his second straight French Open semifinal with a 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-0 win over defending champion Novak Djokovic.

“All in all, it was decided I think in the first set,” said Djokovic to media. “I tried. I lost that crucial break in the beginning of the second, and he started serving better, backing it up with the first shot. He deserved to win. He was definitely the better player on the court today.”

Theim will be taking on nine-time champion and fourth seed Rafael Nadal who advanced when No. 20 Pablo Carreno Busta had to retire from the match with an injury whith Nadal up 6-2, 2-0.

“It’s great for me to be in the semifinals again, to defend that,” No. 6 seed Thiem said. “And of course, I think on Friday, the toughest opponent ever here in Roland Garros. It’s going to be the fourth match against him in five or six weeks. Not really any big secrets. He’s again in his best shape. So it’s going be the toughest match that you can imagine.”

Theim handed Nadal his only loss of the clay season in the quarterfinals of Rome.

 

 

Just 12 months ago Djokovic was holding all four majors.

“The win here last year has brought a lot of different emotions. Obviously, it was a thrill and complete fulfillment, I guess,” Djokovic said.  “I have lived on that wave of excitement, I guess, ’til the U.S. Open or so. And at the U.S. Open, I just was emotionally very flat and found myself in a situation that I hadn’t faced before in (my) professional tennis career.”

 

Djokovic, who split from his longtime team and brought on Andre Agassi for the first week of the French Open said:

“It’s obviously tough to get out of it and figure out the way how to move ahead. At least I’m trying.”

“I know that I have achieved the biggest heights in this sport, and that memory and that experience gives me enough reason to believe that I can do it again.”

No. 1 Andy Murray recovered from a first set drubbing to move into the final four in Paris, beating 8th seed Kei Nishikori 2-6, 6-1, 7-6(0),  6-1.

Murray will take on 2015 French Open winner Stan Wawrinka next. Wawrinka beat No. 7 seed Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 to advance.

Nadal, Theim and Wawrinka march into the semifinals without dropping a set.

 

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Murray and Halep Advance While Konta and Zverev Lose at Roland Garros

 

(May 30, 2017) No. 1 Andy Murray moved into the second round of the French Open on Tuesday with a win over Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, 6-0.

The Scot, who reached the final of Paris for the first time in 2016 said: “last year was a great year for me, you know it was the best I ever played.”

“And last year during Bercy that’s when I reached No. 1 for first time, so I’ve got very good memories from Paris last year, and I’ll try and have another good one year this year.”

No. 3 seed Simona Halep is playing with an ankle injury, but it did not stop her from stopping Jana Cepelova 6-2, 6-3. The Romanian has a chance to reach No. 1 in the world, should she win the tournament.

Johanna Konta

Johanna Konta, the seventh seed, won 13 of the first 15 points of her match against No. 109 Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan but bowed out in three sets 1-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4. Konta has still never won a main draw match in Paris.

A major upset on the men’s side saw No. 10 Alexander Zverev lose to veteran Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 in a match carried over from Monday night.

“He played very well. I played absolute sh*t,” Zverev said to media.

 

Third seed and 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka won 6-2, 7-6 (6), 6-3 over Jozef Kovalik.

Also moving into the next round were No. 5 Milos Raonic, No. 18 seed Nick Kyrgios, 21st seed John Isner and 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro. For del Potro it was his first match in five years at the French Open.

 

France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga had his match suspended due to darkness. The 12th seed was trailing 7-5, 6-4, 6-7 (6), 5-4 Renzo Olivo.

 

French wildcard Maxime Hamou had his Roland Garros credential revoked for grabbing a reporter and kissing her on the neck during a live Tv interview. Hamou lost in the first round of the tournament.

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Zverev Beats Djokovic to Win Italian Open; Svitolina Stops Halep for Title

Alexander Zverev

(May 21, 2017) Alexander Zverev defeated Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-3 on Sunday to win the Italian Open for his first Masters 1000 title. The win, in his first-ever meeting against Djokovic makes him at 20, the youngest Masters tournament winner since Djokovic won Miami 10 years ago in Miami at 19.
“It’s nice to know that I can compete and play and win the biggest tournaments on tour against the biggest players on tour,” Zverev said.
“I’m very happy the way I played,” noted the winner. “Very happy with my performance all week, actually. And especially today, I think today was one of the best matches I ever played maybe.

“You know, I knew I had to be aggressive from the first point on and to the last. It was very important for me to be able to stay this aggressive and don’t let him take over the game.”

“He’s making his mark already,” Djokovic said. “Today winning one of the biggest tournaments – absolutely deserved. Played great, served great. On the other hand, he didn’t get much from my side. I played very poor today. Just couldn’t find any rhythm.”

“He served very well. I just wasn’t able to get any rhythm on my returns. If we would get into a rally, he would smash the ball from the first or second shot… There is no doubt he took time away from me. It happens. If he serves this well and this efficiently, it’s tough to play him on any surface.”

Djokovic also announced that Tennis Hall of Famer Andre Agassi will coach him during the French Open.

Andre Agassi to Coach Novak Djokovic at French Open

Zverev will move up to No. 10 in the world on Monday.

 

Elina Svitolina wins Dubai title

In women’s action, Elina Svitolina has moved up to No. 1 in the “Road to Singapore” race by beating Simona Halep 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 for her fourth title of the year. She also leads the WTA Tour with 31 match wins this season.

“Every day I’m just trying to work on my mental part, my physical, my tennis,” said the Ukranian. “Everything just came together and I’m very happy that it’s happened in such a big tournament.”

Halep, who won Madrid last week, rolled her ankle near the end of the first set.

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Rafael Nadal Snaps Seven-Match Losing Streak Against Novak Djokovic to Reach Madrid Open

Rafael Nadal Snaps Seven-Match Losing Streak Against Novak Djokovic to Reach Madrid Open

Rafael Nadal

(May 13, 2017) Rafael Nadal snapped his seven-match losing streak against Novak Djokovic on Saturday, dominating the world No. 2 6-2, 6-4 to reach the final of the Madrid Open. The last time Nadal defeated Djokvovic was in the 2014 final of the French Open.

Djokovic, who was the defending Madrid champion had won 15 straight sets over the four-time titlist. The Serb still leads the head-to-head against the Spaniard 26-24.

 

For Nadal it’s his 14th straight victory and an ATP World Tour leading 33rd match win on the year.

 

“I have been playing well,” Nadal said of the win.  “I think it was a great first set. I hit good the forehand in the first set, good the backhand, too. I was serving well.

“When I was playing that well at the beginning, it’s true that I felt for moments under control, and in the second not. In the second, the match was much more equal, and anything could happen.

“It’s true that I played a little bit shorter. I changed less directions in the second set. I needed to play more shots down the line with my forehand.

“But that’s normal, no? An important match for me. That’s it. But in general terms, I think I played a great match.”

Asked about how important it was to break the losing streak against Djokovic, Nadal said: “It’s one more match. What’s important to me is to make it to another final. As years go by, depending on the type of victories, can fulfill you a little bit more or less. As time goes by, what is important is the titles, not the opponents that you have beaten. It’s just the titles that you have won.

“It’s true that some matches are more important than others. But I’m just here to try to make it the best possible way, to play my best tennis, and of course to beat an opponent such as Novak, it gives you a lot of confidence. It shows you you’re working in the right way.

“But it’s just another match. As I said yesterday, it gives me another opportunity to win another title, which is important to me.”

 

Novak Djokovic

“Rafa was obviously a better player today,” Djokovic said. “He deserved to win. I mean, he was controlling the game from beginning to the end.

“Second set was a bit closer. Maybe I had some chances to be in the lead, 2-All. Was a long game. I lost the break there.

