2014/04/24

Novak Djokovic and Jelena Jankovic Advance at BNP Paribas Open

Djokovic thumbs up to fans while leaving

(March 11, 2014) INDIAN WELLS – Novak Djokovic was tested in the middle set against Colombian Alejandro Gonzalez, but the Serbian pulled out a 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 win to move into the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open on Tuesday.

Other men advancing were 24th-seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia, who defeated 16th-seeded Tommy Robredo 6-4, 6-3; 30th-seeded Fernando Verdasco  who beat No. 8 seed Richard Gasquet, 7-6 (5), 6-1 24th-seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia, who beat 16th-seeded Tommy Robredo 6-4, 6- and Roberto Bautista Agut stopped  Jarkko Nieminen, 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (6).

On the women’s side. 2010 champion Jelena Jankovic defeated 2011 champion Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 6-1 in the battle of former No. 1s. Also Advancing on the women’s side were No. 6 seed Simona Halep who stopped Eugenie Bouchard 6-2, 1-6, 6-4; Casey Dellacqua of Australia moved on due to Lauren Davis pulling out of the tournament due to gastrointestinal illness and Maria Sharapova conqueror Camilia Giorgi was dismissed by her Italian countrywoman Flavia Pennetta in 56 minutes 6-2, 6-1 to reach the quarterfinals.

Two-time Indian Wells champion Djokovic had 28 winners in the match against Gonzalez. The Colombian before this week had never won an ATP Tour level match until Indian Wells.

“I honestly haven’t seen him play ever before that,” Djokovic said of his opponent.  “I got information from some other players, and my coach did preparations also for the match.  You know, asked also a few players what his weaknesses and strengths are in the game.

“It took me a little bit to get used to it, you know, but I thought I played really well from the start.  6‑1, and then his opening few games, service games, I had break points, and then suddenly I just had a big loss of concentration and allowed him to win the second set for no reason.

“Bounced back better in the third, but I obviously cannot allow myself to have these particular concentration lapses in the match at this level ‑ especially in the next match when I’m playing Cilic, you know, a guy who is in really good form and I think has gotten better in last couple of months working with Ivanisevic.

“So I’m going to have to be on top of my game throughout the whole match in order to win it.”

Djokovic plays Mari Cilic next.

“I’ve played him (Cilic) several times on different surfaces,” Djokovic said.  “We haven’t played each other for quite a long time.

“He started working with Goran, and as I said before, you can feel and you can notice the improvement in his game.  He’s more aggressive.  He comes to the net.  He’s a big guy, and that’s what you expect from him is to serve big and to come to the net.

“He’s using his serve as a big advantage nowadays, and also I feel like he’s moving better on the court.  He did before ‑‑ obviously he had this injury and then was absent from the tour for several months, but since he came back he’s a stronger player.

“I have been watching him playing some big matches.  He won against Murray in Rotterdam in straight sets.  He can definitely can play.  And not just play, I mean, he can win against top players.  That’s why I do not even for a second underestimate him.

“I’m coming into the match knowing that I’m going to have to be playing on top of my game in order to win that match.  I’m going to get myself ready for it.”

Jankovic fh volley

Djokovic’s countrywoman Jelena Jankovic routed Wozniacki 6-3, 6-1. Depending on how other players perform, Wozniacki’s ranking could fall to No. 15 in the world.

“I lost to her the last I don’t know how many times, but I think right now I am playing some pretty good tennis,” Jankovic said of finally ending a five-match losing streak against the Dane.  “I went on court, you know, trying to wait for my chances.

“Against her, if you go sometimes for too much you just make so many errors and you beat yourself.  A lot of times it happened in the past.

“So I try to play solid and aggressive at the same time, wait for the right shots, and then execute.  I did that pretty well.  3‑1 I kind of found my way, found my rhythm, and I was striking the ball very well out there and took control of the points.

“You know, I just did not let her play what she plays.  That was very important.  So I was pretty pleased with the way I played and how composed I stayed throughout the whole match.

“I kind of surprised myself, especially because of my back.  Two nights ago I hurt my back, and yesterday did not hit at all.  Had a lot of treatment.  Could not put my shoes on and all these kind of things.

“So I went on court today not knowing how I was going to feel.  You know, if I was going to be limited with my movement or if I was going to play my game.

