November 27, 2015

USTA Foundation to Host First Los Angeles Pro-Am Fundraiser


(November 6, 2015) – The USTA Foundation and USTA Foundation Chairman of the Board, former world No. 4 men’s singles player James Blake announced world No. 30 women’s singles player Sloane Stephens and world No. 37 women’s singles player Coco Vandeweghe will be joined by a field of tennis players and celebrities for the foundation’s first Los Angeles Pro-Am to be held on Sunday, November 8 in Brentwood.


The event, co-hosted by Blake and International Tennis Hall of Famer Pam Shriver, will fund the USTA Foundation’s commitment to improving the quality of life among the nation’s youth, military heroes and individuals with disabilities through tennis and education. This is the first time the USTA Foundation will host a fundraiser on the west coast.


Joining Stephens and Vandeweghe are International Tennis Hall of Famer, former world No. 1 and two-time US Open champion Tracy Austin, and Justin Gimelstob, a two-time Grand Slam mixed doubles champion. Also slated to participate is Katrina Adams, a former world top 10 doubles player and current Chairman, CEO and President of the United States Tennis Association. Celebrities who will participate include Academy Award-nominated actress Elisabeth Shue, Katharine McPhee and Elyes Gabel, who are both stars of CBS’ hit show “Scorpion.” and former college tennis standout and FOX “Last Man On Earth,” star Boris Kodjoe.


Participants from Ramp Up, a Los Angeles-based chapter of the National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL) network, will serve as ballpersons for the tournament. The organization is one of the USTA Foundation’s premier after-school tennis and education programs.


The Pro-Am will be followed by a reception bringing together tennis stars, icons, enthusiasts and celebrities, all to support the work of the USTA Foundation in combining tennis and education to aid those in need. The event will include a live auction featuring exclusive, one-of-a-kind packages and experiences, including a signed racquet by Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova and tickets to the 2016 US Open and World Tennis Day at Madison Square Garden in March.


“I am excited to join an amazing lineup of participants with my friends Pam and Sloane for the USTA Foundation’s first Los Angeles Pro-Am,” said Blake. “It’s great to have so many people lend their time in support of our mission in positively changing lives through the combination of tennis and education. Because I know firsthand how tennis and education programs encourage many of our youth to reach their fullest potential, I’m honored to get back out on the courts and compete for a tremendous cause that will have a lasting impact on future champions.”


Individual player packages including private hitting sessions are available at


To date, the Foundation has awarded more than $19 million, benefitting thousands of children and adults through tennis, education and health programs and college scholarships, and has impacted more than 200,000 military service members, veterans and their families through its outreach programs.


Serena Williams Advances Easily While Fourth Seed Nishikori Falls on Day 1 of US Open


(August 31, 2015) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Last year’s US Open men’s finalist and fourth seed Kei Nishikori lost in the first round on Monday while several women’s seeds tumbled out on the first day of Flushing Meadows.

No such drama for the No. 1 seed Serena Williams seeking the US Open to complete a calendar Grand Slam. She moved a step closer to history with an easy win over 86th ranked Vitalia Diatchenko of Russia who retired from the match trailing 6-0, 2-0. She said that she felt a sharp pain hitting a backhand during a point.

“It was definitely different and bizarre,” the 33-year-old Williams said. “But at the same time, I was still focused. I kept thinking: Just stay focused; don’t lose it. You never know what can happen.”

Williams march to completing the first Grand Slam since 1988 seems to have been made easier when a deluge of seeds from her half of the draw lost. They included: No. 3 Maria Sharapova who withdrew on Sunday with an injured right leg, No. 7 Ana Ivanovic, No. 8 Karolina Pliskova and No. 10 Carla Suarez Navarro, No. 21 Jelena Jankovic, No. 29 Sloane Stephens (who beat Williams in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open in 2013) and No. 30 Svetlana Kuznetsova.

The 21-time major champion will play the Netherlands Kiki Bertens. “I think she’s playing well, Williams said. “She does a lot of things well. She has a big serve. It’s definitely something that I look forward to. See what happens.”

“I’m not a person that usually looks at the draws,” Williams said. “I just take it as it comes and as it goes.”

Kei Nishikori was the only shock on the men’s side when the fourth seed fell to France’s Benoit Paire Nishikori’s 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (6), 6-4 despite having two match points in the fourth set tiebreak.

“It’s very sad to lose always first round, but I think he was playing good tennis,” Nishikori said. “So, I mean, I don’t think I played bad. Didn’t play great, but still, it’s never easy first match. He’s a good player.

“You know, try to think about next one, and I hope I can come back strong next year.”

“Today for me, when I come on court I know I can beat Nishikori,” Paire said. “I place twice time; I lost two time, but very tough match.

“So when I come on the court, I say, come on. You can beat Kei. He has a game — it’s not like if I play against Roger Federer. For me it’s different because he has good serve.

“Against Kei I know I can play, and for sure some volleys. For me it’s important because I know I don’t put a lot of pressure on myself. I say, Okay, for sure you can break him.

“So the most important thing is to feel good and to have fun. I think today that’s the most important thing.”

