2014/08/20

WTA Event Enters Its Fourth Year at Citi Open

Alison Riske at  Kid's clinic at Citi Open. Photo by Christopher Levy @tennis_shots

Alison Riske at Kid’s clinic at Citi Open. Photo by Christopher Levy @tennis_shots

By Dave Gertler

 

(July 28, 2014) Now in its fourth year, the WTA Citi Open event in Washington is hosting one of its most impressive fields to date, even with the withdrawal of tournament favorite Eugenie Bouchard. Now seeded at No.1, Lucie Safarova leads an exciting field of 32 women including some top European hard-courters as well as American up-and-comers.

 

For the last two years running, it has been Slovakian Magdalena Rybarikova who has capitalized on a line-up that has been improving from scratch since Washington began hosting the WTA International event in 2011. The world No. 37 is undefeated across ten straight matches at the tournament, and has defeated the top seed both years – Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in 2012, and Angelique Kerber in 2013. Russian Pavlyuchenkova was ranked 28 at the time, while this year all eight top seeds are within the WTA’s top 29. Rybarikova did not play the Citi Open’s inaugural tournament in 2011, when world No.24 at the time, Shahar Peer, reached the final as No.1 seed, losing to second-seeded Nadia Petrova.

 

While Rybarikova is back in 2014 to attempt to prolong her dynasty at the Citi Open, Bouchard, Peer, Petrova, Kerber and her opponent in the 2013 final, Germany’s Andrea Petkovic, are prominent names missing from this year’s player field. The impact of their absences on the tournament, however, will be heavily reduced by the fact of the players that ARE attending.

 

Sloane Stephens leads the camp of exciting ‘new-wave’ of WTA players that will be in attendance this year. The world No. 22 – known for being much more solid at majors than she is across the WTA Premier and International calendar year – first entered the Citi Open in 2011, when she was 18 years old and ranked outside the top 120, losing in the first round. The following year, ranked just inside the top 50, she would reach the Washington semi-finals, losing to the eventual champ Rybarikova. In 2013, as a top 20 player, she would lose in the first round once again. It would seem apparent, therefore, that she’s due for another enduring showing at the Citi Open this year.

 

Although Bouchard has withdrawn from the 2014 tournament as the top seed, citing a knee injury, her results have been mixed since the Citi Open initiated their relationship with the Canadian in 2011 when they offered her a wildcard into her first main draw of a WTA event. In 2012 she lost a quarterfinal to Stephens, while last year – ranked No.62 in the world – she lost in the first round. Having reached at least the semi-finals of all three grand slams since then, Bouchard’s ranking has shot up to No.7 at the start of the Emirates Airlines US Open Series.

 

While the tournament has secured the first-time attendance of its high-profile Czech top seed Lucie Safarova, this only serves to augment the returned appearance of Romanian Sorana Cirstea, France’s Alize Cornet and American Madison Keys.

 

Cornet last year reached semi-finals on her first appearance at Citi Open. While the third seed will be vying for her fifth career WTA title, many Washingtonian tennis enthusiasts will have their eye on rising American talent, Madison Keys, who will be taking her career-high No.27 ranking into the Citi Open draw for her second appearance there. Despite retiring injured from her most recent match, a third-rounder at Wimbledon, Keys has been one of the big movers since clay season ended, going 8-2 on grass, and taking her first WTA title at Eastbourne along the way. Keys’ big serving game is a force to be reckoned with on hard courts, and has already ushered her to two WTA Tour semi-final appearances over the past year.

 

While unseeded Magdalena Rybarikova has managed to upset the field for the past two years straight, this year she faces a much tougher task if she’s to three-peat, considering the elevated level of play that will be coming off the racquets of top seeds with whom the Citi Open has been developing strong relationships over the past few years.

 

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney covering Citi Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his Twitter updates from the tournament @TennisNewsTPN, follow him on his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days .

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Seeds Stephens and Stosur Fall in Wimbledon First Round

 

(June 23, 2014) WIMBLEDON – American Sloane Stephens’ streak of reaching the second week at a major was halted at six on Monday at Wimbledon when No. 109 Maria Kirilenko held back her opponent 6-2, 7-6(6) on her sixth match point.

Seventeenth seed Sam Stosur also fell victim to an opening day upset losing to Yanina Wickmayer 6-3, 6-4.