“But I did, and I was surprised.  I was so happy and pleased with how everything went.”

Jankovic will play second-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska in the quarterfinals.

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Ready, Set, WTA All-Access at the BNP Paribas Open

 

(March 5, 2014) INDIAN WELLS, California – The top eight women’s seeds held court on Wednesday taking questions from the media during roundtable interviews at the BNP Paribas Open. Here are a few notes and quotes from session:

Aga Radwanska

Agnieszka Radwanska and the Cheesecake Factory

Radwanska professed her love for the Cheesecake Factory. She has inked a multi-year agreement with her favorite restaurant. She’ll be sporting the logo on her visor when she plays.

Radwanska says that she can complain about her season so far – two semifinals including the Australian Open.

Last year Radwanska became a blonde and is back to being a brunette. When asked about the change back to her natural hair color, she said “I prefer the dark hair. It was good to change sometimes.”

LI Na media crush

Li Na is the No. 1 Seed

With Serena Williams absent from Indian Wells, Li Na holds the mantle as the No. 1 seed for the tournament. “Feel pretty good,” Li Na said about having the top spot. This is the first time that she’s been the top seed at WTA Premier Mandatory event.

So what’s life after winner her second major like? She says not much different. “I signed a lot of autographs. But not contracts, OK? So looking forward to signing a lot of contracts,” she said.

 

Kerber

Angelique Kerber – Germany’s Fed Cup team members get a Porsche

So what does she think makes her game special? She says she has the ability to read her opponent’s game, and her defense – how she runs and fights for every point. “That’s what I have inside,” she said. As to what she thinks she needs to improve, she says that she needs to play more “aggressive” tennis.

Kerber spot fondly of being a member of Germany’s Fed Cup. She says they are all friends so everyone wants to play and there is a nice incentive – each Fed Cup team member gets a Porsche. Porsche is the sponsor of the Fed Cup team in Germany.

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova NBC Correspondent

“Carrying the torch was the biggest honor I could have received,” said  former Sochi native Sharapova in choosing between carrying the Olympic torch or Russia’s flag at the Olympic games.

In addition to her torch carrying duty, Sharapova was a correspondent for NBC during the Sochi games. “It was really fun,” said the Russian.

Asked if she would be interested in media in the future she said, ” I am not sure. I had a great time and I don’t know if that’s something I would do for long periods of time. I love that challenge of it.

“We shot for so many hours for a three minute clip.” She emphasized how it takes a lot of time to put a short piece together in television between shooting and travel time.

Her Sochi experience was a great one, but she’s happy to get back to the court.

 

Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova

When asked about whether she feels that most of the time her matches are on her racquet, she responded, When I’m playing, I’m feeling it’s about me and I’m playing aggressive myself, that’s most(ly) about me.” Not all of the time is a happy end.” Kvitova admits that she’s OK with her game but she has some  more expectations of herself.

Playing aggressively comes natural to the 2011 Wimbledon champion.

 

Halep

Simona Halep is a first-timer at the WTA All-Access

Simona Halep’s ranking has been on the rise for the past few years. Last year only No. 1 Serena Williams claimed more titles than the Romanian during the year.

To what does Halep attribute that success to? “I was more aggressive starting  with last year in Rome, becasue I played really well there. Before I had (a) back injury and it was very hard and I couldn’t play at my level but after that I did really well.”

” I am very happy to be top ten . It’s amazing. Now I can see that I can play the highest level in tennis so I want to continue to be focused.”

She admits that she enjoys the perks of being in the top ten. “I have the bigger car,” she said. As a top ten player it entitles her to a bigger car at tournaments. She enjoys driving and one of the reasons she loves this tournament is that she can drive.

She recently purchased a Range Rover back home in Romania.

Halep’s biggest triumph came in Doha last month, where she beat three top ten players for the title. ” After Australia I thought I could be at highest level of tennis, now I am really happy that I can play in top ten.”

 

Jelena Jankovic

Jelena Jankovic models new French Open Fila dress

Jelena Jankovic walked into her roundtable session modeling her new Fila outfit for the French Open accompanied by the designer Ginny Hilfiger.