The man Nishikori lost to in last year’s final had few problems in his 6-3, 7-6, 7-6 win.

“I think this tournament is giving me the best chance to play the best over here,” Marin Cilic said. Even before last year, in the past years I was always playing pretty well and reached few times quarterfinals. Even in those matches had some chances. Close to making it to the semis.

“Coming this year again is definitely very special moment for me in my whole career. This experience of, you know, defending the Grand Slam title for the first time is something that I’m going to learn for sure a lot from.”

No. 1 Novak Djokovic destroyed  Brazil’s Joao Souza 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 in 71 minutes.

“I couldn’t ask for a better opening of this year’s US Open,” Djokovic said.” Hopefully I can continue in that rhythm.”

Sixteenth seed Gael Monfils retired from his match with a back against Illya Marchenko while trailing 2-6, 6-4, 5-0, 30-0.

Eighth seed Rafael Nadal, playing in the Flushing Meadows for the first time since 2013, beat teenager Borna Coric 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 in second night match on Arthur Ashe Stadium. “Very happy to be back,” Nadal said, “and to be through.”

“I think I played great. The first two sets I played a very high level of tennis. Seriously, then I get a little bit tired. I had some problems. I was sweating a lot. I lost little bit — you know, I don’t feel enough strong after that, no?

“I had little bit of stomach problem so I felt not perfect, physically perfect then.

“But then in the fourth I recovered little bit. I played again more aggressive. Finally was important victory for me. Happy the way that I played when I was, you know, physically good.”

Singles – First Round

(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. Vitalia Diatchenko (RUS) 60 20 retired (Left ankle injury)
Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) d. (7) Ana Ivanovic 63 36 63
(Q) Anna Tatishvili (USA) d. (8) Karolina Pliskova 62 61
Denisa Allertova (CZE) d. Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) 61 76(5)
(12) Belinda Bencic (SUI) d. Sesil Karatantcheva (BUL) 61 62
(13) Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) d. Teliana Pereira (BRA) 63 63
(15) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. Katerina Siniakova (CZE) 62 63
(17) Elina Svitolina (UKR) d. (Q) Elizaveta Kulichkova (RUS) 61 64
(18) Madison Keys (USA) d. Klara Koukalova (CZE) 62 64
(WC) Oceane Dodin (FRA) d. (21) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 26 75 63
(23) Venus Williams (USA) d. Monica Puig (PUR) 64 67(7) 63
(25) Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) d. Alison Riske (USA) 64 63
CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) d. (29) Sloane Stephens (USA) 64 63
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) d. (30) Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 63 75
(31) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) d. Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) 64 75
(Q) Kiki Bertens (NED) d. Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (CRO) 36 64 62
(WC) Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) d. (Q) Kateryna Kozlova (UKR) 64 63
Tereza Smitkova (CZE) d. Andreea Mitu (ROU) 76(4) 62
Magda Linette (POL) d. Urszula Radwanska (POL) 76(3) 61
Misaki Doi (JPN) d. Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) 63 63
Irina Falconi (USA) d. (WC) Samantha Crawford (USA) 64 62
(Q) Anett Kontaveit (EST) d. Casey Dellacqua (AUS) 75 62
Madison Brengle (USA) d. Saisai Zheng 62 57 75
(LL) Daria Kasatkina (RUS) d. Daria Gavrilova (AUS) 62 46 75
Ana Konjuh (CRO) d. Tatjana Maria (GER) 64 64
Bojana Jovanovski (SRB) d. Lara Arruabarrena (ESP) 62 62
Kaia Kanepi (EST) d. Anna-Lena Friedsam (GER) 61 61
Lauren Davis (USA) d. Heather Watson (GBR) 76(3) 76(0)
Roberta Vinci (ITA) d. Vania King (USA) 64 64
Mariana Duque-Marino (COL) d. (WC) Sofia Kenin (USA) 63 61
Polona Hercog (SLO) d. Zarina Diyas (KAZ) 62 75
(Q) Jessica Pegula (USA) d. Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) 75 63

Men’s singles

Novak Djokovic (SRB) [1] d. Joao Souza (BRA) 61 61 61
Benoit Paire (FRA) d. Kei Nishikori (JPN) [4] 64 36 46 76(6) 64 – saved 2 MP
Marin Cilic (CRO) [9] d. Guido Pella (ARG) 63 76(3) 76(3)
Milos Raonic (CAN) [10] d. Tim Smyczek (USA) 64 76(8) 61
David Goffin (BEL) [14] d. Simone Bolelli (ITA) 64 61 62
Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) [17] d. Matthew Ebden (AUS) 64 62 64
Feliciano Lopez (ESP) [18] d. Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) 76(5) 61 63
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) [19] d. Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) 63 61 61
Andreas Seppi (ITA) [25] d. Tommy Paul (USA) 64 60 75
Tommy Robredo (ESP) [26] d. Michael Berrer (GER) 62 62 64
Jeremy Chardy (FRA) [27] d. Ryan Shane (USA) 62 61 67(6) 62
Mardy Fish (USA) d. Marco Cecchinato (ITA) 67(5) 63 61 63
Fernando Verdasco (ESP) d. Tommy Haas (GER) 36 61 67(3) 63 61
Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) d. Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE) 63 63 30 ret.
Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) d. John Millman (AUS) 61 36 76(3) 64
Marcel Granollers (ESP) d. Lukas Lacko (SVK) 62 63 61
Evgeny Donskoy (RUS) d. Lucas Pouille (FRA) 62 67(3) 62 64
Marsel Ilhan (TUR) d. Radek Stepanek (CZE) 60 26 64 32 ret,
Ricardas Berankis (LTU) d. Joao Sousa (POR) 62 62 46 26 76(4)