 

After an easy first set, where the Russian played an aggressive game, in the second set Stephens fought off five match points serving a 5-6.  The 18th seed held to take the set to a tiebreak and took a 6-4 lead. Stephens blew two set points as Kirilenko won the next four straight points to take the tiebreak and the match.

Last year Stephens reached quarterfinals at Wimbledon where she lost to the eventual champion Marion Bartoli.

“Obviously Maria is a great player,” Stephens said.  “She’s done well here in the past.  I knew it was going to be tricky, but that’s like every other Grand Slam first round match.”

“She just played really consistent,” Stephens added.  “She’s a good grass court player, so she knows what she’s doing.  Obviously, I mean, she just played pretty solid and she went for all of her shots.

“It was a tough day for me.”

“It wasn’t a very good start for sure,” Stosur said.  “But I actually didn’t feel like, apart from trying to play that little catch up with the break behind, I felt like I was playing quite well.

“I served very well.  Yeah, again, having that break of serve right at the start, for her to get that lead obviously frees her up a little bit.  I thought she played very, very well.

“Yeah, early in that second set I had a chance to break serve; didn’t get it.  Then it was service games, service games, service games.  She gets a let cord at 30-All to get a break; down a break.

“Look, I don’t feel like I played that bad a match, to be honest with you.”

“I think this was one of the best matches I’ve played this year,” said the Belgian who was supported in the stands by former No. 1 Kim Clijsters who is   also working with Wickmayer.  “I felt really confident out there, and tried to really focus on being aggressive from the first point when she served.  I tried to be aggressive on the second serves, and when I had the chance I tried to move in and move forward and serve well myself.

“Open the court up, make her run, work for the points.  So I’m really happy about the way I played today.”

Karen Pestaina at Wimbledon

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Seeds stumble at the business end of Birmingham

Ana Ivanovic photo by Christopher Levy @tennis_shots

Ana Ivanovic photo by Christopher Levy @tennis_shots

Chalkdust Chronicles – Seeds stumble at the business end of Birmingham

 

(June 13, 2014) BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND – Hot on the heels of Sam Stosur coming out on the losing side of an all-Aussie affair was Sloane Stephens at the Aegon Classic on Friday in Birmingham. Earlier in the week she was asked whether this would be her shot at a final, but it looks like the tennis world will still be waiting, as she was brushed aside by Zhang Shuai 6-3, 6-1 for a place in the semi-final.

 

For the third morning in a row the American was opening up proceedings on the Ann Jones Centre Court, and while she seemed to be moving a bit better on another sunny day in Birmingham, her timing and range were a might bit off.

 

Zhang is almost an anti-Sloane Stephens in terms of their successes at Slams verses the tour. Stephens is very much one for the bigger occasions while Zhang has yet to win her first R128 at a Grand Slam. In fact last year she all but missed them.

 

“Last year Australian Open, before I have injury and then I didn’t go to Australia. So French Open I have to play qualies, but I’m still in the Belgium, Brussels, still in the draw. So I don’t have chance to play qualies because same week I’m still in the draw. I can’t play two tournaments same week, so I miss the French Open.

 

“In Wimbledon I have in my country, China, have the national game, so very big tournament of Chinese player. So I stay in China play the national game, so I miss the third Grand Slam last year, Wimbledon. But I come to Wimbledon play doubles and mixed last year.”

 

More brushing aside, top seed Ana Ivanovic ploughed through a sometime tearful Klara Koukalova 6-1, 6-4 and proceeded to chatter enthusiastically about her plans after Birmingham.

 

“I’m going to actually be in London and train there and then, I have some also free time to go to the city a little bit and relax. We don’t get to do that much during the tournament, especially we stay in Wimbledon Village. It’s a good opportunity to do it the week before and let your hair down a little bit and not think too much about the matches yet. Then looking forward Wimbledon pre‑party.”

 

The dream run of Kimiko Date-Krumm ended a lot less glowingly than her great performance yesterday against defending champion Daniela Hantuchova, as it was her turn to be on the unfortunate end of a bagel.