“But, you know, all in all, I did try my best. It wasn’t a very high quality of tennis from my side. I mean, I made a lot of unforced errors, especially first set.

“Just his quality was very high. You know, he managed to do whatever he wanted really, especially in the first set. I was getting a lot of balls back. He was serving well. He was using his court positioning well.

“Today was warmer than last three, four days, so conditions were quite different. The ball was bouncing very high.

“Well, he managed to be better in these kind of conditions.”

 

Djokovic, who has not so far had a good season by his standards, winning only one tournament this year, and fresh off of parting ways with his coaching team was happy to reach the final four in Madrid. “Well, first of all, it was really good to play in semifinals of big event, and to play against one of the top rivals I have in my life. I haven’t had that feeling in months, so it’s great to feel that.

“It was a positive week, a positive experience. I take, as I say, more positives than negatives into the next week in Rome. As I go along, I hope to continue getting better and getting stronger.

“I felt like I was playing well throughout the week. Today maybe slightly I could have played better. But, again, I just had an opponent that was too good.

“Well, I have to move on. Semifinals is a good result. Hopefully I’ll have another good result in Rome.”

 

Simona Halep

In the women’s final, defending champion Simona Halep held on to the title with a 7-5, 6-7, 6-2 over Kiki Mladenovic just under three hours.

“I feel great that I could defend this title,” Halep said afterwards. “It means a lot because it gives me confidence for the bigger tournaments.”

There was controversy during the trophy presentation when former player Illie Nastase was on the podium with Halep. Nastase has been banned from all ITF events due to his behavior at Fed Cup.

For the No. 3 seed Halep this was her 14th career title.

“It’s going to be a tough match whoever I face tomorrow,” explained Nadal. “That’s the reality. We’re saying I will be playing against Thiem. He’s No. 3 in the Race, came from the final in Barcelona. He’s young, has a lot of talent. I think the altitude helps him here. The ball bounces high and it’s difficult to control.

“Talking about Pablo, it’s more or less the same. He is doing really well. He played really well in Monte-Carlo, when he beat Wawrinka. Playing really well, then he lost after that. But it was a very tight match, too.

“Whoever is my opponent tomorrow, it’s going to be a very tough match. The only way to win these kinds of tournaments, because you are playing some of the best players in the world, so you have to play at a very high level to be able to beat them.

“This is my goal. This is what I’m thinking right now, to play really well. That’s the only way to be able to have options for tomorrow’s match.”

Nadal will be going for his fifth Madrid title and 30th Masters 1000 crown.

 

Nadal will tale on Dominic Thiem in the final. Thiem beat unseeded Pablo Cuevas 6-4, 6-4.

“It means a lot to me to play a finals. My first finals in this level,” Thiem said.

“These kind of tournaments are so strong, so it’s amazing for me to go that far. I’m very happy at the moment.”

 

Thiem lost to Nadal in the final of Barcelona in straight sets two weeks ago.

“I think he played a very, very good match in Barcelona. First set there was I think close. I also played well.

“But obviously even if I’m at my best and he’s at his best on clay, probably he’s the better player. If you see his records on this surface, it’s just amazing.

“But, yeah, tomorrow is a new day. I will try to improve the things I didn’t do that good in Barcelona and then we will see what happens.”

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Mladenovic Stops Sharapova’s Stuttgart Run, Siegemund Returns to Final with Win Over Halep

(April 29, 2017) France’s Kristina Mladenovic ended Maria Sharapova’s run in Stuttgart on Saturday. In her fourth match back on the WTA tour since returning from a 15-month doping suspension, the Russian let a set and a break lead slip to the Frenchwoman 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 in a two-hour and 38-minute contest.

 

“I would have loved to have used more opportunities when I was up a set and a break,” said Sharapova. And I think I lost 12 out of the next 14 points. So, I definitely had a bit of a letdown and I think that allowed her to get back in the match and gain confidence and start competing again and I just didn’t keep putting the pressure and I think when you are able to give that to a player, that’s played very well this year it can become very dangerous.”

 

The 19th ranked Mladenovic ousted two-time defending champion Angelique Kerber on Thursday. She’ll take on last year’s finalist German Laura Siegemund in the Porsche Grand Prix final. Siegemund beat world No. 5 Simona Halep 6-4, 7-5.

Laura Siegemund

After her quarterfinal win on Friday, the 23-year-old Frenchwoman, who was not in favor of Sharapova receiving a wildcard into the tournament commented: “In sport nowadays it is also about the media and business. Maria is a big name, who makes people come to watch her.”
“On one hand, I totally understand the tournaments want her in the draw, because she is very famous and they want more attention, which is part of the business.”
“Of course, she is authorized to play tennis again, but why would she get that extra help compared to other players?”

 

Sharapova who came into the tournament with no ranking due to her suspension for using meldonium, will be in need of a wildcard to get into Roland Garros. She will be ranked around No. 260 on Monday.

 

Next stops for the 30-year-old five-time major winner will be Rome and Madrid, where she received wildcards. All of this in preparation for the French Open, if she is able to play the event.
“I’m moving in Europe in the next couple of months and this is what I want to go through,” she said. “I want to go through the matches. I want to see how my body responds, how I feel. I want to feel that match play, I want to feel the tiredness of match play.”
“That’s what I asked for. That’s what I wanted and I’m doing it.”

World No. 49 Siegemund has a 1-0 record against Mladenovic, there only meeting came last year in St. Petersburg.

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Venus Williams Beats No. 1 Kerber; Nadal Moves into Miami Open Semis

Venus Williams

(March 29, 2017) Venus Williams produced her 15th win over a current No. 1 player on Wednesday at the Miami Open. The three-time Miami champion defeated the top seed Angelique Kerber 7-5, 6-3 to reach the final four in Key Biscayne.

 

For the 36-year old, 11th seeded Williams, it’s her first Miami semifinal since 2010.

 

“It was an interesting match,” the former No. 1 Williams said to media. “I was controlling it. I had more errors than I like and lower first serve percentage than I would like. For me, I’m looking at it from a standpoint of how can I get better.

“I have to play well against the No. 1 in the world. She’s on top of her game and she played well, so I had to find a way to play a little better.”

 

Sitting in the stands for the match was her father Richard Williams. After the win she thanked her dad in her on-court interview: “My dad is one of the loves of my life and the reason I’m here in this game.”

 

“He has always loved popcorn,” Williams said. “We always ate popcorn together when I was a child. That’s a great childhood memory.”

 

“I think last year Charleston was his last event, so he’s kind of sticking to the tournaments in the States now,” Williams commented.

“I could hear him on the sidelines. He really wanted it for me. So it’s a happy moment when you come off the court.

“Even if I lose he’s still very happy, but to see the joy and the pride and the excitement, I could win the match just for that.”

Williams will take on Johanna Konta who defeated Simona Halep.

 

 

Williams spoke about her upcoming match against the Brit: “She played well, served well. Tomorrow is an opportunity for me to come out and play hopefully better than today. There are a few things I would like to work on. Outside of that, just come out fresh eyes, fresh feet, and big shots. That’s my plan.”

Johanna Konta

Konta had a comeback victory over the No. 3 seed Halep 3-6, 7-6(7), 6-2. Konta was down a set and 5-2.

 

“I guess I really didn’t think too much of what the scoreline was,” noted Konta. “I think it was important for me to keep fighting and to keep — yeah, to stay very present.

“I think there wasn’t that much momentum at that point in that match necessarily in her corner, so I think I also just stayed very aware that although she was serving for the match there, there was still — I was still very much in there. I really tried to just fight every single point and stay very present.”