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News at the US Open




Kei Nishikori and Sloane Stephens Take Citi Open Singles Titles

Sloane Stephens close upKei Nishikori

(August 9, 2015) On Sunday, 2014 U.S. Open finalist, second seed Kei Nishikori rallied to stop hard-serving John Isner 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 to claim his first Citi Open title. Sloane Stephens captured the women’s title in Washington, DC with a 6-1, 6-2 dismissal of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova match between unseeded players.

For the 25-year-old Japanese player, this was his 10th career title, while for the American, it was her first trophy on the WTA Tour.

“I didn’t make enough inroads on his first serve,” said three-time Washington finalist Isner of his battle against Nishikori. “If you put a decent amount of first serves in the court, he’s arguably the best in the best in the world from the baseline. It’s tough. I thought he served better in the second and third sets. He’s a great player and a great champion.”

“I’m very happy to win after losing the first set,” said Nishikori. “I came back really well so I’m very happy to win today.

“I fought through (after losing the first set for the third time this week). In the first match I was down 7-6 and came back. It’s not easy but mentally I tried to fight every time and I’m happy to win in the final today.”

Nishikori who is 43-9 on the year will move up to No. 4 in the world with the victory, matching his career high.

“I’ll try to keep going,” Nishikori said. “I’ve been playing well.”

Nishikori will move up from No. 5 to No. 4 in Monday’s rankings, equaling his career best.

In the men’s doubles final, Americans Bob and Mike Bryan won their fourth Citi Open title beating Ivan Dodig of Croatia and Marcelo Melo of Brazil 6-4, 6-2 for their 108th career doubles title.

“I think this tournament is really valuable for our confidence, our momentum going into this hard-court summer,” Bob Bryan said. It was nice to get some revenge on a couple of teams we lost to over in Europe. That will help us going into these next three big tournaments and crescendos at the US Open in New York.”

Sloane Stephens

Sloane Stephens

The 22-year-old Stephens, jumped off to a 3-0 lead winning 15 of the first 21 points and never had to look back. This was the first final for the American.

“I just went out there and tried to play the best I could,” Stephens said to media.

“I think I executed my game very well today – it was just a really good day for me.”

“Nothing was given to me. I had to work for everything. It was just nice that all of the hard work and everything I’ve put into it – now I can say that I have a tournament title,”

“It’s great to win this first title – I haven’t even thought about my next goal yet.”

“Last year I was going through a learning process. I learned a lot about myself. And there’s still a lot of room to grow. Sometimes you have to go through the process. To get to this place, to get to this beautiful trophy, I had to go through a lot, but at the end of the day it was definitely worth it.”

Stephens, who was once ranked as high as No. 11 in the world, will move up from No. 35 into the top 30 when the rankings come out on Monday.

The doubles title went to the fourth seeds Belinda Bencic and Kristina Mladenovic over third seeds Lara Arruabarrena and Andreja Klepac, 7-5, 7-6(7).



Taste of Tennis “Week” Returns



NEW YORK, NY (July 27, 2015) – AYS, the creators and producers of the Taste of Tennis, announced the lineup of events leading up to this year’s US Open. From Top Chefs battling it out on the Tennis Court, to pro tennis players “serving” incredible cuisine, these exciting events offer something for all tastes! Events include the Celebrity Chef Tennis Challenge on August 26th, the 16th Annual Taste of Tennis Gala on August 27th and Party with The Pros on August 29th.


“Taste of Tennis is among the most recognizable brands in the culinary and tennis communities. Each year, our flagship event sells out. To satisfy demand, we have added the Celebrity Chef Tennis Challenge and Party with the Pros. Additionally, in 2016, we are excited to announce that we will launch Taste of Tennis Series in key tennis and culinary markets nationwide. It’s an extremely exciting time for us,” explains Penny Lerner, CEO of AYS.


Tickets for Taste of Tennis events are currently on sale and can be purchased online at  The complete Taste of Tennis Week schedule of events includes:


  • Wednesday, August 26th – Celebrity Chef Tennis Challenge, 10AM-2PM (City View Racquet Club, 43-34 32nd Place, Long Island City, NY): Hosted by Top Chef Masters Finalist Kerry Heffernan and SNY anchor Michelle Yu. At this exciting event, professional chefs will serve up something a little out of the ordinary as they compete in a round-robin doubles tournament to determine who is the King (or Queen) of the court! Guests will witness action packed matches featuring Marc Murphy (LandMarc), Alfred Portale (Gotham Bar and Grill), Jonathan Waxman (Barbuto) and many other renowned chefs. Guests will also enjoy interactive sponsor activities, and will join the chefs for a delicious post tournament cookout sponsored by Master Purveyors.