 

Casey Dellacqua, who came back from a set down against fellow countrywoman Sam Stosur was on fire as Date-Krumm needed something a little more than her trademark tea to calm her fraying nerves as Dellacqua allowed the veteran just a single game in the match, as she sets up a semi-final against Barbora Zahlavova Strycova.

 

Play starts at 12pm BST with Ivanovic and Zhang, followed by Zahlavova Strycova v Dellacqua.

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Stephens and Ivanovic Advance, Stosur Beaten in Birmingham

DSC_83045027thursday stephens

Sloane Stephens photo by Christoper Levy @tennis_shots

 

Chalkdust Chronicles – More Sun and seeds still rolling

 

(June 12, 2014) BIRMINGHAM – It is a rare thing to have two days of sunshine, but prize of the day already (and we’re still only in the early stages of the matches on the slate for today) was Sloane Stephens who educated the waiting press on NCIS marathons that were keeping her from sleeping, and her opinion on the English football team and their penalty taking skills.

 

Stephens is enjoying a purple patch off a decent run on the dirt in Roland Garros, and the perhaps inevitable question of “When will we see you in a final” is more relevant here – she is playing pretty solidly and could well wind up in a semi-final at least with top seed Ana Ivanovic.

 

The smiling Serbian was, as always, upbeat about her time on the green stuff. He play today was pleasingly aggressive and she showed some great deftness with volleys as she pushed past Lauren Davis.

 

After the match she said: “I just felt the ball really good. I timed it well. I knew she’s a player who stays low in the grass and it can work well sometimes, so I really tried to stretch her and come forward. I did that well. I served pretty well. I got her out wide a lot and came in, hit some good volleys, which I was happy. And my coach, too.”

 

One seed who will not be in the lineup is Sam Stosur who came out on the wrong side of an all-Australian encounter after losing to Casey Dellacqua in three sets. She has never been able to get a win over her compatriot, even though the last time they met was 2003.

 

By and large the crowds have been good in this fair city, and the weather has been kind, but grass has been unforgiving, and it does not take long for the surface to scupper the hopes of even the most accomplished (Just ask Serena Williams!).

 

The highlights for Friday will be to see if Stephens can edge ever closer to a final, but Ivanovic is looking serene.

 

AEGON CLASSIC – BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND
$ 710,000.00
9-15 JUNE 2014

RESULTS – JUNE 12, 2014
Women’s
Singles – Third Round

[1] A Ivanovic (SRB) d L Davis (USA) 61 61
[16] C Dellacqua (AUS) d [2] S Stosur (AUS) 26 62 62
[3] S Stephens (USA) d [15] A Riske (USA) 76(4) 26 61
[4] K Flipkens (BEL) d [Q] A Wozniak (CAN) 16 75 64
[6] K Koukalova (CZE) d C Vandeweghe (USA) 36 76(3) 64
K Date-Krumm (JPN) d [7] D Hantuchova (SVK) 64 60
[9] S Zhang (CHN) d P Cetkovska (CZE) 60 76(6)
B Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) d [LL] T Babos (HUN) 62 06 63

Women’s
Doubles – Quarterfinals

[3] R Kops-Jones (USA) / A Spears (USA) d H Chan (TPE) / Y Chan (TPE) 67(5) 76(5) 10-0
C Garcia (FRA) / S Zhang (CHN) d K Date-Krumm (JPN) / B Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) 16 61 10-7

ORDER OF PLAY – FRIDAY, JUNE 13, 2014
ANN JONES CENTRE COURT start 11:00 am
[3] S Stephens (USA) vs [9] S Zhang (CHN)
[1] A Ivanovic (SRB) vs [6] K Koukalova (CZE)
K Date-Krumm (JPN) vs [16] C Dellacqua (AUS)
B Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) vs [4] K Flipkens (BEL)

COURT 1 start 1:00 pm
[1] C Black (ZIM) / S Mirza (IND) vs D Jurak (CRO) / M Moulton-Levy (USA)
TBA – After suitable rest – L Huber (USA) / L Raymond (USA) vs [2] A Barty (AUS) / C Dellacqua (AUS)

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French Open Women’s Quarterfinals Set

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

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

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

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

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Ana Ivanovic Beaten in Third Round of Roland Garros

Lucie Safarova

Lucie Safarova

(May 31, 2014) 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic’s dreams of a second Paris title were dashed on Satruday, when the 11th seed was beaten by 23rd seed Lucie Safarova 6-3, 6-3. It was Ivanovic’s fifth straight loss to the Czech woman. Safarova is now 5-2 against the Serb.