 

“Whoever I’m playing I’m going to have a battle on my hands, that’s for sure. I’ve obviously played Venus a few times and Angie, so I think they’re going to have a tough battle tonight.

“Yeah, looking forward to playing either of them. I think either will be a great opportunity for different reasons. Yeah, we get to have a night session tomorrow.”

 

Rafael Nadal

In men’s play, Rafael Nadal is a step closer to his winning his first Miami Open. The Spaniard saved four break points to prevent himself from going down a double break in the second set and won 6 out of the next seven games to close out the match 6-2, 6-3 over 13th seed Jack Sock in the last night match on Stadium court.

Nadal on the match: “In the first set I think I was under control during the whole set, because was so important for me to have the break in the first game that I was returning, no?

“So, yeah, in the second was so important to save that game, the 2-Love, 15-40. Another break point for him was decisive on the match, that game, and then confirm that save having the break back in the next game.

“So was two straight positive things and two straight games that probably create a lot of damage on the opponent, no?”

 

Nadal will play nemesis Fabio Fognini in the semifinals. Fognini beat a wobbly second seed and 2016 finalist in Kei Nishikori  6-4, 6-2.

 

 

Kei Nishikori

Nishikori admitted that he “wasn’t 100%.”

“I think he played good enough. I don’t think he played extremely well today. I think for me, I had too many unforced errors and my serve wasn’t there today, so I think that’s cost most of the match.”

 

“At the moment I’m just happy,” said the Italian. “Of course it’s a big, big tournament for me at the moment; feeling really good on court and other times, so this is the best thing that we can have this week.

“Happy about my performance. Of course the result, it’s positive. It’s like a dream maybe. I play next match Rafa or Sock, so going to be really, really tough match.

“Try to be focus on my game, try to do my best, and then if it’s dreaming coming true, I’m here.”

Nadal on playing Fognini:  “Well, I know him very well; he know me very well. We played couple of times; he beat me couple of times, too.

“So, yeah, it’s a tough match. He’s playing well, so will be a good tennis for me, too, and a good challenge. Happy to be in the semifinals. I’m excited about play that semifinals match against a player who’s playing very, very well during the whole week.

“Going to be a tough one. I need to play my best, keep playing aggressive like I did today, and hope to have my chances.”

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Shelby Rogers Knocks Out Fourth Seed Simona Halep at Australian Open

 

(January 16, 2017) In the first major upset of the Australian Open on day one, American Shelby Rogers, ranked 52 in the world, knocked out fourth seed Simona Halep of Romania 6-3, 6-1 in Rod Laver Arena on Monday.

For Halep, this was the second straight year and fourth time over the last six years that she’s been ousted in the first round of the Australian Open.

“I think I played great today, trying to be aggressive going out there,” Rogers said. “My game plan worked. Just move forward, hit your shots, be really aggressive. When I’m doing that, I am playing well. Very happy with how I did today.”

 

Simona Halep

“Definitely she played well,” Halep said. “I think she played very high standard. I had pain at my knee.

“For me, in the second set, was difficult to move anymore, but she deserved to win. She was aggressive, and she hit very strong, the balls.”

“I’m never thinking to withdraw a tournament, because it’s not in my inside,” she continued.

“But I tried. I had some anti-inflammatory before the match, and the previous days. But when you have the tension of the match, official match, the pressure, it comes harder.

“So I had harder pain, and I couldn’t do what I wanted.”
Rogers, who made a big breakthrough at a major in 2014, when she reached the last eighth of the French Open, talked about what she took away from that run – “the biggest thing I took away from that was just that I can compete with the top players in the world and I’m good enough, you know. And little things here and there I need to work on, but I’m here. I need to believe in myself, and, yeah.

“So I have definitely carried that away from the French Open and just been enjoying it a little bit, I think. There has been a lot of positive feedback, which has been nice.

“Just trying to keep that going.”

Rogers hit 26 winners, breaking Halep’s serve four times.

“I have had a couple good weeks leading up to Melbourne,” she said. Rogers warmed up for Melbourne by reaching the quarterfinals of Hobart. “I started well in Brisbane and had a couple of good matches in Hobart, as well. It’s nice to feel like you have had some matches already, which is a really nice thing.

“I wasn’t here last year, actually, so it’s extra special for me.”

The 24-year-old Rogers from Charleston, South Carolina, will play the winner of the Ashleigh Barty and Annika Beck match in the second round.

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Day 10 of the US Open – In Their Own Words

Stan Wawrinka

Stan Wawrinka

 

(September 7, 2016) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Posting player interviews throughout the day when allowed.

Note from the US Open Media Operations Guide as 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.

 

 

Andy Murray

Press Conference

K. NISHIKORI/A. Murray

1-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How disappointed? Back and forth match. Seemed like you had the momentum going for a bit.
ANDY MURRAY: I’m not disappointed in a way. Obviously I would have loved to have won, but I have had a good run every match. I would have loved to have gone further, but it wasn’t to be today.

Q. Could you talk us through the dispute with or the conversation with Wayne McKewen, and what exactly was the result…
ANDY MURRAY: Stopped the point, and I was just curious why that was and that was it.

Q. You were saying that you had heard the noise in the first set. She said that you would play on?
ANDY MURRAY: Wayne McKewen told me that it happened four times during the match that the speakers had gone off like that. I had only heard it one time before, which was on set point in the second set. That was it.

Q. You had a period of seven straight games…
ANDY MURRAY: Definitely I would say to 4-1 I didn’t play a good game after I got out of the change of ends, and then, you know, he held pretty comfortably the next game.

But after that, I don’t think so. You know, there was a lot of time between then. I had a lot of game points in the 4-1 game; didn’t get it.

And, yeah, I lost my serve a couple of times from positions that when I was up in the game — you know, obviously you can get broken when you’re up in the game. I got broken once from 40-Love, once from 40-15, and at the end of the match I think I was up 30-15 in the game, as well. That was the difference.

Q. Were you more disappointed the way you were serving and so many times you had been broken or the way you returned? Because at the end of the match you were returning pretty poorly compared to your standard, in my opinion. I don’t know what you think.
ANDY MURRAY: Um, I mean, it was obviously different serving under the roof. I started off the match serving pretty well. You know, it obviously slows the conditions down so it becomes easier to return. You know, he started returning a bit better. I didn’t serve so well, obviously.

I don’t think the reason I lost the match was because of my return game. I broke serve enough times. I just didn’t hold serve enough. That was the difference.

Q. You didn’t know, but the rain didn’t last very long. It was bright sunshine and blue skies. Do you think they should readdress whether or not the roof should be open in that condition?
ANDY MURRAY: Um, it’s not really for me to say. We were told at the beginning of the event and also today that, you know, if the forecast’s good they will open the roof during the match if that’s the case. Why that didn’t happen today I don’t know.

Yeah, I mean, it’s not really for me to say. I mean, they have obviously delays and stuff and matches aren’t good for TV and people that are watching. You want a continuous match, for sure. You want to try and complete as many matches outdoors as possible.

Q. (Indiscernible.)
ANDY MURRAY: Um, I mean, I think definitely under the roof he was able to dictate more of the points. You know, he was playing a bit closer to the baseline than me and taking the ball on a little bit more.

You know, at times I was obviously doing more of the running, you know, whereas I think in the first set and a half and when we played in the Olympics, you know, that was the other way around.

Q. Any part of you feel that was the one that got away, or is that giving disservice to Kei?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, obviously I was in a good position up and a set and a break and chances at the beginning of the fourth set, as well. I could have won the match for sure.

But, you know, I have also won some over the last, you know, few months I should have lost. Against Steve Johnson at the Olympics I was down a couple of times.

The third set against Fognini, I was down a break in the third there.