  • Thursday, August 27th – Taste of Tennis Gala, 7PM-10PM (W New York- 541 Lexington Ave.): The party that started it all! To celebrate the US Open, AYS created the Taste of Tennis, a one of a kind event featuring fine food prepared by 25 of NYC’s top culinary minds, signature cocktails, interactive sponsor experiences, live music and appearances by the world’s greatest tennis players. Hosting this year’s gala will be former Bachelorette Andi Dorfman, headlining Chef Marc Murphy and professional tennis stars The Bryan Brothers. Major sponsors for the 16th Taste of Tennis include Citi, Rado, Jamaica Tourist Board, Lifeway Kefir, Zepp, Master Purveyors, Inc., Mouton Cadet and Franciscan Estate Napa Valley, among others.  A portion of proceeds from this event will benefit Chef Eli Kulp, beloved chef of Philadelphia’s High Street Market who was in the process of opening a new restaurant in New York City when he was critically injured in the recent Amtrak train derailment.


  • Saturday, August 29th Party with the Pros, 7PM-9PM (Measure Lounge at Langham Place New York, Fifth Avenue): Guests at the Party with the Pros will enjoy an evening of incredible hors d’oeuvres prepared by Chef David Vandenabeele and signature cocktails while rubbing elbows with some of the top names in professional tennis. This exclusive event takes place at Measure Lounge in the luxurious Langham Place New York, Fifth Avenue. Availability is extremely limited, so get your tickets now! Confirmed players include Victoria Azarenka, Sloane Stephens and John Isner.


Special 10% discount for Tennis Panorama News readers for Taste of Tennis and the Celebrity Chef Challenge  – use the code TennisPanorama for the discount.



Belinda Bencic Wins Eastbourne for First WTA Title

Belinda Bencic photo courtesy of the LTA by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images for LTA

By Ros Satar

(June 27, 2015) EASTBOURNE, England – On a bright and breezy day, it seemed fitting the moment could go to one of the WTA Rising Stars, as Belinda Bencic rode the winds of Eastbourne to claim her first WTA Singles title.


At first glance it looked as through former champion Agnieszka Radwanska would have all the momentum on her side. She was rounding out nicely to form, save for a worrying fade away in the Nottingham semi-final a couple of weeks ago, and she had pretty much coasted through the draw until the semi-final where she had to fight against a determined Sloane Stephens and dropped her first set of the tournament.


By contrast, even though players never like to admit they even cast an eye over the draw, Bencic had no idea she would be contesting the final when she first looked her draw.


She said, after advancing to the final after Caroline Wozniacki’s withdrawal: “I actually saw the draw and I saw like Barthel first round, which is not easy. Then Madison Keys second round. I was like, okay.”


The final was a nervy affair for the first two sets, with three exchanged breaks of serve towards the end of the first, Bencic having the advantage to edge the Pole for a one set lead.


Radwanska had spent a lot of the latter part of the first set exasperated that things were not going her way, and where she needed to be fare more inventive, she was so, stepping up the aggression for an early break. Even when a sloppy game allowed the Swiss teen back, Radwanska looked to be just slightly sharper, going for her shots more and breaking with conviction to level the match.


But grass is nothing if not terribly unforgiving, and Bencic did not panic, breaking the Pole twice before the first change of ends, as well as holding on to her serves with confidence that belies her young years.


We wondered what nerves might prevail as she stepped up to serve out for her first title. None, as it happened – serving it out to love, and more than making up for the straight sets loss to Camila Giorgi just a couple of weeks ago at ‘s-Hertogenbosch.


Not only that but this makes her a pretty useful prospect on grass, much like a couple of other famous Swiss players we could think of.


It was an emotional Radwanska who carried out her on-court interview after the 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 loss. In a somewhat turbulent year, Radwanska has suffered the embarrassment of her appointment of Martina Navratilova as a coach folding after barely a few months. The results have been average and Radwanska found herself slipping out of the Top 10 as the general hubbub around the latest crop of WTA Rising Stars has encroached on the old guard’s limelight.


She said: “I think I had a lot of good matches, Nottingham and here. I think that’s the main thing. I think I did the best preparation before Wimbledon, and I really played good tennis.”


With Radwanska in Petra Kvitova’s section of the door she can expect a Tuesday start.


Meanwhile there was just pure unadulterated joy in Bencic as she followed in Madison Keys’ footsteps last year and lifted her maiden tour title.


She described those final moments with a maturity that marks her out as one to watch at SW 19, saying: “I was very focused and really I played very free. Of course I was disappointed I didn’t close out the second set. I was also starting to get tired. It was a lot of running and, yeah, long rallies. But then I started very focused. I did the 3‑0, so after that I relaxed a little bit and could close it out very good. I think I will just realise maybe when going to bed or maybe tomorrow.”


She will start against Tsvetana Pironkova when Wimbledon begins on Monday 29 June.


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


Eastbourne Finals set

Aga Radwanska slides to a ball

By Ros Satar

(June 26, 2015) EASTBOURNE, England – On the day when the Wimbledon draws came out, there was still the small matter of the Eastbourne finals to be set, with some great grass court action on the menu.