Safarova will play 2009 French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova who had to battle past fifth seed Petra Kvitova 6-7 (3), 6-1, 9-7 in an over three-hour match.

Fifteenth seed Sloane Stephens advanced into the French Open’s fourth round for the third straight time with a 6-3, 6-4 win over No. 22 Ekaterina Makarova.

Stephens will face off against No. 4 Simona Halep for a place in the quarterfinals. Neither woman has ever reached the final eight in Paris.

Due to the upsets on No. 1 Serena Williams, No. 2 Li Na and No. 3 Agnieszska Radwanska, Halep is the top women’s seed remaining at Roland Garros.

“That’s a surprise for everyone,” said Halep. “Is not easy to be the (top) seeded now, during the tournament. But I try just to keep — the pressure (away).”

 

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Venus Williams Battles Back, While Sloane Stephens Falls in Charleston

Venus celebrates

(April 2, 2014) A day after the upset of her sister Serena, Venus Williams had to battle back in both sets of her 7-5, 7-5 win over Chanelle Scheepers to move into the third round of the Family Circle Cup in Charleston on Wednesday.

No. 28 Venus Williams who said that she is ill on Tuesday, said that she’s dealing with it.

“I’m still dealing with the bug, but my goal is just to hang in there until it hopefully goes away and then I can just continue to play my way into the tournament and play stronger,” she said to media “But it’s definitely a challenge.”

Venus Williams suffers from Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease.

No. 18 Sloane Stephens fell to teenager Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-4 earlier on Wednesday. For the Ukrainian who is ranked 35 in the world, it’s her fourth win over a top 20 player. The others include Svetlana Kuznetsova, Roberta Vinci and Eugenie Bouchard.

RESULTS – APRIL 02, 2014
Women’s
Singles – Second Round
[2] J Jankovic (SRB) d L Davis (USA) 60 63
[3] S Errani (ITA) d [Q] K Bertens (NED) 63 00 Retired
[4] S Lisicki (GER) d V King (USA) 75 46 63
E Svitolina (UKR) d [5] S Stephens (USA) 64 64
[11] V Williams (USA) d C Scheepers (RSA) 75 75
[12] D Hantuchova (SVK) d [Q] G Min (USA) 62 63
[13] E Vesnina (RUS) d P Cetkovska (CZE) 36 62 64
[14] A Petkovic (GER) d L Dominguez Lino (ESP) 60 60
S Peng (CHN) d [15] M Keys (USA) 61 67(3) 76(4)
A Tomljanovic (CRO) d [16] S Zhang (CHN) 46 76(4) 63
[Q] B Bencic (SUI) d M Erakovic (NZL) 62 61

Women’s
Doubles – First Round
[PR] H Chan (TPE) / Y Chan (TPE) d [2] K Peschke (CZE) / L Safarova (CZE) 64 64
[3] R Kops-Jones (USA) / A Spears (USA) d [Alt] J Gajdosova (AUS) / S Zheng (CHN) 63 36 11-9
A Medina Garrigues (ESP) / Y Shvedova (KAZ) d [WC] E Bouchard (CAN) / T Townsend (USA) 67(0) 63 10-7
A Kudryavtseva (RUS) / A Rodionova (AUS) d M Lucic-Baroni (CRO) / N Petrova (RUS) 62 26 10-3

ORDER OF PLAY – THURSDAY, APRIL 03, 2014
BILLIE JEAN KING start 11:00 am
[3] S Errani (ITA) vs S Peng (CHN)

Not Before 1:00 pm
[6] E Bouchard (CAN) vs [11] V Williams (USA)
[14] A Petkovic (GER) vs [4] S Lisicki (GER)
A Tomljanovic (CRO) vs [2] J Jankovic (SRB)

Not Before 7:00 pm
[7] S Stosur (AUS) vs [9] L Safarova (CZE)
[WC] S Cirstea (ROU) / M Kirilenko (RUS) vs [PR] H Chan (TPE) / Y Chan (TPE)