Against Tsonga at Wimbledon I was up, but that could have gone the other way in the beginning of the fifth.

You know, it happens sometimes. You win them. I have won a lot over the last few months, but couldn’t quite get it going my way today.

Q. How much do you think the workload that you have had comes into that in terms of the resources you have left?
ANDY MURRAY: Um, I don’t know. I felt all right today. You know, I felt all right. Kei has played a lot of tennis, as well, though, over the last few months, for sure.

But, you know, this slam in particular I think for all of the players, especially the ones, you know, that have done well over the summer period on the hard courts, it’s, you know, a tough one.

You know, Kei will be feeling it, as well as a lot of the players. Yeah, I don’t think that had an impact on the match today.

Q. Kei hurt you a lot with the dropshots. Did you know that was coming? Did he use it a little bit more than you expected? You didn’t seem to have an answer for it. It was disguised pretty well.
ANDY MURRAY: Well, yeah, a couple of them. I didn’t lose all the points. I won a number of them.

But when you’re — like I said, when he’s playing close to the baseline and you’re the one that’s further back, it leaves more space at the front of the court to use a dropshot.

I got a little bit unfortunate on the break point at 5-All, the volley that he made that’s not going in every time. You know, that was a big moment in the match, obviously, at that stage.

Q. It’s still early. When do you think you’ll head up to Glasgow?
ANDY MURRAY: No idea. I haven’t thought anything about when I would leave. I was obviously focused purely on this week and obviously wanted to go further.

I don’t know when I’ll go there. I don’t know how many days off I’ll take or how much or when I’ll start practicing up there. You know, I’m due a few days off, and I’ll use them well, because I will need a lot of energy for that tie.

Q. (Question regarding playing on home soil.)
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, obviously I’ll look forward to the match. It should be a great, great atmosphere, great occasion. You know, I would like a little bit more time off, which obviously I will get when Davis Cup is done, but I just need to be smart in the next few days.

Because like I said, I need a lot of energy for those ties. Davis Cup, you know, does take a lot out of you over the weekend. It’s tough, especially if you play all three days. You know, I’ll need to be smart the next few days to make sure that not only physically I recover, but mentally, as well, because it’s always a stressful few days.

Q. There are five men left in the draw now. How do you see it playing out?
ANDY MURRAY: I’d say Novak would be the favorite. I mean, obviously a lot of top, top players left. Gaël has been playing very well. I think in their head to heads, Novak has had quite a little bit of success.

You know, the bottom part of the draw it’s obviously difficult to pick. They’re all top players, I think. You know, Stan and Juan will have a very good match tonight, I would expect.

You know, Kei is obviously capable on this surface of beating the best players and has beaten Novak here, as well, so you know, I would put Novak as the favorite, but everyone’s got a chance.

Q. I know it’s early after the match and disappointment we talked about, but the takeaway from the summer, do you look back and say, It was a heck of a summer? Or are you kind of leaving let down by coming up short?
ANDY MURRAY: I have not let anyone down. I tried my best. I fought as hard as I could with what I had today. I didn’t let anyone down. Certainly not myself. I pushed myself as hard as I could over the last few months, and I’m very proud of how I have done.

You know, if someone had offered me the summer that I have had before Wimbledon, I probably would have signed for that. You know, asking me right now is pointless. I’m not going to have the best perspective on things right this minute, but, you know, after a few days, you know, away and stuff, I would imagine I’d be very happy with how I have done and, you know, learn from this match today and the summer as a whole, because, you know, it’s been tough. It’s been a hard summer.

And, yeah, I’m happy with how it’s gone. There’s just a few things I could do differently next time.

 

 

 

 

 

Kei Nishikori

Press Conference

K. NISHIKORI/A. Murray

1-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. With so much on the line and so much pressure, how would you describe your mental approach?
KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah, it was really difficult match. I didn’t quite start well and lost 6-1. I felt it was really quick and I was rushing a little bit and missing too much unforced errors.

But after rain delay I think I improve little bit with my coach, and I tried to change a little bit my tennis and start working a little bit better. I started get my rhythm back. Yeah, many breaks today.

Especially fifth set it was really tough. I was up 4-3, 40- love and lost the game. So there was many up and downs, but I tried to calm. I think that’s the most important thing I did today. Even though there was many up and downs I tried to stay tough.

Yeah, last couple games I took little chance, and, yeah, win the whole thing. So it was really tight game, but happy to win today.

Q. You mentioned the up and downs. You both had those. There were huge momentum shifts were taking place throughout the match. It also really, really felt like the house, if you will, the crowd, was really pulling for you. Did you feel that? Did that energize you and give you motivation and confidence?
KEI NISHIKORI: Well, yeah. I think I was too focused today, so I couldn’t really hear too much on the court.

But for sure the crowd helped me to get back in the game. Yeah, fourth and fifth I think I played one of the best tennis. It was great match.

Q. The let call after the loud noise, the point early in the fourth set, do you think they should have stopped that point?
KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah, I mean, definitely. My concentration went off. Yeah, I don’t know what’s the reason, but for sure they have to stop that.

Q. What does it mean for you to be honored with the sportsmanship award tonight?
KEI NISHIKORI: Well, yeah, it’s a great honor to get sportsmanship. Well, I mean, I try to stay calm and I try not to do too many up and downs, especially my mental side.

I think especially today I think I did great, you know. Even though there was many times my focus went off, but especially during fourth and fifth set I tried to stay tough.

Yeah, it’s great to show that to the other people, you know. I’m always staying tough. Yeah, it’s great honor.

Q. After the rain delay you seemed to be working the points a little bit more. During the delay, what did Dante and Michael tell you?
KEI NISHIKORI: Well, it was definitely my mistake that lost the first set. I was missing too much. Like I said, I think I was feeling a little bit rushed. I gave so many opportunity to him easy. Yeah, we talk a lot of things during the rain delay, and, yeah, I tried to change something. It worked well.

For sure it’s helped today’s game.

Q. If Stan wins tonight, will you share your thoughts on the Swiss player?
KEI NISHIKORI: Well, yeah. We just played in Toronto few weeks ago. He’s been playing, you know, good tennis.

But I think it’s gonna be tough match today. Delpo is playing great tennis. Yeah, I’m very excited to watch match tonight. I’m not sure who’s gonna win today.

You know, my side I try to stay focused, you know, even though whoever comes, you know, for the next round, either way it’s gonna be tough. Try to stay calm and ready for next one.

Q. Two great nations with tennis culture, Japan and Great Britain; match each other in the history. You are the first Japanese player in US Open history to beat a Great Britain player. Fred Perry beat Japanese player in five-setter. You beat Murray in a five-setter. What does it mean for you, making the history?
KEI NISHIKORI: Well, yeah, I think it means a lot, especially I have been losing Andy a lot. I think seven times and I only won once. And especially this stage, you know, it’s big opportunity for me to play today’s match.

Well, yeah, I was really confident. I was ready to play today’s match. Actually, we just played this year really long match. I think it was close to five hours in Davis Cup and I lost the match, so it was great to revenge, you know, from Davis Cup.

Q. Since we don’t know which player you’ll play next, can we start first with Del Potro? How would you describe his forehand?
KEI NISHIKORI: Well, I think he has best forehand right now on the tour. I think it’s most dangerous forehand right now. You know, he’s mixing little more backhand slice and topspin.

But, yeah, for sure his forehand is one of the best right now.

Q. And how about Wawrinka’s backhand?
KEI NISHIKORI: Well, I might say same thing. (Laughter.) Well, one-hand backhand for sure he’s the best right now. Maybe total Djoko and Andy has, you know, great backhands, but he can lift the backhand really well. Yeah, I think it’s gonna be interesting, you know, big forehand and big backhand match today. So I think it’s gonna be fun match.