First up was Agnieszka Radwanska, who lifted the trophy in 2008 in a pretty tough final against Nadia Petrova including a mammoth tiebreak for a 6-4 6-7(11) 6-4 win.


She might not have had quite the same battle to book her place in the final this time, as she faced Sloane Stephens in the semi-final and countering the American’s attacking play, as she was put under almost immediate pressure from the first game, saving four break-points there and six in her next game before even the first sit-down.


That did not stop her from making the first strike against Stephens, as she broke the American twice to wrap up the first set.


Stephens picked up the pace though, as the pair settled in to some perhaps tricky conditions. Despite the sun shining down on Eastbourne, there was a stiff breeze in the air. A competitive second set was forced to a tie-break, and Stephens ripped some impressive winners past Radwanska to level the match.


Radwanska started off the brighter in the decider, breaking Stephens, despite having to deal with a dive-bombing seagull, and took more risks in the swirling wind with an array of drop-shots and crafted returns, driving out a 6-1 6-7(3) 6-2 win.


She said: “I think the wind was changing, as well. Sometimes I was changing sides and I was against the wind, and I was going to the other side and still I was against the wind! That was weird. And of course there was another wind from the side, as well.


“So it was really tricky. You just had to know that the wind is going from each side and just to hit the ball strong, because otherwise it’s gonna fly wherever it will fly.”


But while the scene was set for a great match up between Swiss teen Belinda Bencic and Caroline Wozniacki, another former champion at the event. But from the start, Wozniacki looked ill at ease striking wild, missing volleys and after surrendering two breaks of serve before the first changeover, the doctor was called. As the conversation drew on and still no sign of a physical assessment, it was clear we were heading for a second withdrawal of the day. Earlier, Ekaterina Makarova withdrew from the second doubles semi-final with an Achilles injury.


Bencic said: “Definitely it’s not the way I wanted to win, of course. I’m also a little bit disappointed we couldn’t play a proper final because of course all the people and everyone.


“I didn’t know anything [about Wozniacki] before the match. Of course I also fell down a little bit yesterday, so I was more thinking of myself in that moment, so I didn’t notice anything what she had.”


Wozniacki confirmed that she had withdrawn with a back injury that had been troubling her for a few days, but had stiffened up considerably ahead of her match.


“I have had a slight back problem the whole week, basically. Today it stiffened up more, and I felt like I couldn’t move the way I wanted to and felt pain. I felt really bad for the crowd and everyone who had come out, but there’s nothing really I could do about it. It’s all about for me now just to look ahead for Wimbledon that’s starting in a few days. You know, just get as much treatment as possible and be ready for my first round there.”


Radwanska will face Bencic for the first time on Saturday. She surmised: “It’s always very interesting to play someone for the first time, especially not really happen very often. It’s gonna be interesting match, for sure. She had a really good season this year. Upcoming player on tour. So I’m really looking forward. Of course I think more pressure is on my side, but this is the final so we both want to win.”


Radwanska and Bencic will play the final on Saturday.


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


Bouchard Gets First Win of Grass-Court Season at Eastbourne; Cibulkova Returns

By Ros Satar

(June 23, 2015) EASTBOURNE, England – Hot on the heels of Petra Kvitova’s withdrawal, Birmingham champion Angelique Kerber withdrew also citing a viral illness. There was a lot of this going about as Eastbourne’s defending champion had to withdraw from Birmingham with the flu, and as she bowed out in her opener to Belinda Bencic, she lamented the timing, especially with the inclusion of an extra grass court week.


She said: “I had the flu [for] almost a week. Yeah, it was lots of laying there thinking I was dying. Then eventually I started feeling a little bit better and was able to start practicing again. Luckily I didn’t actually die. You know, just trying to get back to 100% now.”


She continued: “It was kind of nice because it was a perfect schedule. You can get some practice, have two full weeks of grass before going into Wimbledon, and then getting sick and having to pull out of that one week and kind of having to try to jam everything into this week is not ideal, so fingers crossed it doesn’t happen again next year.”


There was better news though for Genie Bouchard who turned in her first win on grass this season, and her first win since Rome last month, a 7-6(5), 6-3 victory over Alison Riske.


Bouchard said: “I felt good with my game today, happy with the way I fought. I just want to keep going, take another step tomorrow. Regardless of the outcome, I just want to do the right thing tomorrow.”


Another good win was the returning Dominika Cibulkova, who has been off the tour since February, after requiring Achilles surgery. To consider her return on one of the toughest surfaces, but that was just how the dates fell, and her return has been great with a run to the third round already.


There was plenty to keep the Brits occupied on Tuesday, as Johanna Konta got another great win, this time over a Top 10 player, and her best win to date, although she still preferred to try and keep her feet on the ground.


She said: “I’m going to work on not adjusting my mindset, because the way I’m working and the thought process I’m going along with, that is what has given me my best opportunity to play well and that’s why I think I did well today.”