Jankovic reacted to her former coach Nick Bollettieri being named for induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. “Nick is an amazing person,” Jankovic said. “He’s the one who helped me quite a  lot, you know when it comes to my game brought me a lot at young age.”

“He helped me to believe in myself,” said the former No. 1.

 

 

azarenka-cincy-slider-1

Victoria Azarenka is coming back from a foot injury

By viewing her practices on Monday, one could tell that No. 4 Victoria Azarenka was in some type of pain. She told media that her foot injury had her in a walking boot for three weeks last month. She confessed that she’s only been able to practice for less than a week.

“When you hear for the first time from the doctor that you have to wear a boot for three weeks and the tournament is four-and-a-half weeks away you’re like ‘OK, let’s see how it goes,’” she said. “I just wanted to stay positive and do the best job as possible.”

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Simona Halep Retires with Injury in Dubai Opening Match

Halep Retires

(February 18, 2014) DUBAI – Fresh off her title victory in Doha on Sunday, Simona Halep was forced to retire with a right Achilles injury from her first round match trailing Alize Cornet 6-1, 1-1 at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Tuesday.

No. 9 Halep received treatment after Cornet had taken to lead 4-1.

“I have an inflammation at my Achilles. So when I jump with my serve and when I stop at the rallies, I feel the pain,” said Halep. “I wanted to try, because I like to try to fight for my chance, but here I couldn’t. After one set I realized that it is dangerous to continue.”

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Simona Halep Wins Qatar Open

Halep TennisTV dont com

(February 16, 2014) Simona Halep captured her first title of the year with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Angelique Kerber of in the Qatar Open final  in Doha on Sunday. For Halep it’s her seventh career title, she won her first six in 2013.

On the way to the win, Halep knocked out three top ten players – No. 7 Sara Errani in the quarterfinals, No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska in the semifinals, and the No. 9 Kerber in the final.

“I feel very, very good now,” Halep said.  “I’m very happy I could win this tournament. It’s amazing for me, because when I came here I didn’t think I could reach the final, or win even. So it’s amazing. It’s the biggest tournament I’ve won. It’s incredible here in Doha.”

“I made too many easy mistakes at the beginning of the match, but Simona played very well – she played at a high level the whole week,” Kerber said. I was trying to play what I could today, I was giving everything I could, but she deserved to win the title. And I’m still happy about the week.”

For Halep this win represents the biggest WTA title of her career – her third Premier-level title and the one with the most prize money.

When the new rankings are announced on Monday, Halep will move up one spot to a career-high No. 8.

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Cibulkova Dominates Halep to reach Australian Open Semifinal

DominikaCibulkova

(January 22, 2014) No. 20 Dominika Cibulkova routed No. 11 Simona Halep 6-3, 6-0 to move into the semifinals of the Australian Open on Wednesday. For the Slovak it’s her second major semifinal, the first coming at the 2009 French Open. Cibulkova is now 2-5 in Grand Slam quarterfinals

In a match which lasted 60 minutes, Cibulkova won the last 8 games to close the match. Halep only managed to win 10 points in the second set.

Cibulkova kept the ball deep in her rallies with the Romanian, who committed 25 unforced errors.

“I couldn’t play today,” Halep said.  “I had emotions, big emotions, and I couldn’t manage this.  Before the match I was very nervous and I didn’t feel the ball at all.  I couldn’t move my body and I couldn’t play.

“But she played really well today, and she hits all the balls very strong and she moves really well.”

 

Cibulkova came into the quarterfinals by upsetting No. 3 Maria Sharapova in three sets.

“Of course I’m really glad with the way I played, especially with the way I handled it mentally,” Cibulkova said. “It was a big win against Maria.

“But I wasn’t favorite in this match again against Halep, you know.

“I walked on the court with the confident that I can do it again today.  I was so focusing what I have to do, to do the right things.  That was all what I wanted to do, and of course enjoy my tennis again.

“I’m not so tall, but I’m intense on the court,” the 5’3” Cibulkova said, “and I’m powerful.”

“Obviously I’m not a tall player.  I would say I’m the smallest on tour.

“But, you know, I would say I’m pretty quick on my feet.  I do a lot of good footwork.  I’m really powerful on the court.  I have very good groundstrokes.  My forehand is pretty fast.

“Yeah, when I play my great tennis, I’m really aggressive.  I don’t know, that’s what I do the best.”