Q. A situation like in the fourth set, opponent’s arguing with the chair umpire, do you have a sense there that might be an opportunity to kind of shift momentum? Did you feel momentum shifting after that moment?
KEI NISHIKORI: Well, I don’t really look up for opponents. Like I said, I think I was too focused today, so I couldn’t really have chance to see my opponents.

Yeah, I don’t really care about what, you know, they doing. I have to stay focused all the time and I have to, you know, think what I have to do for next points.

Yeah, I didn’t really take care of opponents today.

Q. You’re talking here about staying calm, staying focused, not getting distracted. How is your mental approach to staying in the moment in a match like that?
KEI NISHIKORI: In the end I think I did really well, but first and before rain delay I think I was little bit out of my concentration. I felt like I didn’t know what to do.

But after rain delay I think I was more focused and start playing better tennis, so I was getting more confidence during the match. And especially in the end. I think I wasn’t making many unforced errors and playing great tennis.

So confidence helped game today.

Q. You were quite successful at the net today. Did you make a conscious decision to come to the net more often against Andy?
KEI NISHIKORI: Well, I see some opportunity to come in today so I tried to be aggressive. I saw that’s what I had to do. Especially against Andy. He has great defense. I don’t know why I did and serve and volley many today, but I was felt like and it was working. I think it was great mix-up serve and volley and come to the net a lot today.

Q. You seem like a calm, quiet, contained person. US Open is loud and boisterous. Why do you think you have so much success at this slam, your most successful slam?
KEI NISHIKORI: I don’t know. I think this courts and the ball; I live in Florida, so that also help me. Coming here it was very easy for me to prepare for this US Open.

Well, I love the crowd. It makes me more motivated. Yeah, it’s little bit different than other Grand Slam, you know. I think it’s more loud and it’s more like, you know, big party on the court. (Smiling.)

It’s very exciting.

Q. If you are to play Del Potro, you haven’t beat him before, but you also haven’t played since the London Olympics. Is it fair to say you’re a completely different player now than four years ago?
KEI NISHIKORI: Well, for sure. I think we both different player. Like I said, he’s mixing up little more backhand. He still have great serves and forehand. That’s for sure have to take care.

Yeah, I been see him a lot actually. I watch a lot of matches in Olympics and we practice a lot, too. I kind of know how he’s gonna play, so I try to focus my side.

Also, I mean, either guys wins, I really have to get good tactics for next match.

Q. Your demeanor on the court is very unique. It’s hard to say whether you just lost a game and got broken or you won after fantastic play. Looking miserable in both cases. Why is that? Is it your way of dealing with the stress or…
KEI NISHIKORI: Well, yeah, I try to stay calm, that’s for sure. I’m not the loudest guy on the tour for sure. I’m more calm, I think my private too. I mean, I try to show my guts and everything, you know, good energy on the court.

But I think it’s most important, you know, shouldn’t be too many up and downs, especially downs. Yeah, I try to stay positive all the time.

Q. Fourth and fifth you said you played some of your best tennis. Do you think that was some of the best tennis you have played in your career? Semifinals; finals two years ago. How much confidence do you have knowing you have been there before? How eager are you to get back and have that opportunity again?
KEI NISHIKORI: It’s tough to say one of the best tennis, but, yeah, some moments I think I played great tennis. I was feeling the ball really well. You know, I think I lost two, three times fifth sets my serve.

Yeah, so, I mean, cannot be the best, but still play, you know, great tennis to beat Andy. Especially last few games, you know, it was really a lot of pressure. Especially lost my serve 4-3, and I have to refocus again.

It was really tight moment. I think it’s gonna help for sure my experience. Yeah, very looking forward to play semis again here.

 

 

Karolina Pliskova

Press Conference

K. PLISKOVA/A. Konjuh

6-2, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Were you surprised that it went so smooth, so quick? You played great, but —
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: A little bit.

Q. — did you expect before the game it would be a little tougher?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: Yeah, a little bit. I was surprised and I was still waiting even in the first set. Even in the second set I was still waiting some complications gonna come.

But, well, I’m not gonna complain. (Smiling.) I’m happy that it went so easy. Of course I was expecting a little bit tougher battle, but happy that it went so easy.

Q. You had a great day serving. You have had a lot of great days serving. How do you practice your serve? Do you have a routine? What works best for?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, now in the tournament I don’t practice much anymore like a specific thing. It’s more about — I mean, I can serve, even if the serve that day is off. Doesn’t mean there is some mistake or something. It’s more about the toss.

But I still know I can serve and there is nothing wrong in the technique. So overall we just go and serve a little bit couple of the serve in each side. And that’s it?

Q. Have you always been so calm on the court? Doesn’t seem like you want to show much emotion, or maybe as a little kid you used to show emotion.
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: Yeah, I was more angry before with myself on the court. (Smiling.) So that I am improved a lot. Sometimes I’m still smashing my racquets.

More in the practices than in the matches. I’m trying to be calm in the match because it’s not really helping me. I don’t really want to show even the opponent and even the crowd and the people any frustration.

But there are matches when I’m not that calm, as the one with Venus. I was emotional a lot in that match. I was pumping myself. But of course if it’s a match like this, I’m just — you know, it doesn’t mean I’m not in the game and not in the match, but I’m just trying to be calm. I have some emotions inside, of course.

Q. Does this result seem early, late, on time for you? You know, you’re 24. Not old, but not young.
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, to be honest, I don’t care at what time it came. I’m just happy that it’s now and that it came. There are people saying that I could be there earlier, but right now I feel great and I feel it’s the right time for having the results like this.

Q. What do you think held you back before from getting this kind of result?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: Definitely some experience from the biggest matches. Obviously the title from Cincinnati helped me a lot. I was waiting for the bigger title for a few years, let’s say two, so that was next step.

I think just everything is on time. I was practicing hard this year, and even the results in the beginning of this year were not that good as the last year. I’m happy that I could, you know, play my game on the biggest tournaments, which I didn’t play last year.

Q. You now have possibly two matches to go. Can you imagine yourself lifting the trophy on Saturday? Is that something in your gut that you think you’re gonna do or are capable of doing?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, it would be a dream, but unfortunately I’m in the part of the draw with Serena, so it would be very tough to get through this one.

So I’m not gonna think about the finals yet. Obviously I know there is a chance. Always there is a chance. So I’m going to do everything for, you know, get at least close to the final.

But even if Serena is not going to win, there is Simona. That will be very tough match for me in the semifinal. I’m just looking forward to this challenge.

Like I said, anything is possible, so I know I have a chance if I play good tennis.

Q. What did you learn from playing Serena in the past?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I played her once only, actually. I was in Stanford I think two or three years ago.

I was completely different player at that time, so I am I improve a lot and obviously she probably as well. She’s a big hitter and she can, you know, have 50 winners and you cannot do much about it.

But I still gonna hope that there is gonna be some chance in the match where I can get my chance and be the one who is playing aggressive. Obviously I played Venus this week, which is not probably that good as she is, but it’s very similar game.

So I’ll just have to be ready for it, I think.

Q. What is your earliest memory of Serena Williams? And what do you remember most about what you thought when you watched her play?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: We were pretty young when we were watching her and her sister. Actually the first memory about the sisters was that they had this thing on their hair. I think it was Venus, and it somehow broked and it was everywhere on the court. (Smiling.)

So that’s the first memory about them. And then obviously there are there for so many years and they have so many titles together. And especially Serena now. She’s just one of the best players in the world, so it would be honor to play her.

Q. What qualities of her game impressed you most when you were a young player aspiring to be in this situation?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I think they were not that good as — or let me talk about Serena only — as she is now. She improve a lot in the last few years. Most of the titles she was winning now, and she had now so many years which she’s on top.