ALTHEA GIBSON start 11:00 am
[12] D Hantuchova (SVK) vs T Pereira (BRA)
J Cepelova (SVK) vs [13] E Vesnina (RUS)
[Q] B Bencic (SUI) vs E Svitolina (UKR)
[1] S Hsieh (TPE) / S Peng (CHN) vs M Erakovic (NZL) / A Parra Santonja (ESP)
After Suitable Rest – [3] R Kops-Jones (USA) / A Spears (USA) vs [WC] J Jankovic (SRB) / A Petkovic (GER)

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“Straight-Up Bad,” Sloane Stephens Crushed by Caroline Wozniacki at Sony Open

sLOANE sTEPHENS dUBAI

Sloane Stephens

(March 23, 2014) No. 18 Caroline Wozniacki destroyed No. 16 Sloane Stephens 6-1, 6-0 on Stadium Court in less than an hour at the Sony Open.

“I’m pleased about the way I played,” Wozniacki aid.  Definitely very happy about the performance out there.

Stephens’ lone game in the match came on a break of serve, she did not hold her serve at all during the match.

“Just really disappointing night,” Stephens said.  Just got my butt kicked, and that’s about it really.

The statistics tell the story of the match for Stephens. She committed 37 unforced errors and hit only 12 winners. The American won only 26 points in the entire 55 minute match.

“Just try and make some balls in the court,” Stephens said in press.  “That normally helps.  Just, like I said, it was really disappointing.  Just wasn’t getting ball in the court.  She played solid.”

“It wasn’t like it was a choice or I had any chances,” she continued.  “It was just straight‑up bad.”

“I have been playing good, practicing good.  Everything has been good.  Just kind of a disappointing night for me.  It’s just something ‑‑ it just happened.  I couldn’t fight my way out of it.

“Not really anything I’m going to cry too much over.  I’m just going to get back to work and get ready for Charleston next week.”

Wozniacki was asked about her focus during the match when her opponent was not playing up to her potential.

“You actually have to stay even more focused because you know she’s going to go for it at some point,” said the Dane.  “Things can turn easy, especially when you’re up by a lot.

“The other person doesn’t have anything to lose, so you know you really have to be on your toes and expect anything.”

“So I just stayed focused out there.  I didn’t let her into the match.  I didn’t give one point away.  I was very happy about that.”

Wozniacki will play her fourth round march against Vavara Lepchenko.

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Confident Venus Williams Advances at Sony Open

(March 21, 2014) Three-time former Sony Open winner Venus Williams defeated Anna Schmiedlova 6-3, 6-3. Williams at 33 is the the oldest player in the women’s draw and is playing in Key Biscayne for the 15th time.

It’s her first match since winning the Dubai title last month.

“I have been working hard since then, and I feel really confident, you know, in every situation I’m in on the court,” Venus Williams said.

“So I think that, you know, it was a big help for me in Dubai.”

“She’s competitive, a new player,” Williams said about playing Schmiedlova. “You never know what their game is really going to be like.  I’d never even seen her play.

Coming into Key Biscayne, Williams is on a win streak, riding a crest of confidence.

“I feel good on the court, she said.  “I feel like I have had a chance to play more matches this year than really lots and lots of years.  Many, many years, like four or five.

“So I think that’s been a great advantage for me, as well.  I’m looking forward to playing this tournament obviously and Family Circle, as well.  I’m looking forward to playing my third round I didn’t get to play last year.

My whole plan is to be playing.  That’s it.”

She’ll play in the third round against Casey Dellacqua.

 Li Na Nike

Sony Open No. 2 seed Li made it to the third round without striking a ball on Friday when her opponent Alisa Kleybanova pulled out of the tournament due to a viral illness.  Kleybanova, is making a comeback from Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

No. 6 Simona Halep also pulled out of the tournament due to a right toe injury.

2012 champion Agnieszka Radwanska stopped Romina Oprandi 6-0, 6-4.

Other seeded women winners on the day included (10) Dominika Cibulkova over Yvonne Meusburger 6-1, 6-2, (11) Caroline Wozniacki had to fight her opponent and the crowd when she topped Monica Puig 6-1, 1-6, 6-3, (15) Carla Suarez Navarro beat Chanelle Scheepers 6-4, 6-1 and (17) Sloane Stephens won over Zarina Diyas 7-5, 6-3.