Heather Watson was once more the closing act on Centre Court, and she put on a show for the late-staying crowds. Trading breaks at the start of the match, Svitolina battled to convert on a fourth break point to take the advantage in the first, taking the first set.


With the second set starting in the same way, this time it was Watson who battled away to finally get a crucial break late in the second, to level things up. The momentum stayed with her at the start of the decider, much to the crowd’s enjoyment, as Watson built up a 4-2 lead. But the nerves hit as Svitolina crept back into the match, breaking straight back. Watson really had to hold her nerve breaking the Ukrainian to pick up her second Top 20 win of the year.


It was an emotional Watson who spoke on court straight after the match, thanking the crowd for getting her over the line, and afterwards she explained:


“This week was kind of like a new start for me and I just really, I don’t know, I’ve got a lot of emotion in me right now. I think on the court it shows. I’m kind of getting mad at myself sometimes, but I’m also very positive when I win the point.


“I think also the crowd today was louder than I think I have ever heard them here at Eastbourne for one of my matches. I just loved every minute of it.”


She will face Sloane Stephens next, in what has been a great day for the British women, and Watson comments about Konta:


“I have always known Jo can play brilliant. I think it’s now finally coming out now. She played amazing and just throughout the whole match, and I’m just really proud of her.”


Play continues in the third round at 11am BST.

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

$ 731,000.00
21 – 27 JUNE 2015

RESULTS – JUNE 23, 2015
Singles – Second Round

[2] C. Wozniacki (DEN) d [Q] J. Gajdosova (AUS) 76(4) 62
D. Cibulkova (SVK) d [3] L. Safarova (CZE) 76(7) 64
[WC] J. Konta (GBR) d [4] E. Makarova (RUS) 62 64
S. Stephens (USA) d [5] C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) 61 75
[7] E. Bouchard (CAN) d A. Riske (USA) 76(5) 63
[8] K. Pliskova (CZE) d C. Dellacqua (AUS) 64 75
[9] A. Radwanska (POL) d [Q] I. Falconi (USA) 60 62
[10] A. Petkovic (GER) d C. Garcia (FRA) 62 64
H. Watson (GBR) d [11] E. Svitolina (UKR) 36 75 64
B. Bencic (SUI) d [12] M. Keys (USA) 62 62
[13] S. Errani (ITA) d B. Strycova (CZE) 62 67(1) 76(7) (saved 2mp)
[14] G. Muguruza (ESP) d [Q] P. Hercog (SLO) 57 63 60
S. Kuznetsova (RUS) d [15] F. Pennetta (ITA) 63 64
T. Pironkova (BUL) d [16] S. Stosur (AUS) 75 76(0)
[LL] D. Gavrilova (RUS) d C. Giorgi (ITA) 36 76(6) 63 (saved 1mp)
C. Vandeweghe (USA) d [LL] M. Niculescu (ROU) 75 26 61

Doubles – First Round

[1] M. Hingis (SUI) / S. Mirza (IND) d M. Krajicek (NED) / K. Pliskova (CZE) 60 62
Y. Chan (TPE) / J. Zheng (CHN) d [3] T. Babos (HUN) / K. Mladenovic (FRA) 76(5) 63
[4] C. Garcia (FRA) / K. Srebotnik (SLO) d K. Jans-Ignacik (POL) / A. Klepac (SLO) 63 64

CENTRE COURT start 11:00 am
[7] E. Bouchard (CAN) vs B. Bencic (SUI)
[14] G. Muguruza (ESP) vs [WC] J. Konta (GBR)
S. Kuznetsova (RUS) vs [2] C. Wozniacki (DEN)
H. Watson (GBR) vs S. Stephens (USA)
[1] M. Hingis (SUI) / S. Mirza (IND) vs H. Chan (TPE) / F. Pennetta (ITA)

COURT 1 start 11:00 am
D. Cibulkova (SVK) vs T. Pironkova (BUL)
[9] A. Radwanska (POL) vs [8] K. Pliskova (CZE)
C. Vandeweghe (USA) vs [10] A. Petkovic (GER)
[LL] D. Gavrilova (RUS) vs [13] S. Errani (ITA)
[4] C. Garcia (FRA) / K. Srebotnik (SLO) vs [WC] J. Rae (GBR) / A. Smith (GBR)

COURT 2 start 11:00 am
A. Medina Garrigues (ESP) / A. Parra Santonja (ESP) vs J. Goerges (GER) / L. Hradecka (CZE)
C. Black (ZIM) / L. Raymond (USA) vs [Alt] M. Niculescu (ROU) / A. Rodionova (AUS)
After Suitable Rest – [WC] E. Bouchard (CAN) / M. Erakovic (NZL) vs [2] E. Makarova (RUS) / E. Vesnina (RUS)


Williams Survives, Sharapova and Kvitova Upset, Nadal and Djokovic Set Up Quarterfinal Clash

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova

(June 1, 2015) Defending champion and No. 2 Maria Sharapova became the biggest upset victim of the French Open on Monday when she fell to 13th seed Lucie Safarova 7-6(3), 6-4.

“I feel like I had small openings, and I just wasn’t able to play a good few points,” Sharapova said. “I just wasn’t able to keep that level up today. She was able to do that for a longer period of time. She was the much more aggressive player, took the time away from me, created her angles …….and I didn’t.