I think she’s just — you know, she probably needed some experience and some years of the tennis, as well, on the tour.

Right now I think she’s just playing amazing and going for her shots. She’s really believing in herself and using everything what she has.

Q. What have you learned from watching her, if anything?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: Sorry?

Q. What have you learned from watching her play?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, I would say we can have similar games, as me and her, but she’s a little bit different level than me.

But she’s also playing aggressive and going for her shots. And even if she has the day when — even if she has the day when she is missing, she is still going for it and she turn it around like this a lot of matches.

So I would say probably this from her.

Q. It certainly didn’t show on the court, but has it affected you at all that this is kind of new territory for you at a Grand Slam?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I was kind of nervous this morning, or let’s say before the match. But always when I get on the court I just forget about everything and I’m not nervous anymore.

And I’m just, you know, trying to play tennis. Maybe I will think about all what I have been playing last few weeks after the tournament, but right now I just don’t want to, you know, put it in too much inside me. I just want to, you know, still playing.

Q. How did your serve feel today compared to the last few rounds? Felt better? Same? Different?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I would say it was better, much better. At least the percentage. Also, I had quite a lot of points from the first serve. I won almost, I don’t know, about 95% on the first serve points, which is great.

I don’t know if she was a little bit nervous or she was playing totally different opponent the last match, so maybe it was different for her so she was not that ready for a big serve.

But I played Venus, so I was ready for all. I knew if I played the same way how I was playing Venus, I’m going to get a chance and win a match.

Q. You mentioned that against Serena it’s important to not let her take control of the match and her being aggressive and run all over you. How do you stop that?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: Well, everything is starting with the serve and receive. So that’s the beginning of all the rallies, so I have to just, you know, serve well. That’s the main thing from my side.

And then if she’s serving well, I cannot do much. And if she has some second serve, I have to go and attack it.

Q. Talking to Angelique yesterday. Her previous US Open semifinal, her only one prior to this year, was five years ago. She was 23. I asked her to compare sort of what the mindset is now as opposed to five years later, more maturity and obviously so much success she’s had. Looking back, she said it was really just a bit of nervousness that held her back. Do you think that’s a big battle, going into your first US Open semifinal and stay within your game and not let the nerves overtake you?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I don’t know. It’s tomorrow, so I will see how I feel tomorrow.

But I’m sure always when you play someone who is better than you it’s a little bit different because you don’t have any pressure. Like I had a little bit pressure today that she was outsider, so there is kind of like you have to beat here. I just gonna go and play everything that I have and put everything in that match, because I have nothing to lose.

Of course maybe in the beginning I’m expecting some nerves a little bit, but I don’t want to have this in the whole match.

Q. You come from a relatively small country. Czech Republic is, I think, like 10 million people.
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: Yeah.

Q. You always have new talent. Last year more on the female side. Always new talents, young talents. What do you think? Is it the work of the individual talents or the Federation, Czech Tennis Federation? Because you always have so many new young players.
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I would not say it’s about Federation. I would say every girl is from different city. Every girl has their own coach. We have good talents. Maybe because of the history of Czech tennis – we had good tennis in the past – so maybe they inspired the young ones.

Maybe the girls which are playing now, they inspired another one. So let’s see who else is coming up. Really happy that especially the female tennis is doing so well in last few years and there is still some young girls coming up.

Q. So many great Czech players. Which one inspired you the most?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: Tough to say. Would be Martina Navratilova. There was today in my box Helena Suková. She was always good player, as well. And there is obviously Ivan Lendl and more of the guys, as well. So there is a lot of them.

Q. Has Navratilova helped you at all?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: No, but in the last, let’s say year, I’m meeting her more often than before, but we never really talk about tennis.

Q. If it’s not Serena in the next round, what would be your thoughts on facing the other person, the person playing Serena, who might be pulling off a big upset, to set up a matchup with you?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: There is Simona. I have played her a few times. That would be probably — I don’t want to say easier for me. They are both really good. It’s going to be probably very close match tonight.

But she’s not hitting that big and she’s not that dangerous as Serena is, so I would have more chances probably in the match to play my game and attack her serve and to going for the shots.

But as I saw some statistics, she won last — from 24 matches, I think she won 22 or something like this, so she’s playing very good tennis right now. Probably she feels confidence. Will be tough to play her, as well.

Q. Will you watch the match tonight? If you do, what will you be looking for?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I want to watch, for sure, but normally I go dinner about 7:30 and they play at 7:00. So hopefully we find some restaurant where the tennis is in TV (smiling.)

I’m going to just, you know — I know both players, and like I said before, it always depends more on me than on them. So I don’t want to talk about their tactics or thinking about their game, because everything has to start in my game. So that’s what I just want to do tomorrow, as well.

But obviously I’m going to watch.

 

Ana Konjuh

Press Conference

K. PLISKOVA/A. Konjuh

6-2, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Obviously not the result, but it’s been a great tournament for you. Sort of your reflections, looking back on, first of all, the match. Just too much for you today?
ANA KONJUH: I mean, I wasn’t at my best level today for sure, but she was just too good. Her serve is just too good. Today on the court, you know, she found her rhythm and took the opportunities that I gave her.

You know, I cannot be sad after all of this. Good luck to her. She’s having great season so far, and, you know, I’m cheering for her.

Yeah, but overall, I’m happy with my results here. When I came here I could only imagine playing the quarters. I think it’s been a great tournament.

Q. Talk about the takeaway. Obviously getting to a position where you can contend at Grand Slams, this is a great first step. Is that how you look at it?
ANA KONJUH: Yeah, my season — as I said, my season wasn’t so great so far. I’m just really happy to be healthy and on the court and especially competing in the Grand Slams. That’s a big thing for all of us.

I’m just looking forward to the next one.

Q. Is there any reason why it seems to be that players like yourself can sort of get through the draw to a late stage here at the US Open? There has been a woman’s unseeded semifinalist for several years here. Any thoughts about that?
ANA KONJUH: Ah, it’s a special tournament, that’s for sure. I mean, I love it here. I won the juniors. I have good memories.

The city is great. I think we are all enjoying ourselves. We don’t want to go home, so we just play good.

Q. We were just talking with fellow journalists about what a unique venue Arthur Ashe Stadium is. Now with the roof. As a player, is it intimidating, daunting, inspiring, to go out and play out there?
ANA KONJUH: Well, for me it is inspiring, for sure. I haven’t played on Ashe before. Playing against Aga, you know, that was my first time. I wasn’t that nervous as I was expecting.

I think, you know, it was a good thing. It was motivating to me to be better. The atmosphere was great. I heard the crowd cheering for me, so thanks to them for coming.

Q. Your ranking is due to go up to around 51 as a result of this. How does that make you feel?
ANA KONJUH: Good, yeah. I think I dropped to 100 or something before. I was a bit down, low point in my career. I still have a long road to go.

I’m just giving my best to be healthy on the court. Yeah, my goal was to come to top 50 this year, so I still have a few tournaments. (Smiling.)

Q. Is it important to be a sort of Croatian No. 1 player, as well, to be the best woman player in your country?
ANA KONJUH: I mean, yeah. I didn’t think that I was before this. So, you know, there is Mirjana. You know, she’s always good. And Ajla, you know, but she’s playing for Australia now.

And Donna, you know, she’s dropped I think right now, but, yeah, I think she’s gonna come back.

Just it feels good. The Fed Cup team, you know, in February we are playing. I’m just looking forward to it.