 

Dispite the poor performance by Halep, reaching the quarterfinals has been her best result at a major to date.

“I think I will have many chances to pass quarterfinals in Grand Slams,” Halep said.  “But I have to work hard like until now.  So I have my chances in this career and I want to get them.  I want to be more prepared before the big matches.

“So I have to work, hard work.”

“Yes, I am happy that I could play a quarterfinals here in Grand Slam,” she continued.  “Was my dream before this.  I don’t want to disturb my mind very much this sh– today, this match.

“But I just want to enjoy the day and to go home very happy.  I have to enjoy my best result in Grand Slam.”

Cibulkova will face the winner of the Victoria AzarenkaAgniezska Radwanska winner in the semifinals.

“Every match I play against of them, it was me who was doing pressure on them,” Cibulkova said of her potential opponents.  “I was the one who was dictating the game, the one who was going for bigger shots.

“So they both are great players.  I just want to keep my focus, you know, to stay aggressive.”

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Tennis News & Net Notes

Lleyton Hewitt not retiring (just yet): The former world #1 is not planning to retire right after the 2014 Australian Open “It won’t be the last,” he said of the year’s opening grand slam during his visit in preparation for this month’s Brisbane International. via The Sydney Morning Herald

 Lleyton Hewitt (William West/AFP/Getty Images)

Lleyton Hewitt (William West/AFP/Getty Images)

Junior Orange Bowl Results and Match report: American Francis Taifoe causes biggest upset of the week via ITF Tennis.

WTA Tour Top 10 Most clicked-on players: Her ranking and popularity rising, Simona Halep (pictured) is #10, Serena Willams is #1.

Simona+Halep+2013+French+Open+Day+2+dKE0Rx5vx4lx

ATP Tour 2013 By the Numbers: Match wins and ranking improvements- Novak Djokovic played in the 2 longest (time) best of five matches of the year

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WTA Names Alisa Kleybanova as Comeback Player Of The Year and Simona Halep as Most Improved Player Of The Year

Alisa Kleybanova

Alisa Kleybanova

(November 21, 2013) The WTA has named Alisa Kleybanova Comeback Player Of The Year and Simona Halep as Most Improved Player Of The Year.

Alisa Kleybanova overcame Hodgkin’s lymphoma to make it back to the tour. The Russian had broken into the top 20 in 2011 and two months after missing tournament due to illness she announced on her birthday on July 15, 2011, her 22nd birthday, she announced that shehad been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

“I know things are always going to be up and down. I’m not expecting to win everything and come back to the Top 20 so quickly. But I’m ready for the journey,” Kleybanova said during the Fed Cup final. “I’m really happy to be back. I’ve been through enough tough things already. I’m feeling great physically now, I know what I need to work on, and I got my ranking up pretty quickly already this year.

“I just have to stay positive about things, have a nice off-season, train hard, stay healthy, stay away from injuries, and just have a good preparation over the next weeks to get ready for the new season.

“And after that, I hope to play the 2014 season from the first month to the last month.”

 

After Serena Williams, 22-year-old Simona Halep won the most tournaments in 2013 – six. She was a former No. 1 junior player.

The Romanian went 43-8 in her last tournaments of the year, winning her first six WTA titles at Nürnberg, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Budapest, New Haven, Moscow and Sofia, and finishing No.11 for 2013.

“Hopefully I can play next year like I played this year and do well in Australia,” Halep said after winning the Tournament of Champions event in Sofia.

“But I don’t want to make any plans. I won a lot of titles this season, I played really well and it’s not going to be easy next season. I just want to enjoy my time on the WTA tour and to feel the pleasure in every moment on the court.”

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Halep and Stosur to Meet in WTA Tournament of Champions Final

Samantha Stosur

Samantha Stosur

(November 2, 2013) For the second time in three weeks Sam Stosur and Simona Halep will square off in a final, the WTA Tournament of Champions in Sofia, Bulgaria on Sunday. Halep bested Stosur in last month’s Kremlin Cup.

No. 1 seed Halep rallioed in three sets to stop Ana Ivanovic 2-6, 6-1, 6-3,  with Halep winning the last six games, while No. 4 seed Stosur stopped Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1, 1-6, 6-3.