Sharapova said that her opponent was at a much higher level than she was and that it was a “tough day“ for the two-time champion.

The victory was one of the biggest of the Czech’s career. She also defeated world number twos Justine Henin in 2007 and Caroline Wozniacki in 2010.

“The last few times I played Maria we had really long battles,” Safarova said after the match. “I remember they were really close, and I almost beat her in Stuttgart, but I always lost. “Yesterday I was really pumped, and really ready, and I just wanted to take this match. I was just excited to be there.”

For Safarova, this will be her third major quarterfinal. She’ll take on No. 21 seed Garbine Muguruza, who defeated 28th seed Flavia Pennetta 6-3, 6-4.

No. 1 Serena Williams looked as though she was going to be another major upset victim when she fell behind American countrywoman Sloane Stephens 6-1.

Williams righted herself in the second set and stayed even with Stephens. From 4-5, Williams won seven of the next 9 games to take the second set 7-5 and build a 4-2 lead in the third set.

Williams closed out the contest 1-6, 7-5, 6-3.

“I felt like if I had made a shot here or made a shot there, then maybe the first set could have been different,” Williams said. “But it’s not how you start, I guess it’s how you finish. That’s kind of how I’m looking at it.”

Williams has dropped sets to 3 of her 4 opponents this fort night. “I’m definitely gaining confidence,” Williams said in regard to the comebacks.

The 19-time major champion will face former French Open finalist No. 17 Sara Errani for a place in the semifinals.

In a second major upset on the women’s side, 23rd seed Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland stunned two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 2-6, 6-0, 6-3.

In men’s play, Roger Federer completed a win over Gael Monfils in a match delayed by darkness on Sunday to move into his 11th quarterfinal at Roland Garros.

“I wanted to get off to a good start, because you never know how he will be playing,” said Federer. “So I felt good. I was calm yesterday. I was calm this morning.

Federer will face Swiss countryman Stan Wawrinka in the quarterfinals.

“It [will be] a special match,” said the 17-time major champion. “It is not a traditional match. There aren’t too many Swiss players in the draw… It’s always special to play each other. There will be a Swiss guy in the semi-final. That’s positive.”

After the match, Monfils said, “It was tough because I’m sick. I have not much energy.”

“When you’re 100 per cent is it’s never easy to beat Roger, so when you’re not 100 per cent it is definitely impossible.”

Sixth seed Rafael Nadal knocked out the last U. S. man in the draw on Monday. He was extended to four sets, but defeated Jack Sock 6-3, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2.

Top seed Novak Djokovic cruised past Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 for his 26th straight win.

This sets up a highly anticipated Djokovic vs. Nadal quarterfinal on Wednesday.

“I’m not used to playing him that early, but that’s the reality and that’s a challenge that both of us have to accept,” Djokovic said.

“Probably the toughest quarterfinal in my career here in Roland Garros, without a doubt,” Nadal said.

“You can write what you want if it sells but this is not the match of the year. Matches of the year are finals, decisive matches.”
“Pressure is on both of us,” Djokovic said after the match. “People expect him (Nadal) to win always. Pressure is also part of what we do. You have to accept it.”

Nadal leads the head-to-head against Djokovic 23-20.

Andy Murray and David Ferrer will meet in the other top half of the draw quarterfinal. Murray defeated Jeremy Chardy ijn four sets, while David Ferrer beat Marin Cilic.



Serena Williams Survives Victoria Azarenka Challenge to Reach French Open Fourth Round

(May 30, 2015) Serena Williams fell behind Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 4-2 before the 19-time major champ won 10 out of the next 12 games to move into the French Open round of 16 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.

With Azarenka up 4-2 in the second, the pendulum of momentum began to swing Williams’ way.

On a key point of the match, which was replayed due to the chair umpire’s decision, Williams and Azarenka traded gestures, word and angry looks. It was the last point of the second set – an Azarenka ball called long at the baseline and Williams hit into the net as “out” was called.”

Chair umpire Kader Nouni decided the point should be replayed, and Azarenka disagreed.

As for the chair umpire’s decision to replay the point, the two-time Australian Open winner was not pleased.

“I think, my honest opinion, that call was bullsh*t, and everybody knows it,” the 27 the seed said to media. “But it’s part of the game. Sometimes it happens this way. But I think it wasn’t a fair call.”
“The ball was touching the net and he says it’s not a late call. So for me, there definitely has to be a review on that. We have a Hawk-Eye, so might as well just have that. Because it’s not easy for an umpire, but it’s definitely not easy on the player when you get screwed like that.”
“As I’m saying, I’ll always give a benefit of a doubt. But in such situation I think it was pretty clear. So I think the review, a little TV screen? I don’t know what they have, and just look it over.”

Williams agreed: I think that would be really cool, because sometimes you may or may not foot fault, and that instant replay on that foot fault. So, yeah. And obviously other things, as well. I think it could definitely not only be fun for the fans, but as well be helpful for the players to have that kind of instant replay thing. I think that’s a really great idea.”