Q. I got requests this morning before the match to please, please, please ask you some questions and you answer in Croatian. We will do that later. How much excitement is there at home? Do you get a lot of tweets, social media, that indicates a high level of interest back home, especially when you get to the stage you were able to get to?
ANA KONJUH: Yeah, yeah. After the match against Aga, I got a hundred messages on my phone. It ran out of battery at some time.

It feels good other people are cheering for and you that you’re recognized in your country that you did something great.

No, I think of it as a motivation to get even better and get people to talk about me even more.

Q. The motivation, the match against Aga, not to go back to the previous match, but that’s a huge breakthrough there and your first time in Ashe Stadium. Taking that, how much confidence do you have going forward now looking forward to Grand Slam tournaments, feeling like, you know, the difference of maybe being able to get through the first, second, third round as opposed to getting to the quarterfinals or semifinals?
ANA KONJUH: Yeah, I mean, for sure. This is a great result for me. Now I know that, you know, I got that something to be in the top. I’m just looking forward to playing again on the Grand Slams. I think that’s the most important tournament for all of us. I’m just enjoying it, and like the pressure, also.

 

 

Simona Halep

Press Conference

S. WILLIAMS/S. Halep

6-2 4-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Just your thoughts after that match.
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I think it was a good match. I played well. I could play better in those moments when I had chances. But I think the level was pretty high.

I’m okay with the way that I was fighting till the end. It’s something normal now for me, so it’s a good thing. She played really well. She is the best player, so her serve was huge today.

It was tough. Is tough. I’m a little bit sad, but I have just to take the positives, because I have a lot going ahead.

Q. After the second set, did you have a little bit of a letdown? Were you sort of running out of gas?
SIMONA HALEP: After the second?

Q. After that great second set.
SIMONA HALEP: No, I had two chances to make a break in first game, so wasn’t about that. There I could take that game, and I think the story of the match would have been different.

You know, was just one game. I should play like more aggressive, I think, after that game, but she took the break. She took my game on my serve, and then she was serving really tough.

Q. Since you beat her in Singapore you have had matches with her before. Some of them tight. Some of them going very, very quick against her. What was the difference today, when you played her in Indian Wells, or other matches where it was a little bit more of a blowout for her?
SIMONA HALEP: I think this was the best match that I ever had against her. I felt that I’m very close and I have chances to win. Like I said, I think my game was pretty good tonight. It’s a good thing. I take it like with confidence, this match.

I think we played very well. I played very well. But I could do better in some moments.

Q. What are your thoughts on how often Serena came to net and how often she used the dropshot?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, she used I think today a few times the dropshot. She did pretty well. She comes to the net when she has short balls. She hits with a lot of power and it’s easy for her to come in.

But she plays really well on these courts. She’s home, so I feel that she feels very confident. She did a great job. That’s why she’s No. 1.

Q. Overall are you tense or disappointed in this moment?
SIMONA HALEP: Both. I am a little bit disappoint that I had could not take the chances, but I’m also happy about the way I stayed there and played. I’m okay. I’m normal now.

Q. I know you’re used to it in tennis, but does it feel weird No. 5 got to play No. 1 in the quarterfinals?
SIMONA HALEP: I’m not thinking about these things. It is how it is, and I have to play — I have to beat best players to win a Grand Slam, so I don’t care where I am, against who I play.

I have just to win to get that title if I will do one day.

Q. Is it more satisfying sitting there now having lost the quarterfinal compared to when you lost the semifinal here last year? Do you feel better having at least played a good match, or…
SIMONA HALEP: I feel definitely better that I played much better than last year in the semis. Semis is better than quarterfinals. Yeah, but they are two different things. Last year I was not playing in the semis and this year I lost in the quarters but I gave everything I could.

It’s okay. I don’t want to complain about anything.

 

 

Serena Williams

Press Conference

S. WILLIAMS/S. Halep

6-2 4-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How are you feeling health-wise? Shoulder?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I didn’t hear you.

Q. How are you feeling health-wise?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh. I feel okay. I’m not at 100%, but I’m okay. Nothing to complain too much about.

Q. Didn’t play a seeded player first four rounds. Top 5 player, Simona. Amped up?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I didn’t have to be too amped up because it’s the quarterfinals and it’s a tough player. I just knew I needed to be ready.

Q. Do you feel like a big jump in difficulty?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think that she obviously plays well. Yeah, so it was definitely a jump.

Q. What are your thoughts on the way you employed the dropshot and came to the net in this match? How does it represent an emphasis, perhaps, in your game right now?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I have been working on getting to the net. Particularly today I couldn’t do too much off the groundstrokes. I felt maybe I should get in more. It worked for me.

I don’t really like coming to the net, to be honest, but I’m good at the net, I guess. I guess I’ve got to do what I’m good at.

Q. And dropshots?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. I hit a lot of dropshots in practice. I just never do it in a match, but the past year or so I have been doing it more in my matches. It worked out.

Q. Do you like it more than maybe coming to the net?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes, definitely. (Smiling.) Definitely.

Q. What was it about her game in the second set that gave you a little trouble?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I didn’t take some opportunities that I had. I really had some chances there and I didn’t take them, and I let that get the better of me.

You know, I didn’t play the same match in the first set or in the second, and my third set was better than the second. So I didn’t keep that level up.

Q. You had a ton of break points throughout the match. Is that something you and Patrick work on a lot?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, it’s happened to me in the past before, but like I said on the court, I just stay positive. I’m glad I had the break points as opposed to not having them. That’s the only thing I can do, and hopefully I can start getting more.

Q. Is it harder to move on from those? I think there were two games, one was 22 points, one was 18, and you lost both of them. Is it harder to move on from those games, to put that out of your mind?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, and I won a long one, too. So that’s all I kind of was focusing on was — yeah, I was rather positive today, and that’s not normal. I’m just going to go with it. (Smiling.)

Q. This is your first three-set match since McHale at Wimbledon. I guess did it feel different in any way? I mean, obviously you have played plenty of tennis, but did it feel like it had been a long time since you had been in that situation?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I mean, I also lost a match at the Olympics. It wasn’t a three-set match, but it was a longer match, and I think kind of in a weird way helped me.

Q. Maybe it’s a silly question, but is there any sort of enjoyment of the challenge, the difficulty of pulling out a three-set match, high stakes, high tension, all of that as opposed to winning 6-1, 6-1, or 6-2, 6-3.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think there is a huge enjoyment in the three-set matches, but I just feel like you don’t get that appreciation until later. Obviously in the moment you want to win fast and you want to win easy and win in straights. You really feel that appreciation much later.

Q. Any silver linings being tested in a match like that tonight?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I feel great. I’m glad I got tested. The best part of it is I feel like — I mean, I think her level really picked up in the second, but I had some opportunities that I didn’t take.

So what I gather from that is I really could have played better in that second set and maybe had an opportunity to win in straights.

I think if anything, that’s the biggest silver lining I take.

Q. You mentioned earlier being positive and just going with it. In that second set, it did seem like in the past we would have like almost expected you to get mad, you know, maybe break a racquet, something like that. You remained pretty inward. Noticeable for you out there? Like did it ever get close to getting — you know, the frustration boiling over?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I was really rather calm today and not trying to be. I guess that’s just how I got out of bed this morning.

I definitely wanted to do some more Come ons. I don’t know why. That’s weird.

Q. We don’t keep that stat. It’s okay.
SERENA WILLIAMS: (Smiling.)

Q. Draymond Green, who has such a fighting spirit and a great athlete, was in the house. Like you, born in Saginaw. Have you met or encountered him? Any thoughts about him?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, we met a while back. We had our Saginaw stories. We had fun. We had a big chat about that. I saw him in the stands, so it was good to see him out there.

Q. Can you share one Saginaw tale?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, listen, I was just born there. That’s my only connection. I think he has more.