Vavara Lepchenko

Vavara Lepchenko

American Varvara Lepchenko pulled off the biggest upset of the day on the ladies side of the draw by beating No. 7 Jelena Jankovic 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (2). Other shockers included Barbora Zahlavova Strycova who topped 13 seed Roberta Vinci 6-4, 2-6, 7-5, Elina Svitolina stunned 21st seed Eugenie Bouchard 1-6, 6-1, 6-2, Ajla Tomljanovic defeated (30) Garbine Muguruza and young American Madison Keys stopped (31) Daniela Hantuchova 6-4, 6-2.

“I’m really happy about it,” Keys said.  “I mean, I think I served well.  I think that really helped me today.

The next challenge for Keys will be No. 2 seed Li Na in the third round.

“It’s such a good experience,” Keys said.

“She’s a great player.  She just won the Australian Open so she’s obviously doing well.

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Li Na to Meet Flavia Pennetta in Indian Wells Semis

(March 13, 2014) INDIAN WELLS – In a rematch of the Australian Open final, top seed Li Na defeated Dominika Cibulkova 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, while Flavia Pennetta battled past Sloane Stephens 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 and will face off in the semifinals of the BNP Paribas Open

The match which lasted 2 hours and 36 minutes improved Li’s record to 17-1 on the year. The woman from China lost just her first set during the tournament.

This is Li’s first WTA Premier event where she’s the top seed.

Everything for me is new, top seed, first time on the big tournament,” Li said

“Of course, you know, everyone looking different.  Not like before if I come here, maybe like No. 6 or No. 7 seed.

“But I think I am handling very well, so just continue.”

With being the top seed and a two-time major winner Li is feeling special at Indian Wells.

“No, I feel like I’m much friendlier,” she said with a smile. “No, joke.”

“Even like practicing the fans were watching.  But I think I find more fans supporting my husband, not for me.  Even we are practicing, working out, if he hit a winner, everyone was like so happy.

“It was a pretty tough match today,” said Cibulkova.  “I’m just disappointed a little bit that I didn’t win, because I had my chances today.”

“I think the biggest difference that I lost today was because her serve was better than mine.”

Flavia Pennetta had to endure a topsy-turvy two—hour and 26 minute match against Sloane Stephens. The Italian served for the match in both the second and third sets. She had to endure a dust storm with high winds and right herself after losing six straight games from the end of the second set to 0-3 in the third. Then she won six of the last seven games to seal the win on her fifth match point.

“I mean, we didn’t have a lot of fun today,” said the 32-year-old veteran.  “We didn’t play our best tennis.

“Maybe in the beginning we play much better, and in the second set one, but the third was a disaster for both of us.  I mean, I won.  I’m happy because I get through this match, but I don’t have a good feeling right now.  I mean, it’s normal.  Outside it’s crazy now.  It’s coming the wind from nowhere.

“But in the other part I’m really happy because I was down 3‑Love in the third, and I fight until the last point and the match was for me today.”

“I wasn’t playing my best at the beginning,” said Stephens.  “It was a bit up and down, but I just tried to battle and stay in there.  Second set was playing better and better.  Then the wind came, which was pretty unfortunate.

“I just tried to do my best and fight and battle for every point.  It was unfortunate that I lost.”

Pennetta

“It was a disaster,” the American said of the third set, agreeing with Pennetta who used those words during her post–match news conference  “It wasn’t super fun, super frustrating, but that happens sometimes.  You play tennis, so it is what it is.

“It really came out of nowhere.  Like I don’t even know what happened.  We just started the third set, and all of a sudden it was like ‑‑ it was like a windstorm.  I don’t know.  It was weird.”

Pennetta said her opponent has a bright future: “I think she’s already ‑‑ she’s 20, but she’s a good player.  She have a lot of matches, important matches.  She was in the semifinal already in a Grand Slam, so you are already a big champion for me.

“I mean, she’s one of the best players, of course.  In the future, I think she will be one of the best, top 10, for sure.

“She has everything:  unbelievable forehand; backhand; she improve a lot with the backhand in the last year; she’s powerful.”

“She play more or less like me, but she’s more powerful than me,” Pennetta said of her semifinal opponent Li Na.  “I have to be real aggressive tomorrow to try to take the situation, but is not going to be easy.”

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