( Vine courtesy of

“He did a late call, he called it out, he didn’t put his arm out until like five minutes later,” Williams said. “But yeah, I mean, this is tennis. This happens all the time. You know, I — I even said, no, don’t worry, the ball is in, we’ll just replay the point. So for me, it was like, this happens all the time, every day in tennis.”

“Vika and I are really close, we really get along. We have this great relationship. So I was like, you know, she knows me. You know me, like I’m — you don’t win Grand Slams by being unethical. I’m a really ethical player. So I was just like, eh…”

“I think the level of the match was pretty high quality from both players, and she really stepped it up,” Azarenka said of her opponent’s comeback. “She went for a lot of shots that landed, you know, right on the line and really stayed aggressive. I think looking back at it, you know, I’ve got to learn from that and maybe stay a little bit more aggressive and go a little bit more for my shots. But there wasn’t much wrong that I have done, I think. She just really played a good match and I have to give her credit for that, for sure.”

With Saturday’s win, Williams now has 50 match wins at Roland Garros and becomes the first woman in the Open Era to record 50+ match wins at all four Grand Slams. Only three others have 50+ at three of the four majors -Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf.

Williams will play another woman from the U.S., Sloane Stephens for a place in the quarterfinals.

Stephens defeated Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) 6-4, 6-1.

“I played pretty solid,” Stephens said. “Obviously she’s a tough player, so I knew I had to come out and play some good tennis. I was able to just make a lot of shots and stay in it, so I was happy with that.”
Stephens defeated Williams in the quarterfinals of the 2013 Australian Open.

The rest of line-up for the round of 16 for the top half of the draw: No. 4 Petra Kvitova vs No. 23 Timea Bacsinszky, No. 17 Sara Errani vs. Julia Goerges, and No. 93 Alison Van Uytvanck vs. No. 100 Andreea Mitu.

The bottom half of the draw: No. 7 Ana Ivanovic vs No 9 Ekaterina Makarova, No. 19 Svitolina vs No. 29 Alize Cornet, No. 28 Flavia Pennetta vs No. 21 Garbine Muguruza, No. 13 Lucie Safarova vs No 2 Maria Sharapova.



GRAND SLAM – €26,287,000
May 24 – JUNE 7, 2015

RESULTS – MAY 30, 2015
Singles – Third Round

[4] Petra Kvitova (CZE) def. [30] Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) 6-3 6-2

[1] Serena Williams (USA) def. [27] Victoria Azarenka (BLR) 3-6 6-4 6-2

Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) def. Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) 6-4 6-1

Sloane Stephens (USA) def. Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) 6-4 6-1

[17] Sara Errani (ITA) def. [10] Andrea Petkovic (GER) 6-3 6-3

Andreea Mitu (ROU) def. Francesca Schiavone (ITA) 7-5 6-4

[23] Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) [23] def. [16] Madison Keys (USA) 6-4 6-2

Julia Goerges (GER) def. Irina Falconi (USA) 6-4 6-1


Murray, Sharapova Advance as Venus Williams Falls at Roland Garros

(May 24, 2015) Third seed Andy Murray and second seed Maria Sharapova had straight set wins on day two of the French Open, while former finalist and the oldest woman in the draw, 15th seed Venus Williams lost along with four other seeds on Monday in Paris.

Making her 18th appearance in Paris, Venus Williams’ Roland Garros was ended in the first round by American countrywoman Sloane Stephens 7-6(5), 6-1. Stephens became just the second American to ever defeat both Serena and Venus Williams at a major. Stephens beat Serena in the quarterfinals of the 2013 Australian Open.

After the loss, Venus declined to speak to media. She did issue a statement which said that Stephens “just played better than me today.”

Williams said that she will be turning her focus to grass-court season.

“I have a little while now between tournaments and so now I’ll just get ready for the grass at Wimbledon.”

She is facing a potential fine for not having a news conference.

“Obviously it’s a tough first round of a Grand Slam,” Stephens said. “So going into it I knew I was going to have to just come out and be really solid and play my tennis. I did that today. That was good.”

“I didn’t really know what to expect. I mean, obviously she’s a great player and a great champion. I knew I was just going to have to get out there and do my best.”

Defending champion Sharapova defeated Kaia Kanepi 6-2, 6-4 in her first round match. Sharapova nursing a cough during the match, declined an on-court interview, which lead to spectators booing her as she left the court.

“But it’s just the way it is. I’m getting over it, and hopefully it will pass by soon,” she said.

Andy Murray stretched his unbeaten streak during the clay court season to 11, with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 win over Argentina’s Facundo Arguello, who reached the main draw as a lucky loser.

The Scot talked about the windy conditions on court.

“I felt like it was difficult. The start was very windy on the court and cold, so it was quite slow conditions. I found it difficult at the beginning. Then I felt, you know, when the wind died down a bit in the second and third set, I felt that the level of tennis was better.”

Besides Venus Williams, four other seeds made exits on Monday including No. 11 Feliciano Lopez who lost to Teymuraz Gabashvili and former Wimbledon finalist No. 14 Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 against Annika Beck.

Others who bowed out were No. 30 Adrien Mannarino and No. 22 Barbora Strycova.