Q. What’s your thoughts on having the match tomorrow and not a day off?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I feel that it’s normal. I feel having a day off is weird, because the whole year you play every single day, you know. So this is totally normal.

Q. Can I ask you to look ahead to that matchup with Pliskova? What do you think the keys will be? We have asked you this before, but I’m curious in this instance how much you’ll speak to Venus about playing someone shortly after she played that player.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I haven’t even gotten that far yet, actually. I’m still trying to just get over this match. I’ll definitely — I will more than likely — I’m sure she will tell me something, but I’ll be there. I’ll be ready tomorrow.

Q. Schedules changed a little bit this year. I don’t think you ever played a night session semifinal before. Will that feel different here? You were supposed to last year but it got rained out.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh. Yeah, so I look forward to it. It’s great because I have more time off, I guess.

Then, yeah, so it kind of works out for me.

Q. I mean, do you think about rounds and times? Like you’re in a semifinal and it’s dark. Does it feel unusual or do you not think that way?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I don’t think that way at all.

Q. How much do you enjoy playing against a big server? What pride do you take in your return game when so many people think of you as the person with the biggest serve yourself?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it’s good to play. We’ll see. I haven’t played against many big servers recently, but she places her serve really well, I think. She definitely gets some speed on it, but her placement is really, really nice.

Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be able to read them and play okay.

Q. Inasmuch as you’re zen – and I’m not saying you are zen – how zen have you felt in this tournament?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I have been really stressed out in a few of the matches, but I felt pretty good in most of the rounds.

Honestly I feel okay today. I feel like I could have played a lot better. I think that makes me really calm, is the fact that I know I can play so much better and I have to — yeah, I know that. I think everyone here knows I can play better.

Q. Tonight was it just an issue of execution in the second and third sets? Is that what you’re frustrated with or tactics, or what is it about the match that you’re still trying to process and get over?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I definitely think a little bit of the execution. I don’t think I — yeah, just maybe that and some other things. I’m not…

Q. But Karolina has a twin sister on tour. Have you ever thought about another identical copy of you floating around? How tough that might be?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It would be a living hell. (Laughter.)

 

 

Juan Martin Del Potro

Press Conference

S. WAWRINKA/J. Del Potro

7-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. That moment at the end when everyone was singing before the last game, what were you feeling?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, something difficult to describe with words. I mean, I can lose the match, but I will never forget this. You know, it’s bigger than win any match.

I’m so proud to get that from the crowd, because I have been doing a big effort to play tennis again. They made me so happy tonight, and I don’t mind the score.

Q. This loss obviously is tough, but you have had a great summer. I imagine your confidence must be much bigger than it’s been in the last couple of years. Where do you feel mentally and physically right now with your tennis?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, I think my tennis is starting to respond as I want, but physically I’m still down. You know, I’m not in the same level that these guys. I need to just to stay healthy and wait for the preseason to get 100% for next year.

I’m already top 100, so that’s good. Never will ask for wildcard anymore. (Smiling.)

And everything here is positive for me. I’m so glad for that.

Q. You’re much taller than guys like Wawrinka and Djokovic, Murray. You mention you feel like physically you’re not where they are yet. You need to work on it. What sort of things do you need to do differently because of your height in terms of training?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, I’m starting to play tennis again after a long, long time. Like two months ago I was losing first round, second round, 80 players or different rankings.

And now I’m fighting at the same level as the top guys, and I already beat Djokovic, Rafa. I played against Murray in a great match. Wawrinka is the No. 3 player in the world and I’m there. That’s means something good to me.

But I need to keep working. I need to get my physical back as soon I can, and then I will have a chance to play in the same conditions.

Q. How did you feel physically this match, especially as it got later into the match?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, I think he was smarter than me in the end. In the end he started to play his backhands down the lines; starting to play more slices. He made me run too much. I got exhausted after the third set.

I think that was the key, because at the beginning of the match was really, really tight for both, and I couldn’t win the first two sets. But he took the chances and he made a good match.

Q. How full a schedule do you think you’ll be able to play in the fall? You played on and off this year. Just wondering how your health feels and ranking, if you will try to play a full schedule or just still very careful?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, I didn’t expect to play too many matches here, and now I will see where I’m going to play. I would like to be in Asia and then in the indoor tournament.

But now I don’t have the pression for rankings. I just want to stay healthy and keep working to get my physic back, and I will see. Now, after here, I have Davis Cup. I will try to recover myself to be 100% in Glasgow.

Q. What are your plans travel-wise? Like when are you going to travel for Davis Cup and how are you feeling about that tie?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: I don’t know. (Smiling.) I just finished my match. I don’t have too much time to come back home, but I will see maybe tomorrow during the breakfast.

Q. How are you feeling about the matchup?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: About the match?

Q. Davis Cup.
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: It’s gonna be interesting, I think. All the British guys are playing great. They made so good tournament here and they are the favorites to win.

But Davis Cup everything can happen. So we will be there.

Q. (Question regarding Davis Cup.)
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: But I’m not ready to play anymore now. I’m so tired. (Smiling.) But then you should ask Davis Cup captain.

Q. I’m asking you.
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: No, I’m so tired to answer that.

 

Stan Wawrinka

Press Conference

S. WAWRINKA/J. Del Potro

7-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. I wonder what motivates you? You won two slams, you are very rich, you’ll never catch Federer, Nadal, Djokovic number of trophies, but anyone knows on a good day you beat them. So frankly, I think that one more slam will not change much. What makes you work? What makes you…
STAN WAWRINKA: So what should I do? (Smiling.) I’m 31 years old. What do you want me to do? Just go to the beach? Not do anything? I don’t know. Did you ask that question to Rafa also or to Novak or to Andy?

I think I love my sport. I enjoy to play tennis. It’s my passion. I start when I was really young. I have the chance to play in front of amazing crowd playing amazing match like tonight. If you just look the match tonight you have the answer. It’s amazing feeling to be out there.

Q. What was the reason of the medical timeout? Knee or…
STAN WAWRINKA: No, it was my adductor. Was tightness, tension after a few points on my adductor, and I just wanted to check. That was nothing else.

Q. Next match against Nishikori. What kind of a match do you expect?
STAN WAWRINKA: Well, it’s going to be interesting for sure. We played many times against each other. He beat me a few years ago here quarterfinal five sets. He beat me in Toronto; I beat him in Australia. I saw him play today. He was playing really well.

It’s going to be tough match, for sure. We will see also how I’m going to feel physically in two days to get ready for that.

But, yeah, I’m ready for a match against Kei.

Q. Did you see his match?
STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, a little bit, little bit. He was playing well.

Q. What did you feel was the turning point tonight? It was close and you seemed to take control.
STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, it was important to stay there, to stay tough. I knew before the match that against Juan Martin it’s a tough challenge. He’s playing well. He’s strong mentally. He doesn’t give you much.

You know it’s going to be painful physically and mentally to stay there, so I had to adapt a little bit my game. It’s not a player that I can really play always the way I want because he’s so aggressive.

It was important to stay tough there. I knew it will be difficult. But I’m happy with the way I was fighting, with myself. I’m happy with the way I find solution in the third set to take advantage. I saw also that he was starting to go a little bit down. I took advantage of that.

Q. You mentioned that it was amazing. How was the crowd tonight? They seemed to really get behind Del Potro. Do you feel that there were Swiss fans for you, as well?
STAN WAWRINKA: No, it was amazing crowd, for sure. For sure there was a lot of support for Juan Martin. It’s normal. I expect that. He’s amazing champion. He won here. He got so unlucky with all the injury he had, and the way he’s playing right now already, it’s amazing. Everybody is happy to see him back at that level.

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