GARANTI KOZA WTA TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS
Sofia, Bulgaria
October 29-Nov 3, 2013
$750,000/Season-Ending Championships
Hard/Indoors

Results – Saturday, November 2, 2013
Semifinals
(1) Simona Halep (ROU) d. (2) Ana Ivanovic (SRB) 26 61 63
(4) Samantha Stosur (AUS) d. (6) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 61 16 63

Order Of Play – Sunday, November 3, 2013
Armeec Arena (from 17.20hrs)
1. Final: Simona Halep vs. Samantha Stosur

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Gasquet and Halep take Moscow Titles

Richard Gasquet

(October 20, 2013) No. 1 seed Richard Gasquet captured his 10 career title surviving qualifier Mikhail Kukushkin 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the final of the Kremlin Cup. For the Frenchman it’s his third title of 2013.

World No. 18. Simona Halep won her the fifth title of this year and her career by upsetting  Samantha Stosur 7-6 (1), 6-2 in the women’s final in Moscow.

“It’s an incredible year for me and I enjoy every moment of it,” said Halep whose ranking is expected to rise to a career-high No. 15.

“It was nice, all the people who were supporting me, and supporting us – I want to thank them for all of their support. Maybe Sam was tired because she won in Osaka last week, and after Asia I had about 10 days of break because I had a right shoulder injury. But I recovered well from that, and now I feel good, and my game was very good this week. Maybe I was just a little bit fresher today.”

With Gasquet’s win he has moved to the ninth position in the ATP Race to the London, the ATP World Tour Finals. The top 8 players will play in the ATP year-ender. The 27-year-old Frenchman is btrying to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals for the first time since 2007.

“I’ll try my best to qualify,” Gasquet said. “Two big tournaments are coming up, including [the ATP World Tour Masters 1000] in Paris. I’ll try my best. I was close to losing today. But I fought a lot. It’s important for me to qualify for it. But the title here is important for me because my opponent played very well.

“He won a lot matches recently and won Challengers. He won seven matches here. He won against big players. For sure, I knew it would be tough because his shots are flat and very strong and he doesn’t miss much and serves well. I knew it would be a big fight for me if I wanted to win. It is a big win for me to win in three sets.”

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Venus Williams Reaches Tokyo Quarterfinals with win over Simona Halep

Venus-Williams-flora-600x397

(September 25, 2013) Venus Williams came back from a set down to upset Simona Halep 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals of the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo on Wednesday.

This is the American’s first time playing in Tokyo since 2009.

Williams said that it was a very tough match and did not know how she was able to win it.. On Tuesday Williams knocked out No. 2 and top seed Victoria Azarenka.

Williams’ next challenge will come from Canadian Eugenie Bouchard, whom she’ll play in the quarterfinals.

TORAY PAN PACIFIC OPEN
Tokyo, Japan
September 22-28, 2013
$2,369,000/Premier
Hard/Outdoors

Results – Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Singles – Third Round
(2) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. (16) Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) 63 64
(4) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) 61 61
(5) Angelique Kerber (GER) d. (11) Ana Ivanovic (SRB) 64 62
Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) d. (6) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 75 62
Lucie Safarova (CZE) d. (12) Samantha Stosur (AUS) 64 64
Venus Williams (USA) d. (13) Simona Halep (ROU) 46 75 63

Suspended due to rain
(15) Sorana Cirstea (ROU) leads Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 41

Order Of Play – Thursday, September 26, 2013
Center Court (from 10.30hrs)
1. Madison Keys vs. Petra Kvitova
2. Venus Williams vs. Eugenie Bouchard (NB 13.00hrs)
3. Lucie Safarova vs. Caroline Wozniacki
4. [Svetlana Kuznetsova or Sorana Cirstea] vs. [Madison Keys or Petra Kvitova] (NB 17.00hrs)
5. Angelique Kerber vs. Agnieszka Radwanska

Court 1 (from 11.00hrs)
1. Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. Sorana Cirstea (tbc)
2. Hsieh/Peng vs. Goerges/Zahlavova Strycova
3. Groenefeld/Peschke vs. Black/Mirza
4. Chan/Huber vs. Jankovic/Srebotnik

Court TBA
Kudryavtseva/Rodionova vs. Flipkens/Kvitova (NB 13.00hrs; after suitable rest)

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